I will never forget my first Lilac Vegetal experience, several years ago. It was awful. I remember seeing a bottle of this for like six bucks at a local drugstore, and I bought it just for the hell of it. When I got home and splashed some on my neck, I was hit with what I thought was the most vile, revolting stench known to man. I remember posting something on Basenotes right away, something about how Lilac Vegetal smells like a men’s room in some abandoned gas station, with encrusted piss and shit all over the toilet bowl.
However, you can't wear Lilac Vegetal with the same mind set as if you were wearing, say, Cool Water. First, Lilac Vegetal is really supposed to be an after shave, more than a stand alone fragrance. Its purpose is more practical than cosmetic. Secondly, Lilac Vegetal is a throwback to the days long before there were such things as “Pour Homme” fragrances; we’re talking 18th and 19th century. Back in the old days, flowers were a logical ingredient used to make things smell good, regardless of whether or not it would be used by a man or a woman. So-called “lilac waters” were common. If you remember the scene from the Western film High Plains Drifter when Clint Eastwood is getting a shave at the barber shop, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about; that bottle of cologne or after shave that the barber offered Eastwood could very easily have been Lilac Vegetal, or some other similar lilac water. Before there was Old Spice or Pinaud Clubman, there was lilac water. Lilac Vegetal is so old school it makes Quorum smell modern. You need to keep that in perspective when you wear this.
The name fits – for the first couple of minutes it smells like lilacs, cabbage, peas and spinach boiled in urine. It is quite disgusting, and I have to wonder why Pinaud thought the “vegetal” part was necessary. However, it's worth being patient because within five minutes, the corned beef and cabbage poopshow disappears, and you’re left with a nice dry, warm, powdery lilac scent that is quite good. It makes for a refreshing after shave, which is what it’s meant to be, and the longevity is about two to four hours. For those hours, you have a subtle, musky floral scent that will make you smell and feel clean and well groomed. For that reason, it’s a perfect “barbershop scent”.
If you hate floral fragrances, then forget about it - Lilac Vegetal will make you sick. However, if you like florals (I do), this is certainly worth a try, especially since a huge bottle only costs about six or seven bucks. Grit your teeth and bite the bullet for the first few minutes, because the scent that remains after the initial assault is worth the pain.
MY RATING: 7.5/10