Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Limited edition for the holidays, Brit Gold was created by Antoine Lie of Givaudan in 2005. In contrast with Brit and Brit Red (created by Nathalie Gracia-Cetto), green Oriental and gourmand Oriental respectively, Brit Gold is a richer, warmer composition, with more subdued sweetness. Its classical oriental elements, particularly the combination of bergamot with vanilla and amber, recall the sumptuous elegance of fragrances like Guerlain Shalimar.
The interplay of orange blossom against the dark sandalwood backdrop is one of my favorite aspects of Brit Gold. Through the hazy mist of delicate floral notes and bergamot, the vivid hues of the base glow gently, gaining more vibrancy as the fragrance dries down. While the composition does not undergo dramatic changes, the development is fascinating, given the fact that the base notes are evident from the start. This construction lends a certain transparency to the composition, while preserving its elegant richness.
The accord of iris, vanilla and amber that is present in all Brit fragrances, blossoms out of the heart, adding an oriental element. At one point, I think of a carved sandalwood box used to store vanilla and lemon bon bons. The drydown reveals the base notes of sandalwood and musk in their full splendor. Little by little, the floral elements fade, leaving their subtle imprint upon the wooded relief of the base. The finished composition has a luminous quality that calls to mind a dance of candlelight upon dark polished wood.
Brit Gold was launched exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue and Burberry retail stores in September. It will also be sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. Notes include magnolia, neroli, black currant, bergamot, pink iris, amber, vanilla, sandalwood and musk.