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My Pilgrimage to Colonial Drug

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My Pilgrimage to Colonial Drug

Postby DEF » Thu May 11, 2006 8:49 am

Greetings from Boston! I am here for three days for a conference, and of course the first thing I did was to go right past Harvard, MIT and Boston Harbor to make my pilgrimage to Colonial Drug down on Harvard Square, courtesy of the T red line.

Sam -- Kathy wasn't there, but I left a note with J.P. asking her to drop you a line. I don't know if you know J.P., but he recognized your name.

The big news... is that there's no news on the web site, which J.P. said is "forthcoming." No word on launch date or featured products.

My shopping luck started out bad, then turned good. It turns out Colonial doesn't carry Penhaligons, so my English Fern plans were down the tubes. They didn't have Guerlain Vetiver, either, and the T&H EDTs were out of stock. (They do, however, have the full line of creams, balms, and after shaves -- just no EDTs. They also have the full line of the new T&H contemporary-style products for men.)

J.P. set to work and provided excellent service, spraying about 8 tester strips for me and filling three sample vials.

Big discovery of the day: Roget & Gallet. J.P. put me on to "Eau de Gingembre," which is a clean, bracing, soapy scent that is very much unisex, but to my nose, classy and excellent -- especially for the warmer months. Be careful, though, a little goes a long way. There is a note of ginger, but lots of other things going on, too. Everthing blends so well I'd call this fragrance an "accord."

R&G also makes a vetyver that seemed promising, and J.P. sent me home with a sample vial.

Another one I smelled in the store and am now wishing I had brought home is Puig's Agua de Lavanda (spelling?). Lavendacious and clean pretty much sums that one up.

They did have a few brushes in the window, but to be honest I didn't look closely. At any rate, the stock was not what I would call robust.

Final damage: One tub of T&H Grafton cream, and one 100ml bottle of the R&G Eau de Gingembre -- $63 all in, and at $35, a great deal on the R&G.

They ship UPS nationwide -- TEL 1-617-864-2222.

PS -- Celebrity spotting: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler at Boston Airport about 11 p.m. last night. Me: "Hey there, Mr. Tyler. How's it goin'?" Tyler: "Pretty good, man -- how about you?" Then a spot opened up at a urinal, and that was that. He was with a long-legged youngish lady with long dark hair (who, I should clarify, waited outside the men's room); I couldn't see for sure if it was Liv, but I doubt it. I was surprised that Tyler is only about 5-8 (his overall stature, I mean); he makes up for it with his presence, though.

Rock stars! Colognes!! How's the conference gonna top this!?!?
Doug
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Postby Sam » Thu May 11, 2006 9:38 am

Good deal. I am interested in seeing their website that Kathy is working on. She was to get new shipments of Coates and Castle Forbes. I also would see if they are having an introductory sale and consider a Plisson

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Postby letterk » Thu May 11, 2006 9:52 am

How were the prices compared to the web?
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Postby DEF » Thu May 11, 2006 1:49 pm

Sam --

They did have a good stock of Coates creams -- tea tree, rose, sandalwood, and limes as I recall. I also sampled two Forbes fragrances -- including limes, of which I have a sample. Can't remember what the other one was.

As for how the prices compare: A 165 gm tub of T&H cream is $25, and as I recall, the smaller tubes were $16. And as I mentioned, the Roger & Gallet EDT was $35, which seemed good to me, though I've never priced it online.
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Postby Austin » Thu May 11, 2006 2:04 pm

Doug, the prices sound retail.
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Postby DEF » Thu May 11, 2006 2:24 pm

After one day on the Boston hotel circuit, I'm grateful for any price that isn't a royal shafting!
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Postby Big Ren » Thu May 11, 2006 2:28 pm

Doug,

Good to hear that you're enjoying Boston, and that you now have a Steven Tyler story to tell.

I've been very happy with my dealings with Colonial Drug and I look forward to the new website. If you haven't tried the Coates, it's really good stuff. So is La Maison du Barbier.

Make sure to hoist up a pint of Samuel Adams for us.


Ren
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Postby bernards66 » Thu May 11, 2006 8:35 pm

Doug, Glad that you're having a good trip. I'm a little surprised that you didn't take a gander at the Plisson brushes, Colonial is one of only two bricks and mortar US shops that stock them, that I know of. I'm also surprised that they didn't even have Guerlain Vetiver. Shoot, I can even get that in Tampa at a couple of cut-rate perfume outlets. Sounds like they're a bit thin on stock. Did you notice any Floris or D R Harris's colognes, for example? If you manage to get back for another visit, I second the above suggestion that you pick up some Coate's shave cream. Afterall, T&H can be gotten in a lot of places, Coate's is hard to come by, and is superb, IMO. Hope you conference goes well.
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Postby DEF » Thu May 11, 2006 9:02 pm

Gordon --

I was surprised at my initial bad luck with the fragrances. What I also thought was interesting was that they had devoted quite a bit of shelf space to Murray & Lanman's Florida Water, which is great, but often can be had at Wal Mart for cheap.

I didn't notice any Floris or Harris fragrances, but that's not to say they weren't there.

It's my own bias that I didn't pay more attention to the brushes. SBAD is about the only disorder I haven't caught yet; I've only ever used a drug-store boar brush. If I go back I'll take another look.

None of the Coates scents really excited me, for some reason, but if I get back there I'll reconsider.

A couple of the fragrances do have me wanting to go back. The Roger & Gallet Vetyver is interesting if a bit fleeting, and the Puig Aqua Lavanda is calling my name. (About that: They had a cylindrical clear glass tester bottle, but I've seen green bottles on the web, which makes me wonder whether Colonial is carrying older stock, or newer stock, or whether the testers simply are different. Not that it particularly matters.) Another interesting fragrance that J.P. introduced me to today is Pino by Silvestre; it's a bracing pine scent, but also fairly ferny. Sometimes I think I love it, and then sometimes I think the pine is too strong. One thing's for sure; it has one of the most "interesting" bottles I've seen -- the top is like a green plastic pine cone. I guess it's been around since the 1950s.
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Postby bernards66 » Thu May 11, 2006 10:55 pm

Doug Well, the Puig lavender is quite nice, but be aware that it's very light, even for a lavender water. Fades very quickly. With the Pino, the pine note tends to become dominant, once it's on your skin for awhile; at least it did with me. Here's hoping you get back for another look-see.
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Gordon
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Postby RVL Saratoga » Fri May 12, 2006 3:40 am

Hello, Doug

If you return, ask after the Floris Vetiver for a try. I've found that the R&G Vetyver, while interesting, contains almost no vetiver. At least according to my beak.

Lots of fun stops to make in Boston. Try Biba (on the Commons) if you're looking for a good meal. If you feel like looking at fine, rare (alas, overpriced) clothing give Louis, Boston a browse - visit Alan Bilzerian, too. Both are on Newbury St. Newbury Comics is also a neat music store ("A Wicked Good Time" is their slogan.) Also, there's a dive bar off Kenmore Square called She's Leaving Home that I used to like; I'm not sure it's still there.

Oh, and Suffolk Downs opened last week.

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Robert
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Postby Austin » Fri May 12, 2006 6:53 am

RVL Saratoga wrote:Hello, Doug

If you return, ask after the Floris Vetiver for a try. I've found that the R&G Vetyver, while interesting, contains almost no vetiver. At least according to my beak.


Regards,
Robert


I agree with Robert. Floris Vetiver is very potent and pleasureable. Give it a try.
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Postby DEF » Fri May 12, 2006 2:13 pm

Friday update

Well, I went back to Colonial today, and I'm glad I did! I met Kathy, who was as welcoming and friendly as could be; picked up a tub of Coates Sandalwood; learned some noteworthy news; and was regaled with a criminal amount of freebies.

Here's the news: Kathy expects the site to be up some time in June, but she'll have a lot of work to do to get it ready. Why? Well, over the next couple of weeks, she's got about 300 brushes coming in, including some 100 Plissons, which will be high mountain white grade. She's going to photograph them thoroughly for your viewing pleasure, and I confirmed that her efforts will be much appreciated, as our lot is a particularly particular bunch.

Aside from the Coates, I stopped short of buying any fragrances today; Kathy has some Guerlain Vetiver coming in shortly, so I decided to hold off on anything else for now.

Aside from treating me like some visiting emissary, Kathy loaded me up with several Roger & Gallet soap singles, some body creme and a vial of sexy perfume for my wife (auspiciously titled "Pheromone"), various other sample packets, a tube of Coates lavender, and a travel atomizer filled with Guerlain Vetiver from their tester -- which fragrance being, as far as vetiver goes for this particular nose, "da bomb." I tell you this only to make you completely jealous, and I fully expect due deployment of the "green with envy" emoticon! Really, their hospitality was outstanding.

The least I can do is point out again that the number for Colonial Drug is 1-617-864-2222, and Kathy reminded me that SMF members receive free shipping.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go shave again two or three times.
Doug
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Postby Sam » Fri May 12, 2006 2:21 pm

Doug: Nice haul. The actual pics of the brushes is going to be so nice, what with talk about White, vs. Manchurian, vs. Super. Also, I hope they have the technology where you can compare one brush with another, kinda like put a picture of one up against another, and they may also take measurements. I think they may sell a bucket of Plissons when we can actually visualize the HMW vs. a Simpsons and even the Euro White

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Postby Gatorade » Fri May 12, 2006 2:44 pm

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Postby Blue As A Jewel » Fri May 12, 2006 2:46 pm

Doug you showed an amazing amount of restraint IMO!
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Postby DEF » Fri May 12, 2006 2:49 pm

blueasajewel wrote:Doug you showed an amazing amount of restraint IMO!


Thanks, Ravi! I'll enlist you to explain this to SWMBO, then!
Doug
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Postby RVL Saratoga » Fri May 12, 2006 6:10 pm

Nice gift for the wife, if it's what I think it is. I used to date a gal that wore Pheromone de Niki de Saint Phalle: damn stuff was $300 an ounce years ago.

Glad you had a productive trip.

Regards,
Robert
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Postby DEF » Fri May 12, 2006 7:35 pm

Hey, Robert --

This stuff is Pheromone by Marilyn Miglin, which turns out to carry a mass-market price tag. Still smells very nice, though, and the sample card says it contains 179 different essences -- so you know it's produced with plenty of marketing bullsh -- I mean, great care and artistry.
Doug
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Postby bernards66 » Fri May 12, 2006 11:10 pm

Doug, Glad that you got to meet Cathy, the second time around. Sounds like it rather changed the whole gestalt ( chuckle ). I'm glad that you did pick up some Coate's, and to hear that they now have the Lavender, as well as the othe scents. Coate's is definately my favourite of the all the top shelf Sandalwood shave creams, hope you enjoy it. It certainly will be interesting to see their website when it goes up. That's an awful lot of Plisson HMWs. One hell of an investment for them. Thanks again for your full 'reportage'.
Regards,
Gordon
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