Monday 18 July 2016

RUTH MASTENBROEK - The Lost Interview

When Ruth Mastenbroek took part in “Stephan’s Six” back in April 2016 her wonderful answers were unfortunately too long to use in their complete form, so I had to edit them down. However, when I was looking through some old files last week I came across her original interview and realised that what had been removed actually provided a great insight into her creative inspirations. Since launching her own brand, Ruth Mastenbroek has released three fragrances, Signature, Amorosa and Oxford. So, with Ruth’s kind permission, let’s finally read the answers that escaped last time … we'll call it the “lost interview”.

My parents shared a house with my grandparents for a couple of years when I was small. It was a kind of big, muddled, multi-generational mix of adults and children, an old-fashioned house with high ceilings and thick velvet curtains. I can remember snuggling onto my Grandpa's lap in the parlour in front of the gas fire, listening to a story in his gravelly Welsh lilt. The memory of it makes me feel nostalgic, and a bit sad. We left for the States when I was four, leaving my grandparents behind.

In my early twenties I wore the carefree, just-minted Charlie by Revlon, with its fresh, green, floral notes. I had a solid perfume captured inside a silver apple pendant that I wore around my neck. So '70's, so hip! I had already discovered Guerlain's Mitsouko as a teenager, and identified with the serious, exquisite chypre. A tiny dab would surely make me a woman of the world! I had always looked frustratingly young, so to smell of Mitsouko wouldn't fail to give me gravitas and sophistication!

My mother adored perfume, and her favourite was Youth Dew by Estée Lauder. Just a whiff of it, even now, transports me back to my childhood. I would try on Mom’s high heels while she got ready to go out, hair coiffed, makeup carefully applied. Her bedroom would be temporarily strewn with powders and potions, eye makeup, lipsticks, but Youth Dew would overpower everything with its spicy sweet intensity. Smelling it makes me sentimental, looking back to a time of my life that I cherish. My mother was young and beautiful, and she had the world at her feet. From childhood I knew I wanted to be a part of the world of glamour, of fashion. My mother showed me that your choice of perfume is a personal statement, and in a way I have been following the trail of Youth Dew ever since!

The desire to bring my own fragrance brand to market is summed up for me in the chypre accord of my first release, Signature. It’s the essence of me, in its creation as well as in its execution. Since falling in love as a teenager with Mitsouko, I knew I wanted to translate it for myself into my own perfume. I used many of my favourite ingredients, like rose oil, bergamot, and patchouli. I shaped them into the timeless, sensuous chypre accord and modernised it with pink peppercorn and blackcurrant. I could wear Signature any time of day or night, it is such a happy fragrance, it lifts my spirits and makes me feel like a whole woman - it's indispensable!

To read Ruth's original "Stephan's Six" you can click on the picture below, or for more information about her fragrances, and a full list of stockists, please visit her website at

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