Aqua Velva Ice Blue (Vintage) & Frost Lime

As with Old Spice, my belief that vintage isn't always "better" than current stuff was further bolstered today when I happened across two vintage bottles of Aqua Velva by Williams. I was at an open house in Bethany, viewing a 250 year-old former inn with an interest to buy, when I discovered two small bottles in an otherwise empty bathroom. I've encountered vintage Ice Blue before but for the life of me could not remember what it smelled like, and I can't say I've ever smelled Frost Lime. Here was my chance.

Put simply, Ice Blue has not changed one iota in the last fifty years. The labeling of Ice Blue matched that of the Frost Lime above, dating it to the sixties or early seventies. To my astonishment, the fragrance is identical to what they're selling today. The only notable difference is that the old stuff is much shorter lived, gone within two minutes, whereas the current lasts about ten minutes before fading into a barely-there skin scent. I vaguely recall Luca Turin's review of the current Ice Blue, in which he said something like, "The smell is nowhere near as good as it was." I beg to differ. Time and memory have played a cruel trick on the Good Doctor.

Frost Lime was actually a bit more pleasant than the original fragrance, and had a crisp sweetness that only somewhat resembled actual citrus. I think what's really there is a super-sweet musk, which endures for a solid hour after application. I doused my hand ninety minutes ago and can still smell a faint muskiness. Oddly enough, the liquid stained my skin bright green. It's safe to say that owning and using vintage Frost Lime is pointless, unless you're looking for a Saint Patrick's Day substitute for face paint. Very nice, both of them, but users of today's aftershave should fret not and take comfort in knowing Combe preserved the fragrance quite well.

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