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Old Spice Original (Rubicon Formulations, Ltd.)


"Smell Like A Man" . . . A man from Mumbai.


Although I've always doubted the veracity of claims regarding the superiority of Indian Old Spice, labeled "Original," to the American Old Spice "Classic," I used the Indian version this week with an open mind. I truly love P&G's formula, and strongly feel that it represents the best version of Old Spice, at least in my experience with this scent, but I did my best to not let bias influence my opinion of the imported version.

I bought the aftershave by Rubicon Formulations, Ltd., now the only Indian manufacturer, and was pleased to find it housed in glass, not plastic. There's nothing wrong with plastic, but glass is classy (and ceramic is even classier). Rubicon's paint job is a little sloppy, but otherwise the presentation is decent. American bottles are throwbacks to the fifties, when inexpensive travel sets of Old Spice were introduced in market tests. Their kitsch factor makes them tolerable, but there's no denying glass feels better in hand.

P&G's foreign subsidiary makes a product that smells very good, but isn't as "serious" as OS Classic. It smells creamily effulgent in ways similar to Vi-Jon's dirt cheap and simplistic "Spice Scent." It's brighter and fresher, which is probably a plus in Bangalore's stifling heat, but what strikes me as particularly interesting is that it lacks the depth and darkness of the American formula. There's no clove, carnation, or cedar. No balsamic wisps or orange citrus nuances. No powder, even. It's mainly a shimmery aldehyde and allspice melange on a puff of musky vanilla, and little else.

Classic is dimensional, with subtle drydown stages. The soapiness of Original is not how I remember Shulton's version; Classic's duskiness is more evocative of vintage. Shulton had a strong cinnamon note, much like Classic, but Rubicon has relatively mild cinnamon. Shulton had an evanescent balsamic heart accord with hints of cedar and amber; Classic gets very woody in its mid. On fabric, Rubicon's scent performs better. It smells deeper, with a mellow, spicy-fresh drydown that lasts an hour longer.

You don't have to hunt for an Indian grocery store to buy and enjoy Old Spice. Just go to Rite-Aid and get the Classic version. You'll be fine. If you do happen to use the Rubicon Old Spice aftershave, a word of warning - it burns twice as much as the American stuff - more alcohol, or perhaps harsher alcohol is the culprit there. In the plus column, it leaves skin nicely toned, even a little better than the American version. For purely practical shaving purposes, it gets the job done very well.



12 comments:

  1. Like you, I was curious about all the talk about Indian Old Spice being just like it was back in the day, so I bought a bottle about 5 years ago. I didn't find a huge difference from P&G's version, but, like you, I did smell a more prominent cinnamon note, and I found it a little spicier than the P&G. Also, I could smell a little bit of sandalwood in the Indian stuff, which I don't smell in P&G. Yeah, the Indian version is a little better in my opinion, but it's not really worth the effort to track a bottle down. P&G's Old Spice is perfectly good.

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    1. P&G has since repossessed Old Spice India's formula, and that's the version I'm reviewing here. It has less cinnamon than the American version and more alcohol, but it's still quite decent. Definitely no reason to switch!

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    2. I'm not sure what you mean by "repossessed". Isn't the Rubicon formula the same as the MCPL formula before it, and didn't P&G license OS to both of them?

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    3. Read my November 2015 article on Old Spice. All the answers you need are there.

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  2. I buy the Indian Old Spice Lime - it's very nice stuff and I haven't seen it stateside on shelves in a long time.

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    1. I think you can get it on westcoastshave. Good site.

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    2. The Old Spice Musk is also terrific. I just don't understand why P&G just doesn't import these versions as well as the shaving cream tubes made in India and sell them in the USA. I think you might find this thread interesting:

      http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/458697-Received-free-50-ml-samples-of-Original-Old-Spice-amp-Old-Spice-Musk-Aftershaves!

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    3. They don't import Indian Old Spice into the USA because they don't make them. Rubicon does. The stuff made in Canada is made by P&G specifically for the American market.

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  3. Mr Ross,
    Your impression of Indian Old Spice sounds like what I thought when I tried it. A bit flat in comparison to the American Old Spice I remember my dad wearing. Not unpleasant, just less rich & interesting.

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    1. Yes, there's a specific brightness/darkness to the arc of American OS's drydown. Starts very fizzy, aldehydic, citrusy. Hints of spice. Then gets musky, clovey, powdery. Significantly spicier and woodier. Indian OS just doesn't do that. It starts bright with most of what I described, but then dries brightly, into just a slightly balsamic sweet musk. Not much darkness. It's disappointing.

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  4. Very good discussion of the latest Rubicon formulation. I quite enjoyed it. I find the version from India a bit spicier. When you say the Original Old Spice from India lasts an hour longer, how long did it last in total? I find that the Classic Old Spice AS lasts for about 30 minutes. While I would like the US version to be spicier, I don't find it as offensive as those who post their reviews to the official P&G website and want the original version. My problem is that the aftershave has little longevity, especially in comparison to something like Aqua Velva Musk.

    http://oldspice.com/en/content/classic-after-shave
    http://oldspice.com/en/content/classic-cologne

    Those that want to experience a spicier and longer lasting scent should try the Old Spice Classic Cologne that's sold here in the USA, although it's not that easy to find. I was really surprised at the difference.

    Have you tried the version of Original Old Spice aftershave that's made in the EU (and the UK, I think)? Thee's also an Old Spice Original Eau de Toilette that's made in the EU, and I would assume that's even stronger than the USA made Classic Cologne. I'm not sure if the Original OS aftershave from Europe is the same formula as the Original OS from India.

    In regard to the Vijon Spice aftershave sold by Rite-Aid, Family Dollar stores sells their own Vijon Spice aftershave in the same bottle for about $2. Most assume it's the same aftershave:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v68/bobcat50/Miscellaneous%20BC/Shave/FDOldSpice_zps89d06312.jpg

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    1. Yeah the Classic aftershave isn't very long-lasting. Maybe an hour, tops. I get about eight hours out of the cologne. Original from India has enough tenacity to pull past that a bit, but I couldn't tell you exactly how long, maybe roughly an hour or so. It has more "burn" to it, though.

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