16 March 2010

'My' Caswell - Massey

I came to Caswell - Massey via J. Press. I don't know how much of it Press sells but they hooked me on Greenbriar. You pay a little extra for the packaging but I figure Press deserves it. The word perfume comes from the Latin, per, "through," and fumum, "smoke." An interesting etymological discovery since my father shared David Hackworth's affection for calling Pentagon brass, "Perfumed Princes." If anyone can blow smoke it's Pentagon brass.

Consequently, the old man is not a fan of colognes. Of any sort. I have been since my first bottle of Canoe at 13 and my addiction to Old Spice cologne and talc in the army. Nothing seemed to smell better at the time than freshly starched fatigues and Old Spice. The smell still takes me back to Ft Bragg. And for me, that's one of the special qualities of scent. How something so invisible can take you back decades to another time and all in a split second.

I'm not interested in wearing Jovan musk and hitting Bennigan's on a Friday night. I'm interested in adding some luxury to the morning's three "S's" and being grateful for that moment. Caswell - Massey has a history that goes back to 1752. When you sniff their No. 6, you're smelling what George Washington wore, and gave to Lafayette as a gift, turning him into a life long customer. According to the company, No. 6 is their costliest scent but sells for $30 a three ounce bottle. It reminds me of the more expensive and very classic, Eau D'Hermes.

I like Greenbriar and have mixed it with Ylang Ylang for a scent the Golf Foxtrot is fond of. It's citrus but the Ylang gives it a deeper earthiness. The soaps are a good value at three for $24 and since they're triple milled you can use them to scent your sock drawer without fear of losing any of the scent. In fact, according to the company, this will dry the soap out and increase its life in the shower.

The Lime is my favorite. I give it to people all the time. Just ask ADG. It's clean and reminds me of a Gin and Tonic after a set of tennis near the beach south of St Augustine, FL. I can almost feel the powder of the har tru courts. Since cologne is made with alcohol, I'm pretty sure the Caswell - Massey Lime scent isn't that far removed from a G&T.

Colognes for $10 an ounce. Soaps (and drawer sachets) for $8 a bar. One of the oldest companies in the United States. Made in the US. Trad as Trad can be... Who cares about George Washington - - It is the scent of J. Press for God's sake. And you'd be surprised how many people don't even know about it. Instead, we're spritzed with Sean Combs and Elizabeth Taylor as we defend ourselves from the department store infantry shoving scented cannon fodder at us with some slick marketing promise of celebrity. Now that smells bad.

Tomorrow: 'Their' Caswell - Massey - The history and the customers.


Old School said...

In spite of the new image ads and the sailboat emblem rather than the clipper, Old Spice still has its place in my arsenal.

The People's Business said...

Greenbriar is a nice scent, but ever since I got a tub of the shaving cream, I have been very careful re: C-W products. It was truly inferior as a cream.

Anonymous said...

tintin --

If I smelled as good as you must, I too would insist on extensive weapons training.

NCJack said...

Wore the old Greenbriar for years...then they "improved" it (Wrong!) After searching for a couple of years, finally settled on Jockey Club, dries down very nice, and has good staying power. CW is a great outfit, and surprisingly affordable.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Great sentence:

It's clean and reminds me of a Gin and Tonic after a set of tennis near the beach south of St Augustine, FL. I can almost feel the powder of the har tru courts. Since cologne is made with alcohol, I'm pretty sure the Caswell - Massey Lime scent isn't that far removed from a G&T.

Very inspiring passage. I just got done with a 2-hour tennis match in the afternoon sun and I feel like a G&T or three. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about C-M since their store closed here recently. I used to go in there for Truefitt & Hill 1805 cologne and C-M Newport Bath Soap (fantastic scent!). Over the several years I frequented the shop, I noticed their stock getting progressively smaller until one day it was gone. C-M has some wonderful items. I hope the company itself it still in sound shape.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Enjoyed this post...like the remembrance of Old Spice.
As for me, I swear by the Pinaud Clubman scents...aftershave,talc,shampoo,hair dressing,anti-perspirant..the whole line. harkens back to one's first trip to the Barber with Dad...and post squash grooming at the Club...inexpensive,effective(particularlly the tinted shave talc to protect a freshly shaved neck from a starched collar on a humid Summer day) and classic...women love it...makes my wife jam her nose in my neck.

Michael Rowe said...

Tintin, how does J. Press's lime compare to Truefitt & Hill's? My favourite is Trumper, but sadly it lasts for about 20 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of smelling like a G&T, my favorite after shave and cologne has always been British Sterling Bitter Lemon. It hasn't been made since the 1980's but you can find it on Ebay occasionally. I bought an unopened gift set a few years ago on Ebay- still smells great. -Rich

Paul Walters said...

Great post. Very well-written and inspires a trip to the local C-M. Thanks for that. I grew up myself on Old Spice and always enjoyed it as well, and I can't get over how hillarious the new commercials are. Keep up the good work! I am on a horse.

Family Man said...

"Who cares about George Washington"

I do--and so should you. George Washington is called the Father of Our Country for reasons too numerous to even start to mention here.

Other Founding Fathers were smarter, more educated, and better at any number of things--but they all recognized Washington as first among equals, their leader, THE leader.

It is no exaggeration to say that without Washington, we would not have the United States of America. We would have something, but it would probably be no more than southern Canada.

Other than that, though--great post. I'm an Old Spice man now, but I've been meaning to try my father's scent: Caswell-Massey No. 6.

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

A man ought to smell like a MAN. If he has a peculiarly-offensive body odor he should do something about it. Other than that, go natural. It works! (Especially with women.)
(I think there's something about natural pheromones that makes sense.)

As to David Hackworth's term "Perfumed Princes." I agreed with him when he coined it and, though he's now deceased, still do.
I've worked closely with many very senior officers and Generals. The good ones smelled like MEN, not fruity princes -- and they acted like men as well.

Anonymous said...

I used to clear out the basic training barracks shower @ Campbell with my faux British falsetto version of "I Feel Pretty" ("Bluto" in Westside Story) if'n D.S. Angelino wasn't about. Then I'd turn up all the "HOT"'s and enjoy a semi-sauna whilst sitting upon a drink crate in the center. Afterwards I smelt much like Mr. Phred.

George Washington slept around > http://www.hmdb.org/results.asp?SeriesID=9


tintin said...

Old School- Old spice ain't bad for what it is. Beats the pooh outta Axe.

People's Biz- I have a tub of their GBriar purchased at Press. It's the sof shaving soap and have to agree that I like their hard shaving soap better.

Anon 19:26- I used to smell like Hoppes No. 9 and saltpeter. I wish I could bottle that. I should run it by Orvis.

NC Jack- They've improved a lot of their stuff and I'm not sure why. I suspect it has something to do with either the cost of certain essentials or that certain essentials are no longer available. I should inquire.

LBT- The company is fine. Decent presence on line as well as their catalog. I'm gonna miss the Lex store though. That's a real shame but not at all surprising.

Main Line- Love their talc.

Michael - I have not tried T&H's Lime but do I do use their Spanish Leather which the Golf likes a lot. I use the Trumper with CM Lime. I kid you not. The CM is still light but not does last a little longer than Trumper.

Rich- Sounds very hard to get. I must try it.

Paul- Take it easy on that horse. How's Charlotte?

Family Man- No, you're right. I had to do a lot of research on GW when I worked at Valley Forge NHP. An amazing man. THat Martha burned all his letters to her suggests he was a romatic man as well. Try a box of the No. 6 soap and a bottle of the cologne. Both will set you back $54. That won't cover 2 ounces of a lotta crap out there.

Dad, Only 20% of the perfume industry is about 'pure' perfume. 80% of the industry goes into plastics, fabrics, clothes, tires, tobacco, booze, cleaners, medicine and leather. Did you know that since leather is immersed in urine during the tanning process perfumes have to be used mask the odor? You may not use it directly but you're using it.

Tater- I did a very good version of, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, by the Tokens in 8th grade at Alexander Junior High in Huntersville, NC. Before the voice changed.

Brummagem Joe said...

Not a fan of OS but definitely agree about big names.....my regular cologne comes from a barbers/toiletries store in Jermyn street called Taylors and rejoices in the wonderful name of "Mr Sydney's Original".....a 20 pound bottle lasts forever......At the other end of the scale I will confess a weakness for Parma Water (the original although the spin off is pretty good) at 100 bucks an ounce.

Family Man said...

Thanks for the suggestion--will do!

Troy H said...

After reading, I promptly ordered the Miniature Cologne Sampler (5 .16 oz bottles in the neatest little box. Wow, Newport might be my new go to scent. Thanks for sending me CM's way - I am loving this stuff!

Wish they would have sent a sample of the lime.