Monday 21 October 2019

DAGIAN by Ruth Mastenbroek

The general speed of fragrance has gone from sedate to supersonic when it comes to the number of releases that a company will tend to launch in a year. In an effort to keep their customers interested, and in order to generate those much needed column inches in the press, new launches seem to come thick and fast. Whilst this offers quantity it doesn’t always offer quality. One perfumer who takes a much more measured approach to her creations is Ruth Mastenbroek. Two years since her last release, this month sees the launch of the much anticipated Dagian and it has most definitely been worth the wait.

Ruth Mastenbroek may not be a name that you’re familiar with but it is definitely one that should be more widely known. Ruth launched her own range of fragrances in 2010 but she is no stranger to the perfume industry. After studying at Naarden International in Northampton, and then setting off for Holland in 1979 to continue her studies, Ruth would go on to create for some of the biggest names in the industry. However, it was never under her own name. Did you know that she was responsible for the famous Grapefruit candle for Jo Malone London?

Signature was the first fragrance that was released in the Ruth Mastenbroek range but it would be two years before the follow up, Amorosa, arrived in 2012. The third fragrance, Oxford, came three years later and, again after a two year wait, Firedance was launched in 2017. You can see that Ruth is not one to hurry her creations. She once told me, “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.” I wonder whether this is where her timeless quality comes from?

For her latest fragrance, Dagian, Ruth took 1970s Corfu as her inspiration. It was the location of her first solo holiday without her parents, a sense of coming of age, and a period that she describes as “immensely exciting”. She wanted to create a perfume that epitomised “the feeling of optimism that breaks at dawn, the exhilarating hope of a fresh start.” With a hark back to the golden days of summer, but with an autumnal warmth reminiscent of inward retrospection, Dagian offers an arresting duality that makes it perfect for those who like their fragrance to have a touch of the wonderfully unexpected.

Dagian opens with an intriguing blend of lime, grapefruit, and mandarin. I say intriguing because Ruth has cleverly managed to intensify their aromas with a lasting rumtopf richness rather than the usual transient effervescence. Paired with a delicate touch of mint, the fragrance also has an evocatively aquatic note that helps to pull in the floral blend of orange blossom and jasmine. There’s a nod to the animalic prowess of jasmine in Dagian, probably due to the sensuous amber and sandalwood accord that’s sitting in the base, but there is still an expansiveness that really does have the promised feeling of refreshed optimism.

Dagian 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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