Perfume Directory

British Sterling (1965)
by Dana (originally by MEM Company)

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British Sterling information

Year of Launch1965
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 97 votes)

People and companies

HouseDana
Originally byMEM Company
Parent CompanyPatriarch Partners > Dana Classics

About British Sterling

British Sterling is a masculine fragrance by Dana. The scent was launched in 1965

British Sterling fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of British Sterling

The original version of this was a perfectly decent-to-good cologne to splash on after your morning shave. I used it a bit in high school back in the 80s and liked it just fine.

But from the reviews here I'd steer clear of the modern formulation as it sounds like watered-down 100% synthetic junk.
07th February, 2018
British Sterling is a staple scent spoken in the same tone as English Leather or Old Spice, but ultimately classier than them due to the pedigree it once carried. It's interesting whisky flask bottle with the chrome-plated plastic collar had remained unchanged for over 50 years, outside of slight alterations in available sizes and the fanciness of the applied brand label. Sadly, it has fallen very far from this once pedigreed position, as it launched initially in jewelry stores where Speidel sold it's watches and watchbands, with slogans like "Make him a legend in his own time" and "so fine a gift, it's sold in jewelry stores" which lent itself to the perception Speidel already had with it's Twist-O-Flex line of metal wristbands and eventually whole watches. It was even possible to get the metal cap engraved with initials in the beginning, which is pretty cool.
Original Speidel-Textron production runs of British Sterling and the later MEM production pretty much has the same formula, and is the basis for this review.

British Sterling opens with citrus, floral, and green notes, unsurprising for a fougère from the sixties, but what is surprising about British Sterling is the shift away from powdery vanillic bases or heaps of lavender in the heart like most other "green" fougères from the period. Instead, British Sterling takes a more aromatic route, and thus sort of unintentionally acts like a precursor to all the aromatic fougères that would take over in the early 70's. It doesn't have the over-saturation of moss or woods that those scents contain, but it's definitely there. The scent quickly develops from this green opening to some uncharacteristic spices in the heart, stuff like nutmeg and cinnamon typically reserved for oriental fragrances or the much much later gourmands, before ending up in a typical dry down of amber, musk, moss, and sandalwood. There's probably a modicum of coumarin in here too, even if a strait-tonka accord is not detected. It's a fairly complex and round scent that really stood head and shoulders above others in it's class.I can easily see why this scent became so popular in it's halcyon days, and how it would eventually become so mass-market in succeeding decades. It's rich, smooth, slightly herbal, and very dapper compared to some contemporaries, and although it's not sensual enough for romantic duty, it's almost a year-round signature scent.

The original Speidel-Textron formula and the subsequent MEM version is somewhat outmoded in the 21st century for lacking any distinct "freshness" that typically defines an all-season day wear scent for men these days, and it particularly fails in hot weather, but otherwise it's truly of superior stock and rather unique for it's time. New British Sterling, as produced by Dana, has an entirely different vibe, despite having much the same opening structure.The new stuff has become quite shrill with the citrus/floral top dominating most of the scent's life. Whatever stands in for the moss and probably the woods too are also very ozonic, with the spicy heart dialed way down to quicken the transition and thin out the smell. This give the new stuff a chemical-burn personality that makes it better as aftershave than a day scent, since you never really get that smoothness, just lots of green with musk to hold it down amidst all the synthetics. It's not bad, but feels more like a new scent inspired by the original rather than a reformulation.
11th December, 2017 (last edited: 12th December, 2017)
My grandfather used to wear this, and always smelled like he was fresh out of the barber shop. I can across a discounted gift set in December and had to jump at it. It's a perfect daily scent, at work or play. So soft and powdery. Not a night owl, but, a pleasant one to wear and smell on yourself. Proudly in my rotation.
01st February, 2016
Forget all the previous reviews bashing BS. They all bitch about its cheap smelling, but that's not true! I've tried a lot of expensive niche fragrances and recent launches and BS knocks half of them down easily. Is It a bit dated? Yes, due to its slightly powdery smell. But if you like well praised old school stuff as Chanel pour monsieur, you'll definitely like this one. It's spicy, sweet and slightly powdery although truly masculine. It's a bargain and won't let you down in casual/office situations.
24th January, 2015 (last edited: 10th April, 2015)
If we're talking about the formulation by Speidel and MEM years (up to the late 1990's) disregard my negative/thumbs down and make it a thumbs up!Even back then this was an inexpensive fragrance found in the display cases at drugstores...smelled pretty good though.

Quoting the original formula I would put British Sterling further down the list of describing this as a clean/barbershop scent.This was not a cool and refreshing fragrance with high use of soap,citrus,and talc...this stuff was warm and different.Just a smidge of lavender and talc fused to a heavy moss note lets the bitter-green qualities shape some sophistication to the base.A moderately heavy spice trio of nutmeg and clove creamed over by vanilla.I always picked up more nutmeg really.A light trace of sandalwood off and on throws in some dryness and goes well with the moss...don't confuse that and think this makes an outdoorsy scent.Linear,fairly low projection and lasts about 6 hours.British Sterling was a good everyday wear fragrance.

The Dana version has obviously been reformulated over the original stuff and I'm very on the fence about it.Had I never smelled British Sterling I'd give it a thumbs up immediately for how good it smells.Still the pleasant and generous amount of moss but a higher degree of lavender making this 'soapy clean and green'.This takes it higher up on the barbershop scent clean factor quite a bit.The spice though has been thinned down or reduced to a whisper.This makes the spice more subtle and smooth but also steals the warmth and richness British Sterling once had.I do think the reformulation will be easier to wear in warm/hot weather versus the original stuff.It's just such a mix of up and down's between the vintage and current formula.
21st January, 2015 (last edited: 28th February, 2018)
Bigsly Show all reviews
United States
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.
09th May, 2014

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British Sterling by Dana Cologne 5.7 oz

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British Sterling H.I.M. Reserve Cologne by Dana, 3.8 oz EDT Spray for Men NEW

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BRITISH STERLING by Dana 3.8 oz Men's Cologne Splash 112 ml New NIB

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British Sterling by Dana Cologne 1 oz Plastic Travel

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BRITISH STERLING PRIVATE STOCK by Dana cologne EDT 3.8 oz New in Box

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BRITISH STERLING RESERVE by Dana cologne EDT 3.8 oz New in Box

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* BRITISH STERLING by DANA for MEN * 5.7 oz (168 ml) Cologne Splash NEW & SEALED

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British Sterling Men's After Shave by Dana - .5 oz

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British Sterling for Men by Dana EDT Splash 0.5 oz / 15 ml No Box - Pack of 5

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NEW IN BOX British Sterling HIM Private Stock White Edition by Dana, 3.8 fl oz

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