Aqua Velva Man


I have a bottle of this stuff left over from when I bought it back in 2005. I think I have about half left. I splashed some on this morning after my shave, and now I smell like an old man.

It seems like 50 years ago Aqua Velva was the standard for men’s aftershave, or at least competed with Old Spice to be that standard. Aqua Velva is to Old Spice what Pepsi is to Coke. But while Coke has been around forever, and it’s ingrained itself into American culture through its marketing, Aqua Velva and Old Spice have the stigma of smelling like an old man.

Why? Because that’s what men had 50 years ago.

At least Old Spice got over the hump, but now they make crap like body sprays. All Aqua Velva did was update the design of the label (old vs new).

I imagine the phrase “Aqua Velva Man” used to refer to a kind of man who had put in a few years of service in the armed forces, knew how to wear a necktie properly, watched baseball games on the weekends, and shaved every morning for a white or blue-collar job. Now it means you’re an old-fashioned, stuck-in-the-past guy over 60.

Amazon review—Don’t Let The Price Fool You:

Although this is one of the cheapest aftershaves out there, it is the best. If you put this same product into a high-end, 100 dollar bottle, it would still sell. It’s got a perfect balance between the leathery musk scent and barbershop astringent (alcohol) scents. If there is a classic “masculine scent” then this is it, and there isn’t a woman out doesn’t enjoy this smell. But more importantly, it feels damn good after a shave. Teens shouldn’t look down on this product because it has been around forever and their fathers used it. And snobs need to ignore the price. This is a classic scent that should never fall out of style.

But in some circles that’s exactly what happened—the scent fell out of style. I really wonder if that “there isn’t a woman who doesn’t enjoy this smell” part is true, because whenever I wear it I just remind people of their grandfathers and they make sure to point it out.

In a way I find the Aqua Velva smell comforting because it reminds me of older men in my family. The smell put me at ease as a kid because it meant I was among family and was safe.