6 Forgotten Drugstore Colognes and Aftershaves

by Brett on January 10, 2012 · 494 comments

in Dress & Grooming

Every time I stroll down the men’s grooming aisle at my local drugstore to pick up some deodorant or Brylcreem, I can’t help but notice the shelves of colognes and aftershaves. Gillette’s green and blue goo aftershaves seem to sell well, as do the notorious AXE body sprays.

However, as my eyes drift down to the lowest shelf, I’ll usually spy a selection of hardly touched colognes and aftershaves. Among them you’ll find fragrances that once sat in Grandpa’s bathroom–English Leather, Old Spice, Aqua Velva–but are now overlooked or snickered at by the younger generation.

I’ll be honest. I used to turn up my nose at these colognes and aftershaves too. I figured if they were being sold in a drugstore in plastic bottles for $5 and not at a department store in fancy glass bottles for $50, they probably smelled awful. Without an endorsement from Diddy, how good could they be? Oh, the power of branding on my feeble mind!

But one day, I decided that instead of relying on my fallacious reasoning to judge the quality of these forgotten drugstore colognes and aftershaves, I would bust out some good old-fashioned empiricism. I headed over to my nearest drugstore and filled up my handbasket with every single cologne and fragrance they offered. The lady at the checkout lane gave me a funny look and noted that she’s never seen a guy my age buying the stuff in my basket. I just smiled.

The total on my receipt for the six different products was $41. The most expensive bottle was $12.

After a week of testing these colognes and aftershaves, I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by my findings. I actually thought all of the drugstore colognes and aftershaves smelled great and will probably start using them on a daily basis. Because my go-to cologne is so expensive, I usually just wear it on special occasions. These bargain drugstore aftershaves and colognes will allow me to invigorate my freshly shaved face and dab on a bit of fragrance every day without breaking the bank.

Below are my thoughts and a bit of history on the six drugstore colognes and aftershaves I tested. Enjoy.

Pinaud Clubman

Pinaud Clubman is the oldest bargain aftershave on our list.  Since 1810, Pinaud-Clubman has been making the world smell manlier with their wide range of grooming products. Walk into any traditional barbershop and you’ll likely find Pinaud-Clubman aftershave sitting on the shelves; it’s part of what gives classic barbershops their distinctive scent.

What it smells like: Pinaud Clubman is pretty potent stuff. You’ll find hints of orange, lemon, jasmine, and lavender with a warm musk background in this manly concoction. It also has a nice antiseptic alcohol smell to it. You’d think smelling like rubbing alcohol would be a bad thing, but somehow Pinaud-Clubman makes it work.

Price: $7 for 6 oz.

Aqua Velva Ice Blue

Aqua Velva got its start in 1929, not as an aftershave, but as a mouthwash for men. Crazy, huh? It wasn’t until 1935 that Aqua Velva started getting pitched exclusively as an aftershave. Aqua Velva’s biggest selling point has always been the cooling menthol that soothes away razor burn.

Throughout the years, Aqua Velva produced several TV commercials to cast itself as the scent of choice of manly men. In this spot, 1950s cartoon guy learns what happens to guys who don’t wear Aqua Velva:

Aqua Velva was responsible for Pete Rose’s all-time MLB record for hits. If only Aqua Velva could have imbued Rose with the practical wisdom needed to understand that betting on your own team isn’t a good idea.

Even the Lone Ranger and Tonto wore Aqua Velva. Hi-yo, Silver!

What it smells like: Aqua Velva leaves a nice, clean, masculine smell that’s heavy on the menthol, but also includes hints of vanilla, lavender, and oakmoss. The smell is initially potent, but fades to a pleasant manly oakmoss smell very quickly. This was my second favorite scent out of all that I tried.

Price: $5 for 3.5 oz

Old Spice

Before they got into the “Man-Your-Man-Could-Smell-Like” body wash business, Old Spice made cologne and aftershave. Chances are your grandpa probably wore the stuff. If I were a bettin’ man, I’d even wager that the manly, charming scent of Old Spice played some kind of role in your eventual birth. Old Spice has been sold in its iconic buoy-shaped bottle since 1938.

What it smells like: Old Spice has a nice, spicy smell to it, hence the name. You’ll find overpowering notes of sage and cinnamon when you apply it. As it fades, it leave a pleasant musk and cedarwood scent.

Many believe that today’s Old Spice cologne isn’t the same as the original. Aficionados swear there was a subtle change made to the formula after Procter and Gamble acquired the brand. Even with the tweaking, this is still a solid, timeless, and manly fragrance. Good to have in your collection.

Price: $10 for 6.38 oz.

English Leather

The aftershave of choice of my 96 year old grandpa, William Hurst. English Leather got its start in 1949, and it hasn’t changed much since then. Same formula; same rectangular bottle; same big ol’ wooden lid. English Leather gift boxes were a popular holiday gift for years. Maybe you got your dad a box for Christmas 1987. Most of the marketing for English Leather featured an attractive woman telling male viewers or readers that “All her men wear English Leather.” Translation: If you want hot babes, slap on some English Leather, by golly. Example:

What it smells like: It’s a pretty simple fragrance. Starts off with a citrusy smell that slowly fades to a woodsy, leathery scent. As the day wore on, it started to smell more like baby powder. Nice and fresh.

Price: $12 for 3.4 oz.


Ah, Brut. My first cologne. I got some in my stocking for Christmas when I was in 6th grade. The ladies of Sequoyah Middle School loved  it. At least, that’s what I told my 12-year-old self.

The original Brut was marketed as a luxury scent in 1963, but in 1968, Fabergé (the company that owns Brut) created a budget version called “Brut 33″ (the 33 was a reference to the fact that it was 33% less fragrant than the original).  A few years later, they re-branded the budget version back to just “Brut.” Thus was born one of the most iconic bargain colognes of all time. Brut’s trademark plastic green (and let’s be honest–kind of phallic) bottle with its silver logo has probably graced the medicine cabinets of millions of men across the world.

Over the years, Brut has marketed itself as the go-to fragrance for men of strength and virility. Its tagline is “The Essence of Man.” Athletes have typically been the spokesmen for the brand. Football player “Broadway” Joe Namath took part in a series of TV and print ads for Brut in the 1970s. Here’s Joe telling us how men who “go all the way” wear Brut:

What it smells like: People either love or hate Brut. I’m personally a fan of it. The scent combines dashes of sandalwood, oakmoss, lavender, and jasmine. It’s kind of an aggressive scent.

Price: $7 for 5 oz.


After a century of making cowboy hats, the Stetson Company decided to get into the men’s fragrance business in 1981 with a cologne for men. Stetson took advantage of their cowboy heritage by pitching their cologne as the scent for men who are independent and love adventure. And as the gift idea for those you didn’t know what else to get the man in their lives (“Stetson makes it easy, for youuuuu!).

In 2007, New England Patriots’ quarterback, Tom Brady, became the new Stetson man. I’m pretty sure this was a move to get women to buy Stetson for their men.  I don’t think giant magazine spreads of Tom Brady looking wistfully into the camera are going to excite most men to buy Stetson.

What it smells like: Stetson’s scent kinda catches you off guard. With all their rugged cowboy marketing, I expected Stetson to have a woodsy, leathery, or even musk scent. But to my surprise it was more of a light, flowery fragrance with notes of lavender, jasmine, and citrus. It’s not bad, just different from the typical male fragrances on the list.

Price: $10 for 3.5 oz. I got mine on sale at Walgreens for $4. What a deal!

In Memorium: Hai Karate

Hai Karate is no longer produced, but because it was perhaps one of the most famous bargain fragrances to come out of the 60s and 70s, I had to put it on the list. I’ve never smelled the stuff, but from what I’ve heard from Baby Boomers, it didn’t smell that great. So why did it sell so well?

Clever marketing.

With every bottle of Hai Karate, you got a small instruction booklet of karate moves that you were supposed to use to fend off the women who would be all over you after you applied this irresistible fragrance.

Don't use Hai Karate without memorizing these self-defense moves.

Here’s the TV commercial showing the effects of Hai Karate on a man’s unsuspecting girlfriend:

While Hai Karate faded from the fragrance scene in the 80s, its legacy lives on today in AXE body spray. Just like its 1970s predecessor, AXE assaults one’s nasal cavities (at least when over-applied by zealous middle schoolers), yet remains popular because of clever marketing that usually features women attacking some dude who’s sprayed himself with magically instant sex appeal.

If you’re really itching to try some Hai Karate, you can buy it on eBay.

Fun fact: Pfizer (the maker of Viagra) owned the Hai Karate brand.

What’s your favorite drugstore cologne or aftershave? Do you have a favorite that we didn’t include on the list? Share them with us in the comments!

{ 494 comments… read them below or add one }

401 Mr. Man April 8, 2013 at 11:16 pm

English Leather is a legacy. My father wore it for basically my entire life. He does on occasion. When I was young I would talk to him after he got out of the shower. I loved it when he would give me a splash of English Leather. Nothing beat being the manliest smelling kid in the second grade. Currently, I am nearing the end of school and have a couple interviews coming up. I am thinking that a splash of English Leather after shaving might up my chances. For me, the scent demands respect.

402 Nick P. April 10, 2013 at 12:51 am

Old Spice and Clubman can’t be beat. When I started traditional wet shaving it just seemed natural to use an old fashioned, timeless, manly aftershave. Smelling like Grandpa is the way to go. Grandpa must have gotten it right or we wouldn’t be here. My dad was always an Old Spice guy. I bought a bottle a couple of years ago and instantly remembered great things from my childhood.

403 Srinivas Kari April 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

A post on Badger and Blade revealed that the INDIAN version of Old spice is very similar to the vintage Old spice BEFORE Proctor and Gamble changed the formula. Shulton still manufactures the Indian Old Spice.
The post :

404 Arturo April 12, 2013 at 4:59 am

I like the smell of Old Spice, and most of the others (agree with the one guy who says Aqua Velva smells like a urinal cake), but I don’t like the smell of them on me. Ultimately, they all smell like cheap.

405 Makeety Makondo April 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Nice article! Great stuff, I love the old-school traditional products.

IMO Old Spice doesnt smell the same now as it did even 10 or 12 years ago. I still have an old bottle and have compared them. There is a noticeable difference. The newer stuff in the plastic bottle just isnt as satisfying for me, but taken on it’s own merit it’s still a good fragrance.

406 Stinker7 April 28, 2013 at 12:58 am

Unfortunatly I can’t comment on any of the above but TABAC Original is regarded in the same vein as the above, I use it and love it. Go and pick up a bottle of the AS and give your comments.

407 don April 30, 2013 at 8:32 am

Where can I buy these retail.? You wrote a nice article

408 delberto May 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I used old spice when I first started to shave in the early 1950s with the old “red blades” which traumatized the face. Old Spice just made a painful process even more so. I took a suggestion from the neighbor hood barber and bought Lucky Tiger Bay Rum which was much milder and did not make me sneeze and dance. I have used it for the last 60 years but can no longer find it. I plan to gather the materials and make up a batch from your barber shop instructions for 1866, will let you know how it works

409 Markus May 12, 2013 at 1:45 am

Enjoyed the write-up. Stetson is a very decent cologne that gets plenty of compliments. I suppose alot of women secretly like a man to smell like a cowboy once in a while. One cologne that is in my local drugstore is British Sterling. About $14 for 3.4 oz but has a scent like nothing I’ve smelled before. Its like a very manly in-your-face scent that someone once described as “you put this on before kicking some ass”. Too funny. Pleasant and definitely something I now understand as it seems to resonate something that a military officer could wear. I ain’t kicking anyone’s ass but this won’t be confused with anything to do with anything too floral or lightweight.

410 Ed Harrington May 15, 2013 at 1:54 am

My favorite is clubman. But you forgot skin bracer. I like that also. My grandfather was a barber and he used clubman for years. I am 42 years old. I started wet shaving with a safety razor around 8 years ago. I think you get a better shave. Another product that is good is the clubman shave cream. I would try the clubman shave cream and then the aftershave for good results.

411 Steve May 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm

In the “In Memoriam” department, you might mention “007″, which capitalized on the James Bond craze. Also big with high school, would-be studs in the Sixties were “Canoe” (musky like Brut) and “British Sterling”–”so fine it’s only sold in jewelery stores” was its original pitch.

412 Ken May 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Skin Bracer (by Mennen) – Green and clean and not too pricey!

413 Jeff Maystruck June 3, 2013 at 10:26 am

I almost forgot about some of these wow! Cool post. I still remember in highschool loading up on the Aqua Velva for no apparent reason. Ha!

414 Ian June 4, 2013 at 2:10 am

Most of my life, I’ve used Tabac Original or Old Spice. I used to like the green Old Spice too before production stopped.

415 jimmy p June 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

Cracked open my bag of old wet shaving gear from 10+ yrs ago. Been shaving with an old Gillette slimtwist (or knack in the US), palmolive shave stick, badger hair brush and my old bottle of old spice for the last two weeks. My wife says my face looks and smells fantastic. I feel great every morning too. Used to use an electric philishave. Get up 10 minutes earlier each morning but its so worth it.

416 Natasha June 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

As a woman I must say my knees get weak when I smell Old Spice! Love the stuff!

417 Jed June 16, 2013 at 12:39 am

Pinaud-Clubman seems to be the WINNER among aftershaves. Most barbers still have this stuff on their shelves.

418 Haiz July 22, 2013 at 8:36 am

I would also have added Tabac to that list too. My dearly departed Dad used to wear it when I was growing up. Very spicy and black peppery smell.

419 Jose July 25, 2013 at 9:47 am

If you really want something that smells manly and gives you that classic sting, try some Florida Water. It smells like a swamp at first, but once it’s on you, the magic happens.

420 Eric August 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

Sorry to see that Canoe did not make the list. I remember gargantuan bottles sitting on my grandfather’s dresser. They make alot of it, so it must be good!

421 Deborah August 3, 2013 at 10:42 am

Thanks for an interesting and delightful read. I love it when men smell good. Can’t beat it.
My late father also wore Old spice and Tabac and I truly miss that warm, spicy,manly scent- unlike so many thin noted prissy scents of today.
It’s odd, but basically for me, a handsome man that reeks of BO (or bad breath) instantly looses all appeal whilst an ugly man that smells clean and hygienic and who wears a manly scent becomes instantly attractive. I just want to get closer.

422 Jason S August 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm

My dad always wore Canoe. I remember buying this for him as Christmas gifts. He could never have too much and always had one or two bottles for “just in case” he ran out.

423 Simon Taylor-Spencer August 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

After years of wearing Guerlain aftershaves I also decided to try a “budget” aftershave. I opted for old Spice. FANTASTIC, I love it and (more importantly) so does my wife. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my Guerlain aftershaves but my everyday one now is Old Spice.

424 Rick Schlauch August 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm

After drinking some Rick Schlauch Beer, I would usually put on some Hai Karate and look for some play!!!

425 Rick August 15, 2013 at 6:48 am

Clubman, Skin Bracer, and Old Spice. That’s it, that’s the list…

426 Gerry August 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

There are different versions of Old Spice aftershave out there. Check around carefully since some places will sell “old spice” for under $10.00 and others will sell Old Spice for almost $20.00 (4.7 ounce container). Also, if you really want to go cheap, some drug-stores have their own brand of “old spice” (type) aftershave.

427 Eddie August 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm

For those of you who are fans of the original Old Spice, you can get it online from West Coast Shaving.

428 stuart August 27, 2013 at 2:03 am

My Grandfather designed the original Old Spice buoy shaped bottle they still use today. Can’t go wrong with a classic.

429 joan September 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

In the late 50′s the drugstore used to carry the women’s answer to Old Spice. It was called Spice N Ice. The compliments I received on this item were many and I’ve been searching all over for this. Can someone tell me where to look?

430 Red Nelson September 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm

As a kid in Chicago in the late ’50s, I used to buy King’s Men for my Dad at Christmas. Anyone ever see it? It came as a 2-pack, one bottle aftershave, one cologne. It always made me happy to see him splash it on in the mornings. Thanks for a great piece and all the fine comments.

431 jeff September 24, 2013 at 9:16 pm

just came across a new bottle, in the box, of Hai Karate on my dads dresser. Value? Priceless

432 Paul September 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Clubman’s products are tops for me. In an interesting twist, I bought some as a teen-ager(I’m 56 now), and found it very much to my liking, and my father asked to try it one day and he liked it. I;ll use Mennen as a backup, and Aqua Velva for an occasional one during the humid months. I do like those old-school brands.

433 Bob October 10, 2013 at 10:47 am

I wore Old Spice the night I met my wife for the first time (the original Old Spice, not the new over-advertised stuff). It’s been my go-to ever since. She loves it.

434 Keith Allison October 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Count me as another Clubman man. My bathroom is stuffed with their stuff. I definitely took it too far and have even paired the scents with cocktails. Classic Clubman calls for a classic, working man’s cocktail: the whiskey sour.

435 Jon Burkhart October 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I want to purchase these

English Leather, Revlons’ Chaz,

Original Old Spice, and others.

436 Matt October 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm

English Leather, Brut and Canoe — I had them all as a teenager, and I used to splash them on in quantities that would permanently disable bloodhounds two counties away. lol I also liked to steal some of my grandfather’s Old Spice from the bottle in the bathroom, when I was visiting. I haven’t used any of those in years (or really any scent to speak of) in years. But I did recently start using Clubman in conjunction with wet shaving, and I’m really enjoying it. I even use Clubman talc on my underarms, and to kill the shine on my face after a really close shave.

437 Mark October 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I still use Old Spice. For a while, I used their shaving soap & mug combo, but they stopped making the soap (the mug was handed down from my Dad).

And of all the commercials to leave out, how could you forget…
“Float like a butterfly,
Sting like a bee:
The great smell of Brut,
And the punch of Ali!”

438 WARREN October 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Still have my dads bottle of Canoe from the 70′s. It reminds me so much of him. I didn’t know that it’s being reproduced .Tomorrow I will get some just to compare. All ways scared I’m going to drop his memory. Note just saw the show about the Iceman Killer a true story about a hired Hitman who said Canoe was the only thing that made a crime scene smell pleasant. Creepy.

439 Pete November 3, 2013 at 8:25 am

My Dad passed away a few years ago at 89 years… While going through his belongings, I found an unopened Bottle of “King Neptune”, that I had bought him as a Birthday gift back in the late 60′s. If I remember right, this was procured from Walgreens… have been using it ever since: What a wonderful scent!

440 Scott November 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I have most of the ones mentioned and love them all. However, no one has mentioned Jade East, another 60′s classic!

441 Tyler December 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Great article. My grandpa always wore Old Spice. I love it. Smells can really take you back to childhood. You might also try Colognes for C.O. Bigelow and Barber. The one I have has an awesome woodsy scent, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere or remember where I got it.

442 Elmarko December 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

In fairness it should be mentioned that Fro-Zone, the Samuel E. Jackson character from “The Incredibles”, splashes on some Hai Karate while getting ready for his wife’s dinner party!

443 Kevin December 10, 2013 at 8:57 am

I love the Clubman and Old Spice the best of these. I do put on Aqua Velva once in a while. Old Spice always reminds me of my Dad who passed in 1984.

444 Bill December 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

An excellent article. I enjoyed it thoroughly!

445 Chad December 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm

My dad typically wears Stetson, and he still has a bottle of Hai Karate on his shelf. Can’t remember what it smells like. I wear Old Spice. When my wife tells me I smell like an old man, I say, “Thanks, cause that’s exactly what I’m going for!”

446 Rick December 31, 2013 at 2:00 am

Nice article! Some oldies but goodies here. Old spice was the first cologne I ever tried. Doused myself in it as a young one trying to impress the babysitter. I thought I was slick!

447 Ned January 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I’m an Old Spice man myself. Though I must admit, the Classic takes a bit of getting used to. There is a milder version called Wolf Thorn that I generally prefer for everyday use.

448 ruth January 9, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Ryan Seacrest was on Jan. 7th on Kelly and Michael and he said he wore a drugstore cologne when they said they liked the way he smelled. It started with a T so do you think it could have been Tabac? I had never heard of it until I came upon this best drugstore cologne website just now. If anyone saw the show or recorded it and could tell me what he said, I would really appreciate it.

449 David January 10, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Normally, I use the newer Old Spice/AXE body washes & body sprays. I picked up a holiday gift set of “British Sterling” because it was on clearance, After trying it for a week, I have to say, not only did I smell, great it also gave me a degree of confidence I’ve not had with any scent, I really do think that there is a percentage of men who want to stand out above the newer scents worn by everyone and go retro to be different.

450 Bert January 13, 2014 at 10:42 am

Bay Rum!!!

451 Brian January 13, 2014 at 10:47 am

Deciding I had enough of the $100 cologne I picked up a Clubmen as I see it all the time at my barbers. Love the scent. Might just try the others too. Thanks for the article.

452 Creighton Brown January 13, 2014 at 10:50 am

Growing up, my grandfather always wore liberal amounts of Stetson. Neither of my parents wore a fragrance, so I just thought that was how grandpa smelled. It’s a smell that brings back lots of memories. It was also my first cologne and a reliable fall back whenever my Aero Sport isn’t cutting it.

453 Rich January 13, 2014 at 11:03 am

You told us which was your second favorite, but you never said which was your favorite.

454 N8 January 13, 2014 at 11:06 am

Rockin the Old Spice. If it was good enough for the old man…
Liked the Clubman review. May give it some run!
Gracias compa!

455 Nate January 13, 2014 at 11:09 am

I will always swear by Bay Rum. My wife has always said that when we met, the first thing that attracted to her to me was the fact that I smelled like her grandfather.

456 Shannon January 13, 2014 at 11:22 am

My husband just came home with a brand new bottle of the Pinaud brand last night. I love it. :)

457 Eric January 13, 2014 at 11:28 am

There’s another reason men don’t use those aftershaves anymore (besides modern clever marketing). They are all alcohol-based. Any modern man knows not to put alcohol on his face after shaving. A nice smooth lotion is far better.

458 Bill Heydenreich January 13, 2014 at 11:45 am

Agreed, I was getting tired of dropping 50$ on a bottle of cologne so I started using old timey stuff.
1. clubman pinaud classic
2. clubman pinaud lemon sec
3. clubman pinaud bay rum
4. old spice

459 Carlos January 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

I usually use Old Spice, though I like Brut better – it seems old-school after shave lotions are experiencing a resurgence because the prices are going up. Brut is selling in my town for 20€ a bottle, more than twice than Old Spice!

460 The Basseteer January 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm

I wear/use #4711; every 2-3 years I buy a large bottle of the stuff, it has a nice, light, citrusy scent that quickly fades into the background. Once scent I have been looking for though is one from the 60s-70s, British Sterling Bitter lemon.

461 Randall January 13, 2014 at 1:57 pm

I think it’s cool that a lot of guys chose a cologne because “it’s what dad wore.” Myself, I use Canoe. It’s what dad AND his dad wore.

462 Marios January 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm

The aftershave of my choise was always Old Spice, not the original though but Whitewater. It has a refreshing, clean smell and it gives your skin a touch of coolness which is wonderful after morning shave.

463 David January 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I dont know if it has been metioned yet, but Preferred Stock by Stetson was one of the colognes that my dad used to wear growing up, and the first one I got as a teenager.

464 Pryor January 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Hai Karate had a vanilla scent, as I recall. I liked it, but my vote didn’t count with the rest of America.

465 Pastor Vince January 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm

If you enjoy indulging in a cigar or two Pinauds can’t be beat. Good Tobacco and Pinauds are magic together. As the existence of my three sons can attest to.

466 rstrada January 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm

4711… a totally functional cologne that is not gender specific – popular in Europe and an old classic. Fragrance is gentle with hints of vanilla, lavender and a nice back of clean citrus. And it comes in small travel bottles that make it a natural for transport.

467 Josh January 13, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Got a BRUT grooming package for Christmas just passed! I’m really fond of it! Nice and clean smell, along with prominent masculinity…

468 Jim January 13, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I use Clubman everyday. My wife love the smell.
I also use their talcum powder and their hair gel. It works great after using my safety razor or my straight razor.

469 Al January 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Did anyone use the Avon aftershaves that came in the car decanters? I remember getting one for Christmas every year when I was a teenager.

470 Mike B. January 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I just bought the BRUT Locion (red bottle) it is now my new favorite.

471 FInn January 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm

When I was a kid, Dad rotated Old Spice, Brut, & Stetson and I’m sure there was some special alchemy to it that I’ll never really understand, but 9 out of 10 days he was Old Spice. When I became aware of girls & sure I knew better than him my best friend, a fancy scent aficionado, turned me onto this sweet smelling toilet water, named after a woman I think, and the girls came a running. Met my 1st wife wearing that swill & she kept me eternally bathed in it. Years later, divorced, broken and alone I moved into my 2nd first apartment and hit the Walgreen’s next door to furnish my bathroom with basic toiletries. That bottle of Old Spice on the bottom shelf couldn’t have been much more than $5 or I wouldn’t have gotten it. No girls came running this time, but I was suddenly aware of how many lovely ladies there were around me. Like most everything, Dad had it right all along. Smell good like a man and you’ll be treated like one. Excellent list.

472 Brian A. January 14, 2014 at 12:11 am

Elsha has long been a favorite of mine, due to the fact that Dad and Grandpa wore it. It’s fairly strong, but I like it. Not overly expensive either. I’ll have to try the ones on this list. It never hurts to have some variety.

473 Victoria from Pretoria January 14, 2014 at 7:35 am

I didn’t see it mentioned, but my favorite was British Sterling. Does anyone know if it is still being used? Bought my 10th grade BF a bottle for Christmas in 1970 and it has been my favorite ever since. Remember the ad with the prince riding off with the girl and the words “you may both go down in history”?

474 Dean January 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

Very good article.
I feel that one that was left out however was Matchabelli by Prince Matchabelli. It was my mainstay as teen and into my early 20′s at which point it disappeared from sight. I would love to find an original bottle but so far no luck…

475 Big G January 14, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Hai Karate after shave was the ticket and the girls loved it The cologne was absolitely horrible

476 Rob Jones January 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

I thought for sure I would see Aramis.

477 Mark Caronna January 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Pinaud makes a nice powder as well.

478 Sean Burke January 15, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Started using Clubman. Wife now grabs a hold of me, pulls me in, takes a big sniff and tells me I “stink pretty”.

All, right……. ;)

479 Pfarthing6 January 16, 2014 at 12:36 am

While not as old as most of the rest, and I do have my bottle of Old Spice in the cupboard, my favorite “going out” cologne to this day is Fahrenheit by Christian Dior.

First on the market in 1988 making it 26 years old this year, quarter of a century, not too shabby =)

480 Jonathan January 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Been an Old Spice man practically since birth. My Dad, Grandad, and Great-Grandad all wore it regularly. they used other things on occasion, but the OS was their daily go-to. I see it as a legacy for me to uphold, and is still my all-time favorite scent.

I recently got more into traditional male grooming thanks to finding AoM (Thanks McKays!), swiching to wet shaving and adjusting my wardrobe habits to a more traditional look. It’s working great.

Part of the process is that I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with different shave soaps, powders, aftershaves, and other products. Plus I needed to add some new scents to my repertoire in order to actually PRESERVE my love for old Spice, since i have worn it every day for so long I and my wife do not really even smell it much. I fell in love with a bottle of Pinaud Bay Rum, but also I rediscovered Stetson. I’m not sure if the formulation changed or my body chemistry did, but it smells far less like alcohol than it did when I got some as a kid. It seems to blend right in to my natural smell and enhance it pleasantly rather than smelling like I just climbed out of a vat of antiseptic.

I also tried the traditional Clubman AS, never having been to a barber shop before, and frankly, it gave me massive headaches both times I’ve worn it. (I splash on a lot because i get razor burn easily). I’m going to try cutting it with 50% witch hazel and see if that improves it.

Brut… well, Brut is a scent I always found NASTY. Still do.

English Leather was another favorite of mine as a kid.(I got a couple of those gift sets!) I still have a bottle I use from time to time.

Anyway, I love this site and love that all of your articles are not geared toward high end products and gear like so many other men’s sites. I like that you are somewhat budget-conscious and realize many of us are, too!

481 xnavygunner January 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm

I still like Bay Rum.

482 Jim January 20, 2014 at 5:32 am

I liked English Leather at one time. I still have a half used set of Nine Flags cologne. These were fragrances of 9 different country’s.

483 Michael January 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm

My favorite for high school dates in the 60s was Jade East, and of course there was my mom’s vast collection of Avon male cologne collectables.

484 Joe January 28, 2014 at 11:47 pm

I just turned 27 and I too am getting into more traditional grooming methods. I first read this article about a year and a half ago and since then I’ve been trying different aftershaves from time to time. I got my first safety razor not long ago (I got tired of shelling out $15-20 for cartridges).

I’ve really come to like aftershaves versus overpriced designer colognes (I still like Cool Water and Drakkar) and spray can junk like Axe which I’ve always found revolting.

Pinaud makes some really good stuff for a GREAT price. I like the original and the bay rum is good (but man does that stuff BURN when you first put it on) but I really like the Musk the best. It’s not overbearing and it feels masculine.

It’s a little more pricey but I like Caswell-Massey aftershaves. Jockey Club has a really nice scent that isn’t heavy (I can see why JFK liked it) and Greenbrier has a woodsy scent but isn’t overbearing.

I’m not much for the more common drugstore buys like Old Spice, Aqua Velva, Brut, etc. I remember my grandfather wearing Old Spice and today’s plastic bottle stuff doesn’t smell like the stuff he wore. I do like fresh the scent of English Leather and Stetson isn’t bad either. I’ll use Gillette gel here and there.

I just got Tabac and Proraso in the mail today. Can’t wait to try them.

PS….This is a GREAT site.

485 Auston February 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I am 17. Grew up with my grandpa until I was 14. He would only wear Old Spice and I have loved it. Because my grandpa is a religious conservative, he tended to put on the bad side of the male stereotype so I associate Old Spice with being a “man.” I use Old Spice Classic in the buoy bottle and I wouldn’t use any other brand. Old Spice is a personal favorite. Thank you for putting on the list.

486 Wesley February 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

I’m guilty as well of ignoring these old aftershaves brands.

As mostly I don’t really like the scents and I understand why Axe is so popular, as they create cheap showergels, aftershaves etc with a hug variety of scents.

And I honestly never understand what some people have against Axe, as they got really great scents, like excite and dark temptation.

487 Frank February 25, 2014 at 11:23 pm

My favorite is Roman Brio. You can’t find it anymore, but it was my grandfathers and I loved it. Reminds me of him. When growing up I needed just a bit more confidence or on a day when I needed a father figure behind me, I would open up that faithful bottle and use a dab.

488 Edo_V March 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I wore Brut before, I just loved it. Now, not that much I guess I have changed

489 Adam N. March 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm

The scent that reminds me of my Dad is Mennen Skin Bracer. He slapped it on every day after shaving and was his signature scent. It’s what I like to wear because it so strongly reminds me of him.

490 Kevin Hannigan March 29, 2014 at 11:53 am

I can only find the Mennen green aftershave

Can’t find the “Brown” colored liquid anywhere

Help please
Will buy a whole case

491 Will March 29, 2014 at 11:07 pm

If I apply one of these aftershaves after shaving do I still need to apply something else like a moisturizer cream or lotion. Or is one of these aftershave products the only thing I need to use afterwards?

492 GEORGE HOCH April 17, 2014 at 1:42 am


493 Joel April 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

I would love to be able to try some of these scents, but alas, here in Canadia it seems to be damn near impossible. I have always used Old Spice a/s and cologne, but now that I’ve switched to DE shaving recently, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to these things. All I’ve been able to find up here is Skin Bracer, Aqua Velva, Old Spice, and Brut.

Bay Rum seems to be virtually nonexistent here. Even a store in downtown Vancouver that specializes in this kind of thing, does not have anything Bay rum.

If anybody has any leads in lower mainland British Columbia, I’d love to hear it!

494 Andy Brough April 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I worked at a grocery store for a few years and kept noticing all the budget colognes on the shelf. Most of our customers never touched them. We had all of the ones listed in this article except English Leather.
I like Brut, I grew up with aqua velva, and all the others are pretty iconic.
One that wasn’t mentioned here that we had is Elsha. I’d never heard of it and couldn’t find anything super specific about it online when I looked, so i just bought it anyway.
I loved the smell, especially for a 20 dollar price tag.
It’s smooth, sorta Old Spice-esque scent was just what i wanted.
What made this more amazing was when I got home and showed my mom.
Her eyes grew to the size of wiffleballs and she snatched the bottle from my hand, unscrewed the top, and took a big inhale.
Turns out her highschool boyfriend wore Elsha back in the late 60′s. It reminds her of his letterman jacket and taking long rides in his car.
If you haven’t tried Elsha, find it soon

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