Perfume Review: Firedance by Ruth Mastenbroek

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Ruth Mastenbroek’s line of four fragrances is one the perfume industry’s hidden gems, but hopefully all of that is going to change and these fragrant jewels will be more widely known. Recently Ruth Mastenbroek rebranded, changing her bottles to feature a drop of perfume that depicts a scene specific to each fragrance (each one created through a detailed paper cutting technique). The idea is that every drop tells a story and no tale is exciting or as vivid as the one for Ruth’s brand new fragrance ‘Firedance‘.

Firedance is a fragrance of celebration – of big occasions and small moments. When I spoke to Ruth about her new fragrance she told me that her children had got married and she now has three grandchildren, which “feels like a wonder”. Firedance was born out of the contentment of these moments – it’s “the dance of one’s spirit – the energy of it”, which seems fitting as Ruth also told me that if she wasn’t a perfumer, she would be a dancer. Firedance is a vibrant and explosive take on rose with the smokiness of leather to evoke fire, and like the rest of Ruth’s collection, you need to sniff it.

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The Notes

Top: Apple and Lemon
Heart: Damask Rose, Leather and Cashmere
Base: Oudh and patchouli

The Perfumer

Ruth Mastenbroek

How Does it Smell?

Celebration comes through right from the top notes and Firedance announces its arrival with the pop of a champagne cork and the whoosh of a bright, red rocket. The droplet on the bottle, which depicts the silhouette of a couple embracing in front of fireworks is SO spot on. The opening is sharp and tangy, but vibrant too. The top notes are fresh, with the sweet dewiness of apple and fruity with almost sherbet-like raspberry note that is beautifully fizzy. Bottles of plonk popping and neon Catherine wheels – what’s not to love?

Let’s talk about rose, because I’m itching to get to grips with the big red one that sits at the heart of Firedance (because I’m a rose fiend, people, a fiend!). For Firedance, Ruth Mastenbroek has bottled a ruby red damask rose that glows like warm, ruby embers. It’s sharp and lemony, as roses are, but also jammy too with beautiful blackcurrant and lychee accents. There isn’t too much spice to the rose but there is an underlying dustiness that acts as the key link to Firedance’s other most prominent note: leather.

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If the rose and the citrus are the dance in Firedance, then the leather and oud base is the fire. The leather brings dry, salty smoke in soft auburn plumes that envelop the luminous petals of the rose. The oud and patchouli work together to create a slightly sour sharpness that prevents the leather from being too dry and allows that idea of radiant light to carry through to the dry down. Firedance is interesting because it’s not linear as such, but it is seamlessly blended in such a way that the shifts in tone feel subtle and each element remains intact in some way, shape or form. It just moves gracefully from start to finish, from rose to leather and back again.

Like everything Ruth Mastenbroek has made and launched under her own name, Firedance is a fully fleshed out fragrance filled with beauty. I feel as if it is her boldest, most symphonic offering to date and it has an ultimately more daring signature. Ruth’s fragrances offer intriguing twists on classic styles and Firedance is no exception, the twist here is that the rose and leather have become one material, complimenting and extending each other into something new.  The pyrotechnic beauty of Firedance is something to celebrate indeed.


Firedance is available in 50ml (£90) and 100ml (£120) Eau de Parfum


Sample, notes and quotes via Ruth Mastenbroek. Images are my own.