Never had the absolute 'literal' original which was made by Speidel/Textron.Speidel quit making and MEM took over making British Sterling until 1990 then Dana has made this cologne since then.Dana did a fine job with British Sterling except a few changes over recent years.Those current changes are...
*No metal sleeve on the bottle anymore...I guess for cost efficiency.It was just decoration but it looked good.
*The fluid is a light gold or champagne color while British Sterling was an aged green color of fluid originally.The color green I was felt grasped this scent rather well.
Putting that aside I bought a bottle of the British Sterling splash on cologne by Dana.Smells no different in the bottle or on my skin as it was by MEM.Doesn't last as long but still pretty decent.This cologne is not citrus-y like Brut or Aspen at all.All I smell is wood,oakmoss,and fresh linen with a very mild tone of sweetness to the linen.I say linen because it reminds me of drying my clothes on the line with the mountain breeze blowing through it.
I first tried a Dana formulation that is several years old and then an original. The smell, at least beyond the top notes, is similar, but the original has more depth and complexity to it (it also lasts longer). It's simple yet the quality of the ingredients must be what makes it so enjoyable! Basically, it's a vanillic/spicy/musky scent with a hint of wood (just a bit sweet). If you think a scent like Jaipur Homme is great you might want to give this one a try. There's something in Jaipur that doesn't work for me (I think it's a synthetic wood molecule used), but this one is just right. Moreover, you could use this for layering. You can still get Mem or Speidel formulations on ebay for reasonable prices, if you have some patience.
The original formula of British Sterling was subtle, classy, yet not overly formal, and it sill holds up today. I can't speak for any of the reformulations, but the original had a fresh lavender/citrus opening that included some floral notes (lilac?), transitioning into a spicy middle that undoubtedly includes carnation as well as clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. It is a sweet-spicy oriental in the mode of Zizanie, Old Spice or Evyan's The Baron (though I'll take British Sterling over the Baron any time!)
Originally distributed by Speidel, the watchband maker, it was touted as "so fine a gift, it's sold in jewelry stores," and one could get a set of initials engraved onto the metal top of the bottle. It wasn't until years later that it was downmarketed to turn up in drugstores.
British Sterling was once a true gem in MEM's strong line-up, then Dana got hold of it.
This iconic and truly classic cologne/after-shave has been a staple in many men's rotation for over 40 years...however it was a much more "true to form" fragrance when MEM produced it.
When Dana bought and revived the brand, it was reformulated into a shadow of its former glory and has never been the same since. It's got a strong witch hazel and burnt rubber opening note that is a real head scratcher...what's the point?
To me, it dries down to a scent quite similar to that of Pinaud Clubman Special Reserve but not quite as balanced. It's not an overtly offensive scent by any means nor is it the suave, classy, masculine fragrance it used to be.
Don't expect the British Sterling of the past...this is a ghostly reincarnation of an original...in name only.
british sterling is another classic of the drugstore colognes but not as strong as english leather. I use to own a bottle of british sterling and I remember liking it. over the years some of the classic brands changed such as brut and old spice. I am happy that a lot are still available in stores even if some are not like they once were.