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.
I feel like we’re going from the ridiculous to the sublime with fragrance reviews on The Candy Perfume Boy this week. We started with Frédéric Malle’s Monsieur., which whilst fabulously composed is almost comically butch (which in my world is a compliment, of course) and yet we finish with Ruth Mastenbroek’s Oxford which is an entirely more refined and subtle affair. The two fragrances are so different in fact, that a comparison would be silly, so let’s move on and focus solely on Oxford.
Oxford is Ruth Mastenbroek’s third fragrance and it’s a unisex scent inspired by the perfumer’s time spent studying at Oxford University. It’s classified as an oriental, but as one would expect from a fragrance inspired by an established British institution, this is far from an East-looking perfume, in fact it takes the familiar notes of this fragrance family and spins them into something hopeful and free-spirited, just like one’s university days. The official description of Oxford is as follows:
“…inspired by my experiences at Oxford University, where I studied chemistry at Lady Margaret Hall. The scent of the French cigarette brand Gitanes, with its connotations of other-worldly chic and sophistication, was new to me as an innocent undergraduate. It came to embody for me the moment of discovery- when you realise you can make your own mistakes, your own choices, and discover life’s extraordinary adventure. I describe Oxford as the scent of an awakening.”
What exactly is the point of watermelon? It has always seemed to me to be the the most pointless of fruits because it smells and tastes of practically nothing. I’d go as far as saying that it is the worst fruit, along with grapefruit, which is also horrid due to its mouth-screwingly bitter taste. It is my impassioned hatred for watermelon that made Amorosa, the latest fragrance from Ruth Mastenbroek, such a surprise.
Ruth Mastenbroek is a British perfumer, and former President of the British Society of Perfumers, who has created perfumes for a number of niche lines, including Jo Malone, before deciding to go it alone and start her own brand. So far her line consists of two fragrances; RM Eau de Parfum and Amorosa. Ruth’s philosophy is “to create fragrances that are unique, luxurious and distinctive” , and if Amorosa is anything to go by, that is exactly what she does.
Amorosa is inspired by Italy, “its mountains, its clear turquoise skies”  and is described as “the seductive scent of a woman in love with life.”  It is a fascinating modern chypre that is a unique take on the genre. Not only does it showcase a beautiful watermelon note it does so in an interesting and new way. In an industry where “new” can be an alien concept, this is something absolutely worth celebrating.