Royall Spyce (Royall Lyme Bermuda)

Modern perfumery styles have come a long way. Back in the old days (anytime before 1850) a man smelled "fresh" if he was covered in citrus oils and flower absolutes. The eau de cologne did then what aquatics do now. Likewise, if a man wanted to smelled refined and sophisticated, he doused himself in extracts of kitchen spices, which was akin to wearing an oriental. Was this real perfumery? Yes. It was crude design. Citrus and spice, with dashes of floral oils, were pretty much the only available building blocks. Today we have things like Calone, ionones, burnt-sugar orientals, and neon fruity-florals. We've also dispensed with ruffled collars, from what I understand.

Royall Lyme Bermuda has prided itself for years on the skillful re-capture of Old-World styles in updated glass flacons of good quality. Royall Lyme was its first foray into fragrance, and to date their most famous. The simple concept of taking lime extracts and making it into a tonic was as popular in the 17th century as it was in the 20th. I'm glad they upheld that tradition, as limes are my favorite fruit. It's hard to beat the clean, woody smell of limes. (See also English Leather.)

Shortly thereafter a series of Royall scents emerged, and Spyce was one of them. Launched in 1961, it adopts the "fresh-spicy" profile of other fragrances in that style, like Old Spice, and Coty's L'Origan. Royall Spyce is considerably simpler than either of those two, featuring a bracing and short-lived burst of lemon oil up top, followed by a warm drydown of black pepper, clove, and cinnamon. The pepper/clove accord is central, and creates a cool, piquant aroma. Cinnamon is an afterthought, seemingly added to keep the composition from being too simple and dull. It adds some heat, and does a good job of propping this mundane style up. I can't recommend Spyce in lieu of Old Spice - P&G's classic oriental is far more complex and satisfying - but when you need a little noncommittal kick after a shave, this gets the job done nicely.