Alfred Dunhill introduces the latest addition to their Icon collection: Icon Racing. The fragrance was inspired by the glory days of British motorsports – and by the color that stands for the thrill of the open road: British Racing Green.
Simon de Burton recounts the story of the classic colour that’s long been intertwined with British motoring. Mention the letters ‘BRG’ to anyone with even a passing interest in motor cars and they will know instantly what you’re talking about: British Racing Green, the dark and lustrous hue that speaks of glorious victories won on the circuits of the world by drivers with derring-do.
But what are the origins of that evocative colour, and why is it so decisively British? To find the answer, we must engage reverse (without crunching) and travel back to 1900 and the inaugural Gordon Bennett Cup international road race, which was named after the hugely wealthy, famously rambunctious owner of The New York Herald who established it.
That first event was staged in France under the auspices of the country’s national automobile club and a tradition was established that subsequent races should be held in the country of origin of the previous year’s winning team. Englishman Selwyn Edge took the laurels in 1902 behind the wheel of a Napier, but, since road racing was illegal in England, the 1903 event was staged in Ireland, where laws were a little less strict.
Because the competition was between national teams, it had previously been suggested by the celebrated automobilist Count Eliot Zborowski that each country taking part should be allocated its own colour. French cars therefore raced in ‘French blue’, Belgian ones in yellow, the Dutch in orange, Germany’s in white and Italian’s in red. Edge’s Napier was liveried in olive green, partly because there weren’t many left to choose from, but also because the colour had come to be associated with the cutting-edge machinery produced during Britain’s golden age of engineering. It’s thought, however, that, in a nod to the host country, the running of the 1903 event in Ireland led to the olive tone being replaced by a far darker ‘Shamrock Green’ and this is the colour that subsequently came to be known as ‘British Racing Green’.
Precisely what constitutes ‘British Racing Green’ has never been officially defined, and if one were to look at a long line of cars described as being painted in ‘British Racing Green’ it’s highly likely no two would be of exactly the same colour – but, somehow, one always knows it when one sees it.
Most famously, perhaps, it adorned the mighty Bentleys that dominated the Le Mans 24-hour races during the late 1920s and early 30’s, but it also became synonymous with competition cars built by English marques such as Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lotus, MG and Vanwall.
As Dunhill’s autumn/winter collection demonstrates, British Racing Green doesn’t look good only on the body of an automobile. Because, true to the roots it laid down with the introduction of its original ‘Motorities’ range of motoring accessories more than 100 years ago, it has chosen British Racing Green as the hue for a range of new lines, including its covetable blouson driving jacket in soft and supple leather. All you need add is a matching car – one that was made in England, of course.
This autumn the popular house of Dunhill pays tribute to the famous British Racing Green color and launches a new masculine fragrance Dunhill Icon Racing, following and filling up the now famous Dunhill Icon Collection. The Collection is made of successful fragrances as Icon, Icon Absolute, and Icon Elite. The design is simple, but that green color style is simply unbelievable and gorgeous.
Top notes: Bergamot, Cardamon, Grapefruit
Heart: Orange blosson, Lavender, Pepper
Base: Guaiac Wood, Vetiver, Musk
Dunhill Icon Racing is a masculine, woody perfume characterizing ambitious, powerful men who know their target, yet modern and stylish enough to be worn during the day. This perfume is composed by perfumer Laurent Le Guernec as a spicy/woody/aromatic perfume. Dunhill Icon Racing opens with fresh citrusy notes of bergamot, grapefruit ideally combined with spicy notes of cardamom, pepper along with orange blossom and lavender. The base calms on a woody layer made of musk, vetiver and guaiac wood.
Dunhill Icon Racing is available as 50 and 100ml Eau de Parfum.