Perfume Directory

Aqua Velva Musk
by Williams

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Aqua Velva Musk information

GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 11 votes)

People and companies

HouseWilliams
Parent CompanyCombe

About Aqua Velva Musk

Aqua Velva Musk is a masculine fragrance by Williams.

Aqua Velva Musk fragrance notes

Reviews of Aqua Velva Musk

Aqua Velva Musk Aftershave -

1975 called....it wants your face back. For $6 bucks you could do much worse as this one behaves as a cologne with a splashdown of spicy, leathery, muskyness clocking in at around 2 hours.

I personally prefer Jovan, but I will give this one a thumbs up for having some depth and steering clear of feeling like other “too clean” musks.

You could easily layer your favorite virile power broker EDT over this and extend the performance a couple of hours. There’s something about an Aqua Velva man!

3 stars.
25th September, 2020
One of my favorite aftershaves. I like to use it when I'm going to wear an amber or animalic fragrance of the day. Spicy musk. Fades quickly and appropriately. Will buy repeatedly when I run out.
05th October, 2019
The reassuring thing about musks as a genre is they don't wander far from base note, keeping surprises to a minimum. Some go in a more floral or soapy direction, others go a bit more aromatic and leathery, while some go strait for animalic hair-raising musk aroma not fit for polite society, but best of all, it doesn't take a lot of money to find a decent musk anymore if you enjoy it. Naturally, a lot of this has to do with the proliferation of synthetic musks that basically replaced all the deer hunting which used to supply perfumers with the commodity of musk grains, and suddenly musk was no longer a rare and precious material (a fate shared with ambergris or "amber"). On the flip side, synthetic musks made the process of creating musk scents so inexpensive that once musk itself came back in fashion around the late 1960's, they were often the entry point of every fly-by-night aftershave, cologne, or perfume upstart trying to get in the game on the ground floor until the genre was beaten into the ground, which is where our story begins with Aqua Velva Musk (1975). Aqua Velva (1935) was originally released as an all-purpose mouthwash/after shave/hair tonic in 1917 before being more heavily-mentholated in 1929, then changed blue with bittering agent in a 1935 version so soldiers who received it in their drop packs wouldn't drink it, eventually replacing the original formula domestically so Williams didn't have to produce two variants, but they reversed this very same thinking by the end of the 1960's when new "flavors" were introduced to compete with all the variants of Old Spice (1937) and English Leather (1949). Aqua Velva Musk launched the same year that both Shulton and MEM released their own musk variants of Old Spice and English Leather respectively, as musk itself had slowly been on the rise thanks to Kiehl's Original Musk (1963), Alyssa Ashley Musk (1968), a double-male-whammy of both Jovan Musk (1973) and Monsieur Houbigant/Monsieur Musk, then finally Coty Musk for Men (1974), guys everywhere by the mid-70's were just nuts for musk as the "secret weapon" for the date scene.

It was only a matter of time before the drugstore giants like Williams, Shulton, MEM and all that lot got into the musk race too, and as mentioned above, it's an easy genre to abuse due to it's inexpensive nature to produce synthetically, which lead to much such abuse, and a great many superfluous and ineffectual examples of "men's musk cologne" either as flankers such as this, or obscure stand-alone one-off labels that lasted a few years then poofed into non-existence, fought over by drugstore memorabilia collectors on eBay decades thereafter. I'm happy to report that at the R&D department of Williams, somebody must have done their homework on musk because Aqua Velva Musk is not only more sophisticated than the average bear from this price point, but generally a classier and truly masculine example of the genre, not just a laundry musk lazily laid over top of an existing note pyramid like many from the period. Aqua Velva Musk features a tobacco and leather base that ever-so-slightly reminds me of the original Aqua Velva's leather chypre core, and I feel this is on purpose to connect the DNA between both, but Aqua Velva Musk does it's own thing with the rest of the composition. Aqua Velva Musk opens with a citrus that's brighter than usual compared to other period male musks, coming from a bergamot/orange/lemon /mint tandem, although the formula itself isn't mentholated. We get a semi-sweet vibe with slight tarragon and sage notes in the middle to make Aqua Velva Musk a bit green as well. The usually-meaty tarragon note adds a sweat factor which helps keep Aqua Velva Musk out of the laundry basket like modern musks, but there's a still slight nod to the barbershop aesthetic thanks to a rich lavender working with the mint too. This is Aqua Velva after all, so even as a quasi-virile concoction, it has to tie in with wet shaving, but manages this feet without the brutishness of Jovan Musk for Men, or ambiguous too-clean lines of Coty Musk for Men. The base is still going to be that same musk note, with the aforementioned classic Aqua Velva "brown leather shoe" accord, alongside a pipe tobacco backdrop, some oakmoss, and tonka. The minty edge of this burns off nearly as quickly as the sting from application, but what's left behind is a leathery tobacco sweet musk which could almost be a base to layer something else on top of, or worn all by itself, which isn't a bad bit of versatility.

There's no doubt this won't compete with Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens (1998), Musc Ravageur by Editions Parfums Frédéric Malle (2000), or even a nice bottle of the Kiehl's mentioned above, as this is not a serious connoisseur's musk by any measure, nor does it have more than a pinch of the dirty vibe real musk lovers crave. Avon Musk for Men (1983) comes really close to this, but is a bit more piney and much harder to find as it's been discontinued in it's original format for a very long time, so Aqua Velva Musk might be the cure for folks who miss that one. Longevity is decent for an aftershave, and this challenges the cologne segment, but won't stand up to a proper eau de toilette without some reapplication, hence my hinting at layering this with something you also enjoy. Aqua Velva Musk does have decent projection in it's 6 hour max life span, so I'd be careful with over-applying thinking it might boost the wear time, because you'll just gas everyone out instead. Trust me, I knew an older guy who stocked shelves at my local grocery back home, and he was always soaked in this stuff; you knew what aisle he was in by the smell before you ever saw the guy, but he loved his Aqua Velva Musk so what can I say? For being around $5, I won't give this too much flack, as it is quite good for a simple citric musk aftershave with a sweet tobacco and leather bottom end to keep it macho, but it's still something that feels woefully dated in civil company thanks to the sideburns and tall collars aesthetic that even 40+ years of time can't shake loose. The stuff survived the culling of a great many flanker when Combe took over production of Aqua Velva for Williams, so I guess that also speaks to the unique quality of the stuff, which punches far above it's plastic bottle drugstore aisle weight without a doubt. There aren't many disco-era man musks I'll wear (at any price point or vintage), but this one does just barely register a blip on my radar when I have that itch to scratch and don't want to reach for Houbigant or Avon, as it's just a tad more refined than most of it's brethren despite it actually being even cheaper. Keep this one to nights at home alone after an evening shave. Your friends will thank you for it later.
24th September, 2018 (last edited: 11th November, 2018)
Good frag for what you do with it...splash it all over your face after you shave. Burned, lasted 1/2 hour, then disappeared.
28th June, 2016
Somewhat bracing and virile piece of barber-shop woodsy musky-mentholated aroma. Synthetic but not too much. Lots of hesperides, herbs and woods in the top. A quite angular and rooty initial take on bracing synth moss. Dry down is muskier (airy) and more "tamed". Acqua Velva Musk after shave is a nostalgic and ritual piece of soothing virility.
12th April, 2016
aqua velva musk after shave/cologne has a stronger fragrance than aqua velva ice blue after shave. both however have a limited lasting strength. good companion to own.
05th March, 2014

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