Perfume Directory

Vigorate (1957)
by Avon


Vigorate information

Year of Launch1957
AvailabilityIn Production
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About Vigorate

Vigorate is a masculine fragrance by Avon. The scent was launched in 1957

Reviews of Vigorate

Divergent path from the, Leather Signatur-ed trope, that is "English Leather" "Oland" " Aigner No.1" sweetness . After the requisite Bergamot, Herbal, Woody and yes, Castoreum, Dry Amber blow, Vigorate moves closer to the "Tabac Blond" "Peau d'Espagne" dryness.

Quite frankly, I would say that this, in spite of the Castoreum Animalic, would be quite wearable for the "Girls" who smoke, with it's nod to the Caron.

Although it is very nicely blended, it carries little of the Complexity, Sillage and Finesse and indeed asking price of the "Great Ones".

Oh Yes, it dries down to a cuddly, Dry Amber Baby Powder. Heh,Heh!

I'd buy this one.
03rd March, 2019
Avon 'Vigorate (1957) is such an odd bird, especially for the 1950's, and it's really no wonder this second attempt at a men's fragrance from Avon was completely forgotten once they measured more success with guys in the 1960's. By 1957, only Arden had followed Avon into the male fragrance market of all the US giants, and Revlon's entry was still a year away, but lower-cost Italian imports like Acqua di Selvi (1949) and Pino Silvestre (1955) were starting to take up some market space in the US drugstore circuit, whereas only high-end French options like Chanel, Rochas, and Caron had much impact in the US previously. Avon for Men (1949) had done well enough, but Avon has always been about pushing variety or "new and exciting" items to maintain interest, so I think it's best to put it into Avon's own antique words with this one: "Invigorating - as it's name says. A lotion with bracing, refreshing action on the skin, and a fragrance keyed exactly to what men like - a masterful smooth blending, of clean, crisp woody and herbal notes, plus a briskness and tang usually associated with salty, ocean-fresh air. So excitingly new is this fragrance that it is making news in men's circles." Sorta sad isn't it? This stuff reads like a slightly more smarmy version of the ad materials we see for men's fragrance in the 21st century, and even contains a similar breakdown of "clean", "citrus", "woods" and "ocean" like most modern things too. Guess we haven't come very far, have we? However, what the text on the 'Vigorate box tells you it smells like and what 'Vigorate actually smells like are two very different animals entirely, and to add further confusion, Avon never really specifies what 'Vigorate is: Do we have an aftershave on our hands or a cologne?

Seems Avon borrowed a cue from early MEM production of English Leather (1949) by just calling it an all-purpose "lotion" to trick men into buying it, since many women's fragrances came in eau de cologne variants (and would continue to do so into the 80's with some houses), and anything without a defined "purpose" was a no-no to the ostensibly practical American male in the postwar period. I would define Avon 'Vigorate as both, because it contains skin emollients but also carries adequately like any other Avon cologne from the period. The scent opens shockingly with a salty vegetal note that right away pegs 'Vigorate as an advancement on whatever underpinned their iteration of "lilac vegetal" produced when they were still called the California Perfume Company. There's no lilac here to be sure, just some old-school citron (instead of the later more-common bergamot), and a kitchen herb melange heart that at least contains clary sage and basil, plus some powdery heliotrope as Avon liked to use back then. The base of 'Vigorate has whatever primitive approximation for ambergris they could muster 50+ years before ambroxan emerged, which is probably actual sea salt and Avon's patent amber producing a warm brine-soaked glow, with bits of sandalwood and oakmoss floating about. Anyone who has smelled bath salts automatically knows what to expect with 'Vigorate, and there's nothing remotely masterful or smooth about the blending here, as it all hits simultaneously then peels away one note at a time until salty amber, oakmoss, and sandalwood remain. Wear time is about 6 hours if you make it that long, as this is surely an acquired taste with zero recommended context for use. Avon 'Vigorate is not for the average Avon fan nor really even the average vintage collector because it's so weird, hard to search out, and not worth any high price.

This strange mid-century proto-aquatic "freshie" (using the term loosely), is such a bizzare scent that it really is only for the hardcore Avon collector that will likely just display it. I've come to ironically enjoy its quirky "bath salts" interpretation of what is now a citrus/amberwoods/aquatic genre we take for granted, but clearly our notions of this concept are the only parts of it that has progressed in the generations that have passed since its inception. I doubt Avon was the first to create the aquatic fragrance concept, but this is one of the earliest mainstream male-marketed attempts at it that I have seen, despite its "Twilight Zone" execution. It seems later bottles of 'Vigorate were released as part of a uniform "Avon for Men" trio in the 1960's to coincide with the release of Tribute for Men (1963). All three bottles were labeled as aftershave and one did indeed contain the aftershave variant of the original Avon for Men and the other a first iteration of what would later be relaunched under the mame Avon Spicy (1968), but the repackaged 'Vigorate (as "Avon for Men 'Vigorate"), was the same hybrid purpose juice with cologne concentration. After Wild Country (1967) launched and blew the doors off Avon's sales figures in the men's segment, this and Avon for Men (the scent) were finally laid to rest and the Spicy variant was salvaged as the mentioned standalone aftershave release, so this oddity lived to be just a decade old before being axed. I will give this obscure ugly duckling an honorary thumbs up, but whether it still will "maintain that poised look and feeling that adds such zest to life" as the blurb claims is highly doubtful.
08th January, 2019 (last edited: 09th January, 2019)

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