1818 Signature by Brooks Brothers

Nose and year are unknown to me.

I must agree completely with what shamu1 wrote on “Pour Monsieur” blog, and I thank him for having brought this fragrance to our fragrance fanatics’ attention. I am truly amazed by 1818, and despite I am a longtime fan of traditional wet shaving, I am usually not that intrigued by this type of fragrances (first because I usually don’t like cloves and they are usually stuffed with that note; and also because nearly all the ones I tried were always kind of cheap, too dry for my tastes, often poorly-lasting... and well, plain boring too sometimes). 1818 by Brooks Brothers is instead both the best masculine offering by this brand, and one of the nicest, most compelling “barbershop” scents currently available on the market, if we exclude rare or costly vintages. Maybe the best one. It is a truly impeccable, rich Bay Rum scent exuding masculinity, self-confidence, a “raw” piratesque exoticism blended with a Western breeze of clean, reassuring warmth – the kind of smooth and comforting soapy warmth evoking a fine robe, a glass of sherry, your freshly-shaved neck still burning from your Astra blades’ passage.

1818 is all of that; there’s an initial blast of leathery spices (cloves), a fresh, tart slap of citrus and bergamot, a surprisingly rich, uplifting and natural-smelling herbal-woody accord mostly comprising bay leaf, bitter grassy notes and mossy woods (and I mean deeply, realistically mossy), a dark and extremely distinguished musky base, all slowly revealing a fantastic “shaving cream” heart of soapy talc-powdery notes, with a subtle hint of sweet tobacco. There is no creativity, no fancy stuff, no pretend luxury; just a straightforward, unpretentious, proudly old-school tribute to the most classic “real men” grooming products blended by someone which must really know the subject. Mature and gentlemanly: no dandies, no hippies, no bros, no hipsters allowed.

Another sign of the quality of this fragrance is the evolution, which shows an extremely enjoyable transition from a raw, sharp and edgy spicy-leathery-herbal opening to a smooth, warm drydown comprising hints of vanilla, boozy-ambery tobacco, a surprisingly bracing sort of herbal-infused bergamot tea note, even almost some licorice-like accents, still enveloped in a refined cloud of talc soap and moody spices which smells so soothing and classy you wished it could last forever. The drydown is really not to miss here, I’ve rarely experienced such a clever, neat use of warm tea-vanillic notes (by this I mean you wouldn’t expect this drydown considering the first sharp stages of the fragrance: I didn’t really “see it coming”). The note I call “tea” is probably just the echo of herbs and bergamot, but still it really smells like tart black tea leaves to me. Hours of clean, refined, vibrant, relaxed elegance with some unpredictable shades and transitions, which can easily replace and overpass dozens of more pretentious (and way more expensive) “gentleman” fragrances. Pure comfort in a bottle. I assume 1818 won’t appeal many, if not most of today’s fragrance fans , but if you’re a “classicist” and you crave for a fantastic “barbershop” scent for those days you want to smell like a John Steinbeck’s character, then this is a gem and an absolutely compelling steal for the price.


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