3/6/13

PS Fine Cologne (Paul Sebastian)



It doesn't pay to beat around the bush, so I'll just say it: PS Fine Cologne is Old Spice in EDT form. It's actually strong enough to qualify as an EDP, but the concentration is probably by technicality an EDT. If you like Old Spice and wish it lasted longer, this fragrance is your answer. It possesses most of the same qualities, has a very similar note pyramid, and moves in a similar fashion, from warm citrus top notes, to a smooth, powdery-clean drydown. Bulking up the heart is a sweet amber that threatens but never strays into sugar-shock territory, and the experience of wearing PS feels solid and manly, like you're someone dependable who works with his hands, and has a family at home. It's really good stuff.

The one thing that bothers me about PS is its blending. Some people feel it's blended perfectly, but I actually dislike how sanded and smoothed-out it is. The great thing about Old Spice is that it smells simple but good. Its orange citrus top note is gone in a split second, but it's fresh and realistic. Ditto for its clove follow-up, with a clean, peppery carnation and a legible trio of kitchen spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla - gathering into a talcum powder base. There are edgings of tonka and benzoin, which form an uncomplicated amber at Old Spice's core. There are no frills. There is no great attention to blending its materials into a super-smooth accord. It just smells like a harmony of similar elements working together to make a very warm scent.

PS Fine Cologne uses most of the same ingredients, but adds a prominent rose note to the mix, and then loses all texture, to the point where it smells less like an old-fashioned masculine oriental, and more like your middle-shelf department store juice, mimicking Burberry Brit's slick sheen, no doubt due to the rose note. Even though it's an updated and strengthened version of Old Spice, I don't think I'd bother with it, unless the brevity of P&G's cologne started to bug me. You're looking at around four hours with Old Spice after generous application, but an easy nine hours with PS. It's strong and durable enough to be classified as a "powerhouse oriental." But I prefer Old Spice's discreet powdery aura over PS's bombast, and also prefer carnation over rose. Still, this is probably Paul Sebastian's best fragrance, and well worth checking out.









13 comments:

  1. I am a fan of PS Fine Cologne. You're right: it is closer to EDP strength than to a cologne, for sure. This is one of those fragrances, in my opinion, that has actually benefited from reformulation. When I first owned a bottle back in the day, even I (a powerhouse lover) found it overbearing and strident. The newer renditions, though, have attenuated the the more vociferous elements of this fragrance so it is more pleasing. There's a boozy element that I love and it never veers into the dessert aisle. I'm amazed that this is still available in stores, since this style has all but been outlawed by CK One and its ilk.

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    1. It's always great to find a solid oriental that doesn't cater to the gourmand business and hearkens back a few dozen years to a time when men wanted to smell like cloves and dessicated flowers. It's even more surprising to find this fragrance at Macy's! If PS ever releases an "EDP" of this one, I imagine it'll have the sort of projection that kills small animals from five hundred paces.

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  2. I sprayed some PS on my hand today. At first I really didn't like it but, as the day wore on, I found myself enjoying the scent. It drys down to a very carnation-smelling note to me. I already have about ten scents but may have to pick this one up next time I stop by Marshalls or TJ Maxx.

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    1. Yeah some have connected PS to Old Spice via carnation. Ten scents? Room for more, definitely.

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    2. I was hoping you would say that :)

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    3. sounds like you have the bug Unadan!

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  3. Vintage PS fine cologne was much better blended than the current EA fragrance version, made by Elizabeth Arden. I have a bottle from 1979, the year of its release, and it's pretty smooth. I, however, would note that Paul Sebastian created 2 other scents in the 80s that are far superior; those being V.S.O.P. and Brownstone, both of which are extremely rare. V.S.O.P. is an enticing blend of citrus, woods, and exotic spices, very manly, yet much more sophisticated than the original PS. Brownstone is even more sensuous with an intoxicating blend of woods, florals and white musk - one of the more unique scents I've had the pleasure of wearing and you will definitely get a few smiles from the ladies. Such a shame these scents were discontinued by Paul Sebastian years ago - they failed miserably at promoting these 2 gems.

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    1. The "smooth" sensation you get from your 35 yr old bottle is from its age, not its quality. Often this happens as a result of aroma chemicals changing, rebalancing, and generally losing focus. Other than a shift in concentration (if that much), I doubt there's a huge difference in vintages. However I appreciate your mentioning those other scents.

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    2. I'm not sure I'd say VSOP is better than Paul Sebastian, but it's a more mature scent. I still have a bit left and it's aged well. It's not the same as Azzaro for men but it's in that category. The scent lingers and once you smell it, you want to keep smelling it.

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    3. Your description of Paul Sebastian as a powerhouse version of Old Spice is on target. I've been wearing it since the early 1980's and while I'm not sure the current EA formulation is as strong as the original, in comparison to other fragrances EA has purchased, it's still tops in longevity and projection. Spray enough of Paul Sebastian on in the morning, and you'll project to half a train car. I just purchased the US version of "Classic" Old Spice spray cologne, and while it's stronger than the aftershave with a slightly spicier scent, it's longevity is disappointing. I've yet to try the European version of "Original Old Spice eau de toilette to see if that's naturally stronger as an edt.

      What do you consider a "generous application" of Old Spice cologne to reach the four hour longevity period?

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    4. "Generous application" is a variable term. With American Old Spice, you're talking six or seven sprays, at least three of them on fabric (shirt collar preferably). You could easily double that spray amount given how cheap the stuff is, but the American formula has been tweaked and is now twice as strong as the Shulton formula. They really amped up the eugenol (clove) and powdery drydown. It smells more like an EDT than a cologne.

      European Old Spice Original only comes in aftershave form to my knowledge. That's all I could find, anyway. It's not much different from the American formula, but the clove and spices are toned down, while the citrus top notes are dialed up, making it smell a bit "cleaner" and "fresher" and more like a traditional shaving tonic than the American aftershave. There are fruitier elements at play in the Original formula, and I smell a similarity to Indian Rubicon Old Spice in it also.

      Rubicon aftershave has a distinct pink pepper note (and a touch of black pepper) that markedly separates it from the American and European blends. American Old Spice never had pepper in it.

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  4. Bryan, I've worked in the fragrance industry for over 20 years and it's a well known fact that companies such as Elizabeth Arden, Five Star fragrances, and Coty use cheaper ingredients in their versions of vintage fragrances. Of course many already suffer because of the severe oakmoss restrictions, but I've smelled EA's version of PS fine colonge right alongside my vintage version and there's no way you can claim they smell the same. The original uses much finer ingredients. This is also true of Geoffrey Beene's Grey Flannel, which smells awful in the current EA formulation. I used to use the vintage Grey Flannel deodorant, which was amazing in that it fought odor all day and night. The current version by EA is truly abysmal. It's not a conspiracy, it's just dollars and cents. While you're entitled to your opinion, to me it's ridiculous to say that modern versions of these classic compositions are anywhere near their previous quality. Shave a Thon - I stand by my statement that V.S.O.P. and Brownstone are far superior to PS in both composition and class. It's like comparing a Big Mac (PS) to filet mignon (V.S.O.P.). V.S.O.P. was not more mature than PS, PS would be much more suitable for a grandfather, while V.S.O.P. could be worn for an intimate night out with a beautiful lady, when you need a classy, distinctive scent to match your sharp threads. PS smells dated, while V.S.O.P. smells timeless...

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    1. Chris, you're entitled to your opinion, and I appreciate your thoughts. You couldn't be more wrong, though.

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