Burberry Men’s Fragrances ~ 4 mini reviews

Burberry London for menBurberry Brit for men

Recently, a Now Smell This reader from Canada asked me what I thought of the Burberry fragrances for men. I had to fess up: “I’ve never tried any of them!” Shocked by my ignorance, my friend from the north braved the post office (and its rigmarole for shipping liquids across international borders) and sent me generous samples of Burberry for Men, Burberry Touch for Men, Burberry Brit for Men and Burberry London for Men.

Burberry For Men is the oldest Burberry scent but has been reformulated several times since its release in 1981; the current version contains lavender, bergamot, thyme, mint, moss, cedar, amber and tonka bean. Burberry for Men opens loud and proud: it’s cool, sharp and herbal. Burberry for Men’s lavender is enlivened, and somewhat disguised, by strong bergamot, mint and thyme. Straight out of the bottle, Burberry for Men smells like a lip-puckering French mouthwash I used to buy at Caswell-Massey. As I wore Burberry for Men, I experienced other “medicinal” moments — again, associated with my mouth. I like it when perfumes remind me of faces and places, but I don’t want a fragrance to prompt me to call my dentist and arrange a check-up — Burberry for Men is the scent of my dentist’s office!

Burberry Touch for Men was created by perfumer Jean-Pierre Bethouart and was released in 2000. When I read Touch’s list of ingredients, I was excited by the “promise of GREEN” — artemisia, violet leaf, mandarin leaf (other notes are white pepper, Virginia cedar, nutmeg, vetiver, tonka bean). On application, Burberry Touch for Men reminded me of an old fashioned barber shop with its scented suds, pomades and hair dressings. Touch opens with the smell of fresh leaves (violet leaf, artemisia) and as the leaves lose their punch, a pleasant vetiver aroma arises. Touch’s “mid-section” reminds me of Guerlain’s Vetiver (after it’s been on skin a few hours). Touch ends with a light vanilla-tonka bean accord. My overall impression of Touch for Men is of cleanness — not only the clean lathers and talcum powders of a barber shop, but the clean smell of freshly laundered clothes, dried outdoors in summer sunshine.

Burberry Brit for Men’s (2004; perfumer Antoine Maisondieu) list of ingredients intrigued me — green mandarin, bergamot, ginger, “frozen” cardamom, wild rose, nutmeg, cedar, “oriental” woods, grey musk and tonka bean — but when I sprayed on the fragrance for the first time I thought: “This is the BLANDEST of the Burberry bunch so far…even with ginger, rose and nutmeg….” At first sniff, Burberry Brit for Men seemed over-blended, its notes pounded together to produce a character-less blob. Just as I was about to wash my arms to rid myself of the boring Brit fragrance, something pleasant began to happen — the lemony scent of freshly grated nutmeg appeared, accompanied by sweet musk, tonka bean, and a calming vanilla-cedar accord; I felt cozy and content and Brit for Men became my favorite Burberry scent at that point, toppling Touch for Men from its pedestal.

The most recent Burberry men’s fragrance release is Burberry London for Men (2006, Antoine Maisondieu). By this stage of my testing, I knew that Burberry men’s fragrances changed and “developed” on the skin and should not be judged until they were worn for a few hours. London for Men starts safely, with the scent of lavender-bergamot, then comes cinnamon, pepper and wine (with a faint hint of leather). For me, it’s ALL about the base notes in this fragrance: the rich amber, the strong, but mellow, tobacco leaf, and smooth guaiac wood. London for Men is the most powerful and masculine of the Burberry men’s fragrances and it became my favorite — poor Brit had but a day in the spotlight. (Since mimosa flower is listed in London for Men’s ingredients, but is not readily apparent, one day I wore London for Men layered with Diptyque’s mimosa room spray and the result smelled great.)

I liked three of the four Burberry men’s fragrances; I don’t need full-size bottles of any of them but I may seek out a miniature of the London for Men. The Burberry men’s scents are calm and collected and pleasant to be around and though their vibe is “traditional” the perfumes are not dull. I was happy to wear a men’s line of contemporary designer scents that didn’t make me gag or feel like I was being sanitized by a mist of cheaply scented rubbing alcohol.

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38 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I love it when that happens!!! When you're verging on dismissing something and you go, hey …. wait … waitaminnit… this is pretty good! Comfort scents often creep up on me like that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    March: YES…it's nice to be surprised!…and the Burberry 'bases' are comforting, K

  3. Anonymous says:

    Brit is the best masculine frag from Burberry, yep :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Smarty: I was a neck-and-neck race between Brit and London for me,with London winning … just. K

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey luff,

    lovely to see this comparison – you should do that with other brands as well!

    I knew I liked Touch (fitting name: thought it's romantic/emotive) & I thought after trying it several times BfM was something for me, as I love mediterranean herbal notes. But I sniffed at a Brit bottle and dismissed it straight away. Now after reading your review I have to give it a try on skin.

    I had a little sample of London but at first I hated it – so trendy, too gourmand… When it started to get colder I gave it another try and I actually thought it wasn't that bad after all. Know why – cause I actually smelled the MIMOSA which i love as flower and I think that's a special note for a men's scent, so powdery, and in this combination with the sweet base. Still, I'm not totally convinced. It's just too pleasing. I'll give it another chance the next days.

    But as for Brit: This is one of the reasons why I love this blogg. It makes me try scents I would think of trying. This week I already discovered Omnia, so Brit would be the 2nd in 1 week… Bless you all for this!

    Best,

    L

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lars: hey, you could think of us as a CURSE too…my “to buy” list is over 50 now!!!!! Ridiculous, K

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I know… But I'm always happy to discover a good mainstream fragrance which is cheap get (ebay etc.) ;-) Just for an affordable variety.

    Alright: cursed be you for leading me into temptations and for stealing the time I should spend doing my tax declaration or reading for my research instead of reading a blog about perfume! If I tell people about it they think I'm completely nuts… but you know that probably.

    L

  8. Anonymous says:

    HA! I'd read just about ANY blog to postpone filling out tax forms, K

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for reviewing these, Kevin! It's nice to read informative reviews on something readily available that doesn't cost a fortune. Burberry Brit smells wonderful on my husband, with me swiping a spray every now and again. Brit was his favorite until he tried London, and now that's his default scent. I don't care for London on me as much as I do Brit, but on DH? Swoonworthy. After 25 yrs. of marriage, anything that amps the swoon level is a good thing :).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Rosarita: well, with 25 years of marriage, your swoon levels must be A-OK…with or without Brit/London! K

  11. Anonymous says:

    I was excited to read these mini-reviews, Kevin. I did a department-store sampling of all four Burberry men's fragrances this past summer — some on strips and a healthy spray of London on my arm, but it was Brit for Men that I kept going back to as the most memorable. The others were nice, but just so-so. Brit stayed on my mind, and within a week or two I was able to get a 50ml bottle online for about $20. Though I bought it in summer, it's definitely much more suited to fall/winter as I find it so spicy and warm.

    Funny that you say Touch reminded you of an old-fashioned barber shop, because from the beginning, that's what Brit evoked for me (but definitely in a good way). I don't get a distinct impression of either mandarin, bergamot, or ginger in the top notes and any nonspecific citrusy zing in the opening soon dissipates for me into that warm, woody nutmeg with a dusky, almost powdery-dry floral overtone (a lot of Basenotes reviewers have blasted Brit for a “baby powder” quality). I'm wondering if you sensed the “wild rose”, which to me is as evocative of geranium as rose, probably because of the spices — I'd say the rose is more apparent in a heavier application, and in any case, is very muted by the base.

    You've made me want to try London again to see what I missed the first time (I found it rather generic), and I was attracted to Touch as something for spring/summer. Again, great reviews.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great reviews! Most Burberry's for men don't interest me much, but London makes me seriously weak in the knees. It's rich, spicy yet smooth, very masculine. If I were a man, I would reach for this often, especially in the fall and winter. My BF is extremely fussy with fragrances, won't wear anything but Bvlgari Extreme, but even he bought a bottle. I own one, too, and wear it when I'm home alone! Wish they sold an EDP version.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Joe: I'm a great DEFENDER of “powder”…I don't fear it or loathe it…I like many powdery scents. I think you are right about the rose…if you put on a healthy dose of the scent then you can smell it (and I think you could even supplement the rose by layering with a rosy scent…like CdG's Rose in the RED series or C&S's Dark Rose). But the base notes in Brit and London are the things that really struck me about each scent…so nice. K

  14. Anonymous says:

    RBG: I agree…it would be great in an eau de parfum strength

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh sure, tease me mercilessly by throwing mention of C&S Dark Rose into this, considering it's darn near unobtainable after I've heard such raves. Haha. Maybe something from Rosine or Montale will do the trick just as well.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Joe: sorry! Someone was kind enough to send me a driblet of Dark Rose…just enough for a spritz every three months, and it's almost GONE! * or I would send you a sample. A Montale rose might work….K

  17. Anonymous says:

    Only 1 but then Bulgari Extrême! At least (I think) it's one of the best men's fragrances around – thank god he has such a good taste!

  18. Anonymous says:

    This sounds all so good! I wonder why I didn't like Brit when I tried it (ages ago). Powdery is GOOOOOD… (again have to mention Hammam Bouquet – full of rose) I have to look for Brit today.

    It seems Burberry should be added to the list we were discussing a while ago about mainstream houses doing good fragrances that suit their image – translating the fashion into scents. I think nobody named them. But I heard some of the women's fragrances are part of the fruity-floral curse…

  19. Anonymous says:

    London is perfection for cold rainy days. Brit – that was a bit too much (of something, I don't know what for me). I guess it's the tobacco that does it for me with London.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Lars: have not smelled the women's fragrances but I think Robin liked one…I remember her review. And the Burberry men's scents DO seem to fit the “image” of Burberry.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Leopoldo: it's the tobacco for me too…must be my Olde Virginia roots showing, K

  22. Anonymous says:

    Reposting for Lars & Joe ~ Lars, that link was WAY too long & stretched the page, so have replaced it:

    On November 2, 2007 Lars Lapsus said:

    No London for me… gave it a try again today. I guess it's the port note that gives it this fruity raisin sweetness and which puts me off. I like'em in me müsli not on me skin.

    I like tobacco, too. In this context and the autumn/winter-cozyness context, Kevis, I'd be interested if you like the first Dolce&Gabbana (I repeat myself: 1 of my favourite mainstream perfumes).

    And for all you tobacco lovers: do you know Alt-Innsbruck aftershave? I also adore the design of the bottle. Link to the Engl. site:

    http://tinyurl.com/24haqe

    Reply to this comment

    On November 2, 2007 joe805 said:

    Hm, I often have problems with tobacco, but I just remember London being nondescript and merely “wearable”, but not offensive, so I'm eager to try it again to see if I like it any better.

    Lars, if you enjoy powdery and spicy, I'm curious to hear what you think if you give Brit another go.

    Reply to this comment

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oops, yes thanx, sorry for the long link…!

    Of course you both said you DIDN'T like it! I feel so stupid. Where was my head. I shouldn't read and write you when I'm too stressed to concentrate… Sorry again.

    L

  24. Anonymous says:

    Oh boy, I read it again and now I'm all confused about the tobacco story…LOL – Leo & Kevin like it and Joe desn't, right? Worked too much these days. I better leave it at that for today ;-)

  25. Anonymous says:

    I think you've got it right, but too late in the evening for me to figure it out!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Lars: the Innsbruck aftershave SOUNDS good…what does it smell like? I don't use aftershave…does the scent disappear quickly? Kevin

  27. Anonymous says:

    K

    Only tried it in a shop but wanted to get it next time in Berlin. I think I remember – despite it being really just a very nice mentholated light infusion – hints of tobacco you (or someone you let get VERY close to you) can still sense hours later. And it's a splash. I don't know if you've seen the enlarged image of the label at manufaktum.de. There the ingredients are stated:

    Alcohol, Aqua, Nicotiana Tabacum, Menthol.

    So that tells you it's very simple. One of those traditional good value, natural things I like to surround myself with. They say they don't spend much money on marketing it. Beautifully old-fashioned. So the psychological factor is important here…

    L

  28. Anonymous says:

    Joe & Kevin, today I tried BRIT and must agree it has a wonderful dry down! And it's like a soft rendering of Habit Rouge EdT légère when hesperides and neroli have faded!!! That one I'm wearing half of the time in summer. The oriental dry down is really amazingly similar, I was surprised!

    I prefer BRIT to LDN, which is opulent and comforting, but too eager to please – and I don't mind ambery sweetness (in winter), but not if it's fruity like LDN on my skin.

    While LDN represents for me the comforty gourmand trend in men's fragrance of recent years while BRIT has a very classic feel. Not exciting but I like it a lot and have to try it again soon, when may nose is in a better state…

  29. Anonymous says:

    Being a huge DK Black Cashmere fan, I've been bored with all those girly scents out there. So just bought Brit for Men for myself. I find that on my skin, it's very warm and subtle, i.e. not overpoweringly MALE. Love it. I'm pretty sure that a new world has opened up for me… Men's fragrances. Mind you, I did wear Fahrenheit in the early nineties, but it's not what I would now consider a classic men's frag. I'd be curious to know if you find that there's a specific common element with BC… so I won't have to waste my time sniffing and testing for hours!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Oh, shoot! I just realized you listed the ingredients, d-uh! Alright, I'll just try and figure out what they have in common… ;-)

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well because of your review, I bought a Brit Men. And I'm not sorry for that (because of blind buy). I really liked it. To me, Brit is a mild version of Armani Black Code
    And I don't like London, because of the tobacco. And my worst reaction on tobacco notes perfumes is on Gucci Pour Homme II.
    I think I'm allergic to tobacco. Always dizzy if there is tobacco or cigarette smell.

  32. Anonymous says:

    PriH: GLAD you liked the Brit for Men; you'll have a hard time this fall…lots of new men's fragrances will have at least some tobacco in them.

  33. Anonymous says:

    So help me god :D

  34. Zizo says:

    What more can one say on burberry london? I reside in Nigeria and we do have a pretty damn hot weather over here. I’d say this cologne lingers with me allday long with the sun shining on my skin making it al fresh and sweet…

  35. Kevin says:

    Zizo: Burberry London is very nice…and I can see how it would linger on hot days. I was in north Africa in hot weather and it takes a tough cologne to outlast a day in the sun…perspiring…all my citrus colognes gave out pretty quickly!

  36. zaheer says:

    the Burberry scents are quite a disappointment, i find them very bland and not long lasting,,.then again i face the african sun and think that if effects the scent some what.

  37. paperback says:

    I may have the last bottle of the original Burberry scent on the planet. It’s nothing like the newer versions, which I like well enough. But the original was, well, original, lighter, easier to wear and easy to identify. I only wish there was a way to find a way to recreate it. In the meantime,. I’ll use it, quite sparingly given the fact I bought this last bottle in 1985.

  38. maxatwork says:

    Which of Brit or London would work better in Tropical Weather. I tried London but the smell turns too strong with the heat. Brit is more acceptable. What do you think ?

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