Brooks Brothers 1818 may be the best barbershop-styled fragrance I have ever smelled. I've never been impressed by this company, with their stodgy, drab gray suits and boring striped ties, but this fragrance has completely blown me away. It doesn't do anything innovative or new, but what it does, it does perfectly. I will explain.
1818 is the perfect culmination of four quintessential barbershop smells: bay rum, Old Spice, talc and shaving cream. You can smell all four of these in 1818, yet they combine into a seamless, perfect whole. I get the bay rum smell when I first put it on, and typical of bay rum, it's the first smell to dissipate. As time goes on, the smell of fresh shaving cream comes more and more to the forefront. Who doesn't like the clean smell of shaving cream? This shaving cream scent, however, has the added kick of sandalwood, anise and clove. These spicy elements aren't strong, but you can smell them because they add some aromatic bite to the shaving cream smell.
Here's why I'm floored by 1818: it manages to sustain its spicy barbershop smell for hours, with no flagging. Sure, shaving cream smells great, but its scent doesn't last; after about 2 or 3 minutes, the smell either disappears or it falls apart and turns mushy on you. Not with 1818. Imagine the smell of Barbasol shaving cream when you first put it on your face. Next, imagine that wonderful smell with the spices I mentioned above. Finally, imagine being able to enjoy that shaving cream moment, with the exact same freshness and intensity, for hours on end, without it going all soft and blob-like. That's what 1818 is all about. I'm so impressed with whoever composed this cologne, because he or she was able to produce an amazing scent from the get-go, and then maintain its backbone for the duration of the scent on your skin.
I don't know when this was released, but this is a true old school fragrance, not some neophyte trying to be cool by pretending to be all "retro." It is traditional to the core, and it exudes an old-time aura that Caswell-Massey tries to achieve with their fragrances but often fails. This is a man's fragrance most of all - nothing unisex about this one, people - and is a delight to wear from start to finish. I give it a perfect score.
MY RATING: 10/10
Fragrance House: Brooks Brothers