02-10-2014, 10:06 AM
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This review is recovered from the old review section for archival reasons.

This is a vintage splash aftershave from the French company Roger & Gallet.  The Jean Marie Farina Extra-Vieille cologne was launched originally in 1806; I don't know when the aftershave was added.  Top notes are bergamot, lemon, orange, and mandarin orange; middle notes are petitgrain, carnation, neroli, rosemary, and rose; and base notes are clove, myrtle, cedar, sandalwood, musk, white amber, and vetiver.

This is quite similar to 4711 but more complex and vibrant, with a richer lemon note and overall a less "synthetic" character.  The scent is very natural and disarmingly simple, green, dry, and clean, not sweet at all, appropriate for both casual and business wear.  It starts out quite green and citrusy, then fades to a more aromatic fragrance, smelling like a fresh countryside.  My major complaint about it is that it does not last very long, essentially disappearing within an hour.

This is said to have been Napoleon's signature cologne scent.  It appears to have been reformulated at some point, with the modern incarnation just like 4711 but with an extra touch of citrus and clove, while the original old formulation is said to be significantly more floral, green, elegant, and subtle.  I suspect that my vintage aftershave represents the older version.  It is a wonderful blend of bergamot, orange blossom, and woods, with a touch of spice.  

The aftershave has just a slight burn when first applied but then becomes very soothing, probably due to the emollients it contains.  It is not moisturizing at all; in fact, it is somewhat drying, which is a little bit uncomfortable and disappointing.

I bought this 240ml (8 oz.) bottle on eBay for $45.  This puts its cost pretty much at a level with that of 4711, which is about $20 for 100ml.  I don't believe there is a modern form of the aftershave available for retail sale, but the modern cologne costs $55-60 for 100ml.

So overall I would say that this is quite similar to 4711, with both advantages and disadvantages.  It is more complex and subtle than the 4711, but it does not last quite as long and it is more drying.  If these tradeoffs are acceptable to you, it is worth a try.  For me it is not a top-tier product, but it is quite good, especially for warm summer days.

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256 14,776
 02-10-2014, 11:09 AM
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Lovely bottle, John, and good to see you enjoy the scent! Smile

93 21,373
 02-11-2014, 02:26 PM
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Thanks for the review, John. I had been wondering about this scent for some time.

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