Old Spice is named for the reassuring, nostalgic fragrance of this invigorating perfume made with spices.
Old Spice, the world’s best selling men’s fragrance, was originally a perfume for women. In 1934, William Lightfoot Shultz founded the Shulton Company and, in 1937, he created Early American Old Spice based on his memory of his mother’s rose jar, which held a combination of roses, cloves, herbs, and other spices.
In 1938, Shultz introduced Old Spice for Men, featuring the famous colonial clipper ship on the bottle. In keeping with the aftershave’s nautical theme, the Old Spice bottle, originally made from pottery, was designed to look like a buoy out at sea.
During World War II, American soldiers, needing to protect their skin from infection after shaving on the battlefield, were issued Old Spice Aftershave. When they returned home, many former G.I.s continued using Old Spice—pleased by the crisp, clean, masculine scent and invigorating tingle.
The iconic porcelain Old Spice bottle was produced in Belgium and colored with Egyptian sand.
The original ships featured on Old Spice bottles were the Grand Turk and the Friendship. Other ships used on Old Spice packaging include the Wesley, Salem, Birmingham and Hamilton.
In 1992, Procter & Gamble replaced the clipper ship on the Old Spice bottle with a Sailboat/Yacht logo.
Actor John Bennett Perry, father of Friends star Matthew Perry, starred as the sailor in Old Spice commercials in the 1970s.
On The Tonight Show in 2007, Jay Leno joked, “Old Spice? Isn’t that who David Beckham is married to?”
In 2008, Procter & Gamble switched from the classic Old Spice bottle to three sizes of shatter-resistant polyethylene terephthalate bottles, with the same porcelain-like appearance of the iconic Old Spice bottle. The bottle retains its original shape, as a beacon of consistency in an ever-changing world.
In 2008, comedian Will Ferrell starred in commercials for Old Spice, playing his character Jackie Moon from the comedy movie Semi-Pro. In the commercials, Ferrell calls Old Spice “the finest street-legal antiperspirant you can get outside of Mexico that’s not poisonous.”