The Smell of the New Millenium

 

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to describe this issue. Please bear with me for the explanation.

Some number of years ago (probably 15-20), Mrs Tex was on a long pilot layover at a place with a huge new Galleria mall next to the hotel. She told me that there was this great store with nice men’s shaving stuff and asked me if I was interested.  I had been shaving for years with a cheap brush and cheap shaving soap (in a mug) and told her no, I was happy with the way things were.  She listened to me as usual, and bought me a set of shaving stuff anyway.  The store is The Art of Shaving, and I was amazed at how nice the shaving cream and aftershave cream were, as well as the high-quality lather brush.  I was sold on it and have used it ever since.

Here is the recent change.  The scents they offered for years were, IIRC, unscented, lavender, and lemon.  The lemon was a pleasant, mild scent so I happily settled on it.  Recently I went to reorder and lemon is long gone.  The scents offered are unscented (thankfully), coriander cardamom, olibanum pepper, bergamot neroli, lavender, and oud.

I guess it’s unscented for me, since I basically have no idea what the rest of these smell like (except the clearly unmanly lavender). Don’t these sound just like some skinny jean wearing millennial marketing drone dreamed them up?

When I was a grade-schooler in the ’60s my dad would take me for a haircut to Al Pelletier’s barber shop in a slightly dodgy part of downtown Portland. ME.  Al was an old school barber: white smock with comb and scissors in the breast pocket and an unlit cigar in his mouth all the time.  Every haircut ended up with that smelly hair tonic.  I spent all my time waiting studying his set of dogs playing poker prints on the wall, which I thought were the coolest thing ever.  I’m trying to imagine Al wrapping his mind around “oud”.

That dodgy part of Portland is now part of the renovated super expensive “Old Port” section of Portland. I’m sure the throngs of skinny jean wearing millennials know what “oud” and “olibanum pepper” are. I hate to be an old man yelling at clouds, but bring back stinky hair tonic. I’d rather smell Vitalis than oud. I think. If I knew what oud smelled like.

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  1. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Very entertaining post. It brings back memories of going to “Les the Barber” in my hometown.

    • #1
  2. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Isn’t an oud a Middle Eastern musical instrument that resembles a lute? 

    That’s like naming a scent trombone. Or harpsichord. I don’t get it.

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Thank you. You triggered my “get off my lawn” reflex.

    I’m going to go re-re-rewatch Gran Torino now. And reminisce.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Wait.  Do millennials even need to shave?

    • #4
  5. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    • #5
  6. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    From the alphaaromatics website; Known as the “five thousand dollar per pound scent,” Oud or Oudh is by far one of the most expensive raw fragrance ingredients in the world. Also known as agarwood, this essential oil is extracted from the fungus-infected resinous heartwood of the agar tree, which is primarily found in the dense forests of Southeast Asia, India and Bangladesh.

    It’s expensive, so everyone will want some.

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    From the alphaaromatics website; Known as the “five thousand dollar per pound scent,” Oud or Oudh is by far one of the most expensive raw fragrance ingredients in the world. Also known as agarwood, this essential oil is extracted from the fungus-infected resinous heartwood of the agar tree, which is primarily found in the dense forests of Southeast Asia, India and Bangladesh.

    It’s expensive, so everyone will want some.

    How do they merge their virtue-signaling with their wealth-signaling, without their heads exploding?

    • #7
  8. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Bergamot probably smells like Earl Grey tea.

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    kedavis (View Comment):

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    From the alphaaromatics website; Known as the “five thousand dollar per pound scent,” Oud or Oudh is by far one of the most expensive raw fragrance ingredients in the world. Also known as agarwood, this essential oil is extracted from the fungus-infected resinous heartwood of the agar tree, which is primarily found in the dense forests of Southeast Asia, India and Bangladesh.

    It’s expensive, so everyone will want some.

    How do they merge their virtue-signaling with their wealth-signaling, without their heads exploding?

    Thick skulls don’t explode easily. 

    • #9
  10. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Tex929rr: If I knew what oud smelled like.

    The fragrance is comprised of many diverse aspects. It is simultaneously pungent, yet very pleasing, invoking warm, smoky notes with tinges of dampened wood. Although subtlety [sic] blended with touches of floral and fruit, the predominant scent is musky and sensual. The complex and exquisite fragrance of Oud is a precious, rare and intriguing gift of nature that when blended with other essential oils creates an olfactory experience that permeates any interior environment with a sense of opulence, luxury and supreme comfort.

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Tex929rr: If I knew what oud smelled like.

    The fragrance is comprised of many diverse aspects. It is simultaneously pungent, yet very pleasing, invoking warm, smoky notes with tinges of dampened wood. Although subtlety [sic] blended with touches of floral and fruit, the predominant scent is musky and sensual. The complex and exquisite fragrance of Oud is a precious, rare and intriguing gift of nature that when blended with other essential oils creates an olfactory experience that permeates any interior environment with a sense of opulence, luxury and supreme comfort.

    I presume “many diverse aspects” is not the same thing as “diverse aspects” or “many aspects.”

     

    • #11
  12. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    My dictionary say oud is a lute. I’m confused.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Suspira (View Comment):

    My dictionary say oud is a lute. I’m confused.

    Maybe you need the New Millennial Edition?

    Oh, and congrats on losing the mask!

    • #13
  14. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Suspira (View Comment):

    My dictionary say oud is a lute. I’m confused.

    Maybe you need the New Millennial Edition?

    Oh, and congrats on losing the mask!

    The oud Tex929rr is referring to is probably more properly spelled oudh, but dropping the ‘h’ is apparently acceptable in the interest of economy for one of the worlds most expensive fragrances.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Suspira (View Comment):

    My dictionary say oud is a lute. I’m confused.

    Maybe you need the New Millennial Edition?

    Oh, and congrats on losing the mask!

    The oud Tex929rr is referring to is probably more properly spelled oudh, but dropping the ‘h’ is apparently acceptable in the interest of economy for one of the worlds most expensive fragrances.

    Speaking of “economy” and “expensive”, my wife remembers when some farmers in Iowa started going into the hog business on a larger and larger scale, which meant ever larger feedlots and ever greater concentrations of pig smell in downwind directions.  It’s one of the most unpleasant agricultural smells you can ask for but those in the business would say, “That’s the smell of money.”  

    • #15
  16. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Manhunter (1984)

    Hannibal Lecktor:  “That’s the same atrocious aftershave you wore in court three years ago”

    Will Graham:  “Yeah, I keep getting it for Christmas”

    Lecktor:  “And that shaving lotion is something a child would select.  It has a ship on the bottle, doesn’t it?”

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Suspira (View Comment):

    My dictionary say oud is a lute. I’m confused.

    Maybe you need the New Millennial Edition?

    Oh, and congrats on losing the mask!

    The oud Tex929rr is referring to is probably more properly spelled oudh, but dropping the ‘h’ is apparently acceptable in the interest of economy for one of the worlds most expensive fragrances.

    Speaking of “economy” and “expensive”, my wife remembers when some farmers in Iowa started going into the hog business on a larger and larger scale, which meant ever larger feedlots and ever greater concentrations of pig smell in downwind directions. It’s one of the most unpleasant agricultural smells you can ask for but those in the business would say, “That’s the smell of money.”

    The smell of money for the farmers, certainly.  I don’t know if the people downwind got much of it.

    • #17
  18. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    It’s one of the most unpleasant agricultural smells you can ask for

    Try living near a sugar-beet processing plant. The wind shifts, half the town blurts up their lunch.

    • #18
  19. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    When I was a grade-schooler in the ’60s my dad would take me for a haircut to Al Pelletier’s barber shop in a slightly dodgy part of downtown Portland. ME.  Al was an old school barber: white smock with comb and scissors in the breast pocket and an unlit cigar in his mouth all the time.

    When I was a grade-schooler in the ’60s, I had my noggin shorn by a fellow named Jim Crowe. He ran a barbershop in the Graver Hotel in downtown Fargo. All the classic attributes: the mysterious rotating pole outside, the nervous hum of the lather machine, Esquire magazine in the rack. Three stools. One other barber cooling his heels, waiting for a walk-in. From the chair I could see into the lobby of the hotel, which seemed like a fascinating place. People coming and going, bellboys, salesmen with their grips. 

    It’s good for small kids to spend time in a place that has nothing childlike about it.

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    It’s one of the most unpleasant agricultural smells you can ask for

    Try living near a sugar-beet processing plant. The wind shifts, half the town blurts up their lunch.

    I didn’t I know that.  I have heard that sugar beets planted as a cover crop and left to rot in the ground create a terrible stench. Hard to believe it could be worse than a hog lot. Maybe a local tourism group could sponsor a comparison event, somewhat along the lines of a wine tasting festival. 

    • #20
  21. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    It’s one of the most unpleasant agricultural smells you can ask for

    Try living near a sugar-beet processing plant. The wind shifts, half the town blurts up their lunch.

    We were looking at an apartment in Grand Forks (1982) and the nearby sugar beet plant reeked.  We asked what the smell was and the prospective landlord said “what smell?”

    • #21
  22. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    One of the irritating things about ordering on-line is the requests for reviews. If your company has been making soap and cologne since the 1700s, you probably know what you’re doing, but I went along anyway. I mean, what can one say about a bar of soap as long as it lathers well, rinses clean, smells good, and the bars last a long time? Well, I guess one can say that, so I did. 

    • #22
  23. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    It’s one of the most unpleasant agricultural smells you can ask for

    Try living near a sugar-beet processing plant. The wind shifts, half the town blurts up their lunch.

    We were looking at an apartment in Grand Forks (1982) and the nearby sugar beet plant reeked. We asked what the smell was and the prospective landlord said “what smell?”

    I guess then you wonder if the bigger problem is that you wouldn’t get used to the smell, or that you would?

    • #23
  24. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I used The Art of Shaving products for years in the 2010s until I switched to Taylor of Old Bond Street products. Anyway, I used The Art of Shaving’s Sandalwood scent, which they still seem to have. Sandalwood is a straightforward scent. 

    • #24