Thursday 15 September 2016

POPPY MEADOW by Bronnley

Collaborations in the perfume market are nothing new, although a large number of them have resulted in some rather dubious creations. So, it was with some nervousness that I approached the RHS Collection by Bronnley, and in particular their new addition to the range, Poppy Meadow. A company whose foundations were built on a floral bedrock would seem the perfect organisation to work with the Royal Horticultural Society, but would their scents be challenging florals or merely shadowy petals? Let’s head down to the garden and see exactly what awaits with the 2016 release, Poppy Meadow.

When Bronnley was founded in 1883 the chances of its survival were pretty slim. Yes, James Bronnley had a passion for soaps and scent, but saying that it started on a “shoestring” would be an accurate description. James borrowed £300 from his friends to buy secondhand machinery, which included a baker’s dough mixer, and the company operated out of a shed in Verulam Street, Holborn, London. I know that this sounds like something out of the marketing department’s files, but it’s absolutely true. Obviously we know that the company went from strength to strength and, ignoring a few troublesome years, continues to thrive.

One of Bronnley’s cleverest ideas was to link with the Royal Horticultural Society. It gave them the excuse to revisit their founder’s original idea of producing “the best soap in the British Empire”. There was a herb range, citrus fruits, and a gardener’s therapy collection, but the biggest release was yet to come. In 2012 Peony Eau Fraîche was launched and the collection was added to each year with Hibiscus, Sweet Pea, Rose, and in 2016 by Poppy Meadow. There was also a limited edition Passion Flower Eau Fraîche in 2015, although stocks of this are now almost gone. So, back to the task in hand, what about Poppy Meadow?

Interestingly there is very little, if any, scent given off from the poppy flower, and so Bronnley’s fragrance is an imaginary note. Think of a poppy meadow which has fragranced gardens around it, and you’re in the right area for this scent. It opens with a fruitiness given off by the mandarin and blackcurrant, but stays on the softer side of sharp. You can be forgiven for thinking that the mandarin never leaves because the floral blend in the heart of this fragrance continues the fruity notes. There is a delicious orangey jasmine, which puts you in mind of the mock orange tree, and earthy violet which seems to dance in and out of the other ingredients.

In the press release it says that there are “clouds of white musk” and vanilla in the base, and it’s a good description. There is also a huge dose of iris in this fragrance, which provides the “cloud”, and the vanilla stops the musk becoming too screechy. It may be an imaginary note, but I would love to find a meadow that smelled like this. It’s technically a ladies fragrance but the violet gives a masculine edge, and I have enjoyed wearing it. Unfortunately Peony and Hibiscus are now discontinued but the rest of the range is available from

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