Monday 8 August 2022

ZEPHYR by Ruth Mastenbroek

Ruth Mastenbroek Zephyr Perfume Bottle
Fragrance inspiration often sees us travelling to distant shores, ancient periods of history or even literature that we may never have read. It’s these experiences outside of our usual lives that can easily conjure up a sense of mystery or excitement, so it’s not surprising that perfumers regularly call upon them when a new release beckons. Now, what’s distant to one person is actually just around the corner for the next, but the British Isles are definitely not a regular source of inspiration for scent. However, Ruth Mastenbroek has decided to buck this trend with her latest release. So, it’s time for some homegrown excitement courtesy of Zephyr.

Ruth Mastenbroek is one of the army of perfumers that niche perfume fans will have heard of but more traditional purchasers may be unfamiliar with. Alongside her own self-titled collection of fantastic fragrances she is also a ghost perfumer. What this means is that she will create fragrances on behalf of companies that don’t have their own in-house nose. The secrecy that surrounds this means she isn’t able to divulge the names of most of the big brands that she’s worked with, although it’s common knowledge that she created the bestselling Grapefruit candle for Jo Malone London.

Ruth originally trained at Naarden International in Northampton, and it was the start of a training in perfumery that would see her eventually relocate to Holland in January 1979. Thankfully for us in the UK she returned and, and 2010, finally launched her own company with the release of Signature. She would go on to release a further four perfumes, as well as a successful range of candles and diffusers, and also created the inspiring Hope and Gratitude candles in support of during the pandemic. Ruth’s latest collection feels like it continues to build on that importance of “celebrating”.

Ruth Mastenbroek Zephyr Perfume Bottle Box
The Magic of Nature collection draws on three essential oils that are grown and harvested in the United Kingdom. These form the heart of each fragrance and are a celebration of our homegrown resources. Gaia features chamomile from Norfolk, Marlin contains lavender from Kent, and Zephyr focuses on peppermint from Hampshire. Each fragrance also comes with a 2ml rollerball that contains a concentration of the star ingredient, so you can supercharge your chosen perfume. Now, peppermint isn’t used often in perfumery, it can veer into chewing gum territory, but in Ruth’s hands it is truly magical.

Zephyr opens with an incredible rush of aromatic green notes, but is accompanied by a sparkling citrus background. As the ingredients reveal themselves you get to experience vibrant galbanum hitting up against the peppermint before a blend of bergamot and tangy grapefruit adds a tartness to the fragrance. The mint stays present throughout and is joined by the scent of blackcurrant leaf, that fruity vegetative note, but a clever use of clove keeps the scent edgy. The appearance of earthy oakmoss and delicate patchouli, with a hint of dewy rose, coincides with an aquatic-like facet, before the final touch of sweetened sandalwood completes this excitingly green fragrance. With this perfectly unisex aromatic explosion, Ruth Mastenbroek proves once again why she is a force to be reckoned with in British perfumery.

Zephyr is available from the Ruth Mastenbroek website at priced at £65 for 30ml and £5 for 2ml. 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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