I was inspired to break out my bottle of Burberry’s Brit for Men after reading a review of it over at the From Pyrgos blog (http://frompyrgos.blogspot.com) the other day. Perhaps the major reason is that this blogger advised his readers to wear Royal Copenhagen Cologne (version not specified) rather than Brit for Men. I thought this was a rather odd thing to say, because these scents are not particularly similar (I’ve only tried the vintage Swank version of RCC). Fragrantica.com has the following notes listed for Brit:
“Citrusy freshness of mandarin and bergamot and cool, spicy notes of ginger and cardamom preceed a masculine heart of cedar and nutmeg with a touch of refined wild rose. The base is sensual due to precious egzotic woods, gray amber, Tonka bean and patchouli.”
First of all, Brit isn’t animalic whereas RCC begins with quite a stench! Moreover, RCC is complex and heavily blended, whereas Brit doesn’t have many notes and they are easy to detect. As well, Brit has a strong cedar note and after a while one detects some clear patchouli, whereas these types of notes are at their mildest imaginable in RCC. It’s like comparing Babe Ruth to Peyton Manning (or in this case, perhaps Mark Sanchez), that is, it doesn’t make sense on more than one level. And perhaps most importantly to a lot of people, Brit is strong and lasts, whereas RCC becomes very weak rather quickly. For the aficionado, Brit has clarity and dynamism, though unfortunately may come across as somewhat “synthetic.” RCC is a “cologne,” whereas my Brit bottle in an EdT, but of course strength can vary, no matter what the makers claim.
Over time, Brit’s synthetic character (at least to me) eases up a bit and it begins to smell a lot better, with good if not great dynamism, balance, and note contrast. The cedar seems less “screechy” too. This is quite good if you like this sort of thing, but there is some “stiff” competition. One is Rose d’Homme, which doesn’t have the cedar but instead has leather. Thus, if you aren’t a fan of the strong cedar note that appears in so many “masculines” these days, this is one to sample. Another is Royal Secret for Men, which gets very little attention from anyone, it seems. This comes together very nicely after fifteen to twenty minutes and may be my favorite of the bunch.
The notes for that one are lemon, jasmine, sandalwood, amber, and rose, though for some reason has a orange-like quality (taken from Fragrantica.com). The sandalwood provides a gentler experience, and is of reasonably good quality, perhaps due to note selection and blending. It’s very inexpensive now (try ebay.com) and I consider it unisex. RCC does open better than any of these others, though, so if you are a smell the top notes and forget about it type of guy, that may be the one to go for (but I’d only get a vintage version; considering current retail prices, my guess is that it now smells “synthetic” in some major way).
As to Brit, after a couple of hours, a vanillic quality becomes more obvious. Longevity and projection (“sillage”) are quite good, with just one spray to the chest. I can understand how some might call this uninspired, but this was not meant to be niche. And I’m not a fan of this kind of wood note. However, if I did like all these notes, I would rank Brit very highly. Clearly, it’s more suited to cooler weather. RCC, by contrast, reminds me of something I tried as a child. We would often have deli slices on a roll for lunch on Sundays, and one time I tried to put one slice of each on a roll to see what it would taste like, thinking it might taste incredibly good. The result was what you would expect (once was enough, just as with my sampling of RCC the other day).