Thursday 7 May 2015

Where ROADS lead

"An Irish perfumery which manufactures in the UK", it's not the usual start to a description about a fragrance brand, but keep reading and I guarantee you will be very surprised. Roads Fragrance, part of the Roads Luxury Group, is based in Dublin and run by its founder Danielle Ryan. Her concept is simple, "to create an artistic brand that would not be limited by its own definition and grow according to its customers' interests." So, will the company's output really be influenced by the sales results of its current ten perfumes? Very probably, but please don't ask me to number crunch this extraordinary collection.

A truly great perfume needs to have a story, a journey, and must either challenge or content the wearer. Danielle lists her inspirations as, "places, people, memories, eras, emotions, experiences and art", and pulling all of these together has resulted in a truly eclectic selection which both defines and defies convention. Leave your preconceived ideas about perfume at home and jump into the unknown. Let me say straight away, I am a HUGE lover of a raw violet accord or a violet leaf. The support that they give to any masculine fragrance and the sense of "completeness" given to a feminine are priceless. I say this because the three fragrances which instantly grabbed me have my narcotic in their blend.

CLOCKWORK: "Absolute precision and control over style, movement and reaction". This woody oriental truly comes alive on the skin, with the oakmoss fighting the citrus from the first to assert its ownership, and while not listed in the ingredients there seems to be a glorious heliotropine providing a smooth mechanical note. I bought this on first smelling!

BITTER END: "A beautiful, but barren, place of isolation". An exciting new approach to the aromatic family, it perfectly captures the quality of wet foliage and moss whilst still circling the wearer with an expansive airy quality. The violet in this fragrance "completes" the composition and, along with the olive, provides a subtly reflective scent. A new interpretation of the ozonic genre?

LIGHTS: "Small lights of optimism in the darkness light up our minds". A fragrance which explodes its heart notes of clove, geranium and violet leaf. They pierce, even through the citrus, providing a beautifully euphoric benzene note, but all the time you have an aged musk and sandalwood to provide the darkness. This floral woody musk has it all, and the colour is electric red. This has to be my favourite of the entire collection.

The full range is available in the UK at Selfridges or Avery Fine Perfumery priced at £98 or in America from Barneys priced at $155.

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