Monday 4 September 2017

FIREDANCE by Ruth Mastenbroek

Autumn feels as though it is well and truly here with the first leaves starting to change colour, the weather getting cooler and the nights beginning to draw in. With wood stocks starting to be replenished ready for open fires and thoughts turning to bonfire night, the timing of the latest perfume release from Ruth Mastenbroek couldn't be more perfect. The combination of leather, rose and oudh is nothing new, but in her talented hands the results are devilishly sensual, delightfully mysterious and truly intoxicating. With the release of Firedance, Ruth Mastenbroek shows once again why she is at the top of her profession.

When Naarden International in Northampton originally welcomed Ruth Mastenbroek it was the start of a training in perfumery that would see her eventually relocate to Holland in January 1979 to continue her studies. She would go on to work with some of the industry’s biggest brands as a “silent” creator but she was happy to do this because she loved the freedom that it gave her. Working to briefs, trying to anticipate trends, it all helped to make Ruth into the imaginative perfumer that she is today. A childhood spent in America gave her a glimpse of a different world to the United Kingdom, and it was one that she wanted to be a part of.

Ruth said to me, “from childhood I knew I wanted to be a part of the world of glamour, of fashion, and my mother showed me that your choice of perfume is a personal statement. I would try on her 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 her Youth Dew would overpower everything with its spicy sweet intensity. In a way I have been following the trail of Youth Dew ever since!”

Ruth Mastenbroek started her own fragrance brand in 2010 with Signature and followed it in 2012 with Amorosa before completing the original trio in 2015 with Oxford. This year sees the release of Firedance, and it’s already caused quite a stir in the fragrance world. It takes her collection in a new direction but the ingredients are still skilfully coaxed to reveal themselves and so allow the wearer to indulge in a little scented sensuality. A far cry from her work with Jo Malone, just what does Firedance reveal?

The fragrance opens with a beautifully constructed citrus leather that instantly puts you in mind of one of the classic French houses. It has all of the sexy depth that has been lacking in so many other recent “leather” scents and the accompanying Damask rose is perfectly balanced alongside. The geranium and clove add a distinctive masculine vibe but the rose keeps it beautifully androgynous. In the base of Firedance you have oudh which is an ingredient that often leaves me cold, but Ruth uses it skillfully to create a lustingly dangerous feel which also helps to contribute to the smokey afterglow. Firedance is evocative, emotive and exceptional.

Firedance is available from the Ruth Mastenbroek website at, and also from Fortnum and Mason and Fenwick, priced at £90 for 50ml or £120 for 100ml. You can also click on the image below to read my interview with Ruth Mastenbroek from April 2016. [Sample provided by Ruth Mastenbroek]

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