Jade East (Regency Cosmetics)

Like many other American men, I'm a big fan of powdery barbershop scents. They remind me of being a young lad, all spiffed up and ready for some family function. That fresh out of the barber's chair kind of feeling is really catnip for us guys. Hard to explain it, really. I get the feeling that the sentiment isn't largely shared by women. Hard to explain that, too.

Pinaud's famous Clubman aftershave lotion, which doubles quite effectively as an eau de toilette, is probably the best example of the utilitarian barbershop scent. If one were to go to the opposite end of the price-point spectrum for powdery barbershop, Habit Rouge is the upscale equivalent. Oddly enough I find Clubman to be quite wearable, while Habit Rouge doesn't really mesh. But I understand its appeal.

Floating in the endless universe of masculine grooming products between Clubman and Habit Rouge is Jade East, a pleasant fougère with some oriental leanings, not the least of which is its name. This fragrance has been through the reformulation mill, which is unsurprising for a 48 year-old scent. Its current incarnation is competent, but a bit worn out. Jade East opens with a synthetic blast of sweet lemon and orange zest, and very rapidly dries into a spicy powder with hints of wood. The drydown is dull but very smooth, and I suppose one could liken it to Old Spice, although it has a more citric feel throughout its development. Everything is sweet, powdery, spicy, and warm with Jade East, the way men wanted to smell back in the '50s and '60s.

Would I wear it today? My thought is, why bother? It's nice enough, but does nothing that the cheaper Clubman can't do. And Habit Rouge would be the more sensible eau de toilette for retro powder power. I guess Jade East's continued availability can be chalked up to '60s nostalgia, with a whole generation of old guys remembering their childhoods when they put it on. And you know something? I can relate.

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