Perfume Directory

Polo (1978)
by Ralph Lauren


Polo information

Year of Launch1978
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 860 votes)

People and companies

HouseRalph Lauren
PerfumerCarlos Benaim
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > Prestige & Collections
Parent Company at launchWarner Communications > Warner Cosmetics

About Polo

Ralph Laurens first male fragrance contains a very distinctive pine note.
The packaging and bottle are a forest-green colour.
FIFI award winner in 1979

Reviews of Polo

I vaguely remember the original Polo from the days when I was far too young to wear any personal fragrance myself. I can believe those who say the original was better. This version is not too bad at all, but a little too dirty to be properly green and refreshing.
12th May, 2018
Just sprayed this on my wrist.
Wow, smells very nice, piney with some tobacco in the distance.
It DOES smell like "money." Pine-like colognes conjure up images of those pine tree car air-fresheners, but that's okay.


This does NOT smell good. It reminds me A LOT of the dry down in Preferred Stock. Almost like a dirt smell.
I suppose I should say it has a "dirty" note, which is common in a lot of old school powerhouses but this to me is more just like a DIRT note. If I put your nose to my wrist, and try to appreciate it, I can kind of visualize tobacco with a very faint pine smell. But just a casual whiff, and this smells very unpleasant.
People are going to think I haven't bathed.
Maybe it's because this is a reformulation, maybe it's because I'm experiencing it out of context-not in the era it was made for-or maybe it just doesn't mix well with my body chemistry.
But I don't like it and I have to get this off of me.


Is it gone?
*sniffs again*
*keeps sniffing*
It's actually smelling a little bit better. Just a little bit. The pine and the tobacco are mixing better with one another...but it's still very oft putting in a contemporary context.
Very dry, tobacco/cigarette butts/dirty smell laced with a slight bit of pine that a hint of cinnamon?
*sniffs once more*
Okay...I get it. I can see a little bit of WHY it was so popular during its heyday. I'm even beginning to like it.

This is going to put off a lot of people who didn't grow up with this scent. As YouTube fragrance reviewer MyMickers said, "it smells like death." And in the dry down, it does. At first.
But once you give it some time (or maybe splash some water over the sprayed spot to dilute it???) it becomes this very dry, masculine scent, and and almost addictive.
Most people, like myself, aren't used to cologne smelling like this, so they mistake something very different as = bad.

This does come across as a very dated scent. I think most fragrances that have a prominent pine-note in there are going to come across as dated because the general public associates pine-scents with cheap air fresheners.
But this is also a very good scent, and while the dry down can be a little challenging, it's pretty nice. On the right person, for the right occasion, with the right outfit, this could be pulled off very well.

08th March, 2018 (last edited: 12th April, 2018)
pine and fir with strong notes of tobacco in a very masculine way. Also woods and patchouli along with moss, and a hint of leather. I like this scent the most when initially applied as I can smell the pine and fir. Under drydown it becomes exclusively tobacco, leather, and woods. Moderate sillage and strong longevity. I'm just not that great of a fan of the scent - especially in drydown - the tobacco and leather kind of ruin it for me; I would prefer a more natural forest scent. I much prefer Encre Noire by Lalique for example, when it comes to forest-smelling colognes.
04th March, 2018
I wore this scent back in the early '80s through the early '90s and got away from it with the introduction of New West for Him, by Aramis. Recently, a wave of nostalgia came over me and I decided to give Polo another chance. I purchased a new bottle (spray), yet still had a drop or two in my original Polo (splash) bottle. This new Polo is most definately reformulated. The top notes are quite noxious and overpowering, unlike the original formula. There is a very strong scent of Ylang-Ylang combined with a dollar store version of a pine scented household cleaner. That being said, once the top notes evaporate (30-60 minutes), the original Polo fragrance comes forward. The dry down most definately leaves the signature fragrance pleasantly on the skin. I'm giving this fragrance a thumbs up because it's still a classic, but Ralph Lauren should really consider going back to the original formula. The initial spray / spritz can be a big turn off to a potentially new customer base. After the dry down, the scent is pleasant and well worth the compliments.
11th February, 2018
A designer jus that has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

It has been reformulated a few times, however the basic premise remains.

This epitomizes what masculinity was, not so much anymore. In fact I am of the mind that you need to be 'old' to wear this (whatever that means)!

A must have in every collection? Yes.
04th February, 2018
I give this a pass with a caveat: it's one of the most inadvertently stifling and condescending male scents on the planet, not because of the way it smells, but who generally wears it, at least in it's home US market. Ralph Lauren's debut masculine was meant to deliver a fresh green respite from all the soapy, rosy aromatics or heavy spice-laced musks of the 70's. Chypres were mostly dead after YSL's Pour Homme put it's nail on that coffin in the disco era, so guys who wanted something breathable, respectable, and not dripping with sex could turn to this instead. Polo's thematic focus was equestrian, much like the jockey-themed scents of the 1800's and pretty much everything Hermès, but sportier than those because Polo was a sport, and indeed RL's "Polo shirts" were patterned after what actual Polo teams wore. This juice would create a casual menswear and fragrance dynasty, the likes which America pretty much lacked up until then, which is why the polo shirt is worn by more people who've never seen (let alone played) the sport than those who have. The scent itself was fairly unique, with the only competition in town being Aramis Devin (1978) and it's galbanum-powered grass bomb, which played a lesser-loved Pepsi role to this one's Coke in the "ultra-green smell" department. Polo's nuclear-fission green was achieved instead with a lethal pine dose that was buried in Baskin Robbin's 31 flavors of green notes and entombed in a heap of moss at the bottom.

Polo opens with that signature pine, which is a much richer and sappier whole-tree pine than stuff like Pino Silvestri (1955) which seems to go for more of a dewy needle kind of pine smell. From that unmistakable opening accord joined by florals and odd herbal/spice choices like cumin and basil, comes a heart of carnation, rose, jasmine, and more herbs before finalizing in that mossy swamp. Musk, amber, cedar, and leather all exist in the base too, but the most recognizable note besides the pine top and moss bottom is patchouli, which sits in the base like co-pilot. It's a very woodland-fresh bouquet that would quickly become the antithesis of all the sweaty, spicy, and virile stuff swarming the disco scene at the time, being the epitome of business suit scent-craft in America, the ultimate Wall Street power broker in a bottle that wasn't deliberately a powerhouse. Polo may have indeed turned up at clubs and discos, because not so many guys then nor now really know when to wear a fragrance, and for many back then this would have been a signature scent to be worn every day, and not part of a larger collection. It's popularity spawned over a dozen flankers, the first few of which tried to emulate facets of the original in some way, the most recent bunch since the 90's which have just carried the brand but little else to connect them, and even had a contemporary remake in 2008 (which didn't last) made by the same perfumer, Carlos Benaim. Because of the variance in the line, it's important not to write off one Polo because of a bad experience with another, since outside of the remake, almost none of them bare much similarity to the original besides some attempt at a sporty olfactory theme.

The pine, moss, and patchouli power trio that comprises this scent doesn't in and of themselves denote the condescension mentioned in the beginning, but the problem here is the kind of social stereotyping that effects people who wear ultra-popular fragrances, especially ones that have remained relevant for this long. Polo was made to be fresh, sporty (by 70's standards), and not particularly sexual, so it was adopted as an office scent by pretty much every guy ever working an office job into the 80's. There were obviously a lot of choices both contemporary to this and older (or newer), but this became just so ubiquitous among successful professionals that it stuck. What's worse is those guys aged, got promotions, moved up, and suddenly became bosses, executive officers, or started their own businesses etc, so "old rich guy" became forever linked to this, despite there being much more status-oriented and expensive scents on the market (hello Creed, looking at you buddy). It's an unfair burden this juice has to bear, as it really is quite a nice, sophisticated, and long-lasting scent. However, if you grew up in the 80's and even 90's, "Polo Green" as it became known to us then, was wafting off many a blazer jacket to the point that the yuppies in high school would buy this "just to smell like money" even though much newer and more elite designer options existed (which they probably couldn't afford). Reformulation has done a lot of damage to this one's mossy dry down, so hunt down Cosmair-produced bottles if you want the original experience, and at 40+ years old, it's no longer the smell of success it once was, but regardless of how it's perceived, I recommend it strictly for fall through spring casual or office day wear only. This one couldn't be romantic even if you packaged it with a box of chocolates.
22nd January, 2018 (last edited: 25th January, 2018)

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POLO BLACK Ralph Lauren 4.2 oz edt Cologne Men New

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Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren Eau De Toilette Spray 4.2 oz brand new

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Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren Eau De Toilette Spray 4.2 oz brand new sealed box!

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Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren EDT for Men 4.2 oz - 125 ml *NEW IN BOX*

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Ralph Lauren Polo Red 4.2 oz Men's Eau de Toilette Brand New & Sealed Colgone

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POLO RED by Ralph Lauren 4.2 oz EDT Cologne for men spray New in Box

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Polo Red INTENSE by Ralph Lauren EDP for Men 4.2 oz - 125 ml *NEW IN SEALED BOX*

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Ralph Lauren ~ Polo Green After Shave Balm 4.0 oz/118 ml Brand New in Box Sealed

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Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren 6.7 oz EDT Cologne for Men New In Box

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