Brit for Men (Burberry)

It's been a hell of a week so far, with fallout from the school shooting settling into our daily lives like a bad case of gout settling into an alcoholic's joints. Weird analogy? Everything's weird now, sorry. From the locked-down buildings at work, to the news that one of the slain was a teacher who worked at my company only a couple of years ago, to the disturbing fact that the children, of all people, must not be exposed to the truth about Friday's events, unless they ask about them first, and even then only as far as specific queries go. It makes sense, but at the same time I can't help but wonder if pretending nothing's wrong is itself wrong. Guess we'll take it on faith that it's the right thing. Meanwhile, we're all hoping peace returns to Connecticut.

Only about a week before Friday's nightmare occurred, I wore Burberry's famous Brit for Men, expecting quite a good fragrance prior to application, but at the same time remembering that Burberry makes mall juice. My expectations were ramped up due to the fairly good press this scent gets in forums. Lots of guys and gals enjoy it, and many find it to be a sophisticated woody oriental. Rumors of a big rose note also precede it, so I was eager for that. As for my opinion, I like Brit, I think it smells good, and I understand the love for it. But it's not something I'd ever wear on a regular basis. This boils down to personal preference, not any beef with the fragrance itself. There isn't much I can find wrong with the stuff, although there is one over-arching issue that I'll get to in a moment.

I'd like to say this, though - the packaging for Brit is awful. The faux plaid theme is downright obnoxious, a weak designer stab at looking chic and au courant. I understand the idea behind it, the European associations, following the British penchant for textiles that cross over themselves, but really now. It's not on. Couple this sentiment with a seething distaste for an all-grey color scheme, and it's double trouble. Why plaid? Why grey plaid? Just plain why? I give up. I guess when it comes to market testing and demographic research, Burberry found that teenagers and twenty-somethings think plaid is "adult", but still "cool." I'd love to see the details on that study.

The fragrance itself is a powdery-woods concoction, with a dry bergamot/ginger accord on top that speedily segues into a baby-powdery combo of tonka and rose. From the get-go, this top is permanently wedded to cedar, patchouli, and musk. Sweet spices, presumably nutmeg and cardamom, are detectable, but within thirty minutes they've whispered themselves into tonka's semi-sweet fog, becoming lost to the perfume's smoothly-sanded wooden underpinnings. There's a husky veil of white rose powder, like scented talc spilled over cheap maple furniture, that comprises most of Brit's character. The rose, the spices, the woods, all smell nice, but lack definition, seemingly on purpose. Everything in Brit has a distorted texture, like a pretty face seen through an unfocused camera lens. The result is a rather blobby effect, albeit a pleasant blob. If you're a woman who is into evanescent and powdery floral orientals, and want a more masculine effect, Brit for Men is something you should try. But guys, really, Royal Copenhagen costs $16 at Walgreens. If you're going this way with fragrance, go retro, or go home.