If you could give us some examples that would help quite a bit, so let's consider some:
Kouros: urinous honey, civet, heavy musk, and a boatload of other things
Givenchy Gentleman: patchouli, honey, and worn leather
1-12: galbanum, oakmoss, etc.
various "women's" scents such as the original Armani: oakmoss and lots of aldhydes
Dali Pour Homme: castoreum
JHL: sandalwood, "dirty" jasmine
The above either have a lot more of certain ingredients than you find in recent designers or the ingredients are no longer being used; or, what's being used is a pale imitation. On the other hand, as others said, there are new molecules being used that many probably regard as "normal," such as calone, iso e super, various "laundry musks," what I call "cheapo cedar", etc. Notions of "old" suggest cultural conditioning, and a few years back I also had such perceptions. Today, to me smells have no connections. In some cases I find them really "bad" but my mind says, "terribly unbalanced," such as with human waste. My guess is that most perfumers come to that point as well.