I get to play with the glorious smells created by the world around us, whether in nature or in a laboratory. It’s amazing that some perfumery ingredients smell vile in concentrated form but in minute amounts as part of a perfume, they can produce wonderful effects. Creating a perfume is all about finding a combination of ingredients, an ‘accord’ that works sublimely together.
The Right Scent
I have my own studio and laboratory just outside London where I create fragrances. In creating a fragrance, I will be thinking of its intended use – is it for a perfume to be sprayed on the skin? Or a bath product where the fragrance needs to jump out of the water? I will decide on a direction and a formula which I will tweak until I am happy. If it is a skin perfume I will try it on the skin, if a candle fragrance I will burn it in a candle. I won’t be happy until the fragrance performs well and has the fragrance characteristics I am looking for.
The way I craft a fragrance is rather like ikebana – Japanese flower arranging – that I studied when I lived in Japan. Ikebana is an ancient art that can express a thought or a mood through the artistic arrangement of flowers and branches. In ikebana you shape a simple structure of 3 principal branches or flowers to create space and harmony. The choice of materials is crucial. You develop the theme of the arrangement using other stems which give texture and complexity without ever overcrowding, which would destroy the harmony. There is a state of peace that you can attain while making an ikebana arrangement; this is how I feel when creating a fragrance.
The Ruth Mastenbroek fragrance
I have designed my fragrance to evolve from top notes of bergamot, mandarin, pink peppercorn, blackcurrant, and pineapple, through to the heart notes of rose, lily, and jasmine, finally to the rich base notes of exotic woods: patchouli and sandalwood, with oakmoss and musk. My choice of materials was critical: I chose these particular ingredients because I love how they respond to each other and develop on the skin. The accord of bergamot, rose, patchouli and oakmoss forms an accord known in perfumery as ‘chypre’, which is French for oakmoss; I absolutely love this accord! The result is refreshing and sparkling at first, then becomes more warm and floral, drying down into a scent that is intriguing and sensual.
It is incredibly exciting to be launching my own line. My fragrance offers something exciting and different: it is original and it comes from the heart – from me to you.