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britannia

Sartorial

Britannia from Roja Dove is a Powdery Explosion

Seriously. Y’all had better like powder if you’re going to plunk down that much money for Britannia. Anyways, let’s start at the beginning. I’ve been working my way through several of Roja Dove’s offerings recently thanks to sampling or decants I’ve been able to pick up. Most of my exposure had been mostly limited to the cologne offerings (I own a bottle of Creation-E) previously, so what with the new year being here I thought, why not?

We’ve already established how much of legend Roja Dove is in the fragrance world, as well as the high price tags his fragrances carry to boot. I do want to point out that you should not confuse Britannia with Great Britain as they are two separate fragrances. Roja Dove has several different lines of fragrance collections within its house (as opposed to the Xerjoff approach of giving them entirely different names and looks a la Sospiro and Kemi). Britannia falls in the Imperial Scents line.

So let’s take a look at the note breakdown for this fragrance before I launch into my overall thoughts.

Britannia Notes

Top: Citron, Mandarin orange, bergamot, tangerine

Heart: Peach, heliotrope, violet, champaca, rose de mai, jasmine, cassia

Base: Orris root, cacao, ambergris, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, sandalwood, musk, vetiver, patchouli

Like with many Roja Dove scents, the note pyramid for Britannia is rather long and complex-looking.

Verdict

Whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiich is why it’s so confounding that this is basically a baby powder blast from the past. I could not, at any point during this scent’s drydown, pick out a single one of the alleged spice notes. Come to think of it, I couldn’t pick much out in the way of the citrus top notes either.

This is just pure powder. When I first applied it, I thought I smelled like old, vintage feeling baby powder. Like I just swan dived into a pile of baby powder stashed away by someone with a very specific fetish since the 1940’s. If you’re not a fan of powder, steer far clear of Britannia.

Also speaking of, I am having a hard time picturing how this is supposed to capture the essence of the (very problematic) British empire either. Are we supposed to immediately draw an allusion to a musty, past it’s prime powder set of elites?

Let’s see what Roja Dove had in mind when creating this.

A scent that defines the hallmarks of British creativity, Britannia is composed of materials from the four corners of the earth. As an island nation, the British have always been explorers and brought back new and astounding materials to incorporate into traditional creative pursuits. Blending materials from far-flung exotic realms with established indigenous ingredients, Britannia celebrates the truly British sensibility of being proud of its noble heritage whilst being accepting of external influence. The definition of British manners, this diverse and dignified scent is the epitome of opulence – without being brash – as that is not the British way.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. So for me, this is a swing and a miss because all of those elements he discusses are not here. It’s a powder bomb thanks to a heavy hand of orris root and likely an added boost of heliotrope and violet. (Also, that’s a major whitewashing of the British empire, but this isn’t the place to be having that conversation, sooooooooooo. Ahem.)

Now, as disappointing as this is if you were expecting a complex blending of citrus, florals, and spice, I will give Britannia credit. The drydown is very lovely and the sweet, powdery sillage is rather enticing as you flit about a room. It certainly wouldn’t offend anyone in the office. The sillage and drydown are nice enough that I almost might have been interested in purchasing it anyway.

That said, that lovely drydown effect isn’t worth the price. Britannia costs a whopping $935 on Selfridges and that’s the lowest you’ll find it. In other places, it retails for $1050. “Cute powder trail” vs “one month’s rent”…. hmmmm. Also, this might just be me being picky, but the packaging. Y’all, if I’m going to drop THAT much on a fragrance it better come in a nicer package than what Roja currently provides. I have a bottle of Oman from Taif Al Emarat that cost a fraction of the price of Britannia and came in a polished wooden box! Or if you’re not wanting to do wood, look at Xerjoff’s presentation!

Again, for a fraction of the price of Britannia, you get a beautifully presented bottle in a leather case (and this isn’t even touching the Kemi level of presentation)! I know packaging isn’t everything, but if I’m dropping close to a thousand on a bottle of smelly water, I want packaging that looks on that level, not slide-up cardboard material!

If you do want to sample this just so you can say you’ve tried it, however, you can head over to Surrender to Chance and pick up a 1/4 mL sample vial for $8.69.

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.

Britannia
2.3 Reviewer
0 Users (0 votes)
Unisex/FeminineFor
PowderyType
Pros
If you've got money to blow and love powdery fragrances, then Britannia is definitely worth a look.
Cons
The powdery elements of Britannia overpower any other blending going on, and the price is haram.
Summary
Overpriced and one note, Britannia is only for those with excess money to burn.
Blending
Performance
Value
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Author

  • Kori is an entertainment writer and Managing Editor at the Fandomentals. In her spare time, she is a fragrance and watch enthusiast, lover of Eurovision, and Yanni devotee. Find her on Instagram at @fmkori

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