Tag Archives: best rose perfume

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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Exploring a New Perfume House: Gallivant London

london gallivant

It’s a wet spring. Roses from Columbia Rd. Georgian architecture. A hint of dustiness. An earthy lush wetness you can almost taste.

Gallivant is a new niche fragrance brand with a capsule collection of four city inspired scents.  Gallivant is the brainchild of Nick Steward, who is perfectly placed to go solo having been Product and Creative Director at the legendary L’Artisan Parfumeur.  Gallivant aims to embody a sense of adventure and exploration.  Each scent seeks to capture the spirit of the city after which it has been named, and I don’t mean just the pretty touristy bits.  The noses behind the range are Karine Chevallier and Giorgia Navarra.

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Me outside an NCP car park in Soho prior to gallivanting around posh Knightsbridge. A city of contrasts.

Surprisingly, this collection also put me ina position I’d never thought I’d find myself in: I’ve been gallivanting around my home county of Torfaen smelling like Tel Aviv.  Who knew?  Reader, I love it. Today I’m reviewing London. The other three will follow: Istanbul, Brooklyn and Tel Aviv.

Gallivant London

London the fragrance opens with cucumber and roses on my skin.  Don’t be put off by the cucumber- it doesn’t remind me of teenage spot treatment and cleanser in this context.  Gallivant London is Inspired by the flower market of Columbia Road. The rose de mai flourishes from the first spray and sticks around throughout. Touches of leather come through- funnily enough, a smell I often associate with London, especially the market on Petticoat Lane.

columbia

This leathery rose pretty much stays as a leathery rose, but the cucumber melts away, having made its introduction.  Enter stage left a pleasant earthy woodiness in the form of patchouli, cedar and sandalwood. That rose never waivers though, which gives this a pleasing juxtaposition of male and female, soft and hard, gentle and tough. In other words, a perfect capture of this eclectic and multi faceted city.

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Poodle Guard Dog by Banksy, from visitlondon.com

Stockists

London is available from the Gallivant website and in the USA, from Luckyscent.  My samples were very kindly sent to me by Gallivant, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.

Shay & Blue London: Amber Rose

amberr-ose-pretty

Shay and Blue London Amber Rose is one of those fragrances that I tried in warm weather and dismissed, then tried in cold weather and ending up loving. The same thing happened with First by Van Cleef and Arpels, which is now the nearest thing I have to a signature scent.

In the summer, I found Amber Rose too sweet and too gourmand in the sticky heat. However, in cold weather, it tells a different story and it was a story that had me hooked from page one.

Amber Rose only has three notes: Rose, Dulche de Leche ( caramel) and Amber.  The rose is a clean rose that has a hint of papery dried petals around the edges: think the dried rose petals in pot pourri. It combines satiny petals with a tea like dryness. The  delectable dulche de leche note acts a bridge between the rose and the amber and  it’s a genius bit of blending.  The sweetness of the rose rises and melts into the caramel and then sobers up again as it segues into the woody amber finish. This is perfect for cold weather and the sweetness level is pitched just right for a wintery day.  The combination of roses and milky, woody warmth is irresistibly cosy.  I can see my Shay and Blue collection starting to grow. Oh well!

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Stockists

You can find a selection of Shay and Blue fragrance in branches of Marks and Spencer. Alternatively, you can buy a mini selection of Shay & Blue fragrances from The Perfume Society ( see photo above). The link is here. Sample and opinions are my own.

Yardley Contemporary Classics: English Rose

www.superdrug.com
www.superdrug.com

 

Yardley is one of those classic, trusty brands where you can be assured of quality.  It’s a refreshing change to find a range of fragrance that isn’t constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.  As trends come and go, fans of classics can often find themselves left out, but we can always fall on back on Yardley to provide us with the traditional, simple scents that every fragrance wardrobe needs.

Yardley English Rose is a simple rose  done very well.  It goes on at first spray smelling like delicate rose breath sweets, which at first made me think of Parma violets, but this is purely rose from start to finish.   Despite being an Eau de Toilette, it is light enough to feel like a refreshing eau de cologne, but the lovely light airiness sticks around much longer than it would for a cologne.

On Fragrantica, there are several notes listed:

Rose and Geranium are in the top notes, white flowers are in the middle and the finish consists of spice, musk and woods.  To me, that hint of geranium provides the spice, although the rose is dominant throughout.   The finish is a beautiful clean musk that had me sniffing my arm and wondering when I’d sprayed white musk on that day. Coupled with the roses, it makes a beautifully feminine accord.

This beautiful rose is ideal for layering with musks or even a heavy oriental- it could lighten it up for daytime wear.  Yardley English Rose works best for me in summer though, wearing florals and smelling like them too.

This is unbeatable value at around £10 for 50ml, and sometimes the 125ml bottle is around that price too, if you shop around.

Stockists

Yardley Contemporary Classic English Rose is widely available from Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy, Amazon UK, Boots and many other stockists throughout the UK.

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