The Ugly Duckling
At last, the big egg did crack. "Peep," said the young one, and out he tumbled, but he was so big and ugly. The duck took a look at him. "That's a frightfully big duckling," she said... He himself was a swan! ... Other swans said "The new one is the most handsome of all. He's so young and so good-looking." The old swans bowed in his honor!
Mr. Burberry is like the ugly duckling. with its dark and shaded grey bottle and black hat. It can't be all things to all people... if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. And Mr. Burberry is a pleasure for many but not for everyone. After many Brit flankers, Mr. Burberry is a nearly recent new release that heavily deviates from those flankers, both in the look and in the smell. Mr. Burberry smells clean, meaning this in the literal sense.
It opens up with some imperceptible citrus grapefruit, which has an undertone of synthetics, blended with some warm creamy-minty-spicy tones that I speculate are cool cardamom combined with spicy tarragon. This stage really awakens the senses and the fragrance is permeated by an aura of masculinity.
Gently, the citrus and herbal evanesce and Mr. Burberry becomes woody and smoky. To me, the fragrance seems to have a clear presence of wetness. It smells like a city after rain, which is not by chance that drizzly London was such an inspiration. You can still feel the mist in the air mixed with the smell of smoke and soil from the street. The scent comprises a wide and sturdy heart, whose classic fougère structure is masterfully reinterpreted in an extremely contemporary key. An accord of birch leaves gives a warm aroma to the essence, while cedarwood adds strength and balance to the sparkling top notes.
A while later, Mr. Burberry turns very soapy. It reminds me of shaving cream, the one that my dad prepared each and every morning with a shaving brush. The soap smell makes Mr. Burberry an excellent choice for occasions when you want to smell good without being noticed. Birch leaves contribute to the greenish facet of the heart, and a little freshly grated nutmeg adds the right touch of spiciness. The light and glowing base is a true celebration of the lively nature of vetiver. Improved with guaiac wood, it flows into intense smoky notes that do not endanger the clear aroma that evokes the smell of the earth.
It lasts on me many hours, even though it is barely detectable after four hours. The dry-down is a combination of pitches, roots, moss, and woods. It stays transparent and slightly sweet, yet fresh and green. There is a slight synthetic tinge to it, which I don't mind. It transitions smoothly from one stage to the next, herbal then green-spicy then woody-resinous, notably are the sandalwood, the cedar wood, and the gaiacwood.
To my flavor, it could be worn anywhere, anytime, it works for any occasion, any age, and any weather, yet my preferences drive me toward spring and summer days. The woods and resins in it might work in cold weather like early fall, but I have not tested it yet.
Hence, what is an ugly duckling to the hype, it turns to be the most handsome swan to me.