Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brut


If you've smelled Brut, chances are you either love it or hate it. I love Brut, but I can understand why someone would hate it. For me, it brings back memories of the 1970s, a time period a lot of people like to forget, and as a result some people think it smells dated. It's strong and in your face, and comparing it to today's trendy fragrances like Acqua di Gio is like comparing apples to organ meat.

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

15 comments:

  1. I recall the movie Stick from the mid '80s, starring Burt Reynolds. In it is a scene where Burt asks a character actor to "toss the cologne." The bottle's label is facing away from the camera, but that shape is unmistakable - BRUT! He smacks it on his face and goes on to kill a lot of bad guys in subsequent scenes. It's definitely bonafide man juice, through and through.

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  2. Reportedly Elvis's favourite cologne too....!

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    1. Burt Reynolds and Elvis - both Brut guys without a doubt.

      Reynolds was the English Leather guy back in the 70s. Brut, English Leather, Old Spice, etc. - all old school soul brothers.

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  3. I need to see "Stick" now. Burt Reynolds and Brut - like Popeye and his spinach.

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  4. It's time to own a bottle!
    It will definitely bring back memories of friends and relatives no longer with us.
    That's reason enough for me.

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  5. I don't see Brut as that macho. There's no doubt that its 100% masculine but it ends there. That being said I still love it and it's great. I don't even see how this can offend anyone (and I never underspray). People my age (18-19) don't associate it with the 70s because they didn't exist then. SOME guys say it smells like aftershave but MOST people say it smells "very clean." This may be a secret weapon for someone my age because it's so old and unknown that it may as well have come out this morning, that's how foreign the smell is compared to everything else. What are some other colognes other than Rive that smell like Brut and have that feel?

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    1. Thanks for posting this. I've always wondered what guys in their late teens these days think of something as old school as Brut. Kudos to you for having the guts to wear Brut in a sea of Acqua di Gio.

      I think just about any fougere from the 1970s has a bit of Brut in it. Paco Rabanne and Azzaro Pour Homme are great aromatic fougeres that probably would never have existed if it weren't for Brut. I think Paco is one that smells like a more herbal Brut. Both are relatively inexpensive, easy to find, and have the same old school vibe as Brut.

      Another one to try that is more modern is Carrera Black (see my review of it here). It's a relatively recent release, is inexpensive, and smells like a cross between Rive Gauche and Azzaro Pour Homme. It's got a Brut-like feel.

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  6. Hmm I think I'll stick to Brut, can't beat that price. And yeah I'm telling you as a living witness, AdG is everywhere. Even the girls know the name and smell of it. I swear guys give in too easy these days. They buy frags just to attract girls and ask girls what they like to smell on guys before shopping for frags. If that was the case I would've invested over $250 into just L'eau D'Issey (which I do like because it has powerhouse longevity/projection on me and its not a childish/girly joke like AdG) as opposed to investing the same amount on all kinds of frags. Brut does the same 'clean' thing 10 times better, at 1/10 the price, and with some balls. As a matter of fact, come to think of it, I just remembered I put it on early this morning. It's great.

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  7. I'm sympathetic, because I was the same way back in the 80s. Back then Drakkar Noir was considered the frag to wear when you wanted the chicks, so of course I had a bottle. It was my very first fragrance, and even though I liked the smell, the only time I put it on was for going to college parties, where I knew there would be plenty of women to meet. I think I would have worn it even if I hated the way it smelled, as long as girls like it. The whole concept of wearing a cologne for my own enjoyment never even crossed my mind. Of course I've grown up since then.

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  8. Yeah I default to Issey under 2 conditions. One is when I really don't know what to wear and it has been a while since the last time I wore it. And two is when I'm going somewhere where there could be girls and/or people I don't know. It won't offend, It's a crowd pleaser, and I actually enjoy it so I'm not wearing it JUST for "them". That being said, I still don't see how all of my friends can wear these sweet girly aquatics day-to-day... BORING. Brut is quickly becoming one of my favorites though.

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  9. I guess Brut Classic is a 9/10.

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    1. Nope. Brut Classic is a 10/10 in my book. Yet another frag that's on my list of "To do" reviews.

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    1. In an email from Brutworld.com which is the site for the Helen of Troy/Idelle Labs owned version of Brut in the USA (as opposed to Unilever in Europe), I was told that the large 25.6 oz. gift edition of Brut cologne in the glass bottle with the medallion is the only version based on the original Faberge formula. I bought it over the holidays this past December and it's good and strong. Just the way I like it! The closest version in terms of longevity is Brut Special Reserve in the 3 oz. green glass bottle with the medallion, but that's a slightly different formula.

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  11. Brut (the aftershave version, at least), smells EXACTLY like a more concentrated version of a bug spray I wore as a kid. That's obviously not Brut's fault, the spray must have copied them, but I'll never get rid of that association. Combine that with vague sense memories of older men from my childhood, and it's a weird mix of emotional resonances. Definitely a classic masculine scent, but not one I can enjoy smelling on myself.

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