Old Spice 
Procter & Gamble (1937)

Average Rating:  137 User Reviews

Your ratings



Old Spice by Procter & Gamble

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Old Spice by Procter & Gamble

People & Companies

Procter & Gamble
Fragrance House
Albert Hauck
Original House

One of the classic men's fragrances. Introduced by Shulton in the thirties.
Many collect Old Spice memorabilia, such as shaving bowls and bottles.
The Old Spice brand is now owned by Procter & Gamble.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Old Spice

Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning if you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission, which helps us keep the site running

Reviews of Old Spice by Procter & Gamble

There are 137 reviews of Old Spice by Procter & Gamble.

Nice scent, spicy oriental with strong soapy aldehydes at the beginning and a floral scent that persists throughout its (good) duration. The version in my possession is the EdT, which to my nose is more sweet than spicy with a note of vanillin that I clearly perceive from beginning to end. For me it doesn't resemble Viking by Creed but, if I really had to indicate some fragrance that reminds it, I would be inclined to say Habit Rouge, Sandalwood Cologne or even Musc Ravageur in the base notes, obviously with the necessary differences and bearing in mind that the aforementioned they have no aldehydes. Mine is a bottle from the early 90s and it is, I repeat, a great perfume; For what it costs, I don't think you can expect better. The duration is also more than acceptable given that it lasts 5 - 6 hours on the skin, where it remains with its sweet and musky base. Discreetly separated, it quickly approaches the skin and remains perceptible in the vicinity for some time but it is not a scent for a wake or to get noticed. Reading here and there on the various overseas forums, I discovered that initially, in the 1920s, the perfume, same formula today, was called "Early America Old Spice for Woman"... ehhh yes, it was a woman's perfume. Subsequently, during the Second World War, it was supplied to the American troops stationed at the front to allow the men a minimum of comfort. Upon returning from the war, of course, the men who had used that perfume at the front found it in drugstores now renamed "Early America Old Spice for Man". The name was eventually changed to "Old Spice". A classic in the United States, less known by us but definitely worth hearing and, perhaps, owning.

Old Spice has been around since 1937 and more than 80 years later it continues to sell because:
1. It's affordable and very accessible.
2. It's a well established and known brand.
3. It smells good.
Some may turn their noses up against Old Spice due to it being a common and cheap fragrance, but for what it is it's actually a pretty good fragrance. Old Spice is an old barbershop scent and so it will appeal more to older men, but the fact that it is still sold on supermarket shelves everywhere after more than 80 years means that it must have some intergenerational users. There is a complex range of notes in Old Spice but in the opening I get spicy, citrus and woody notes. As the fragrance settles some floral notes come through but the fragrance continues to be warm, spicy and a little powdery. I love the classic barbershop genre so naturally I like Old Spice. There is no doubt that the success of this scent over the years has inspired other fragrances within this genre. The humble ordinary man's scent that has had more impact within perfumery and socially than what we perhaps realise. Overall I like Old Spice even though the current plastic bottled formulation is weaker and lacks the performance of the glass bottled classic of 25 years ago. I enjoy wearing it at home after grooming, it's not something I wear outside very often apart from maybe a trip to the supermarket or running errands. I tend not to wear Old Spice to work or to social occasions mainly because it is an older barbershop scent that many people would probably associate with their father or grandfather, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but I prefer to use more refined or contemporary scents when out and about. Nonetheless respect to this stalwart of the fragrance world.

This review is for the original, Shulton Old Spice cologne.
I have been using Old Spice since most of you all were born. It is the quintessential, man's scent. The reformulations have unfortunately not been kind to OS, however, you can still easily find the original juice and its many flankers, on Ebay.
I used to own all of the flankers as well, but have kept only this and the original Lime.
Smell like a man and get yourself a bottle of the Shulton. Leave the others alone.
BTW, if I smell like an old man, then so be it. When I use Old Spice...I smell fantastic.
Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

After a comparatively warm day spent doing plenty of work, followed by cooking over a Smokey charcoal grill, a shower was called for. But by the time I stepped out of that shower, it had grown pretty cold outside. So what to wear in a cooler house for a couple of hours before bed? Old Spice.

No need to go on about the scent because you have either known it, own it or read about it in the many great comments below. I'll just say three things about this classic and wrap it up: (i) my bottle is glass and was purchased decades ago, but sniffs of newer formulations have confirmed that P&G have knocked the daylights out of this classic--if you can find older bottles, they smell better than what you can buy at the local pharmacy today; (ii) scent is a powerful memory trigger and every time I pull Old Spice off the back of the bottom shelf, it brings with it fond memories of my late father and uncles, all of whom smelled of Old Spice at many a family party--this scent layers well with beer and Irish whiskey, if my memories are accurate; & (iii) if you took high quality versions of this fragrance's ingredients and blended them today, you'd have the makings of a quite good retro hipster barbershop scent that on to which some niche house could slap a cool name and sell as a cool men's frag--this stuff is better than most folks think.

Bottom line: this is a history lesson in a bottle and a must-own for every serious fragrance collector. Thumbs up.

The original bracing after shave that started and defined my journey into the world of scents.

My dad had a bottle of this in his medicine cabinet which he used faithfully and showed me what a good-smelling man smelled like. When I was of shaving age, I tried to use a couple dabs from his bottle; no one told me about the alcohol burn that I had to first endure wearing this!!

It was my bona fide rite of passage into men's cologne.

My folks then gave me a bottle of Old Spice Fresh Lime one Christmas in the mid-1980's, which continued the post-shave Old Spice utilization AND opened new vistas of fragrant experiences that continue to influence how I judge citrus-musk scents to this very day.

So count me among the many men who credit Old Spice for leading me to after shaves and colognes of all sorts for many decades now. Hats off to you. :-)

Old Spice is simply a juggernaut in the realm of men's fragrance, and for many generations of American men specifically, it was the ONLY men's fragrance there is to use. Most learned perfume collectors know the truth that would probably horrify a good cross-section of these men, and it is the not-so-curated secret that Old Spice was originally marketed as Early American Old Spice for Women (1937), with the Early American Old Spice for Men (1938) appearing a year later in the famous "buoy bottle" adorned with sailboats, but eventually being switched out for just "Old Spice", which was the original feminine formula bottled the same way as the initial men's variant. The best part about this whole thing is it just reaffirms that fragrance has no gender and marketing does the real work in convincing us what smells "masculine" or "feminine" from a cultural standpoint. Early American Old Spice was composed by William Lightfoot Schultz himself, based on inspiration from his mother's potpourri. Albert Hauck is actually responsible for retooling the scent into it's initial masculine flanker, which was just a more bottom-heavy variant with less aldehydes and citrus, but men could barely tell the difference and often just grabbed the feminine version by accident, which was more common anyway. This ubiquity among both sexes of the feminine version, coupled with the gradual adoption of the scent by more men than women, and sales figures indicating which version these men were actually buying, created the catalyst for the infamous decision to kill the "Early American" nomenclature and just sell the female-marketed formula to men. The men's scent was already abbreviated as "Old Spice" for it's stint as part of military care packages (alongside Hershey bars and packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes) given to troops during World War II. When the soldiers came back home, the buoy bottles now filled with the lady's perfume in cologne strength awaited them at the local drug store of their home towns, devoid of the "Early American" prefix, and they couldn't tell the difference. Having the stuff sort of shoved down their throat as the only way to smell good in a field of battle with no amenities probably helped men of the Greatest Generation actually come around to liking fragrance when they returned stateside, which probably helped a few bottles of English Leather (1949) or Brut (1962) sneak into their medicine chests when those competitors came out later on.

The brutal truth is most guys who grew comfortable with Old Spice never grew beyond it, and a blue-collar toiletries empire was created from that complacency. Additionally, most Old Spice created after the discontinuation of the "Early American Old Spice" name, along with Early American Old Spice for Women itself, fits the description of what people think Old Spice smells like, with decreases in quality when we move farther into the future as older ingredients were replaced with modern alternatives. Modern juice maintains the personality of the older stuff, but is a pallid and washed-out impression made to pinch every penny, and doesn't even come in a glass bottle anymore. Since the variation is so great from era to era (far more than most other long-lived scents with lots of reformulation), I'll make it clear what I'm describing is middle-era Shulton, which is stuff from the 1950's until 1990, before Proctor & Gamble took over to morph the brand into a men's grooming division. Anything from roughly the 50's to the end of the 80's made by Shulton in a white glass bottle will be as I describe it here. Old Spice opens with orange, lemon, nutmeg, clove, star anise, clary sage, and aldehydes, forming that classic barbershop oriental accord every American man knows. Cinnamon, carnation, geranium, jasmine, heliotrope, and pimento berry form the middle. At this stage, Old Spice has much in common with feminine orientals made by Jean Carles, such as Shocking by Shiaparelli (1937), Tabu by Dana (1932), and Indiscret by Lucien Lelong (1936). The deciding factor setting Old Spice apart from these peers is what it does with it's spices, and that gained it favor with men. The orchestration of it's characteristic baroque base also helped reassure men of their masculinity in the dry down. Vanilla, nitromusks, cedar, frankincense, styrax, coumarin, oakmoss and amber all sent Old Spice into woody animalic overdrive once they show up. The original "Early American Old Spice for Men" version by Albert Hauck was a little darker and drier than the feminine formula, but as a slight alteration proved irrelevant as mentioned above, since this William Lightfoot Schultz-penned formula became the only one used in time. Classic prime Old Spice doesn't smell quite like anything else, and despite being an oriental, has an odd "coolness" to it's opening and transition to the middle due to it's use of sage, geranium, and jasmine, which greatly contrast the warmth of the orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla in the mix. Old Spice doesn't have a true "cool" or "fresh" note per se, but the counter-balancing plays tricks on the nose. Without Old Spice, things like Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur (1972) or Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein (1986) would have never gained traction.

Old Spice is still an oriental, and still therefore quite warm, so it can be very cloying in heat regardless of it's iconic smell, which makes me wonder how guys made it their one and only signature scent during blazing summer weather. However, the biggest problem with Old Spice isn't it's lack of versatility, but it's ubiquity in the US. For all intents and purposes, Old Spice was the successor to bay rum, which is also quite heady with it's bay leaf and clove interplay, and was a favorite at the turn of the 20th century when it caught on like wildfire in the US. Old Spice was unintentionally the next step in taste evolution for men because of it's similarity to bay rum, even if minty "clean" products like Skin Bracer (1932) also coexisted alongside it. Old Spice's rich mulled orange aroma and musky woods base just hit the spot better than competing fougères with Americans already familiar with bay rum, and it likely became the de-facto scent even for US guys not deployed in WWII, then passed down from father to son. It's pretty hard to wear Old Spice stateside in the 21st century, even if using the more-synthetic newer juice, because that thick semi-virile and assertive aroma, while pleasing in it's own right, is just so closely associated with everyone's father or grandfather now that many walking past will be taken back to a previous point in their life which not everyone wants to revisit. This is part of the problem Old Spice has to somehow overcome: the monster that is it's own legacy as a former monopoly on the smell of the average American man. Obviously Old Spice seldom has such problems in overseas markets, and it once dealt with this issue by having a dozen flankers that Shulton doled out in the late 60's through 80's, until Proctor & Gamble came knocking. P&G's solution to battling this beast was to pimp the name of Old Spice itself into a line of unrelated young men's body sprays, grooming, and bath products, all with cheekily-themed names like "Wolfthorne" or "Swagger" and hideous commercials to match, which succeeded in making Old Spice (the brand) seem cool again but destroyed whatever dignity remained of the original scent's legacy. After all is said and done, the Old Spice most people know is still just a period-correct women's oriental perfume that appeals to guys; once you wrap your head around that concept, then everything else just falls by the wayside, and you either like the stuff for what it is, or you don't. Obviously a thumbs up from me, but don't let that sway you from reaching your own conclusions.

Show more reviews of Old Spice...

Add your review of Old Spice

You need to be logged in to add a review.

Log in here, or register


Old Spice by Procter & Gamble Perfume Ad Campaigns

in the Community

From the forums

Recently Viewed on this device

Whatever your taste in perfume, we've got you covered...

catalogue your collection, keep track of your perfume wish-list, log your daily fragrance wears, review your latest finds, seek out long-lost scented loves, keep track of the latest perfume news, find your new favourite fragrance, and discuss perfume with like-minded people from all over the world...