Burberry has done all it could to sink Brit Rhythm for Women. The awkward name, the cliched marketing lingo of sexy, rock-n-roll, and edgy, and its place of honor as the nth flanker to Brit don’t inspire much excitement. This is a shame, because Brit Rhythm is a sophisticated, quirky lavender wrapped in peony and sheer amber. It’s the most interesting and distinctive fragrance in Burberry’s collection, although you’d never guess so based on its bland trappings.
If your idea of elegance is casual and understated, Brit Rhythm will be a good fit. At its core is a complex lavender accord, a brave choice for a feminine perfume. A common presence in masculine colognes and skin care products, lavender has acquired a staid and dull reputation. That lavandin, a harsher, brasher note, is often used instead of real lavender doesn’t help matters either.
By contrast, high-quality lavender, which need not even be that expensive, is a revelation. It’s a suave and lush material offering an exciting range of green, sweet and floral notes. This is exactly the type of lavender used in Brit Rhythm. Perfumers Nathalie Gracia-Cetto and Antoine Maisondieu have interpreted it as floral and ambery, cleverly blending the accords to extend the natural facets of the raw material into an abstract, soft focus composition.
The first stage of Brit Rhythm is sparkling and fresh, with a hint of green violet and lavender tea. Tangy orange blossom gives the perfume a springlike freshness, which is later echoed by the crisp woods. After an hour or so, it’s all about petals. The splashes of floral notes are generous, and the sheer peony is the main, lingering accent. The drydown of amber and woods, so dry and crisp that you can almost feel their texture on your skin, unfolds slowly. Lavender makes a final appearance here as well.
While lavender anchors Brit Rhythm, it won’t appear as obvious as lavender in Caron Pour un Homme, Hermès Brin de Reglisse or even Sarah Jessica Parker Covet. Bright and energizing, lavender adds to Brit’s charm, but as in the similarly themed Chanel Jersey, it still remains subtle. In terms of sophisticated character (not necessarily the scent), it makes me think of Love Chloé, another fragrance by Nathalie Gracia-Cetto.
It’s the effect overall that makes Brit Rhythm stand out. It’s transparent and radiant, with three distinct stages–fresh herbs and flowers, soft petals and dry woods. It has a wonderful, uplifting presence and a delicate but clear character. In other words, Brit Rhythm is emphatically not a “rave party” fragrance of Burberry copy, but a chic, polished blend. The mismatch is probably why Brit Rhythm won’t survive for much longer on the market, so while it’s still around, it’s worth trying it.
Burberry Brit Rhythm for Her includes notes of lavender, pink pepper, neroli, orris absolute, blackberry leaves, orange blossom, peony, vetiver, musk, and wood. It is available as 30 ml, 50ml ($70) and 90ml ($90) Eau de Toilette. Sold at major department stores.