Tag Archives: Urban Reivers

Damn Rebel Witches: REEK Perfumes gives the Bitches a Sister

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We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn

Reek is an independent Scottish brand who worked with prolific Nose Sarah McCartney (Um, I might have mentioned her a few times) to produce the fragrance Damn Rebel Bitches. The scent was created to honour and commemorate the women who fought back  in the Jacobite rebellion and the name the English had for them is used to name the fragrance in a rebellious two fingered salute. You can read my review here.

This year, launching,appropriately on Halloween 2017, comes Damn Rebel Witches.  At the march for women earlier this year, placards read “We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn,” and that to me, is the demographic for this stunning statement scent. In other words, all of us.

My freckly arm in rebellious mode.
My freckly arm in rebellious mode.

Damn Rebel Witches is in a similar vein to Damn Rebel Bitches, but has a sharper opening and a darker finish. The blood orange comes out immediately, and the tobacco- here a rich woody note- adds an earthy finesse. There’s hearty malt, and  a horsey whiff of leather.  Both scents are created from ingredients that would have been around at the time of the women they celebrate i.e the 1700s (Okay, maybe not the oranges, but I’m happy to stand corrected).  In both you’ll find malt, pink pepper, berries and blood oranges and they do have several similarities: these two are blood sisters for sure.

photo by REEK
photo by REEK

 

Witches is woodier than Bitches, and the orange is sharper. You know when you peel an orange and you accidentally get some in your eye? That’s the smell, although your eyes won’t sting if you smell this.

What I find curious about this is that when you think Damn Rebel Witches has left you completely, it disappears and comes back as a sort of light floral ghostie.  I was sniffing my arm wondering what petal like scent I had sprayed earlier, only to realise that Damn Rebel Witches dies and comes back! How’s that for a party trick? And where did the dark orangey flowers come from? They’re not even listed as notes. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.

Stockists

Damn Rebel Witches is currently available in a set of two: Bitches and Witches, which gives you a phial of each from the REEK website. Full size bottles of Damn Rebel Witches will be available from Halloween this year. You can already buy Damn Rebel Bitches in full size as well as purse size. My sample was kindly supplied by REEK in return for an honest review, which I have given.  Opinions are my own and this is not a sponsored post.

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REEK: Damn Rebel Bitches (2016): a Fragrance for Strrrong Women

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I was recently sent a sample of a new fragrance from REEK.  This scent goes to number one on my favourite ever perfume names list, knocking I Fancy You and Fat Electrician off the top spot.

Damn Rebel Bitches was cooked up over a cauldron stirred by Sarah McCartney, who you will know from 4160 Tuesdays. You just know that when Sarah rolls her sleeves up, this will be no ordinary smell-alike mass market popsicle. NB The cauldron isn’t literal- her studio is more test tubes and maceration, but you get the picture.reek-perfume-damnrebelbitches-eaudeparfum-2-uai-720x900

Opening in dramatic fashion with blood orange that sticks around and doesn’t quit, Damn Rebel Bitches falls somewhere between a cologne and a gourmand. I’m not a fan of gourmands, but when they are sober and unsweetened, like this one, I am all nostrils. The orange is joined by clary sage, malt and pink peppercorn. Pink peppercorn is a berry not a spice and has been used in seemingly endless measure lately with the trend for pink fruity florals. Have no fear, pepper dodgers, here it is muted and adds just enough of a fruity pinch to keep the orange on track.

There is a thread of molasses running through here like a mining seam, which I figured must be the malt and hazelnut. Traditional Dundee cake Now, I know I said this gourmand was unsweetened, but sometimes molasses and very dark brown sugar can start to smell like something else when you sniff them up close. It’s almost as if they smell like dark, dried fruit or fudgey nuts. Such is the case here and the combination of sharp orange and nutty malt made me think of the chewy cherry and fruit topping on a Dundee Cake (I could eat a whole one if left unsupervised). The herby note comes from the clary sage- a beautifully green note that I love, but doesn’t always work for me in fragrance. Here though, it works beautifully and that herby touch adds a stretch of countryside into the pot.

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There is a middle phase to Damn Rebel Bitches that smells like red Skittles, but it faded as soon as I named it. It’s as if the playful pink peppercorn starts a fight and loses. The final act is an orangey, herby accord that smells like a posh liqueur. Think Cointreau, but with flashes of greenery and dark wood.

I love how the notes evoke a wildness. There is a feeling that the ingredients were gathered many years ago: hazelnuts, malt, clary sage- all could be found by the wild haired Damn Rebel Bitches whose courage went largely unnoticed because, well, because they were women. These brave women deserve to be remembered and I salute REEK for doing so.

Stockists

You can buy Damn Rebel Bitches from the  REEK website or from the shop in Edinburgh. My sample was kindly sent to me by REEK, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.

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Read More

Cafleurebon writes a wonderful blog post about Damn Rebel Bitches and you can find out more about the eponymous heroines of this fragrance here.