Once again I find myself picking over another box of delights from our friends at The Perfume Society. This time, it’s just one brand: Molton Brown.
Molton Brown is familiar to many as providers of posh toiletries in posh hotels (that I resist stealing with difficulty), but their fragrance range puts them rightfully in the frame as a perfume house to be reckoned with.
What makes this range stand out is that the notes used are instantly recognisable. There are no euphemisms: Ylang Ylang smells like Ylang Ylang , Honeysuckle and White Tea smells like honeysuckle and white tea etc., you get the picture. This is in fact one of the strengths of this little set. It is absolutely ideal for someone who wants to learn to recognise individual notes having recently entered the Perfume Portal of Endless Discovery. There is a gentle clarity in each one giving these a cologne like transparency, yet with eau de parfum staying power. (They are in fact all eau de toilettes, but have great longevity)
I shall give you a mini review of each one below to help you make up your mind. Details on how to buy the set or the full bottles will be at the end.
Fiery Pink Pepper
This one was a lovely surprise. You may have heard me have a moan recently that fruity pink pepper ( which is a berry not peppercorn) is being overused and fruity florals are being doused in the stuff. But wait! Here my faith in pink pepper as a note is restored. There is a rosy fruitiness about this one, but teamed with citrus, nutmeg and ginger, you have a more refreshing astringent take on it, with a nice warm finish.
Blossoming Honeysuckle and White Tea
Honeysuckle is one of my favourite flowers. I can’t walk past it without leaning into a front garden for a sneaky snort. In fact I bought myself a honeysuckle bush just yesterday. Honeysuckle is sweet, with a slightly peachy, milky accord and in real life, it’s a little piece of heaven. It is coupled here with white tea, and a touch of tuberose and jasmine to bring out the floral tones rather than the fruitiness. The white tea makes this a clean, fresh-out-of-the shower scent.
This is allegedly for men, but would smell equally good on a woman. It opens with classic cologne touches of citrus and herbs: notably lemon and basil, and beds down into a balsamic woody finish.
Mesmerising Oudh Accord and Gold
This is ideal if you’ve ever been tempted to ask “what’s all this oudh business?” Oudh has flooded the market in the last two years and this fragrance is a good way to isolate that oudh note and see if you like it. Oudh stems from rotten agar wood, but don’t let that put you off. Rot, like moss or certain natural fungi can smell both rich and sweet and not unpleasant. Here it is combined with all the richest notes: tobacco, myrrh, vetiver and cinnamon. It’s like a little gentleman’s club in a bottle.
Recharge Black Pepper
I thought there was lime in this, but in fact it is lemon, which goes very well with black pepper whether as a scent or on green beans! With a refreshing zingy opening, this beds down into an almost but not quite chypre finish, with oak moss, vetiver and ambergris. It has a clean masculine scent that smells great.
Orange and Bergamot
This does what it says on the tin, but better. In a similar vein to Jo Malone Lime Mandarin Bergamot, (but stronger) this is an astringent, bright cologne that has strength and staying power. These two notes together are a classic combination and I would happily bathe in this till the cows come home.
This is another fragrance that has spices but remains almost crystalline in its transparency. It has the slightly honeyed spice of marigolds, the tartness of ginger, and a big bunch of white flowers in the middle. All the way through it remains light, like a rain shower. It’s a very clever blend indeed.
I always think of Ylang Ylang as leathery banana flowers and since I tried Anya’s Garden Ylang Ylang absolute, I think I’ve definitely got the hang of Ylang Ylang. Molton Brown Ylang Ylang has added leather which seems to accentuate this aspect, but teamed with ginger, vanilla and cedar, this makes for an interesting fragrance that left a sweet honeyed trail of woody notes on my skin after around an hour.
So that’s all eight of them and I hope done this lovely collection justice.