Slap on Some Brutus

Who hasn’t slapped on some of the classic Brut before a night out? Classic fragrance. Our barber uses it as his aftershave of choice following a hot shave.

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One thought on “Slap on Some Brutus

  1. Bit more detail…

    ‘Brut’ was created in 1964 for the American cosmetics company Fabergé by perfumier Karl Mann. It was originally positioned as an up-market product with a potent yet refined masculine scent*.

    All that changed in 1968 (slightly later in the UK) when the product was diluted to a third of its original strength, repackaged in cheaper plastic bottles and sold to the mass market as ‘Brut 33’ (because it was 33% of the original concentration). Heavy TV promotion, predominantly by sportsmen such as Henry Cooper and Kevin Keegan, coupled with a low price, widespread availability and “The great smell of Brut” eventually made ‘Brut 33’ the best-selling cologne in the world. For those of a certain age it is the unmistakable smell of the ‘seventies (actor Philip Glenister, who played DCI Gene Hunt in ‘Life on Mars’ reportedly wore ‘Brut’ to get into role). James Bond (Roger Moore) even used an aerosol can of ‘Brut’ for self-defence in ‘The man with the golden gun’ (1974).

    Martin King’s skinhead autobiography ‘A boy’s story’ refers to the way in which it was often ‘splashed all over’ in vast quantities (to enter any changing room at school without breathing apparatus was hazardous in the ’70s) and there’s a passing reference to ‘Brut’ in the fashion section of Nick Knight’s ‘Skinhead’. It has even been claimed that the ‘Brutus’ clothing brand was named after the fragrance.

    Fabergé continued to market the original, eye-watering ‘Brut’ alongside the budget product for several years. Unilever took over Fabergé in 1989 and the name ‘Brut 33’ was changed simply to ‘Brut’, although the product’s strength does not seem to have altered.

    In 2003, Unilever sold its rights to the ‘Brut’ brand in North America to Idelle Labs. There the range has evolved a different identity, while the Unilver product remains truer to the original Fabergé style of packaging. Four years later, Unilever sold the Fabergé name, and removed that from all of its products. [Fabergé on the label of old ‘Brut’ products does not indicate that they are of the original strength, just that they are pre-2007. Fabergé is apparently to be re-launched as a premium brand by its new owners.]

    After a period in the doldrums, sales of ‘Brut’ have grown three-fold in the last few years, partially aided by a range of at least six spin-off ‘Brut’-branded fragrances (these smell nothing like the original, however).

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