Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Lilac Vegetal Experience

A number of reviews have been written about the Pinaud Clubman Lilac Vegetal.  Many of these echo the same thing:  it is a popular aftershave fragrance but people seem to either love it or hate it.  A while ago I tried it  one time, didn’t like it, and put it away.  I fell into the “hate it” camp.  After some time, I decided to give it a try again.  This time I would give it a chance.  I would power through that initial unpleasantness, try it for a week, and see if the scent grows on me.  I figured this is popular for a reason.  Unfortunately, I didn’t change my mind.

Lilac Vegetal 6 oz bottle.  Also available in a 1.7 oz bottle and 12.5 oz bottle.

I remember Lilac Vegetal being mentioned in the 1979 movie The Jerk.   So, I knew it had to be around since the late 1970s.  After a little Googling and Bing-ing, I discovered that Vegetal Lilac has been around since the late 1870s.  It was initially made with ingredients such as ambergris and lilac; but is now being produced from artificial ingredients due to difficulties in procuring these natural ingredients[1]. 

Lilac Vegetal Makes an appearance in "The Jerk"

I really like the regular Clubman aftershave as well as their Bay Rum splash.  Despite its popularity, Lilac Vegetal was one that I couldn’t get used to.   On paper, I found that (for me at least) there are more positives than negatives with this aftershave.  

My Positives:

  • Scent doesn’t linger and is not extremely powerful:  My wife says she has to be very close to smell it.
  • The bracing sting feeling of an aftershave splash was satisfying.
  • Doesn’t leave my face feeling oily or that there’s some sort of residue coating me.
  • Fairly inexpensive.
  • Available from many places.  Can find it in many grocery stores and on Amazon.

My Negatives:

  • Did not find scent appealing:  Some say it smells like cat pee.  For me, it immediately reminded me of some sort of public restroom disinfectant.
  • Smells different in the bottle than after applied:  This is likely due to body chemistry but this was a downside for me.  Even though wife isn’t a fan of this scent, she actually liked the smell better from the bottle than on me.
  • Scent came back when exercising: As I started to sweat, that distinct Lilac Vegetal aroma started to appear. Same thing happens when I wear the traditional Clubman. But with Lilac Vegetal, it wasn’t appealing.

One of my Shaves of the Day with Lilac Vegetal


At the end of the day, the weight of negatives supersedes the positives.   I could see why someone would like this, especially if their body chemistry mixes well with it.  For me, I can’t say that I’m in the Fan-of-Lilac-Vegetal camp.




[1] Schneider, Daniel B. (1997, Feb 16) "F.Y.I."  Accessed Dec 18, 2021

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