Ruth Mastenbroek launches Oxford – giveaway!

RMF_Oxford_100mlJust a quick heads up and a giveaway for you – Ruth Mastenbroek launched the third perfume under her own brand last week and its warm, ambery scent is wafting from my skin as we speak. Oxford is described as a unisex scent and is exclusively available from Fenwick of Bond Street, London.

I have a sample vial to give away to a lucky reader – leave a comment to let me know why you’d like to try this scent and I will draw a winner at random next weekend (19th of July) and edit this post on that day to announce the winner, so please check back if you participate.

From the press release:

Inspired by her time as a Chemistry undergraduate at Oxford in the 1970’s, Ruth’s latest fragrance captures the essence of discovery, being exposed to things you have never come across before… a feeling of self awareness and learning, the negatives and the positives; coming out the other side richer, wiser, more mature. This fragrance is the story of an awakening, a personal discovery of becoming a complete person.

Oxford will be EXCLUSIVELY available from Fenwick from 8th July 2015.

“Oxford is inspired by the French cigarette brand Gitanes – chic, rough, and exotic. Oxford captures that moment in life when you discover you can make your own choices, you can make mistakes. It is your life and no one else’s.

“Oxford…the scent of an awakening…the discovery of life’s extraordinary adventure.”

Ruth has been creating fine fragrances for over 30 years. The invisible ‘nose’ behind some of the world’s most well known brands and designers, Ruth has also created scents for some of Britain’s finest premium fragrance brands including Jo Malone and Kenneth Turner. In recent years Ruth has also launched her own range of exquisitely blended luxury fragranced products, the culmination of her decades of experience in perfume alchemy.

An Oxford University graduate in chemistry, Ruth went on to learn her craft in Grasse.
Ruth has also spent time as President of the British Society of Perfumers.

Oxford Eau de Parfum
50ml RRP £60.00 / 100ml RRP £80.00

Top notes: Bergamot, Galbanum, Basil
Heart notes:  Clary sage, Rosemary, Jasmine
Base notes: Amber, Vanilla, Vetivert, Oudh

Disclaimer: Ruth is a friend via the British Society of Perfumers and I have received two samples of her fragrance to blog about – I’m keeping the other one! 😉

WINNER: Congratulations to Zenimue – you won! I used a random picking tool and your name came out of the digital hat. A sample of Oxford will be on its way to you very soon.

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Pia’s (almost) annual perfume meet, tube strike edition

Valerie, Thomas and Freddie at Penhaligon's

Once upon a time I co-arranged the first UK Basenotes meet with Grant Osborne and a whole bunch of people came – many of whom became good friends. It’s the friends from that day and a few new ones each year who amble around London perfumeries with me. We also tend to indulge in nice things to eat – cake, afternoon tea, or exotic snacks (or lunch, ice cream, gin and chips like yesterday).

This year we changed the date from a Saturday in May to a Thursday in July because Valerie Cookie Queen Sperrer was going to be in London and we all wanted to meet her. To add to the serendipity, Odysseusm from Basenotes was in the UK all the way from Canada and I was so happy to have him join us.

Then the tube strike was announced. Irrespective of solidarity, the general reaction was very sweary. Of ALL days, it had to be the one that had been in the calendar for months AND could not be changed because we had more than one person from overseas! However, everyone shrugged it off. Ok, so there’s a strike – so.what.

We made our way in groups and alone to our first stop in Covent Garden by various means (mostly on foot) and actually, tube strike London was gloriously empty and quiet.

Covent Garden on tube strike dayWe also lucked out on the weather – warm, sunny; not too hot.

Nick Gilbert from Penhaligon’s had kindly agreed to host us in their basement and we spent the morning trashing it, more or less. Perfume bottles… perfume bottles everywhere…

Penhaligon's basementWe headed to Bloom afterwards and had a great time sniffing our way through scents and chatting. Had I known in advance that Antonio Gardoni from Bogue Profumo was going to be there at 4pm, we’d have arranged our visits another way, but our group was very good about going with the flow, so we just went to Bloom twice in one day. As you do.

Bloom Covent Garden

After our (first) Bloom visit, we had lunch at Bill’s in Covent Garden and I can’t recommend them highly enough after our seamlessly organised and tasty experience. They accomodated our large group very well and the food and service were both excellent. Will definitely be going there again!

Bills Covent GardenWe walked over to Fortnum & Mason because I wanted to take everyone to check out the revamped perfumery.

Our perfume meet group

Nick, Valerie, Freddie, Hannah, Grant, Pia, Thomas, Penny, Suzie, Steven, Samantha, Tara, Danny, Lisa, Andrew

Ice cream was also purchased (to go) from the Parlour (I had a blood orange sorbet which was perfect) and we walked back to Bloom to meet Antonio.

Ice cream at Fortnum's

Antonio is such a charismatic man that I think we all swooned a little bit… he let us smell various blends and components he uses for his perfumes which was an interesting insight into his process.

Antonio Gardoni

Some of us felt thirsty, so we headed to Nook and spent a couple of hours taking advantage of their two-for-one cocktail offer (I only had mocktails, by the way – the same can’t be said for the others…).

Strawberry mocktail

It was an absolutely fantastic day and I can’t wait to do it again next year (we’re also hoping to make some other trips in the future; tad more ambitious, but when there’s a will, there’s a way…)

Thank you to everyone who came!