2/7/13

American Crew Classic (American Crew)



In the last few days a rival blogger has asked me an unusual question in an excellent fragrance forum regarding the possible reformulation of a popular designer fragrance, with the usual concerns about changes over time in the quality of all popular men's brands, and also questions about how to "make it" and succeed in the fragrance world, and in the world of perfume writing. The funny thing about this is that he's already "made it" as best as he can, and he already owns all of the fragrances that he's asked about, so I thought I'd give him more useful information and switch the subject to a fragrance that he doesn't have - American Crew Classic. Why wonder about familiar things when you can explore new ground?

Very few people talk about American Crew's fougère, and they should - it's a notable fragrance. My younger brother really likes it and wears it often. He's a bright guy with a promising career ahead of him, the kind of person who puts thought into his preferences, so that says something to me about this fragrance, at least from a personal perspective. But try as I might, I just don't like it. Correction: It's not that I don't like it. It smells good, and it's not badly made. But if I had a bottle, I'd never wear it. I don't really know exactly why that is, but something about it doesn't feel "right" on me. My brother and I are very different personalities, so if he likes it and I don't, that's not a big shocker, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me that this fragrance is polarizing. It has a unique smell.

Don't let my oddball taste dissuade you from trying American Crew. It's a fairly simple fougère that feels crisp enough to be distantly related to Azzaro Pour Homme, and warm enough to nudge associations into oriental territory. Eternity for Men comes to mind. The citrus notes are not the "cold shower" kind found in contemporary sports fragrances, which are typically very hissy lemons and grapefruits and bergamots. They're smooth and balmy, mostly mandarin, saved from sugar-shock by hints of grapefruit. There's a snappy lavender-herbal accord in the heart, and a very dry, expansive sandalwood-musk base, with green notes standing in for moss. I recall looking at an older bottle of AC several years ago and seeing tree moss in the ingredients list, but don't remember seeing oak moss in there. I don't know if tree moss is in the new bottle my bro got last Christmas, but in any case it smells very nice.

American Crew is a bit cheap, and unfortunately the lavender borders on being laundry-grade. But if you apply yourself, you might find this fragrance in certain drugstores, so you can probably sample it before buying. Walgreens carries American Crew hair and shave products, but I've never seen the fragrance there. Maybe in other parts of the world it's more readily available on store shelves. My final assessment of this fragrance is that it will appeal to adult men who enjoy aromatic fougères like Paco Rabanne and Azzaro PH, but want a fresher shave-shop approach on a tighter budget. It certainly ticks those two smart boxes.













4 comments:

  1. I've heard of this, but have never seen it in a store. Where have you seen this? I'd like to try it out, since I love aromatic fougeres. Paco Rabanne and Azzaro Pour Homme describe my tastes perfectly, so obviously I'm interested.

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    1. I think I saw a couple of bottles at Ocean State Job Lot several years ago. Dunno if you have that store in your area or not. But they don't carry it regularly, so it's hit and miss. The easiest thing to do is just hop on Amazon and grab a bottle, follow this link:
      http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Cologne-American-Crew-Parfums/dp/B0007YJAAK/ref=sr_1_3?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1360336582&sr=1-3&keywords=american+crew+classic

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  2. I used to own American Crew Classic (I got it at Peninsula Beauty, a chain in California which may exist elsewhere) but ultimately got rid of it. I found it ill-blended and not long lasting. If you have Oscar for Men, Catalyst, or Azzaro and their ilk, then it's probably redundant. What appealed to me in the store was the throwback quality, but ultimately it doesn't add anything special to the collector's arsenal.

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    1. I had the exact same reaction to it, although I didn't think much of the blending. It's definitely redundant to anyone with designer-grade aromatic fougeres from the seventies. I think that old-fashioned feel it has is its only appeal.

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