If you don’t like Brut, that’s fine. We all like what we like, and hate what we hate. That’s what makes perfume an interesting subject for discussion. However, what I don’t like are all the wisecracks about Brut being for old farts, rednecks, and assholes who beat their wives. Come on. People say that because they don’t have what it takes to pull off wearing it. Why do you think it’s been in continuous production since 1964? Because it sucks?
My mother-in-law, who grew up in Paris, remembers when Brut was released in the Sixties. She told me that in France it was considered to be a very good fragrance, and it was not inexpensive. It had a good reputation as a manly and well made scent. That's the way I look at Brut today.
Brut is still with us because it's a stone cold classic. It's a cologne for real men – guys with balls, who will stand up and be counted. It is not for wimps. Big Bad Brut was promoted for years by guys like Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Jimmy Connors and Wilt Chamberlin for a reason. This isn't simply a big corporate marketing ploy - take a whiff of Brut, and you can tell right away it's a testosterone bomb. It was one of the first powerhouse fragrances, and it has a unique smell that matches its marketed image perfectly.
Brut has been around a long time, resulting in its being sold with different packaging, in different formats (e.g., aftershave, deodorant, shaving cream, etc.), and even different formulas over the years. The version I'm reviewing here is the one you see pictured above, in a plastic bottle. This is the least expensive version of Brut and is the one you see all the time being sold in supermarkets and drugstores. There is another version of Brut called “Brut Classic”, which is even better, and I’ll be doing a separate review on that one later.
If you don’t know what Brut smells like, I’ll say that it smells like a classic barbershop fragrance. It’s strong, sharp and powdery, with a fresh green lavender smell up top, supported by spicy and talcum powdery notes in the base. It has a subtle sweetness underlying everything as well, which fleshes out the scent and gives it body. It’s a power-packed fragrance, and is definitely the kind of cologne you wear when you want to get noticed.
Much discussion has been made among perfume enthusiasts about the quality of this version of Brut compared to the Brut of the Sixties and Seventies. Most people criticize it, saying it smells cheap and synthetic, and nothing like the early Brut. Though I can't say what Brut smelled like when it was first released, I don't find it cheap or synthetic smelling at all. I smell a warm and very well balanced fragrance. I will agree that this drugstore version of Brut doesn’t smell quite as natural as what I remember smelling back in the the Seventies, and it doesn’t have the strong mossy smell that the old Brut had. However, it still has the same feel, and exudes the same swagger that Brut has always had. When I slap on Brut now, I immediately think of all the times I smelled it when I was a kid back in the 70’s. That’s Brut enough for me.
The important thing to remember is to be careful about how much you slap on. This is strong stuff, and you want to make sure you do it right, so you exude the right attitude – confident without being obnoxious. Put on just the right amount, and you'll smell like a million bucks – the smell of a real man. On the other hand, overapplied Brut smells flat-out crass, and you'll ruin the whole effect. Rather than coming off as confident, you’ll just come off as a dick.
I own a huge number of fragrances, ranging from expensive niche scents all the way to drugstore cheapies like Brut. Despite my having an enormous range to choose from every day, I wear Brut more often than just about any other fragrance, second only to Quorum and Drakkar Noir. That’s because it’s one of my favorites, and I’ll tell you why. I'm not a macho guy, but Brut, more than any other fragrance I own, makes me feel totally put together in the morning. It has a scent that is clean, strong and energizing, and it puts me in the right state of mind to start the day. I walk out the door feeling ready to kick ass. That’s why I love Brut.
MY RATING: 8.5/10
Fragrance House: Faberge