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  1. #1

    Default Better options than British Sterling

    My father's worn British Sterling for 30 years or more, and I'm looking to offer him a better alternative, or at least an alternative at all. It's all he's ever bought. Any suggestions? Similar notes/accords?

    He's a successful businessman/academic, semi-retired, in his 70s, outgoing, outspoken and good-natured. He's always worn the aftershave.

    I'm thinking about Guerlain's Vetiver, Davidoff Zino, or even Bulgari PH as an all-arounder (though I can't find that in an aftershave), as a quality alternative. Any suggestions? I'm having a hard time pinning down something that might smell enough like BS (heh!), but more 'refined', that he'd give a try.

    TIA for your suggestions.

  2. #2
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    mikeperez23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Vetiver by Guerlain is a great option. So is Polo or Polo Modern Reserve by Ralph Lauren.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by california71 View Post
    I'm having a hard time pinning down something that might smell enough like BS (heh!), but more 'refined', that he'd give a try.
    If you want something similar to a spiced woody amber like British Sterling, I'd recommend trying Cacharel Pour l'Homme, Dunhill Edition, or maybe YSL Jazz, all of which have similar notes even if they're stronger and put together differently.


    A couple of curveball options: Knize Ten (even though BS isn't a leather or petrol frag), Caron's Third Man (I got a lot of amber from this one when I sampled it), Equipage, or Habit Rouge (might have too much vanilla for comfort)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by california71 View Post
    My father's worn British Sterling for 30 years or more
    And i suspect the reason for that is because he likes it. It's rather like buying a new pipe for a friend who has smoked the same one for 30 years. Always seems a good idea, but believe me, it's never the same and never as good.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    I would go Azzaro PH. Can't lose with that one and it won't be a shock to him, like and aquatic would

  6. #6

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    A lot of excellent suggestions here. I would like add another vote for Zino Davidoff -- it is fantastic. My additions would be Ungaro II and/or Ungaro III. Very dignified. I wear both and find them to be quite pleasing to myself and others. Of course, Ungaro II is discontinued, but there seems to be a decent supply of it left. Consider Jaipur Homme as well.
    "You just keep me hangin' on." -- Farewell, Lou.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    I'd say start simple, and this is not a joke... Aqua Velva Ice Blue. He will recognize and appreciate its delicious familiarity.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Creed royal English leather. Pricey but worth it

  9. #9

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamofgilgamesh View Post
    And i suspect the reason for that is because he likes it. It's rather like buying a new pipe for a friend who has smoked the same one for 30 years. Always seems a good idea, but believe me, it's never the same and never as good.
    This is true, but he's also the kind of guy that just never bothered to try anything else. I can't imagine him standing at a fragrance counter at a Nordstroms, sampling fragrances. I'm a bit that way at restaurants - I tend to order the same thing most of the time, but at some point, you should try other stuff on the menu, right? (He also smokes a pipe - and would only buy cherry tobacco, until I got him a sampler of other flavors, which he admitted he enjoyed, and now he buys various types)

    That's kind of where I am. I think he'd be surprised (in a good way) at what's out there.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far - I think the Vetiver Guerlain is going to be my first 'gift', but I'm taking the others suggested under definite advisement. I've just had a hard time pinning down that British Sterling 'type' of scent in others I've sampled so far, and don't want to turn him off by going aquatic and having him balk at the 'radical' difference. Baby steps. I figured (rightly) that the basenotes community would have some solid suggestions.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    British Sterling shares prominent talcum powder / powdery notes with Royal Copenhagen and Guerlain's Habit Rouge: it is like a continuum stretching from minimal complexity / sillage and longevity in British Sterling to mid complexity, sillage and longevity in Royal Copenhagen, the most complex of them all being Guerlain's Habit Rouge.

    Now, a word of caution: if he likes British Sterling's after shave it is because he does like "low profile fragances". Personally, I would not venture giving him anything else as a gift for I am sure he will find alternatives as bold.

    I am sure scents mentioned would not be his cup of tea for he will find them too affected for his tastes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by Pollux View Post
    Now, a word of caution: if he likes British Sterling's after shave it is because he does like "low profile fragances". Personally, I would not venture giving him anything else as a gift for I am sure he will find alternatives as bold.

    I am sure scents mentioned would not be his cup of tea for he will find them too affected for his tastes.
    This is my main concern, but I'm willing to drop some coin to see if he might be pleasantly surprised. Thanks for the more specific breakdown of the notes/accords in BS.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    He's worn it for all these years and he likes it - why change anything?

    If you really want to try something different yet similar, Rive Gauche Homme

  13. #13

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    My father had British Sterling among a few others. I got him CK Obsession which he likes. I have no idea if there is an after-shave in it or not. I hate after-shave and quit using in middle school. Another one of dignity I would consider for his age is RL Safari. Or why not go all the way and get him an acquatic/marine note, like Acqua di Gio. It's fresh...he might totally love it. But don't punish him if he keeps using British Sterling!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by Pollux View Post
    British Sterling shares prominent talcum powder / powdery notes with Royal Copenhagen and Guerlain's Habit Rouge
    All three clearly have benzoin in the base, but even British Sterling isn't *that* simple (no matter what some reviewers have said!) To me, Habit Rouge is closer to British Sterling than Royal Copenhagen, but the Guerlain's vanilla can take some getting used to.

    Having rechecked a couple of my earlier suggestions against a sample of British Sterling, Equipage is much closer to British Sterling in opening and feel than I'd thought. For a change, I even noticed the pine note

    Now that I've taken the time to think about it, a guy can do much worse than wear British Sterling - and that's before considering the price.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Yes, I actually like the makeup of British Sterling, though I associate it with my father, so I can't picture wearing it myself. But I can see why he's stuck with it for so long - it's solid.

    I suppose it's like knowing someone who's only drunk one brand of relatively cheap beer his whole life, to the exclusion of all others, even though now he could afford to drink anything. At first, the inexpensive beer (or fragrance) made sense to your wallet, and maybe it's not a bad beer. But now that price is certainly no object for you, why not try a slightly pricier brew? If you've only ever had one brand of beer in your life, there's a great chance that there's something you'd like better, if you were willing to try.

    That said, British Sterling smells pretty good, and I rarely smell it on others anymore. And to those who've politely suggested I should just let him enjoy his British Sterling, know that I've already bought plenty of BS for him online (can't find it locally anymore). I'm sure the Guerlain Vetiver bottle (and other suggestions I've gotten here) will end up gathering dust on a shelf somewhere, but it's worth a shot.

    Thanks again for the responses.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Rather than a whole bottle, why not consider getting small decants (5ml or so) of some of the suggestions. A gentle way to perhaps open him up to some other possibilities.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by flashpoint321 View Post
    ...But don't punish him if he keeps using British Sterling!
    IMHO, and darn serious, an excellent choice for a gentleman: for he will be the one responsible for the scent's personna, rather than the scent imprinting the wearer's character.

    Quote Originally Posted by StylinLA View Post
    Rather than a whole bottle, why not consider getting small decants (5ml or so) of some of the suggestions. A gentle way to perhaps open him up to some other possibilities.
    + 1.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    Vetiver by Guerlain is a great option. So is Polo or Polo Modern Reserve by Ralph Lauren.
    i agree with the vetiver by guerlain, also l'occitane has a nice vetiver as well.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by california71 View Post
    My father's ... successful businessman/academic, semi-retired, in his 70s, outgoing, outspoken and good-natured. ... but more 'refined', that he'd give a try.
    The alternative to British (Pound) Sterling is the Euro obviously. As a son of his You must not take care of his sole fragrance but rather look after his skills to come up with them. To get the feel of it watch "The Graduate" again.

    Being in fragrance is time to time seen to suspend otherwise critical intellectuality. I'm afraid you have to score against that prejudice.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    British Sterling is powdery but IMHO this stuff has undergone some reformulation, if not a lot over the last 20 years. I had bottles form 1989, 1995 and one bought late last year. The Sandalwood has been toned down a good bit has been toned down extensively and it now seems way too linear now with no complexity (not that the stuff was that complex before).

    If this stuff floats your boat I can imagine Royal Copenhagen fitting the bill as well. While I used to like British Sterling the current formulation does nothing for me and is way too weak. Royal Copenhagen has been watered down a lot but is more similar to what it used to be. That is if you like powdery.

    British Sterling had a spinoff called Silver in the early 90s. While my wife doesn't care in the least for British Sterling she loves the Silver variety. It is a softer smoother scent but has less longevity IMHO. Might not be the easiest thing to track down though.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Abercrombie Woods, now that it's back.

    Although when he sees the bottle, he might run in terror. BUT he'll be amazed by the smell it emits!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Better options than British Sterling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamofgilgamesh View Post
    And i suspect the reason for that is because he likes it. It's rather like buying a new pipe for a friend who has smoked the same one for 30 years. Always seems a good idea, but believe me, it's never the same and never as good.
    agree

    nevertheless if you even after reading this want to buy him different cologne, my vote would get Aramis or Habit Rouge

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