Monday 13 May 2019

WINTER WOODS by The Burren Perfumery

Perfumery always used to be thought of as a French industry but, whilst it is still the dominant player, there are other countries now vying for a piece of the pie. You often hear the United Kingdom mentioned for its plethora of independent companies and creators but, back in 1972, a poet by the name of Brian Mooney introduced fragrance to Western Ireland’s County Clare in the guise of The Burren Perfumery. Still the oldest fragrance company in the Republic, and now owned by Sadie Chowen, it boasts an impressive collection of seven scents and is definitely the jewel in the perfumery crown of the Emerald Isle.

When Brian Mooney originally founded The Burren Perfumery and Floral Centre it was out of a desire to use local plants that were native to the area. He wanted to showcase what Ireland had to offer and so began harvesting the indigenous plants by hand. When the surrounding region was eventually granted a preservation order the oils had to come from further afield, but his desire to focus on the local flora and fauna continued. The first ownership change for the company came about in 1995 when Edward Briggs joined the team, but the soul of the brand remained unchanged.

I’ve forgotten how many times that I’ve travelled to countries and thought, “I could live here,” but that is exactly what happened to Sadie Chowen. On a visit to Ireland, and in particular Carron, she found herself falling in love with the area and decided to settled there. She ended up getting a job working at The Burren Perfumery and, after many happy and productive years, was ultimately given the opportunity to purchase it from Edward Briggs. It meant some serious financial sacrifices but Sadie knew that this company was in her blood, and she was ready for the challenge of modernising it.

Now, Sadie wasn’t a complete novice, she had spent some time in France studying perfumery, but she knew that the range had to become more premium and less craft-like. A complete overhaul of the scents followed, in collaboration with Créassence, to make them appeal to a modern customer. Alongside new packaging and an extension into bathing products, The Burren Perfumery was reborn. Their range of seven scents come beautifully presented in a discovery set and there is definitely something in here for everyone but, for me, pipping the others to top spot was Winter Woods.

It’s inspired by Burren’s hidden woodlands and opens with a beautiful burst of citrus alongside a note of juniper berry. This latter scent adds a crisp and woody aspect to the first impression and then, if you imagine yourself walking through the woods, you start to get a definite aromatic quality from the rosemary and lavender. Rather than go for an oakmoss in here, iris is mixed with tonka bean to give a fern like dustiness and this perfectly blends with the dry cedarwood. Finally rounded off by a delicately earthy vetiver and traces of pine, Winter Woods is an elegant forest walk that can be enjoyed all year round.

Winter Woods is available from The Burren Perfumery website at priced at 48€ for 100ml or as part of the samples collection, which is 30€ [Samples provided by The Burren Perfumery]


  1. Sounds good. I'm sure that I tried some of their scents years ago. I love the sound of Winter Woods, rosemary and lavender..yes please :)

    1. Hello Barry, the fragrances were reworked and only two of the original line are still part of the current series. So it might be worth you revisiting them. Best, Stephan