Can't work out whether this is a 2 or a 4 star. First try my reaction was a little Ike Himalayan odyssey's: rubber band oddness. Second try was more in line with Collin Maillard's. so neutral from me but will try again.
First thing that hits me is fresh bright very natural smelling lemon...this is immediately ruined by a very chemical synthetic smelling wood note...IMHO , smells like any of dozens of mall fragrances...citrus spice and synthetic wood...if this had a better quality of ingedients and better blending it could have been something along the lines of Eau Sauvage meets Invasion Barbare...but alas, all i can muster up for this is a big Meh!...does bear some resemblances to Sartorial...guess the British gentleman style of juice is not for me...bottom line- slightly above average run of the milll citrus/spice/wood concoction....
I have tried it through a sample with the hope of finding something classic men's fragrance as per the description of others but sadly I am quite taken aback since nobody mentioned it but I get a weird kind of rubber band smell out of it ,something you smell when you have a rubber-band in your hand and that synthetic rubber smell ...hence for me its a no-go scent sadly !
A perfect example of a fully deserved hype, and Im surprised this doesnt get more. Alongside Richard James Savile Row, probably the best British contemporary fragrance for men Ive smelled in years, although the nose is French. Ironically, given Fredéric Malle is involved (with what role, precisely?), I think that in some way Mark Birley for Men smells more Malle than most of his own labels scents. Many of them are in fact way cheaper and duller than this, which on the contrary is just stunning, both quality, refinement and creativity wise. Nicher than most of niche. Citrus, lime, black pepper, crisp smoky woods, some peculiar sort of breezy and grey powdery violet notes: actually a seemingly simple structure, but smelling completely unusual, modern, unique and somehow very dimensional in the way the notes unravel and evolve. On paper it may seem just another violet-woody cologne with some fresh top, while it isnt really. Its just totally different from what you may expect, and briefly put, I have not the slightest idea of how to describe it. Its just new and very unique as a whole.
Probably a sort of metallic sparkling aura would define the most immediate of its peculiar features, followed by a sort of aldehydic-musky dry clean laundry nuance (due to violet, musk and woods, I guess) which for example you also find, in a similar but way bolder incarnation, in Penhaligons Sartorial and finally a sort of subtle saltiness providing a delightful, very realistic watery-sea feel. But its actually the way they work together which is just brilliant. Its distinguished yet very casual and informal. The citrus-lime top accord alone has some very interesting features as well, as it smells very tangy, fresh, but somehow very robust, bold and very long-lasting, still without smelling like everlasting mosquito repellent. Its very natural, bright, vibrant and almost kind of fizzy, with a bright freshness that seems always about to fade away, and yet it lasts for hours. Its very substantial but totally weightless and bright. And the middle and base notes are just great as well, the way violent and woods blend is so effortless and mellow probably incense has a key role in smoothening the accord and making it smell just as a sophisticated nondescript mist of grey-purple nuances. To cut it short, Birley for Men has them all: its very unique yet completely versatile and un-challenging to wear, its very pleasant, the quality is outstanding and it performs surprisingly well (I disagree with the lack of longevity complaints, its very discreet but quite long-lasting). Its a joy both to explore and to just spray liberally and forget about it. Brilliant.