Brooksfield for Men by Brooksfield (1993)

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Brooksfield is an Italian menswear company with a rather English-sounding name, and comes across rather “casual dad” in nature with clothing that focuses on the usual trousers and overcoats look, turtleneck sweaters and tartan patterns galore. The brand launched a men’s fragrance in the early 90’s just called Brooksfield for Men (1993), and it’s a rather conventional “fresh fougère” which at the time probably seemed pretty novel, as the newest iteration of the genre has just started picking up speed into the 90’s. This fragrance is nice, and it’s of the rarer breed of fresh fougère that sways more traditional fougère than freshness, but there are (or at least were) a ton of things that could also serve in the same place as Brooksfield for Men, so it never really had a chance on the market. The other problem here is few people outside of Italy or the EU even know of Brooksfield, as the brand doesn’t get around much outside of a select few distribution channels beyond those areas, so most people haven’t heard of the menswear brand let alone this fragrance unless they are from continental Europe, mimicking in some ways the semi-local nature of US designer brands like Tommy Hilfiger. The bottle is kind of neat, with a medallion in the front and giving me big time liqueur vibes, but all that comes with the territory when you aim for a mature menswear audience.

The opening of Brooksfield for Men is rather quiet, with bergamot, juniper, and a nice tart green apple coming to the front, very fresh and semi-fleeting as a soft lavender barbershop medly of tarragon and clary sage enter. There’s some muted plum notes here, and a bit of vetiver that rests on a backdrop of cardamom, giving a dull spice and slight smoky sweetness to the mixture, but still feeling very fresh. Oakmoss, musk, and a noticeable cedar fill in the void, and overall Brooksfield for Men rests somewhere between Gilette Cool Rain (1993) and future releases like Quartz pour Homme by Molyneaux (1994), American Crew Classic Fragrance (2000) or the even-later Cabaret de Grès Homme (2004). All of these scents rely very heavily on clary sage for their aromatic backbone and all but the Quartz are fougères. Everything I’ve mentioned is also discontinued outside the Gilette, so the “fresh clary sage” masculine style as a whole is just about extinct in the mainstream realm, but I have a feeling nobody really misses it. Once more, this is a nice fragrance, and a different kind of clean compared to the aquatics and ozonics of the period, or modern ambroxan fragrances, but nothing about it leaps out and says “gotta have” unless you have a fetish for mild-mannered masculines. Wear time and performance on the lower side of average, and Brooksfield feels best in warmer weather social functions with strangers. Back then this stuff read like it was made for older guys, but now it just feels like an EdT adjunct to a shower gel/soap range.

Back in 1993 masculine perfumery as a whole was headed into an age of apology that wouldn’t relent until all the retro-chic stuff Tom Ford was brewing at the time over at LVMH hit the market (also all doomed to discontinuation), and the super-shrill Y2K millennial male foghorns started ruffling feathers, meaning for the next decade or so, scents like Brooksfield for Men were the norm. Under these circumstances, Brooksfield is probably one of the better options because the alternative was tons of fruity shimmery metallic calone and aldehyde fragrances on soft green wood bases or aquatics riding a wave of laundry musk into your nightmares, at least beyond the fresh fougères. Semi-oriental fresh tobacco styles and gourmands became a thing then too, but these weren’t the versatile daily wear solutions men wanted then and with standard fougères being ushered out the door along with chypres while animalic powerhouses sank into tar pits of their own making, Brooksfield for Men had all the makings of a successful middle option between the transparent aromachemical stuff and the old guard, if only it wasn’t from a menswear range that sounds English but is from Italy. If you like these kind soft-spoken fougère exercises, grab it if you find a deal, otherwise your time spent excavating discontinued treasures is better spent elsewhere. Thumbs up.

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