Tag Archives: Burberry

Men’s Cologne — Vintage by John Varvatos

Vintage by Varvatos is forever linked in my mind with Burberry for Men because of when I purchased the two just as I began exploring new colognes again after years of only wearing Armani Eau Pour Homme. It’s not that they’re overly similar to each other although they are both solid masculines — there’s no mint in Vintage, which is the dominant note in Burberry for Men, and the lavender accord is also much more pronounced in the latter. The Burberry is a mid-90s creation while Vintage is from 2006. But they both represent an excellent “beginners” men’s cologne. If that sounds like I’m damning them with faint praise or being condescending I can see how it could. But it also reflects my personal evolution and how my tastes have evolved and deepened, to be honest, as I’ve tried dozens of scents since dipping a toe in the water with these two readily available offerings. That Varvatos Vintage, like Burberry Men, smells very good is without question. It’s just that I’ve come to reach for the more imposing and uncompromising men’s fragrances like Antaeus, Balenciaga Pour Homme and De La Renta’s Pour Lui for nighttime use and Dunhill, Gucci Nobile and Lauder for Men in the day. So for me that now leaves Burberry Men and Varvatos Vintage kind of the odd men out.


But if Vintage is not quite up to the level of those aforementioned classics in my opinion (and obviously my old school sensibilities are showing), it is nonetheless more than a solid modern offering and versatile enough for day or evening wear. The flacon itself, a typical design from the house of Varvatos, looks like a rum smuggler’s personal flask with it’s dark brown glass, wide oblong form and textured leather wrap. Mine is a big one at 4.2 ounces (they also make it in 2.5 ozs) and although they’re certainly not giving it away, it still represents very good value for money when taking into account the obviously high quality of the juice itself. Much like the mint in Burberry Men gives that cologne it’s signature note, in Vintage it’s the opening note of quince that grabs your attention upon first spritz. There’s also sweet-spicey rhubarb and herbal basil in that opening and if the those all sound like a strange mix the effect is actually pleasantly boozy. Probably the hint of artemisia/wormwood contributes to that liqueur-like effect, as does the requisite juniper and initially low key cinnamon of this categorized woody chypre. Those unusual but very pleasant top notes are never loud or overpowering but instead swaddle the wearer in a very pleasant cloud of soft leathery sweetness, like new suede jacket.


The brighter top notes tend to dissipate after about an hour, though generally the heart remains consistent with the opening despite promises of jasmine and lavender in the note pyramid that I don’t really detect. I do get those green leafy accords but as for claims of balsam fir and patchouli in the base I don’t really get any of those either. Polo Green or Givenchy Gentleman this ain’t. What this does evolve into in the dry down is a nice tobacco scent, not green and bitter like Quorum, but rich and refined like Cavendish pipe tobacco. For me, that heady, boozy open gently transforms into sweet unlit moist pipe tobacco just like opening a tin of the stuff, with more than a touch of that cinnamon coming back around to spice up the mix.

Sillage is moderate making this an OK choice for work if a bit on the sexy side for an office setting. Better yet is nighttime when this warm fragrance shines or in casual day situations where a leather jacket is more appropriate than a blazer like a weekend motorcycle ride or a cigar and some aged rum on the porch. Longevity, despite a lot of griping on the forums, is decent at around 6-7 hours, although very late in the dry down the whole fragrance seems to lose cohesion (much like the modern Burberry for Men actually). It’s then possible to detect some of the chemical alchemy that was used to construct such a traditionally manly fragrance in the age of IFRA restrictions on natural elements like real oakmoss. Nevertheless, this is an unmistakably manly cologne and never fails to get a positive response from my wife even if she can no longer keep up with what I’m wearing on any given day due to my now-extensive collection. She will invariably say “Ooh, what’s that one again? I really like it!” So for that kind of fairly rare compliment factor I’ll probably always keep Vintage in my rotation even as I’ve become ever more enamored of ballsy retro-powerhouses. And really some of those I wear only for my own pleasure, as they are so strong and strange that they go completely against the modern grain (I’m looking at you Lapidus, you beautiful beast). So yes, Varvatos Vintage is a safe pick but also very good and thankfully not boring. It’s effortlessly manly, a people pleaser and also very enjoyable for the wearer. If I now prefer true vintage formulas to this titular Vintage that’s more a reflection on my own idiosyncratic and evolving tastes rather than a judgement on the fragrance itself. Because Varvatos Vintage is more than a merely acceptable scent. It’s a solid modern offering with a distinct masculine persona and I highly recommend it for any man who wants to smell good but not generic, whether they’re a newcomer to men’s colognes or otherwise.

Men’s Cologne — Burberry for Men

Sometimes when you’re picking a fragrance for the day you’re just looking for something that smells good but isn’t earth-shattering in terms of power or complexity. You could call it a daily driver, the kind you wear to the office or for casual occasions with friends but not the scent you reach for when you’re trying to really stand out and make a major impression. Burberry for Men is that kind of plug-and-play, user friendly cologne.

Created way back in 1995 and originally called Burberry London, this one was Burberry’s first masculine and has been definitively shuffled aside by the company in favor of their newer, trendier scents like Brit, Rhythm and Mr. Burberry. They don’t even advertise it anymore really. But thankfully this old standby still remains in production. Burberry for Men is somewhat atypical of that Aquatics-infused 90s era in that it strives to be more of a classic gentlemen’s Woody Aromatic fragrance, with warm notes of cedar and sandalwood in the heart and a touch of amber and vanilla in the base. But there’s an unmistakable hybrid Fougère feel, as well, because what really makes Burberry for Men stand out (as much as it’s ever going to) is the big blast of mint in the top notes when you first spray it on. Yes, there is also some lavender and bergamot there in the open, along with thyme throughout the drydown, creating a very nice herbal/citric boost. But it’s really the mint that grabs your attention. This is why I feel that Burberry for Men is probably one of the best eye-openers in the cologne world. This Eau de Toilette-strength juice is ideal for mornings to accompany your cup of coffee after getting out of the shower. It smells good and manly and is definitely stimulating to the senses, a refreshing but sophisticated way to start your day.


Burberry for Men has moderate sillage & projection, strong enough for someone else to notice for sure but always polite. It smells very good for about 5 hours, with the minty-herbal quality lingering but mellowing and blending with the woody accords as they come to the front and hints of dry carnation also peaking through. I don’t really get the jasmine that’s listed in the notes pyramid, but there is definitely unobtrusive musk, amber and tonka in the base, with any “oakmoss” more of a whisper in the current formulation. At the end of its life on the skin, around 6 hours, it starts to come apart and smell a little stale verging on slightly sour, probably a result of the current construction relying more on synthetics than in the old days. But that’s OK because by then you’ll most likely be ready for something else for the evening hours anyway, a scent that stands out a little more and has a bit more of an aggressive personality than this pleasant but essentially anodyne fragrance.

In short, Burberry for Men is indeed manly in a slightly old-school fashion, good for daily wear during the daylight hours at the office and in casual settings and is a great eye-opener to get you going in the morning. If it’s not really an all-time great men’s cologne with huge balls and projection it is still quite solid on its own terms. Because sometimes you’re just looking to smell good while you go about your business, not draw a lot of attention to yourself like you would if you were wearing a powerhouse like Antaeus or Oscar de la Renta’s Pour Lui. So Burberry for Men is a fine pick for when you don’t want to to think too much about what you’re wearing but still be secure in the knowledge that you’re putting something really nice out there to the world. In fact, people of both sexes, especially the ladies, seem to really like it, however much I might be damning it with faint praise. So reach for this one with confidence for daily use — Burberry for Men is still a winner.