Brut Special Reserve: Nothing Special

Last night I had a conversation with a loyal reader about Brut's flankers, which I mentioned seeing at a drugstore here in Connecticut. The flankers are Brut Blue and Brut Black, formerly named Azul and Titan. These used to be sold in a gift box in plastic bottles along with a third version called Special Reserve, but all have been repackaged in Brut Classic's trademark glass atomizer, chain included. They look very nice.

How do they smell? Brut Black is a simple and pleasant aromatic fougère consisting of four discernible notes, lavender, anise, ginger, and cedar, with a touch of coumarin and musk in the drydown. It's nice, and reminds me distantly of Azzaro Pour Homme because of its herbal-anisic characteristics. Despite its charm, I'm not inclined to wear it, simply because I own Azzaro PH and can't see ever forsaking it for Black. Brut Blue is a blatant Cool Water clone (shocking, ain't it?), with extra emphasis on the green apple note, and not much else. There's a faint hint of lavender and a cool white musk, with sweet apple spread all over it like cheap jelly. Again, why I would choose this over Cool Water is hard to fathom. But I admit it smells nice.

The most puzzling item in the trilogy is Brut Special Reserve. I hadn't encountered SR until today, when I spied it on the store counter. Its green glass bottle is a little darker than the regular Brut's, and its silver medallion seems a little frillier, but otherwise the packaging is identical to Brut Classic's. There was a tester, so I sampled it. I expected Special Reserve to be a deeper, burlier version of Classic. I was hoping it would have a stronger fougère accord, and better longevity. And instead it smelled . . . identical to regular Brut Classic. In fact, Brut SR is nothing more than Brut Classic with a different name and a slightly different bottle.

Just to be sure, I drove straight home and sampled my bottle of Classic on the other hand to compare. Indeed, the two samples are exactly the same. This begs the question, why has Helen of Troy opted to insult consumer intelligence instead of honestly offering a bolder, darker "reserve" of the original scent? Making heads or tails of the company's marketing strategies is a fool's errand of course, so I can't and won't belabor the issue, but I am disappointed. I mean, after all, if a real special reserve version of Brut existed, it would have to smell awesome, wouldn't it? Sadly, truth is duller than fiction in this case.


  1. That's just wrong. So disappointing.

  2. Sad to cheat like that just to sell more :( also hate that they have all gone plastic now, the Helen Of Troy versions.
    This year should be Brut's 50 year anniversary Brut was born in Paris 1964 by Fabergé, perfumer Karl Mann, so 1964-2014 is 50 years.
    Think it's time they made an Brut Elixir or Brut Intense version...

    Kind regards,
    Pär.... Sweden

    1. They ought to do something to celebrate. If 2015 arrives and no Brut commemorative gift sets were made, I'm going to be pissed!


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