Ralph Lauren (1978)

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Polo by Ralph Lauren

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Polo by Ralph Lauren

People & Companies

Ralph Lauren
Fragrance House
Carlos Benaim

Ralph Laurens first male fragrance contains a very distinctive pine note.
The packaging and bottle are a forest-green colour.
FIFI award winner in 1979

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Polo

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Reviews of Polo by Ralph Lauren

There are 220 reviews of Polo by Ralph Lauren.

If you're into earthy or mossy scents, give this a try. Slightly dry forest floor with a hint of leather and a bit of tobacco. The earthy and tobacco notes are blended equally and balance each other out. Geared towards the older crowd but doesn't smell too dated or old. The Polo line isn't something that captures my attention but I think this one is worth checking out.

As a teenager in the 1990s, I remember the advent and for a while, the dominance of fresh, sporty and aquatic fragrances for men and women very clearly. I have forgotten how many of them originally smelled but recognised back then that this was a new breed, aimed at a younger crowd and vastly different to the perfumes my mum (Anais Anais, Rive Gauche and Chanel No. 5 being her favourites) and colognes my dad had worn for many years, notably Guerlain's Habit Rouge and Vetiver as well as the ubiquitous Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, all of which to my developing nose smelled divine.

With all that in mind, I stumbled upon 4x 50ml bottles of Ralph Lauren Polo (Green) recently, dating from the mid 1980s to 1991 and bought them all, primarily as I had forgotten what Polo was like 30 or so years ago. They all have the '16 Place Vendome' address on the boxes and I opted to open a bottle from 1990 first.

2 careful sprays later, the memory of where I had first encountered Polo returned. So popular was Polo in the 1990s that a sample of the scent would often be found inside perfumed magazine inserts, which seemed to be all the rage in those days and were a great way of marketing fragrances, new and established, in my opinion. In the UK, glossy newspaper supplements and monthly style bibles which my older brother was so fond of were my gateway into the murky world of fragrances. Sadly, after a few sniffs of Polo as an impressionable teenager, I was hooked.

Back to the present day, a spray to the chest and 1 to both wrists instantly brought back the memory of the scent, and what a scent it is, a masterpiece that is comfortable and utterly wearable but even more so, is the definition, to a child of the '90s such as I, for better or for worse, of elegance.

The tobacco, moss and leather (and who could forget the pine?) of the 1990 version may be too strong for contemporary tastes, but I feel the fragrance is well-balanced and not too overbearing at any stage of wearing it, at least on my skin. It's impossible to say whether the bottle in question has deteriorated or may liven up, so to speak, after further use, but I was pleasantly surprised that Polo has no harsh opening nor is its sillage of nuclear proportions, as others have reported. Longevity is excellent at 12+ hours.

Polo is an old style pine fragrance done exceptionally well and will seem dated to many, whereas for now at least, I consider it gentlemanly and timeless. The pine evokes a menthol freshness which many others have commented on, but the blend as a whole is a little darker and more rugged, given it contains elements of leather, patchouli, lavender, tobacco, natural oakmoss and many others which mean it cannot be replicated due to the limited availability and restrictions on the use of such ingredients.

Recommended for wear between late autumn and spring. Older men may love it for the memories it holds (and I count myself as older nowadays, unfortunately!) or even loathe it due to its universal popularity and the connotations it has as a result, but I recommend it unequivocally to anyone who loves a refined powerhouse from the 1970s / early 1980s as there were few better made.

No way around it, my green-bottle Polo products are old, from the 1990s at the latest. They date from my much younger days in the East and southeast, when a Saturday or Sunday afternoon might involve an actual polo match or steeplechase. Polo from that era was very strong, and a little bit went a long way in terms of longevity and sillage. Fragrance tastes and trends change and buying and wearing habits with them. Thus, the accumulation.

As with several strong scents, I used aftershave as cologne. Better too little than too much. The top notes in the aftershave in my legacy collection have gone off and are rather hideous but quickly dry down into the less volatile, more familiar base notes. Those are in keeping with Polo's sporting image for, as the English say, "country pursuits." I am nothing if not country, as upper-crustians love to remind me.

My aspirations aren't what they once were so Polo and the World of Ralph Lauren don't reflect my values as they once did. Yet enough leather, oakmoss, and patchouli remain to provide a fragrance this old granola preppy-into-yuppie not only tolerates but enjoys, if a bit grudgingly.

Polo has certainly earned status as a reference scent, a legend from the former century that has done a good job of staying relevant in the current one. To me it has a timeless pine/lavender top that while not smelling 'current' doesn't smell hopelessly 'dated' either. It won a FIFI award which it absolutely deserves. I luckily had small bottles of Polo most of my teen years. It was less of a fragrance that I commonly wore but I sure remember smelling it from the bottle many times. I didn't smell Polo from around 1990 until 2020 and couldn't remember the scent. It was a fun suprise to finally smell this again! I still haven't added a full bottle but keep small splash bottles that I keep decanted in a 10 mil spray.

There are fragrances that 'smell like the bottle' and Polo is on that list. For me the green-ness and pine-ness is a classic comfort scent that has its fans here on Basenotes. Where to wear Polo? It's not youthful, but could work in the office on a more mature person. Temperature wise it works most of the year but spring and fall seem ideal. I don't think there is as much 'Polo fatigue' as there might have been by the mid 1990s and this is just too classic to not experience if you are exploring the greats. This would be a thumbs up.

A lot has already been said over the years, so I’m not going to harp on the notes composition etc.
however every time I wear Polo Green I ask myself, why do you ever wear anything else? I’ve worn vintage when it wasn’t. I don’t care to go to the past. I live in the present and I’m happy with the current formula and stubby sprayer. Absolutely gorgeous.
2020 Bottle 9/10


TLDR: OK (2.5/5). Reformulations have dulled the shine on a once great fragrance.

I have written in other reviews about how my appreciation of Polo following its initial release was tempered by my classmates over zealous application during my final year of middle school.

In spite of my Polo fatigue, when a high school girlfriend gave me a bottle, I felt forced to use it (even though I had returned unopened bottles received as gifts on 2 prior occasions--my aunts were not going to stop talking to me if I exchanged their gifts; the girlfriend was another story). And so I came to try Polo and discovered that it was quite wonderful if applied with respect for its undeniable power. Long after the girlfriend had moved on to one of my classmates, who I noticed soon began to reek of Polo most days, I continued to wear the stuff from time to time.

After the start of the Covid-19 lock downs, in an effort to find something to do in my down time, I started to reacquire the fragrances that had begun my scent journey. If there was a current version of the scent available, and there was for nearly all of them, that is what I bought. So in April of 2020, I received the classic green Polo box and prepared to get reacquainted with an old friend.

The initial spray was what I remembered. Pine, green notes, spices, nothing else in the green aromatic genre has managed to surpass this opening.

The heart notes weren't quite as I remembered them. There was a certain depth missing from the composition. Perhaps my memory was faulty or my much older skin reacted differently to the scent than it once had? Still, this smelled nice. Our reunion was going well.

Then we got to the base notes. Ugh. The chemicals now used to simulate the animalic leather and supplement the trace of oakmoss that remains in this fragrance don't work. At all. The smell of the base is borderline unpleasant. Only some decent patchouli present here keep the last few hours of this scent just this side of the scrubber line.

Performance is also a shadow of its former self with duration at most in the 6-7 hour range (it used to greet you as you awoke the morning after applying it). Siliage is initially average, but fades quickly. This fact is a good thing, in the end, because the diminished projection corresponds to the less pleasant phase of the scent progression.

This fragrance is still OK, but the poor base notes and the sadness occasioned by memories of what this scent once was make this one a neutral for me. If the fragrance just consisted of the opening and the middle and simply tailed off into a generic woody leather note as is found in so many masculine-targeted fragrances, the rating here would be considerably higher. Perhaps the next reformulation will fix the glaring problems with the base notes and bring Polo back to something close to the great earlier versions. I doubt it will happen but will hope for a nice surprise.

For now, I only bring it out to experience the great opening and enjoy the memories it always conjures for me.

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