'Splash it on all over' - we were told.
'Nothing beats the great smell of Brut' - they claimed. We didn't disagree. Perhaps we should have done.
Brut, still available today, oddly enough, was the aftershave of the seventies, ruling the waves above Old Spice, Kung Fu, Hi-Karate and other nostril bashers. If you've ever smelt it, then, just by concentrating, you can probably recall the fragrance exactly. Down to the smallest detail.
Brut is what dads smell of, and grandads, and uncles - anybody so long as they're at least a generation above you. And it's not an unpleasant fragrance; it's reminiscent of locker rooms, and diesel oil, and Christmas (because that was when we smelt it the most). The problem with it, though, was that people were rather too keen to believe the advertising. Thinking that 'nothing beats the great smell of Brut' everyone had a tendency to 'splash it on all over' (Henry Cooper was the guy in the ads doing the splashing - macho, lean, hard, doing a good impression of being one stick short of a bundle); 'splashing it all over' was not the sort of thing to do with it - if any fragrance ever needed caution and tact, then this was it.
But we showed it none, and it became just one more aspect of the seventies (and the eighties actually) that was a little too bold, a little too brash, and a little too much.
Faberge are responsible for it (not, I would like to think, the same people that made the pretty little eggs). They tried, a little while back, to drag it kicking and screaming into the nineties. They rechristened it 'Brut - Aquatonic' - presumably to give it that sort of pseudo-scientific slant that was so prevalent at the time. It didn't work, I don't think. (And one of the reasons could well be that we couldn't separate it in our heads from 'Lucozade - Isotonic' a 'sports drink' with the same locker room connotations as the aftershave's forerunner.)
Kelly Le Brock was in the adverts. She annoyed the hell out of me. 'The essence of man? A real man? He has to be strong, and free (or something), and so alive.' (She was on a boat with a piece of beefcake who looked like he'd have real difficulty spelling 'man'.) The notion that Le Brock might consider some men to be real even if they were dead made me howl derisively.
She seemed to be doing a great impression, albeit a nineties, more refined, one of Henry Cooper... One stick, and all that?
If you see a bottle of it - buy it. The nostalgia value is, really, about as big as nostalgia gets. Relive a Christmas of twenty-five years ago. Go on. Splash it on all over. Nothing beats the great smell of Brut.