This week saw the unveiling of a new Burberry campaign for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum, an intense interpretation of the original Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette. These days any new campaign from the British fashion house is big news as the brand enjoys a golden era under the direction of Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey.
Josh Whitehouse, British actor and musician, returns as the ‘face’ of Mr. Burberry with perfumer Francis Kurkdjian continuing his collaboration with the brand as the creator of the fragrance.
The inspiration for the fragrance itself is the pulsing energy and frisson of excitement that buzz beneath a city, in this case, London. It tries to capture the anticipation of a night unfolding, the thrill that anything could happen. In a nod to the brand’s British heritage, the Eau de Parfum draws on classic scents of British male perfumery: Top notes of fresh tarragon blend with comforting, spicy cinnamon layered over rich patchouli with a base of dense, woody amber and smokey vetiver.
As with the Eau de Toilette, the bottle uses elements of the iconic Burberry Heritage Trench Coat in the design details of the dark lacquered bottle: The weighted cap is modelled on the horn-look buttons of the coat while the hand-tied bow around the neck of the bottle is English-woven gabardine in honour of the fabric invented by Thomas Burberry over 100 years ago.
Josh Whitehouse is no less well-dressed in a Burberry slim fit wool mohair tuxedo with satin lapels and satin-covered buttons and a handmade silk bow tie, woven and crafted in England.
A monogramming service which personalises the 100ml or 150ml Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum bottle with up to three initials is available on Burberry.com and in selected Burberry stores.
The Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum range also introduces three new limited-edition grooming products all infused with the fragrance: Aftershave Balm; Face Scrub; Hair and Beard Clay.
Q&A with Mr. Burberry ‘face’ Josh Whitehouse
Mr. Burberry is referred to as a ‘man of contrasts’. In what ways are you a man of contrasts?
JW: I am generally quite a quiet person in my day-to-day life and more of a thinker than a speaker. However, I am also a performer so when I’m up on stage with my band I become quite the opposite. In fact, while performing in general – be it acting or music – I, like many other creative people, find that this often becomes something of a release. It is certainly one of my own personal contrasts.
Mr. Burberry is inspired by London. How would you describe the energy of London?
I find the energy of London to be almost frantic: crackling with the busy feet of the busy people running here, there and everywhere. It is a place that is beaming with creativity and life from every corner.
What three words would you use to describe London at night?
Beautiful. Fun. Invigorating.
Would you say that London is different at night versus the daytime?
London at night is like a new city: more romantic, full of fun and flair. It’s when people are out to dress up or relax and have a good time, but the hustle and bustle of all walks of life are still all around you. London never sleeps.
Describe your perfect London night.
My perfect night in London would be with close friends on a nice summer evening, having early evening drinks in Islington or Soho, then off somewhere nice for a bite to eat, followed by bowling or going to see a comedy, a play, a film or to watch a band.
What are your favourite London views at night?
One of the best views I have seen in London at night was overlooking Piccadilly Circus from the rooftop of Hotel Café Royal, where we filmed the Mr. Burberry campaign. You can see all of the rooftops for miles, and all the madness of the streets below.
You can create your perfect night with anyone (living or otherwise), doing anything and being anywhere in London. Describe it.
I would have to skydive onto Dalston Roof Park with my band, eat a hearty steak, and drink some tasty wine. Play a gig on its rooftop, then abseil halfway down, jump and land on one of those big, squishy nets and then head over to a Northern Soul night somewhere and have a dance.
The campaign for the new Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum is about the anticipation of a night with a love. How do you get ready for a night out, and what’s the best part of anticipating such a night?
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being excited for a night out, especially if you are anticipating spending it with someone special. The best part of looking forward to it is just that: when it’s nearly time to go, you are getting ready and walking out of the door. You know you have the whole night ahead of you to enjoy.
What do you like about the Mr. Burberry scents?
I love the smell of both fragrances. The Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette is brighter in smell: morning fresh, almost, yet zesty and light. The Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum is a deeper, woodier fragrance – it’s almost more of a romantic scent.
In three words how would you describe the new Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?
Woody. Romantic. Warm.
How do you think a man should wear fragrance?
If a man enjoys wearing a fragrance, I think it’s nice to have a day scent and a night one. I would apply Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette in the morning around the neck and chest area just after a shower. Then if I’m going out later, I’ll wear Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum.
There are some new grooming products in the Mr. Burberry line: Aftershave Balm, Face Scrub and Hair and Beard Clay. Do you have any favourites of these?
My favourites are the Mr. Burberry Face Scrub and Mr. Burberry Aftershave Balm; they smell amazing and are not too strong, just this lovely hint of the fragrance on your skin.
Do you feel British men have a distinct style, attitude and outlook versus, perhaps, men from other countries – and what do you think the difference is? Does this refer to you too?
I think British men are not afraid of being who they are and looking how they want to look. They don’t take themselves too seriously and can be quite irreverent, and I think this characterises their style. I’d like to think this applies to me too.
Q&A with Mr. Burberry Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian
You said that when you started working on the scent for Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette, Christopher Bailey asked for ‘irreverent’. What did he request for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?
When I met with Christopher Bailey to discuss the inspiration for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum, he asked for it to be even more irreverent than the Eau de Toilette – a more intense, deeper fragrance.
What was the inspiration for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?
The Mr. Burberry fragrances are inspired by London and its moments, and Christopher Bailey wanted Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum to capture the essence of London at night. It is inspired by the heritage of British male perfume and is constructed to embody the Burberry man.
How do you create a fragrance within the same family, but with a stand out contrast?
Raw materials for a perfumer can be compared to colours for a painter. You can play with them and balance them with each other to create the harmony you want to express. It means you can play with the raw material, but also choose how much of it you put in the fragrance.
Tarragon, cinnamon, patchouli, amber and vetiver are the fragrance notes within Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum. What role does each of the notes play?
These fragrance notes help to increase and underline the contrast between freshness and warmth. They bring depth and texture to the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum fragrance.
How did you approach making the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?
When I was creating the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum, I tried to capture the intense moments and the sensual vibes of the Mr. Burberry film. I immersed myself in the formula to highlight and emphasise the darker and more sensual part of the scent. The idea was to keep the masculine Britishness, but to infuse the fragrance with warmer and deeper undertones.
As a perfumer, how do you capture the energy of London at night in a fragrance?
It’s a creative process. I use my imagination, my feelings and my intuition, all together. It’s all about capturing a feeling, vibes and a sense of what you feel while in the city and to translate it to the fragrance so it has the same type of feeling.
Fragrance is great for evoking memories and your senses. What memory does the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum fragrance evoke for you?
The world of fragrances has been related to work for me for the past two decades. It’s a passion, but it’s also my day-to-day life. Whenever I smell a fragrance that I have created, it reminds me of the period of time when I composed it.
What is your favourite memory evoked by a scent?
The smell of mimosa is my favourite scent memory as it reminds me of the house I grew up in.