Tag Archives: Autumn Fragrance

Firedance: The New Fragrance from Ruth Mastenbroek 2017

Rejoicing in each moment of contentment in life. In Firedance, Ruth presents a scorching, modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, as exotic leather dances in surprise harmony with the main character – smouldering Damask rose. Set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli, a shining amber note radiates from the skin in this memorably intimate and sexy perfume.

Today is the day that Ruth Mastenbroek launches the fourth fragrance in her collection: Firedance.  Ruth is an experienced nose who has worked behind the scenes in the industry for fourdecades before going solo in 2010 with her first scent, aptly named RM Signature.  You can read my review here. After that came the wonderful Amorosa, followed by Oxford. Now the trio becomes a quartet, with the arrival of Firedance.  Ruth has also redesigned the brand to reflect that every drop tells a story and using a palette of black and gold, these new designs reminded me of the original illustrations to Grimm’s fairytales ( see pic and you’ll know what I mean).

So was Firedance worth the wait and is it a worthy member of this scented quartet? Absolutely. Here’s why.

Now, first of all, this is a rose/oud/leather fragrance. We all know that rose and oud and rose and leather have been done before, but dear reader, not like this.  The leather and oud is there, of course, but the first thing I noticed about Firedance was the rich, dusky Damask rose and then, would you believe it? Carnations.  In the same way that Serge Lutens Vitriol D’oeillet made me sit up and take notice, Firedance stopped me in my tracks.   A drop of clove oil is the culprit, and whilst it doesn’t dominate, it adds a wonderful peppery spicy addition to proceedings.

This is me with my treasured bottle from Ruth.

I composed Firedance to capture those special moments that make me appreciate what I have.- Ruth Mastenbroek

For full disclosure, I’m not really a big oud fan (there, I’ve said it), but the oud here smells different. It doesn’t take over but still makes a contribution.  In fact, it adds a kind of fruity earthy accord that makes the rose more robust. It seems to blend seamlessly with the amber to make a sort of amber-oud or oud-amber. The amber takes the edges off it.

To me, it adds layers and makes this a sort of 4D rose, with petals that have crisped through age, like dusty pot pourri, whilst still having plump satiny petals in the centre. My nose also picked up little facets of powder, which always makes me think of a 1950s dressing table. I often find this with rose, whether the powdery note is deliberate or not.

Ruth Mastenbroek. Photo from Twitter

There is a  measured heat and an autumnal feel to Firedance, which makes this a very appropriate launch for the first day of Autumn.  This is rose with warmth, earthiness, spice and the kind of longevity that lingers on your pillow when you wake up the next day.  It’s not cheap, but it is very good value.   Ruth makes it herself. There’s no committee, no big factory, no billboard marketing. You’re paying for the ingredients and the expertise of a perfumer with  four decades of skill and experience.

Firedance is a stand out earthy, dusty rose that’s not quite on the turn, not quite over. This is the perfect farewell to summer and a warm scented blanket for the colder days ahead.

Stockists

Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance is available from the website and from Fenwick’s, where Ruth will be giving a talk on 14th September. Check out The Perfume Society website for details. My bottle was given to me by Ruth Mastenbroek in return for an honest review, for which, my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.

 

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Molinard Chypre D’Orient: A Treasure Worth Finding

 

chypre bottle

Do excuse the hiatus. I’m on a blogging go-slow due to the summer hols and a jolly nice time we’ve had too. The children go back to school on September 5th and I will be cranking up the Autumn Fragrance posts with aplomb.

Friend of the blog ( and of me) Lisa Wordbird, often gives me little loans of incredible stuff to sample. Among the booty on our most recent meet up was a bottle of Molinard Chypre D’Orient. Reader, I married it.

chypre dorientMy favourite genre when it comes to scent is the mossy green chypre, and I could hardly believe my luck when this big 100ml bottle fell into my clutches. Ignore the “D’Orient” bit: this is chypres as chypres used to be-and still should be- in my humble opinion. All the gang’s here: oakmoss, patchouli, galbanum, amber, musk. It’s a hard hitter for sure. The patchouli is so prickly and spiky that at first I thought it was spices, but then realised it was more of an earthiness. The oakmoss steps in  and takes over straight away like a boss, and peeking out from the edges are glimpses of jasmine and neroli.

Chypre D’Orient has been labelled the poor man’s Mitsouko, but this is a great in its own right. In danger of going under the radar, this treasure made me think of that legendary accord: Guerlinade. You know that tell-tale je ne sais quoi that makes you recognise a Guerlain Heritage with your eyes shut? Well Chypre D’Orient smells like THAT. Except that it’s under £40 for 100ml.

This is a vintage style chypre before modern life got in the way. There’s a touch of rose and powder to round off the ladylike picture and a handsome, vaguely Art Deco style weighty bottle to adorn the dressing table.

If that sounds up your street then bag yourself one now. These are getting harder to find. Chypre fans-remember: a rolling stone gathers no mossy chypres.

Stockists

You can buy Molinard Chypre D’orient from Amazon UK. It’s currently £35.39 for 100ml. Price correct at time of posting.

Library of Fragrance Bonfire: Smokin’

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Library of Fragrance really does have a scent for every occasion. For Christmas you can have Cranberry, Gingerbread and Fireplace. For Spring there’s Wet Garden, Peony, and of course , being the UK, Rain, There’s even birthday fragrance with Vanilla Cake Batter and Gin and Tonic.  And now, right in front of me, there’s a bottle of Bonfire.

When sprayed on the three members of my family here tonight, ranging in age from five to forty nine, I’m afraid none of them liked it, one said “Pumpkin”, one said “Halloween” and one said “Yuk, Gerroff”. Well I liked it. What do they know? Huh.

Bonfire encapsulates the exact smell of a bonfire, which seems like an obvious thing to say but to me,  it smells like someone has been playing with matches in my living room.

Over on basenotes, several commentators have remarked that it reminds them of hotdogs and I’ve no doubt that a variation of the same liquid smoke used to flavour hot dogs is likely to be used in scent as well as flavour. There is most certainly a smoky note, that is almost bitter on first sniff. However, bear with it, because this is worth hanging on for. After a while the smoke beds down into a sort of scorched maple, and what was once bitter fades down into a layer of smoky spice. In fact it seemed like a good idea at this point to fish out two of my favourite Library of Fragrance scents- Pipe Tobacco and Mahogany- and do a bit of layering.

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Bonfire and Mahogany gives a lovely combination of both smoke and incense- and it is perfect for Autumn. It’s on the masculine spectrum but I like to smell a lot more butch in Autumn and Winter than I do in Spring and Summer.

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When I blended Pipe Tobacco with Bonfire, the effect was even more interesting and equally pleasing. The cosy warmth of Pipe Tobacco gave smoky Bonfire a warm nuttiness that gave the impression of the wood surround of a fireplace in winter. You have smoke’n’cosy all in one and I really liked this combination.

In conclusion, Bonfire may not be for everyone, but for me that pang of Seventies childhood it gave me (sparklers, baked potatoes, real bonfires) was the portal that got me interested. A bit of blending with other woody and warm scents, and my bonfire was under control and made for a pleasant Autumn evening.

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Stockists

You can buy Library of Fragrance from the Library of Fragrance website.  There is also a selection of Library of Fragrance scents in branches of Boots