4/26/12

The Old And New: Old Spice Fresh & Pure Sport



Sometime in the last few years Old Spice reformulated and re-released its famous "fresh" variant as Old Spice Fresh. Fragrantica puts the start date at 1988, but in fact basenotes has it right - Old Spice Fresh was originally released in 1980 as Old Spice Fresh Scent, and was a minor player in the Shulton lineup until its eventual discontinuation sometime in the 1990s. I don't know what prompted Proctor & Gamble to give Fresh another go, but apparently someone was nostalgic.

Fresh always struck me as being a product of Calone's "first wave," one of a handful of discreetly-clean and sea breezy masculines that were mass produced from the 1970s to the late '80s. Stuff like Wind Drift, Blue Stratos, New West. These weren't overtly aquatic, nor were they fruity bubblegum scents, but they all employed a clean Calone molecule that was subtly woven into their compositions for ozonic effect. The basic Calone smell is very marine-like in nature, and mimics the saltiness of a sea breeze. In Fresh, this clean sea spray element is central to the composition. It isn't sweet. It's bitter, mineralic, ozonic, salty, and a little green. It's Calone the way we're supposed to smell it, somehow relegated to the cheapest stuff in the men's aisle.


Even today, Fresh smells very old school and a little clunky. But here's a major point in its favor: it's an excellent ambergris scent, for anyone curious to know what amber smells like. Fresh opens with an incredibly bitter melange of salted lemon, bergamot, and frosted galbanum, and bitchslaps my sinuses for a good fifteen minutes before softer notes of dry cedar and amber emerge, perfectly haloed in Calone - or whatever they're using to imitate Calone nowadays. It smells like a cold Atlantic wave breaking against grey shale somewhere along the coast of Maine. It's harsh, very masculine, and more of a novelty act than a practical daily-wearer, but I'm glad to find 4 ounce bottles of it at my local grocery store.

I also find Old Spice's newest brand of "Fresh" next to them in massive 6.5 ounce bottles, labeled Pure Sport, from 2004. This fragrance is a more modern OS variant, and has seen immense success in bodywash and deodorant form. I like that they make it in aftershave form as well. Pure Sport is not your average formulaic sport scent. In fact, it's not a sport scent at all. A basenoter called Cipriano accurately states that Pure Sport smells of 60% Old Spice and 40% Allure Homme. Actually, I'd reverse the poles on that, as I get a stronger Allure vibe. But Pure Sport isn't really a fresh fougère - it's a fresh oriental, and to be honest, the aftershave version smells a lot different from the bodywash and deodorant. The bath products smell "sportier" and brighter, while the tonic is warm and smooth, with distinct notes of sandalwood and opopanax under light touches of grapefruit, clove, and anise. The fruity undertow is attributable to some variation of Calone, no doubt a cheap stand-in for the fruity Water of Joe Calone of the '90s. This is more wearable than Old Spice Fresh, but not nearly as interesting. Still, it's excellent value for the quality - Pure Sport smells like it should cost four times as much as it does.

If you're looking for respectable "fresh" scents, and don't have much dough to blow, P&G offers two excellent options for a combined total of $15. You won't smell like a big spender, but you'll definitely smell good, and a whole lot better than that fat asshole on the S-train who douses himself in L'Eau D'Issey.







Painting: Crashing Waves by Frederick Waugh



















12 comments:

  1. I've had old bottles of both of these sitting in the back of my linen closet for about 7 years or so, and I always forget I have them. The Fresh Scent one I have is in the old glass bottle, and it says Shulton on the back. When I bought it I must have unknowingly bought really old stock. The Sport one I have is a clear frosted glass bottle with turquoise colored juice. I always liked the Fresh Scent because it's truly classic and timeless, like a good citrus scent that lasts a long time. To me the Sport one does smell like a sport fragrance, but a good one, in the early Nineties style, and yes it does smell like a fresh oriental.

    I haven't tried either of the re-releases you reviewed, but now I want to.

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    Replies
    1. The re-release of Fresh Scent smells similar to how it used to. I recall sniffing this one many years ago, and it's hard to totally forget the smell.

      The current version of Pure Sport is probably the same as what you have because it's still a fairly new scent. Probably no major reformulations. But I've given it a solid wearing today, and I have to tell you, I think this stuff is solid. Truly amazing juice. The grapefruit opening is stunningly naturalistic, and the tonka/sandalwood drydown is excellent. I'm only using the aftershave because I can't find the cologne. But it doubles pretty well. For the money, this is a real steal. More guys should get in on Pure Sport, there's a lot more to it than just your average drugstore stuff.

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  2. I don't think Old Spice ever made a cologne version of Pure Sport or Fresh. I've only been able to find aftershave versions. Doesn't matter though, since both wear like EDTs and last all day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good to know. I think from a commercial standpoint they're probably trying to give the products "usability" by labeling them as aftershaves instead of colognes.

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  3. Hello there
    I would like to know where i can get the Old Spice Fresh and Pure Sport or something that is quite close or similar to.

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jorge, without knowing where you live it's hard to say. But if you're in the USA then you can get them at Stop & Shop, or if you prefer internet shopping Amazon.com sells them for reasonable prices.

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    2. Hello Bryan thanks for replying i'm from portugal. And i was asking for those or something similar because in the website of oldspice i cant find it...

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    3. Ah Portugal, well in that case I would recommend giving your country's version of Ebay a look. Every European country has some specifically assigned version of Ebay, and I know that Old Spice and its comparatives are often automatically listed on there. Try it out and see if you have any luck. There really aren't many (if any) direct comparatives to Old Spice Fresh, but Pure Sport = anything with grapefruit and sandalwood. Check Fragrantica for those notes and see if anything comes up.

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    4. I made an search on ebay internacional and the results was:
      - nothing for old spice fresh but only old spice lime from india;
      - nothing for old spice pure sport only in body spray and shower gel

      Only in Amazon i had better results. but the fresh scent have lower classification

      Thanks for your suggestion


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    5. Jorge keep checking around on Google and Yahoo, because these things come and go on occasion. Old Spice Fresh is a weird scent and I'm not really sure who buys it, but someone is keeping it in production. Pure Sport is actually a little better in bar soap form imo. The aftershave is okay but I prefer the soap, so if you can find that get it. It's a fresher, zingier smell.

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  4. I swear I had a bottle of Pure Sport cologne from the early 2000's back in the day. It had a frosted clear glass bottle, and the liquid itself was a light blue color almost like sky blue. It smelled a lot like the deo sticks, but it seemed either a tad spicier, or perhaps it was slightly less fresh than the deo. I wish I could find another bottle like the one I had so I could smell it now that I am a fragrance enthusiast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling the current Pure Sport and the older blue stuff are close. Maybe not the exact same fragrance, but very close. One thing is for certain - their idea of what Old Spice Fresh should smell like is something out of time, a truly rough and tumble jagged-edged sixties "fresh" that actually smells a bit scary nowadays.

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