Ever wondered what the dashing hussars smelled like, besides leather, gun powder and horse sweat? Chances are high, they smelled of Lilac Vegetal by Pinaud!
It is safe to say, that the Lilac Vegetal by Pinaud is one of the most polarizing aftershaves on the market. I have read a lot of reviews prior to buying this and the opinions could not be further apart. For some people it is the stuff of their dreams and others compare the smell to a men´s restroom or a used cat litter box.
Those discrepancies in the reviews and a fascination for the Austrian-Hungarian military history convinced me, that I had to try this stuff.
The history of Lilac Vegetal:
Amazing elaborations of the original Hungarian fighting rig, their swinging pelisse, tight dolman and breech., plumed shako or busby, light boots, dangling sabretache, and jingling spurs—all braid, bright buttons, fur trimmings, and lace—could make the most downy-lipped hobbledehoy into the likeness of a hero and a confirmed breaker of female hearts.
Swords Around a Throne,
John R. Elting
The „Lilac Vegetal“ Aftershave was created in 1853 by Edouard Pinaud especially for the Hungarian hussars. The product was formulated to be refreshing enough to use as a full-body splash as well as an after shave lotion. It was a such a huge success that it was soon imported to every corner of the world and Pinaud was given the first royal patent by the court of Queen Victoria as the sole importer of perfumes, an honor that was followed by several other European monarchies of the time. Pinaud found himself in the enviable position of sole importer of fragrances to a majority of Europe.
How Good (or Bad) is it?
After reading all those different opinions on the smell, I was very eager to try this one, as soon as I had it in the mail.
I took a deep sniff out of the bottle and it hit me really nasty!
I finally understood all those comparisons with men´s locker rooms and animal urin. There were no traces of lilac or the powdery sweetness, most of the Pinaud aftershaves have, just this overwhelming ammonia.
Even after the initial smell was very discouraging, I went on and had a shower, shaved and tried this stuff on my face.
After applying it to my face and the initial alcohol sting (which I really enjoy), I took another sniff through my nose. The smell suddenly was not half as bad as before. It was far away from good, but finally I was able to smell the lilac and a hint of the sweetness in the background.
Luckily on this day, I had to spend some hours outside and that is where the “magic” happened. I was walking through a park and suddenly I smelled this fresh, sweet and floral scent. At first I looked around to see where this smell came from, just to find out, it was me. The sour odour did not go away, but somehow „changed“ and melted together with the lilacs and the Pinaud sweetness, to something completely different and I dare to say, quite delicious. I cannot see myself wearing this every day, but I will definitely use it from time to time, especially outdoors in the spring.
The aftershave has a nice cooling effect on the skin. It is primarily alcohol based, so there is a good chance that if your shave was a bit harsh, you will feel a burn afterwards.
If the Clubman is considered a „classic“, this is an archaic.