Chaps (original) 
Ralph Lauren (1979)


Average Rating:  44 User Reviews

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Chaps (original) by Ralph Lauren

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Chaps (original) by Ralph Lauren

People & Companies

Ralph Lauren
Fragrance House

FIFI award winner in 1980

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Chaps (original) by Ralph Lauren

There are 44 reviews of Chaps (original) by Ralph Lauren.

This classic frag is not for amatures. For those that call this kind of great colognes "dated". Well, it's an honor to smell like a man at a time when men were men, a loving husband, a caring fathet, and trusted friend. The kind of man woman would be proud to have as a husband, a daughter that knows her dad will always be their, and a son that inspires to be like his dad. If you can't understand such a man, nor care to be one, then you don't deserve to wear this kind of colognes.

An exhilarating rush of confident fresh energy and beauty up front with citrus and lavender only to fall face first all too quickly into a mellow, dry, lazy, slightly mossy leather y wood which you need to strain to smell after an hour. That soft barely perceptible sun dried wood note lasts around 2-3 hours before it disappears. There really isn't any scent out there like it. Chaps is the kind of scent that accompanies a well-dressed man.

Now Chaps was one cologne that I just thought would always be around, easily obtainable in a drugstore and taken for granted. Funny how the scarcity mentality can lift what some might've considered a 'lowly' cheapie into legendary status. Joni Mitchell was right, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone."

I found this bottle of L'Oreal formulation Chaps from 2005, brand new, and the price was right, so now I have a generous quantity in my possession. I seldom quibble about formulations, and yes, for some who do quibble, I don't want to hear any malarkey about the Cosmair version being superior. What I have here is everything and more to my nose: tonquitone base overdose, which I love, along with all the woody, herbal, aromatic elements that blur the lines between fougere and chypre.

Released at the tail end of the 70s, with Tom Selleck as the spokesman, we already paint a picture of its targeted demo (if the name of the cologne and its aesthetic itself wasn't already a give away). Let's not fool ourselves, though, this juggernaut of machismo was not just beloved by the straighties, the Dads and the like. This must've been thick in the air at Trocadero Transfer. Let's be real. Scents like Chaps are sublimely homoerotic. Chaps splashed onto the International Man of Pleasure would have them on their knees zipping dungarees.

However, this is not to say that hetero men who are comfortable with themselves to be impervious to any association with the above should heed the call that Chaps may just be transcendent: everything to everyone. I never discuss whether a scent can potentially attract a (sexual) partner, but I would gather that if you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right company, Chaps would do just a little bit of work for you, too.

Whoever your partner might be, they will be embraced by you and your rugged, dusty, powdery sandalwood skin scent come morning.

Chaps came into my life in the early 1990s via a gift set that I may have personally bought, untested, on after-Christmas clearance at the Navy Exchange. The outdoors and spending as much time outside as possible are important to me, so the rugged (but not TOO rugged) Chaps outdoors image resonated. My dream was to live in the West (which I now do), and Chaps skillfully used Western imagery in their marketing. This was also the beginning of my Ralph Lauren period, and Chaps - fragrances and the clothing line - was an affordable entrée into the World of Ralph Lauren. So it all went together to consciously shape an image of who I was, and who I continue to be - ruggedly outdoors in a gentlemanly, Hemingway-esque, River Runs Through It kind of way. I continued to buy Chaps deodorant, cologne, and aftershave over the years, and because Chaps is strong and long-lasting with excellent sillage, the deodorant and a few dabs of aftershave often sufficed and were economical. It was as close to a signature fragrance as anything I ever had.

Sadly, Chaps was produced by L'Oreal USA who discontinued the line several years ago. There's about half of a treasured 1 oz. bottle of cologne remaining in my wardrobe. I use it sparingly and intentionally, usually on weekends, because as previously stated, it is strong and long-lasting with excellent sillage.

The most iconic Power House fragrance par excellence! bold, complex, rich, aromatic, masculine, macho curly hair chest showing up from unbuttoned lumberjack shirt; Tom of Finland, Warmoesstraat in Amsterdam, gay glory holes sniffing poppers, a raw leather cake that will exhaust your senses, Dinosaur projection. You thought Aoud was the non plus ultra, well, Chaps is beyond all heavy fragrances but besides all the clichés and adjectives we could find to describe its masculinity and lonesome cowboy stories, I find it a very refined fragrance. Only a few drops left on my bootle. Please, bring it back. Why discontinue such a great fragrance? I am sure if it was reissued again without being reformulated it could be a best seller. Masterpiece.

Finding a surviving bottle of Chaps in the wild is rewarding, as this once easily attainable and affordable line of the house RL has become rather sought after, and for good reason!

From it's intriguing floral engraved cap, to the deep amber bottle, this is 1979 at its best. An unforgiving, slightly in your face masculine from a different era.

The opening is rather sharp, a citrusy astringent blast that quicks fades into a not so mellow honeyed amber musk that's ever so slightly reminiscent of Stetson. I do not pick up a leather note sometimes mentioned but there's a chance my older bottle may have mellowed out some heart and top notes.

Sweet, loud, and warm. Conjures up a working mans scent after he's cleaned up for dinner.

It can get cloying rather quickly if over applied, mostly due to the overall sweetness of the base, but projection is moderate to strong and I got around 6 hours before it become a only slightly milder skin scent. If applied properly, this can be a warming everyday scent and lends itself to cooler weather. One splash too many puts you quickly into sleaze-ville and you start to hear 80s love ballads while you perm your hair.

Stetsons more complex older brother.
Delightfully dark and brash.
Two thumbs up

If I had to give my own opinion on the notes list...I'd say it's fairly inaccurate.My notes would be...

Lavender, lemon, musk, benzoin resin, honey, myrtle pepper/allspice, tobacco, leather, vanilla, and dusty sandalwood.

This fragrance opens up clean on lemon, musk, and lavender. The lavender hits a little hard at first revealing baby powder tones until it mixes with the musk. Vanilla hits the lavender and whips this up into a manly shaving cream scent. Benzoin resin containing several notes inside touches this shaving cream to a degree and gives it's old-fashioned qualities. Honey puts out a little sweetness, but this is darkened by a merging of myrtle pepper. The tobacco touches this dark sweetness also giving a sensation of an older aromatic pipe tobacco mixture. The leather and sandalwood don't play as deep of a role...but it's detectable.

Though Chaps by Ralph Lauren has been discontinued for quite some time was a good drugstore fragrance. It was gifted widely on birthdays and holidays back in the 80's to early 90's. Coty made an imitation of this fragrance called Stetson (1981). Stetson was just too heavy and expansive on sweetness and really floral.

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