Thursday 14 September 2017


The continuing push at the moment seems to be for companies to release product “collections”. By this I mean the fragrance, the shower gel, the candle, the body lotion etc. in their latest scent. Now this is actually nothing new, Coty were doing it for years, but brands have refocused their approach in an attempt to cement every new launch by offering their customers the fragrance in at least one form that they will like. Some brands miss the mark on translating the scent into the various products, but one company who continues to excel is Molton Brown. Let's take a look at their latest addition, Russian Leather.

The thing to remember with Molton Brown is that they started as a haircare brand before branching out into body products. The company has always remained true to their origins by insisting that their hair and body ranges can stand up on their own rather than just being an “add on” to whatever their latest scent is. Fragrance is notorious for not behaving itself in different mediums and so they test, and test again, to make sure that the aroma is consistent across the entire line. It’s this attention to detail that has meant they have survived for forty-four years.

Caroline Burstein and Michael Collis founded Molton Brown in 1973 and the business began with a range of natural haircare products, before they eventually launched their first “exotically scented” body collection. The company very quickly gained a loyal following, especially when their products were stocked by Harrods, but it was their appearance in numerous hotel chains which really catapulted them into the public eye. This was how I was first introduced to the company and, twenty years later, I’m still just as hooked as ever.

The new fragrance, Russian Leather, was created by Firmenich’s Loïc Bisceglie. His inspiration came from the memory of his grandfather’s leather workshop, “he made shoes and I remember the intense smell of black leather.” Loïc said that he wanted to reflect the “dark, enigmatic scent” and he describes Russian Leather as “very intense, very striking, very different”. Leather fragrances can be very difficult to pull off because you often find yourself feeling a pull from two very different styles. The scent can end up sitting closer to “suede” than “biker blacks” but, in the hands of Loïc Bisceglie, there is nothing to worry about.

This is a leather fragrance and that is what you get straight away. The leather accord dominates right from the outset and you know that it is definitely not going away anytime soon. The combination of the black tea and tobacco give a wonderful hay-like quality that helps to lighten the base and a subtle use of vetiver means that an earthiness helps to anchor the scent. In the middle of Russian Leather you have the birch, and this provides a smokey facet that again gives the impression of movement within the scent.

Russian Leather is available from all Molton Brown stockists priced at £39 for 50ml, and also comes in a shower gel and a candle.

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