12/9/17

Clubman Classic Vanilla (Pinaud)



As I approach 2018, the alarming thought that I may have become outmoded seems increasingly prevelant. Consider this: I am a heterosexual white male in his mid thirties, I own a house and a full-sized Buick, I use a flip phone, I work full time but spend weekends with my girlfriend and family, and I keep cigarettes in the house in case guests forget theirs. By social justice warrior standards, I am a fucking dinosaur.

The hip(ster) kids of the perennially insulted twenty-teens believe in renting, freelancing, iPhones, Hondas, and vaping. I can't tell you how many twenty-something guys I've met who speak with a feminine lilt in their voice, punctuating every other word with "like," rarely making direct eye contact. They often wear skinny jeans, weirdly groomed facial hair, and never smell of anything, except maybe a dash of Axe deodorant, perhaps because they feel personal fragrance is offensive.

The landscape is populated with these "men" (and their vapid partners), and sometimes, in humorous attempts at small talk, they ask me what fragrance I'm wearing. I usually wonder what would happen if I were to break out a bottle of my SOTD and offer them some. Would I see their genitals instantly shrivel up into peanut M&M-sized knots under their skintight denim? Would the shock of being confronted with such unabashed testosterone cheesiness traumatize them enough to whiten their Keanu beards? Would they call me xenophobic? Would I have to apologize?

Clubman Classic Vanilla is the stuff of dinosaurs like me, but it's our secret weapon. It's the reason we still have our self respect. The shameless beauty in its simple melodic chord of lime peel, lavender, jasmine, coumarin, tonka, vanilla, and talc recalls Caron's Third Man and YSL's Rive Gauche, only simpler, quieter, more direct. This aftershave has wrinkled its share of powdered noses, but its cool talcum drydown is the purest incarnation of a wetshaver scent. When the last of the male SJWs is hospitalized for testicular torsion, the meek shall inherit the Earth.


23 comments:

  1. As a retired healthcare professional now turned Muslim housewife I'm sure the SJW's would recoil in horror at my lifestyle choices also. We have the 20-teens here too wearing skinnies & hoodies avoiding eye contact & mumbling incomprehensibly.
    Meanwhile, I send my teenaged sons to Swiss boarding school where they are required to wear suit & tie daily, be clean shaven, and clearly enunciate in at least 3 languages (they aren't allowed smartphones either- a laptop is all we're buying them).

    I didn't know Pinaud made a vanilla, I shall have to try it.

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    1. It's surprisingly restrained and non-gourmand for a $5 aftershave with vanilla in its name. I've seen many in wetshaving circles complain that it doesn't smell like vanilla, and it is way quieter than the original Clubman. Definitely worth a look, Bibi.

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  2. Always enjoy reading your very humorous posts, Bryan. Will have to look out for this one. Sounds refreshingly old school. Thanks. R

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  3. Oh, well done! It warmed the cockles of my heart to read your review of Pinaud's Classic Vanilla. I have used it for years and it is the aftershave of choice when wearing Guerlain's Habit Rouge. Classic is a concept that escapes the hipster sensibility. You are a fellow dinosaur in good standing.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I just picked up Habit Rouge and usually avoid applying an edt or edp until the scent of my aftershave has calmed down OR I just use an aftershave with a shorter lasting scent like Proraso Green, Alcoloado Glacial, Lucky Tiger Face Tonic or one of theNivea Sensitive Aftershave Balms.

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  4. A very profound and wry post, Bryan. I myself wear Clubman Original. As a fellow T-Rex, the difference in generations was never more abundantly clear than going to the local movie theater. I hate being late, so I arrived early enough to sit through all the unessecary trailers. Hipster after hipster would stagger in after the movie had started, causing a ruckus as they painfully tried to find their seats in the dark. And then there was their phones. What is this obsession with checking it every two minutes? Does everyone have a sick relative on their death bed that they need to get updates on? And here's the kicker -- I was wearing Quorum. Suddenly, I was surrounded by wincing, squinty eyes and "what the F-bombs." It's called smelling like a man, you airheads (showing my age with this term) not like a French pastry.

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    1. Well doc keep on wearing Quorum with pride, don't let the little runts get you down. It is one of the greatest frags of the 20th century, and meanwhile the assholes disrupting your show are bathing in Gucci Guilty and Acqua di Gio.

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  5. Sounds truly delightful and would love to try it. I wish the Pinaud line was widely available in Australia. I’ll be damned if I’m spending $30-$40AUD a bottle imported from the US though. Anyway long live the classics and screw the hipsters. Hope you and your lady have a great festive season. Best wishes

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    1. Do you have access to any of the Lustray or Masters aftershave lines? Lustray is also a subsidiary of Pinaud, it may have better international exposure. It's definitely not worth importing a bottle at that price, but if you travel to America definitely set up an Amazon account and buy Clubman. You'll definitely appreciate the clean floral powder smell. Sounds femme, but it's as manly as can be.

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    2. Ben - if you travel to America, a few days before you arrive order from this barber supply shop and have a large order sent to the desk of your hotel. It will be hard to beat the prices! I bought practically the whole Clubman line from them (Special Reserve I bought from Walgreens.com who has great prices when discount codes are available):

      https://atlantabarber.com/search.php?search_query=clubman&Search=

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    3. This is a great site, I will be using it!

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  6. I don’t know… I am always wary of stereotyping, although I enjoy a well-cut caricature as much as the next guy. I recall a few years ago when hipster-hating sort of peaked… Adbusters ran a cover decrying them as the culture scavenging ‘dead end of western civilization’, and that Brooklyn-based blog ‘Look at this f*cking hipster’ started up… That was 2008 or 09. I think it’s fairly safe to say that the anthropological adventure of the discussion has been played out, and that its overlap with the term ‘SJW’ (which one avoids because of the company one would be keeping) signals the descent into the ringed hells of comment-thread inferno. My oldest son (22) is kind of a dandy; he works as a supervisor at a thrift store, shacks up with a vegan, and wears Dior sportcoats to casual family gatherings. He wears a lot of things, but favors old school scents with heft (Aramis Aramis, Opium for Women, Polo, Grey Flannel). My younger son (18) is about as normcore as they come, generally looking like a gently faded Gap advertisement from five years previous. His shaving bag has a bottle of Axe Apollo and another of Old Spice and he usually doesn’t smell like anything except fresh laundry and good intentions. I’m not sure if a generational divide separates them, or if it is a matter of personality, but I find it fascinating that one chooses to send out strong olfactory signals while another does not, and how each of these fine young men navigates the challenges of being a man in the 21st century.

    Anyway, I am awaiting a bottle of Clubman Vanilla in the mail myself (empty stocking insurance?) and planning on wearing it with both Habit Rouge and the Third Man. Both of these scents are arguably linked to the tradition of ‘barbershop’, but in ways that are playful, creative and worldly. One of my favorite pieces of yours over the years has been the one about wetshaver communities in relation to fragrance collectors, and your underscoring of the aftershave roots of Bleu de Chanel, for example, helps one see past the hype (or banality) of current trends to the picture bigger of continuities and their questions. Reading your most recent post, re: a 2018 spent in the barber’s chair, I look forward to articles focused on this topic, albeit with one humble request: keep it complicated.

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    1. John, as always it's a pleasure to read your comments. I am trying not to stereotype myself, but alas, I am a dinosaur, with an old flip phone and no interest in using Juul pods for a nicotine fix. I was watching Breakfast At Tiffany's the other day, and was struck by the impossibly awful portrayal of a Chinese man via Micky Rooney. I've seen the movie a hundred times, but every time I see it I think of how much I enjoy Rooney's performance, despite what might be considered my better judgment. What saddens me is that this sort of caricature of another ethnicity by a Caucasian male is deemed offensive nowadays, even though the subtle beauty of the film outclasses virtually every other film of the last twenty years. By that one sin, the entire thing is now damned to hell by people who have no appreciation for time and context.

      You will enjoy Clubman Vanilla. You will REALLY enjoy Clubman Vanilla, and I say that without reservation, this is a shockingly good fragrance for such little money. The original is powdery nostalgic fun, but Vanilla is what you slap on before a night at the opera. You can save a bundle and forget about needing Acqua di Parma or even Third Man (which is now insanely expensive, very direly overpriced).

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  7. Hey Bryan unfortunately no just checked. The product ranges available in Australia are quite dismal and most have to be imported. I have got Aqua Velva quite inexpensive imported before and a few others off eBay. But sadly haven’t found any Pinauds or the ones you’ve mentioned at a reasonable price. Is the Pinauds Vanilla quite similar to Canoe? Which one do you prefer?

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    1. Original Clubman aftershave is very, very close to Canoe. Clubman Vanilla is the scent Clubman used for their recently released (last year) shaving soap.

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    2. Bryan - I look forward to the reviews. Have you also looked into the new Proraso offerings? Their sandalwood afteshave has a great face feel but the scent lasts only 30 minutes to an hour. Howver, Proraso's new cologne line is something else! The Wood and Spice is very strong. The Wood and Spice shaving cream alone lasts a few hours after shaving and lights up the drawer it's kept in! I haven't tried the Azur Lime or the Cypress & Vetiver yet.

      Have you also looked into the Fine Accoutrements line as well as Stirling Soap's line of aftershaves? Ogallala makes a great line of aftershave/colognes in the bay rum category. I've never tried Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements' line, but they're said to be quite strong. You could refer to these as the "niche" area of aftershaves!

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    3. Shave-A-Thon, thanks for the reminders regarding Ogallala and Stirling. I've been aware of the "niche bay rum" world since joining Badger & Blade in 2010, but honestly never delved into it beyond Pinaud and maybe Royall. In 2018 a sizable part of the year will be devoted to dirt cheap aftershaves of North American provenance, and if I can dally with some of the "luxe" aftershaves later in the year, I will.

      Although many of the $30+ aftershaves on the market today are derived from classical ideas, like spiced bay rums and minty fougeres, they interest me less than the dirt cheap holdovers from the 1960s and 70s. Thus Lustray, Jeris, and Masters will get some serious attention. See my response to John below for more.

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  8. Thanks Bryan. I also love Breakfast at Tiffany's and try to put the crazy racial caricature in perspective... My father, a Mexican-American serving as a combat medic in Korea at age 20, fell in love with a Japanese girl (he learned to speak very good Japanese)... His parents wouldn't have it; meanwhile, my mother's family sheltered their Japanese maid from internment deportation during WWII because she was basically a member of the family. Things are always more complicated at the time then we understand in hindsight, to say the least! Incidentally, if you enjoy old romantic comedies, I recommend revisiting The Apartment, which is also complicated in retrospect, but isn' that the point of revisiting the past. Nostalgia is richer when there's a little friction.

    OK, on to the Third Man. I had no idea it was getting expensive... I have to say though, I will continue my campaign to get you to give Habit Rouge a second chance. The more often I wear this, the better it gets... Oddly, for me some of the Guerlain cultishness (if you know what I mean) is kind of a turn-off, but the quality of the notes, and the overall technical excellence of the composition as a hybrid of barbershop, floral freshness, avuncular worldliness and lived-in leather makes it a bargain in my opinion.

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    1. Caron's entire line has entered the gates of Creed in terms of price. Check out the cost for a 4 oz bottle of PuH on Amazon. It's actually a little scary. That fragrance is a bargain at $35. At $100 it's a rip-off. If bargains didn't exist, I would say the fragrance is most fairly priced at around $50. In another ten years, Carons will be priced completely off middle-class shelves.

      I haven't written off Habit Rouge, but won't be revisiting it next year. However, I'll compromise and offer you a bit of the "complicated" that you requested earlier. I was reading Bigsly's latest post yesterday, and he reiterates his stance on "cheapos." In a nutshell, he wonders why anyone would pay $90 for a designer frag when the same quality can be found in fragrances for $3 an ounce. Bigsly's angle has always been that greatness can be found for very little money, and he's not entirely wrong there. I was wearing Krizia Uomo a few days ago and marveled at how great it smelled, rememembering that I paid $11 for my 100 ml bottle. There's a good example of designer quality on the cheap.

      Where I think he misses his mark is when he generalizes. Are cheap fragrances generally to be considered as seriously as the Chanel and Dior lines are? Of course not. When I approach the Playboy line, I don't consider smelling like a designer scent for a tenth of the cost a viable option. What I see are decent cheap fragrances that smell good, but also smell cheap. Two things can be true at once: a fragrance can smell very attractive, and also smell like it cost $10 at Walmart. If the fragrance is attempting to replicate the attractiveness of something that costs $90 at Macy's, like Bleu de Chanel for example, then it's aspirational and pretentious, because its ability to replicate Chanel quality is undoubtedly stifled by its production budget. Bigsly likes to pretend that this isn't true, but he's kidding himself. It's true.

      My angle with the aftershave reviews will be that wetshavers embrace their culture not because it's a grand bargain, where men smell great for pennies on the dollar, but because it is wholly representative of their pedigree. There's a reason the forums on B&B are more civilized and informative than the forums on basenotes. And wearing a $4 aftershave (and possibly nothing else) isn't about smelling good or bad. It's about smelling like a certain kind of person. In America this gets into American mythologies and archetypes.

      So I apologize for my continued apathy for Habit Rouge, but hopefully I'm instilling you with hope all the same.

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  9. No need to apologize... Like anything I personally enjoy but also feel has substantial quality and interest, I will be an enthusiastic exponent of HR, but taste is taste. At the end of the day, I am too much of a sensualist (and from too mixed a class background) to be overly swayed by one set of concepts and contexts or another, but I do find it all interesting. I think one of the challenges my generation (X, circa 1960-80) has stumbled over a great deal relates to trying to identify with some kind of authenticity in a postmodern era. I also agree with what Borges said about reading, that pleasure should come first... I think all the frissons of class contradiction or cognitive dissonance that might follow on one's pleasures only make them more interesting over time.

    Anyway... That said, PuH remains my signature because it's what my daughter thinks I smell like. Who can argue with the future? So far I have not seen the kind of prices online that you are referencing, just around 50-60 CDN dollars for the 125ml and 70-90 for the 200 ml... The same thing I've been paying for the past three years or so. Let's hope it stays that way!

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    1. Your generation has more authenticity than mine, I assure you! And mine has more authenticity than the latest generation, the kids born in the mid 90s. Cellphone mentalities are ruining everything. People under 30 seem to think that life mimics their touchscreen. If only that were true.

      One of the great things about people born in the Carter or Reagan era is that they seem to have embraced technology without totally losing their concept of where it belongs. Shaving is emblematic of a type of personality, the guy who has patience, who isn't swayed by the pitfalls of trial and error. His world is worth exploring.

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  10. Just got my bottle of Classic Vanilla, a purchase based 100% on your review. Wow, this is great stuff. I immedietly thought of Jicky, whose brief lemon sherbert and herbs opening gives way to a balsamic and animalic mid and base. Like.Jick, Classic Vanilla can be worn at all times, in any season. It also reminds me of the oriental dry down of Heritage or maybe a bit of Opium (flowers, dusty spices, coumarin) within the context of a fougere. I used to think Special Reserve was the best cheap value, but this has displaced it. I swear some firm like Trumper could sell this at 8 times the price if it had the air of a pedigree.

    I just bought a new bottle of Old Spice aftershave, and I swear it smells like an eau de toilette version of the High Endurance 'Original' deoderant Much more musk, less citrus, and less cinnamon, a truck load of benzoin and amber. Either my bottle really turned, or this is a new formulation. It smells different than the previous version, and lasts way longer. Weird.

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