Clubman Lilac Vegetal fragrance notes

    • lilac, floral accord, musk

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Latest Reviews of Clubman Lilac Vegetal

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It's all been said before: Lilac; The vegetal rot from a vased bouquet, well past expiration; Play-Doh; The skunky sulfur result of mowing through a patch of wild onion; A crystalline sweetness.


No, not for me. It all congeals into something vaguely akin to, say, a cleaning product for the public loo at the institution-of-your-choosing.

EWWWWWWW! ever moreso?

Well, these facets are subtle wafts, barely perceptible, not hammerlike assaults... aside from the first minute or two, granted, but that doesn't matter to me. Clearly, this one is not for everybody and it's no surprise that friends of King Kouros are friends of The Veg. Mostly gone in but a couple of hours, there is what some have referred to as The Lingerings. I get that. For me it's a little bit fake sugar in the blue packet and moss, subtle yet there for quite awhile.

There's a reason it is still being made. I got a current version for about a buck an ounce and use probably 5-10ml per cupped-handful splash all over the place. Yesterday, while biking through the neighborhood, I came across a few nose fulls of the unmistakable cloud of new age men's cologne... yet there was no one in sight, no guy raking leaves or cutting grass in the parkway, no standing car, etc. Just a bunch of invisible (probably beach ball sized) aroma chems common to any one of today's most popular offerings. It wasn't a bad smell at all and I couldn't tell you what it was but I do recall thinking that I so do prefer the old school character of splashes like Lilac Vegetal.
24th April 2022
Some may be a fan of this but I'm not. I learned from this aftershave that lilac in high doses can be very dusty or old, pungent, and emit a hint of a resemblance to cat piss. Never mind the powdery undertone of lavender added to the lilac that tries to give a barbershop's just an old, rotten floral smell.

If I smelled Lilac Vegetal on someone, I wouldn't interpret this is as an aftershave. I would guess that they were a mortician complete with the pungent odor of formaldehyde and dead flowers from the funeral parlor.
23rd March 2022

This is one is like a running joke in the wetshaver community. Some profess to love it and maybe so, but I think it's more of a way to haze noobie wetshavers.

The opening is beyond harsh and weird. Any number of descriptions fit like rotting vegetables. I doubt any frag head would ever like the opening.

But it does dry down into an almost pleasant lilac scent. The lilac doesn't exactly smell feminine...more like "antique." Like all Pinauds, it is a nice soothing finish to a shave.

If you want to get in on the joke, it'll cost you about $6US. For me, it always conjures what an old gold prospector or cowpoke might smell like after his first bath and shave in three months when the barber slapped some on. Yeee Haw, bring on them dancing' girls....

19th September 2021
A strange one but I do have respect for this due to its history and tradition. Straight up this smells like a row of public urinals sprinkled with a heavy dash of talcum powder (the musky Lilac at work here). Lilac Vegetal is a quirky, slightly off-putting scent and should only be used on a lonely night after a shave and before bed. A fragrance for oneself to appreciate.
26th October 2018
Pinaud Lilac Vegetal (1880) is an imposing, almost infamous early after shave splash that was the catalyst for the later "Clubman Pinaud" division of the original Ed. Pinaud company's American arm in 1880. Pinaud Lilac Vegetal as we know it now was launched in the US around 1880, but prior to that, it was simply "Lilas de France" toilette water devised by Édouard Pinaud himself for the Hungarian cavalry, so they could splash it on the body in the way folks used eau de cologne back then inbetween drawing baths. Édouard made "Lilas de France" extra stiff and bracing because obviously it's being used by soldiers on horseback, and that carried over to the after shave lotion variant renamed Lilac Vegetal for it's green hue and slightly herbaceous "vegetal" note in the opening. Édouard Pinaud passed away in 1868, so this is the only real legitimate Pinaud-composed item in the "Clubman Pinaud" range, which is funny considering it's the most controversial of the bunch. This stuff is a history lesson in a bottle, and much like Caswell-Massey Jockey Club (1840) is really only enjoyed today by hipsters, wet shaving hobbyists, and folks into turn-of-the-century history or style. Personally, I'd take the Jockey Club over this because nothing outside of it's antique construction is really all that odd, while Lilac Vegetal has a pretty hard to shake opening, which lingers into the rest of the scent and keeps this in neutral territory for me.

Lilac Vegetal opens with a note that usually makes or breaks people's opinion of the scent, as it's a very green, uncompromisingly oily and sharp "vegetal" note that can't really be described any other way. Detractors call it rotted lettuce, skunk cabbage, or swamp gas, and I can totally see that. Like anyone's first beer, it either instills revulsion or morbid curiousity which in time becomes an acquired taste. The rather unadulterated lilac note comes next, and this is the part where urinal cakes, nursing homes, and Play-Doh are all cited. Lilac is used to scent a lot of hygiene products, and maybe this stuff is actually to blame because of it's once ubiquitous popularity, but after a few minutes in, the scary part is mostly over and lilacs on a bed of uncommonly funky musk are left. It's an old Victorian kind of animalic musk unlike the laundry stuff we're used to now, and although I imagine new bottles are still using a synthetic proxy over rarified deer musk, whatever they got going on here certainly isn't "clean" by modern standards. As the name suggests, Pinaud Lilac Vegetal is just a burst of lilac carried across by that Lovecraftian horror of a "vegetal" note which eventually reduces to a moderately dirty mild floral musk. This stuff is literally castor oil for the nose. Sillage and longevity are mercifully low with this one, and although everyone needs to experience this at least once, Lilac Vegetal can fortunately be covered easily with another perfume after about 30 minutes assuming you don't get it on clothing.

It's kind of mesmerizing in a bizzare way, this here Lilac Vegetal stuff. I imagine the overboard green and lilac smell was quite bracing to those Hungarian horseback soldiers, and indeed American men throughout the turn of the 20th century when this peaked, as there was little else. But, barbershop tropes already well-established in the UK began floating over to the US, plus bay rum coming up from the Caribbean, meaning this stuff would remain relevant only to it's own cult of (usually) high society users that enjoyed it for it's dandy-like floral finish and because it was so damned challenging. Sometimes you still see this in country club locker rooms as a complimentary grooming toiletry alongside some form of brilliantine and mouth wash. Do I like it? Well I certainly couldn't handle smelling of musky lilac all day, but I don't think Édouard Pinaud meant this to be used for fashionable day wear anyway considering it's original deodorant purpose. As an after shave? Yeah it certainly does the trick and works about as well as any other Pinaud for relieving burn. I love old powdery scents and especially florals, but there's just something unsettling in this that keeps it from moving beyond fascinating to something enjoyable for me. Scary reputation intact. Well played Mister Pinaud, well played.
6th September 2018
I will admit that this fragrance is weird, but in a good way. Lilac Vegetal is an old-fashioned barbershop aftershave that smells like rotting lettuce when whiffed straight from the bottle. However, upon application the rotting lettuce scent unfolds into an intoxicating, powdery lilac scent. This really is a one-of-a-kind scent that I highly recommend.
2nd August 2017
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