When I was young you could buy an aftershave called Moustache made by Rochas and it was unique, unlike any other aftershave, it was completely distinctive whilst remaining remarkable pleasant. Launched in 1948, just after World War 2, it was designed by Edmond and Theresa Roudnitska (his wife). Edmond was one of the most famous perfumers of all time and created famous, classical brands for Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Rochas and Hermes, amongst others. Theresa had studied at l’Ecole de Chimie in Paris, graduating in 1941, and served her apprenticeship in the laboratories of the De Laire company. It is thought that Theresa instigated the idea for Moustache and that Edmond added polish to the formulation.
Apparently there are six different families of fragrance used in aftershaves, these are citrus, spicy, leather, lavender, fougere, and woody (and combinations of these). If you go to one of the traditional St James’s men’s grooming shops and sample their long established men’s colognes you will find a cross section of these scent families represented. For Moustache the notes are lime, bergamot, pine, fruits, vetiver and moss, yet the citrus was very subtle and did not intrude. There are plenty of reviews of it online on more specialised sites than this.
Then came disaster. Rochas (under owners Procter & Gamble who also own Gillette) decided to reformulate Moustache to bring it more in line with modern fashions ( another scent, Monsieur Rochas was also reformulated). They made it more refreshing, made the citrus dominate. But of course in doing so all they succeeded in doing was to create yet another “me too” which had no special merit to make it stand out from the legions of citrus scents. So there was no real need to buy it and in the end Rochas had little option but to discontinue it.
You can buy old stock of the reformulated Moustache online and once you get past the initial citrus jolt it is still a bit special, but in reality it is a pale shadow of the original. You can even still buy the old formulation. If you are looking for Moustache then the new formulation is in a rectangular frosted glass bottle with a silver cap. The original is in a cylindrical fluted glass bottle.
All this has left a bad taste in my mouth and put me off my citrus favourites like Au Sauvage by Dior and Agua Fresca by Dominguez, instead I am going through a phase of Bay Rum and Floid as my own little statement against fashion and the conformity it can sometimes bring us.