Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Woto Cologne and Aftershave by Deviline, Inc. c1968

Woto Cologne and Aftershave by Deviline, Inc.: launched in 1968. The name Woto derives from the Kuba people of central Africa and is the name of their first king. The maple wood cap on the Woto cologne bottle reflects the artistic style of the woodcarving done by the Kuba and the pattern on the box recalls native Congolese design.

So what does it smell like? It was a woodsy, mossy fragrance for men. I do not have the official notes on this fragrance, but was happy to review this to see what I could find out.

My fragrantica friend and fellow New Jerseyite Gary (cytherian) generously sent me a sample from his own bottle. I applied a few drops to my skin on the back of my hand and the first impression that I get is "Wow! This stuff smells awesome! So sexy and earthy."

A very pungent green note of galbanum mixed with bright bergamot and some sparkling aldehydes is the first to greet and tickle my nose. Then this is followed by a ferny goodness that some of you know from other vintage fougere fragrances, that exquisite fern accord, altogether earthy, deep, dark foresty and backed by some spices, labdanum, myrrh, opoponax and a hint of geranium, orris and some herbal notes combining lavender and clary sage.

Then comes the oakmoss, oh yes, the oakmoss, this cologne is rife with a generous helping of pure, authentic vintage oakmoss. The cologne has a "fuzzy" balsamic overall effect when I sniff it over and over again. Some very good vintage perfumes and colognes have this "fuzziness" or velvety-ness, I cannot think of another way to describe this, but it is very enveloping and is perfectly blended and is probably from Iso E Super or musk ambrette. There is some naughty civet and leather hidden deep inside the resinous drydown with some patchouli leaves, amber, cedar, powdery tonka bean and sandalwood. There is a note in there that reminds me of vintage Opium perfume,. Absolutely stunning from start to finish. I would think that a very good niche perfumer could remake this and have a best seller on their hands.


  • Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, green accord, galbanum
  • Middle notes: geranium, lavender, myrrh, orris, opoponax, clary sage, labdanum
  • Base notes: amber, oakmoss, resins, vetiver, sandalwood, cedar, civet, balsams, tonka bean, leather, musk (Iso E Super)


Discontinued, date unknown. Still being sold in 1979.


Harper's Bazaar - Volume 102 - Page 70, 1969:
"The love god Woto worked his voodoo they say, from the mouth of the Congo to the mountains of the moon. Deviline, Inc. has blended fragrant oils from exotic sources and packaged them in designs inspired by African sculpture to create bold, brash Woto Cologne, "seducer of women. $8.50 at Henri Bendel.
Essence, 1970:
"How about Woto, an exciting new cologne named after the African God of Love. A blend of exotic oils from marvelous faraway places, Woto is a delightful manly fragrance bottled in a classic African- inspired decanter and cleverly wrapped in an authentic Congolese patterned box. It's a refreshing after-shave scent he'll love splashing on, . . . and you'll love it when he does."

Soap, 1975:
"Named after African god of love, "Woto" fragrance line from Deviline, Inc., New York, features blend of 68 ingredients. Decanter is capped in maple wood; package design is taken from Congolese pattern."

Southern Illinoisan Newspaper, December 10, 1975:
"The legend of Woto is too sensual to be told. Woto Cologne-. $9.50. After Shave: $7.00. Woto Giftset $5.00."

Cue, 1976:
"Deviline's Woto, named after a tribal love god, is an exotic, erotic blend imaginatively packaged in authentic African design. The Musk Cologne is $10 for 4 oz. and there's no mistaking it's message."
 Cue, 1977:
"Aficionados of Africana and/ or love will surely go for Woto ("Love God") by Deviline. It's a deep, throbbing, distinctive fragrance, handsomely presented in decanters Inspired by African sculpture and boxed in a native pattern. "


The Pharos-Tribune. Logansport, Ind. Thursday, June 14,1979:
"The legend of Woto is too sensual to be told. Woto Cologne (4 oz.) $2.00 Woto Gift Set (4 oz. cologne, 4 oz. after shave) $19.00, Woto Musk-Cologne (4 oz.) $12.00, Woto After Shave (4 oz.) $8.50, Woto On A Rope (Soap) $6.00."

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