Perfume Directory

Clubman Lilac Vegetal (1880)
by Pinaud

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Clubman Lilac Vegetal information

Year of Launch1880
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 55 votes)

People and companies

HousePinaud
Parent CompanyAmerican International Beauty Group

About Clubman Lilac Vegetal

Clubman Lilac Vegetal is a masculine fragrance by Pinaud. The scent was launched in 1880

Clubman Lilac Vegetal fragrance notes

Reviews of Clubman Lilac Vegetal

ad_scott Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A strange one but I do have respect for this due to its history and tradition. Straight up this smells like a row of public urinals sprinkled with a heavy dash of talcum powder (the musky Lilac at work here). Lilac Vegetal is a quirky, slightly off-putting scent and should only be used on a lonely night after a shave and before bed. A fragrance for oneself to appreciate.
26th October, 2018
Pinaud Lilac Vegetal (1880) is an imposing, almost infamous early after shave splash that was the catalyst for the later "Clubman Pinaud" division of the original Ed. Pinaud company's American arm in 1880. Pinaud Lilac Vegetal as we know it now was launched in the US around 1880, but prior to that, it was simply "Lilas de France" toilette water devised by Édouard Pinaud himself for the Hungarian cavalry, so they could splash it on the body in the way folks used eau de cologne back then inbetween drawing baths. Édouard made "Lilas de France" extra stiff and bracing because obviously it's being used by soldiers on horseback, and that carried over to the after shave lotion variant renamed Lilac Vegetal for it's green hue and slightly herbaceous "vegetal" note in the opening. Édouard Pinaud passed away in 1868, so this is the only real legitimate Pinaud-composed item in the "Clubman Pinaud" range, which is funny considering it's the most controversial of the bunch. This stuff is a history lesson in a bottle, and much like Caswell-Massey Jockey Club (1840) is really only enjoyed today by hipsters, wet shaving hobbyists, and folks into turn-of-the-century history or style. Personally, I'd take the Jockey Club over this because nothing outside of it's antique construction is really all that odd, while Lilac Vegetal has a pretty hard to shake opening, which lingers into the rest of the scent and keeps this in neutral territory for me.

Lilac Vegetal opens with a note that usually makes or breaks people's opinion of the scent, as it's a very green, uncompromisingly oily and sharp "vegetal" note that can't really be described any other way. Detractors call it rotted lettuce, skunk cabbage, or swamp gas, and I can totally see that. Like anyone's first beer, it either instills revulsion or morbid curiousity which in time becomes an acquired taste. The rather unadulterated lilac note comes next, and this is the part where urinal cakes, nursing homes, and Play-Doh are all cited. Lilac is used to scent a lot of hygiene products, and maybe this stuff is actually to blame because of it's once ubiquitous popularity, but after a few minutes in, the scary part is mostly over and lilacs on a bed of uncommonly funky musk are left. It's an old Victorian kind of animalic musk unlike the laundry stuff we're used to now, and although I imagine new bottles are still using a synthetic proxy over rarified deer musk, whatever they got going on here certainly isn't "clean" by modern standards. As the name suggests, Pinaud Lilac Vegetal is just a burst of lilac carried across by that Lovecraftian horror of a "vegetal" note which eventually reduces to a moderately dirty mild floral musk. This stuff is literally castor oil for the nose. Sillage and longevity are mercifully low with this one, and although everyone needs to experience this at least once, Lilac Vegetal can fortunately be covered easily with another perfume after about 30 minutes assuming you don't get it on clothing.

It's kind of mesmerizing in a bizzare way, this here Lilac Vegetal stuff. I imagine the overboard green and lilac smell was quite bracing to those Hungarian horseback soldiers, and indeed American men throughout the turn of the 20th century when this peaked, as there was little else. But, barbershop tropes already well-established in the UK began floating over to the US, plus bay rum coming up from the Caribbean, meaning this stuff would remain relevant only to it's own cult of (usually) high society users that enjoyed it for it's dandy-like floral finish and because it was so damned challenging. Sometimes you still see this in country club locker rooms as a complimentary grooming toiletry alongside some form of brilliantine and mouth wash. Do I like it? Well I certainly couldn't handle smelling of musky lilac all day, but I don't think Édouard Pinaud meant this to be used for fashionable day wear anyway considering it's original deodorant purpose. As an after shave? Yeah it certainly does the trick and works about as well as any other Pinaud for relieving burn. I love old powdery scents and especially florals, but there's just something unsettling in this that keeps it from moving beyond fascinating to something enjoyable for me. Scary reputation intact. Well played Mister Pinaud, well played.
06th September, 2018
I will admit that this fragrance is weird, but in a good way. Lilac Vegetal is an old-fashioned barbershop aftershave that smells like rotting lettuce when whiffed straight from the bottle. However, upon application the rotting lettuce scent unfolds into an intoxicating, powdery lilac scent. This really is a one-of-a-kind scent that I highly recommend.
02nd August, 2017
I bought this after having read a lot about it on wet shaving forums. It's deemed a classic barbershop scent, and relished by many. I am not one of those who relish it. It is a overpowering scent redolent of sweet licorice and cat urine, and in a bad way. That's the description my wife gave the microsecond she smelled it on me, and I could not disagree.
Upon application, I immediately got a migraine headache that did not go away until I washed, and that took vigorous scrubbing.
It's really bad.
11th April, 2015
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
I am at heart a traditionalist and love the idea of Pinaud fragrances. Some of them I even like. Lilac Vegetal is not one of them. To start with, I do not care for gourmand fragrances and I hate vegetal fragrances (Yatagan, I forgive you for the celery because you are so great.....). Oh, and lilacs are my least favorite flower. So, if I am predisposed to dislike this scent, why am I even reviewing it? Because it is everywhere! In every men's club locker room, every golf club locker room, there are shelves of the stuff and the fellows splash it on with abandon and carry it out into the world with them. Not my idea of how a gentleman should smell. The scent itself smells sour, synthetic and like you forgot to pour out old vase water. Not my cup of tea by a long shot!
05th February, 2015
This is so much a part of my childhood that I have to give it a "thumbs up". My great-uncle was a barber and I was required to visit his shop every two weeks. This scent was applied liberally each time my haircut ended! Hated it then but now it takes me back to a different era. Thanks for the memories.
That being said, I understand why almost everyone's first impression is neutral at best. It is the lingerings that makke it the fine product that it is and I hope it NEVER goes away!
02nd July, 2014

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