Ramon Monegal

Mood Scent 4 Unsung Heroes Perfumes

It is Mood Scent 4 time again! Where Portia (now on A Bottled Rose), Sam (I Scent You A Day) Megan (Megan In Sainte Maxime) and I write about a joined subject each month, linking fragrance to mood or occasion. This time we picked unsung heroes! Those brilliant perfumes which undeservingly don’t get the attention they deserve.

We have returned to the new normal in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. As some parts of town are too crowded mouth protection needs to be worn in certain streets, markets but not everywhere on the streets. Still a bit strange and getting used too. We were planning to go to Spain in this period but we are staying closer to home visiting the Southern part of The Netherlands, Limburg so I am a bit in a holiday mood for this article too. Back to Unsung Heroes again with Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa!

Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa Eau de Parfum – Zest For Italian Life! 

Notes: Galbanum, Violet Leaf, Watermelon, Tuberose, Jasmine, Tiare, Ylang Ylang, Vetiver, Patchouli and Amber Year: 2012  Fragrance Family: Floral

Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa is an unsung perfume hero which surprisingly hasn’t gotten much attention online. Ruth Mastenbroek is a long time perfumer, former president of the British Society of Perfumers and trained chemist. She started her own perfume brand in 2010 and has created fragrances for brands like Jo Malone (the famous grapefruit candle is her creation) before starting her own brand.

Amorosa was the second fragrance Ruth Mastenbroek launched for her brand. Meaning ‘a woman in love’  in Italian, Amorosa was inspired by her love for Italy. It is a luxurious and classic baroque floral fragrance. Full of abundant creamy flowers (tuberose, jasmine, ylang ylang and tiare), sweet juicy summer fruits, contrasting green fresh garden leaves with a surprising modern twist by the added refreshing watermelon note.

Ruth Mastenbroek created this fragrance celebrating life and happy time spent in her holiday home in green hilled Umbria, Italy. The innovative use of fizzy refreshing watermelon makes this a very interesting Eau de Parfum. It took me several wearings to appreciate the fresh aquatic note combined with the rich classic bouquet of flowers but it was definitely worth a wait. Amorosa is a must try for (White) Floral fragrance lovers looking for something slightly different and original. Wearing Amorosa adds a sparkle to the day and feeling of zest for life.

Ramon Monegal The Essentials Collection Mon Patchouly – Happy Ibiza Jasmine 

Notes: Indonesian Patchouli, Oak moss absolute, Frankincense, Geranium bourbon, Egyptian jasmine and Amber accord.  Year: 2009 Fragrance Family: Mossy Woods/Chypre

Mon Patchouly is another unsung heroes which undeservingly does not get a lot of attention. Although called My Patchouly this is more a fragrance for non patchouli lovers, as it is full of ethereal jasmine. This fragrance stays away from the usual wet earth scent the patchouli leaf is known for and focuses on its lesser known ethereal floral side. Mon Patchouly smells like little sweet sugared jasmine flowers dipped in bitter chocolate powder with some green piney frankincense. I get a gourmand touch as well of very light creamy coconut and whipped cream. This is not a night blossoming faecal* (smelling of excrements and found in small traces in indolic floral oils like jasmine absolute) jasmine but an innocent happy white jasmine flower.

Mon Patchouly is part of The Essentials Collection which was the first Collection to be launched in 2009 when Ramon Monegal started his own perfume brand after working for his family owned perfume and make up brand Myrurgia. The heavy perfume bottle is called Inkwell, not very practical but a beautiful design of Ramon Monegal nonetheless.

Nicolai Parfumeur Juste Un Reve – Cocktails On An Exclusive Tropical Island  

Notes: peach, coconut, jasmine, ylang ylang, tuberose, sandalwood, vanilla Year: 1996 Fragrance Family: Floral Fruity 

Juste Un Reve meaning just a dream in French, is another perfume which does not get a lot of attention. It is slightly reminiscent of tropical floral fragrances like Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess but more elegant plus added sweet fruits. If Bronze Goddess was a summer dress it would a short white cotton dress to go to the beach. Just Un Reve would be an elegant satin silk long dress to go for evening cocktails in an exclusive holiday resort on a tropical island.

Tuberose flowers and tropical lush ylang ylang are very well blended by perfumer Patricia de Nicolai with  light coconut and sweet ripe velvety peach. Juste Un Reve makes an excellent summer holiday fragrance even if you are staying home. I have finished 2 bottles of this fragrance which only shows how much I love this.

Over To My Mood Scent 4 Pals
These are my 3 picks for Unsung Heroes. Have a look on Sam’s blog on I Scent You A Day, Megan’s  Megan in St. Maxime and Portia on A Bottled Rose to read their surprising picks.

I Love To Hear From You
I hope you enjoyed my Unsung Heroe picks which are slightly holiday oriented as well. Hopefully you are able to stay safe, centered, positive and healthy with everything happening around us. Please leave your choices for unsung heroes in my comments or your thought on my choices. I love to hear from you!

Disclosure: all photographs were made by me. The jasmine flower (called Biznaga) on the second photograph was handmade and based on the floral tradition in Malaga, Southern Spain to make these flowers by hand. You can read more about the Biznaga here.

 

Mood Scent 4 : Virtual Holiday Perfumes

It is Mood Scent 4 time again! Where we share our views on the same subject linking perfume to mood or occasion. This time Portia (guest blogging on A Bottled Rose), Sam  (I Scent You A Day) Megan (Megan In Sainte Maxime) and I chose to write about taking a virtual holiday with perfume as for the moment most of us, will not be travelling very far and enjoy our staycation.

We have all been affected by the virus in different ways. Some are not able to go out. Others see themselves without income, work or faced with health challenges. Work at home without being able to relax. Teach their children at home while still having to work at home. Not being able to visit their loved ones or elderly parents and the list goes on. For me personally, frivolous as it may sound, it has been challenging not to be able to go to Spain on holiday and not knowing when this will be possible. I made a roomspray reminiscent of scents of Southern Spain. Using this spray has bought me a lot of joy. 

As it is not always possible to make your own fragrance I have chosen 4 “virtual” holiday scents for you to enjoy. You will be taking a little mini break to a lush Mediterranean garden, damp Portland Forrest in the US, dry herbal Kibbutz near Jerusalem and Spanish Orange Tree Orchard. All wonderful olfactory escapes. 

Travel To A Mediterranean Garden With Hermes Un Jardin En Mediterranée

Notes include mandarin, orange, bergamot, lemon, fig woods and leaves, orange blossom, white oleander, cedar, cypress, juniper and musk.

Inspired by a Tunisian garden, perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena invites us to experience different plants, trees, fruits and flowers in a blossoming Mediterranean garden. Un Jardin En Mediterranée offers ready to eat ripe figs, crisp green fig leaves, uplifting orange blossoms, refreshing lemon, white oleander, woody notes of cypress and cedar.  When visiting a botanical garden in Southern Spain several years ago I came to understand this fragrance completely as it had many of these plants and flowers to be admired. The photograph above was made in this botanical garden under a fig tree.

Travel To A Rainy Forest In Portland With Envoyage Perfumes Rainmaker

Notes include: rose leaf, silver pine, citrus, incense, patchouli, iris, rhododendron  (see photograph above) cedarwood, fir, redwood needles, petrichor (scent after the rain) Accord, oak moss and amber accord

Rainmaker inspires us to visit a green damp mossy forest in Portland with wet earth and uplifting incense like the one sold in Indian shops on the background. This is the happy acquaintance of visiting a new town with a surprising bohemian culture. Perfumer Shelley Waddington was inspired to create Rainmaker when she moved from sunny California to the rainy and colder climate of Portland, Oregon on the Pacific North West Coast of the US.

Travel To An Israeli Kibbutz With Anat Fritz Tzora

Notes include: cassis, clary sage, bergamot, pepper, magnolia, osmanthus, jasmine, cedarwood, vetiver, patchouly, musk and moss

Tzora Eau de Parfum was inspired by a kibbutz 20 kilometres from Jerusalem where Berlin Based designer Anat Fritz used to go during Summertime. Tzora was created by German perfumer Geza Schoen. Smelling Tzora is like taking a walk in sandy hills where it hardly ever rains with very dry herbs and trees on a magical evening filled with Golden sunlight. The day was very hot which you can still feel, golden rays of sunlight linger through the leaves of the few left trees. A light soft breeze allows you to smell the clary sage and other dry herbs. Uplifting pepper makes the fragrance more interesting and contemporary. 

Travel To A Spanish Orchard of Orange Trees With Ramon Monegal Entre Naranjos

Notes include orange flower, orange, petitgrain lemon, neroli, amber accord and patchouli.

Entre Naranjos ( Which translates as Surrounded by Orange trees) is a very fresh, happy fragrance inspired by the blossoms, wood, leaves and twigs on the orange tree. Reminiscent of cologne, which can be found easily at Spanish supermarkets, Entre Naranjos wears luxurious due to the woody notes and amber accord providing more depth and longevity. You can still smell Entre Naranjos after a few hours unlike a cologne. 

These are my 4  picks of  Virtual Holiday Perfumes. Have a look on Sam’s blog I Scent You A Day, Megan’s  Megan in St. Maxime  and Portia on A Bottled Rose to read their picks and see how they are doing during this exceptional period. 

I hope you and your loved ones are able to stay healthy, calm, centred and positive during this period we are all experiencing.

Do you use perfume to take a little holiday break with perfume? Which one do you use?

Disclosure: all photographs were made by Esperessence.

 

Interview with Perfumer Ramon Monegal

Ramon Monegal

Ramon Monegal is a Spanish perfumer who started his own company in 2009 after working for almost 35 years in de perfume industry. He made perfumes like Azahar for Adolfo Dominquez and Alada for Myrurgia. Ramon Monegal is the fourth generation of the family who founded the Spanish company Myrurgia. In 2012 he published his first novel La Perfumista. At this point the book is only published in Spanish but it might be published in English in the future.

The book La Perfumista was the starting point for the interview with Ramon Monegal.

La Perfumista is about a woman from a famous perfume family who decides to become an architect. After a career as a successful architect she decides to work as a perfumer and start a beautiful project in the French city of Grasse to preserve original jasmines. This project is sabotaged and at the end the main character Laura Nogues starts a journey on the African Coast to find the Fifth Sense perfume, Quintaesencia. Some elements of the book are inspired by Ramon Monegal’s own life. The perfume Quintaesencia was created by him and can only be scented in his boutique in Barcelona.

Ramon Monegal

In the book you mention the importance of choosing a perfume which really suits us personally which matches our personal style. How should we choose our own perfume? 

It is very important for people to be aware of what they communicate to the outside world by wearing a perfume. A perfume should be like an accessory you choose with your clothing. It should complement your style, mood and the time of day. Your perfume should be a good match, a marriage you might call it.

After you have chosen a perfume you can change it a bit by layering it with another perfume. It is like cooking a dish. You can start carefully by adding the spice sweet pepper. The pepper is added slowly, little by little. You can do the same with your perfume. Another perfume can be added bit by bit to your regular perfume to adjust it to the time of day or your style. In the morning you can add light cologne to give yourself a little boost. Customize your own perfume and create your own bespoke perfume!

Ramon Monegal

For example if you use my perfume Cuirelle, you can use a citrus or more fruity perfume with it in the morning. Add brilliance to it with an orange blossom. In the evening you can add a beautiful chypre perfume to it. You have to use your intuition with this. The perfume Cuirelle is like suede smooth leather, sweet with cedar wood, vanilla, very elegant. By layering it with another perfume you can create your very personal and own perfume. The most important thing is to lose your fear.

Personally I discovered layering perfumes while staying in Paris when I was young. In those days you only had a few perfumes women were wearing and you could distinguish them very easily on the street. Once I smelled a perfume on the street from a lady and I did not know what it was. I asked her and she told me that she had layered one perfume with another one. It was very chic in those days to do this.

Ramon Monegal

How do people choose their perfume when they come to you boutique in Barcelona?

We look at what they wear, their personal style. They smell many of my perfumes. You really have to get acquainted with them and experiment with them. Our spoken and written language is very difficult and limited when you have to describe scents. You have to experiment with perfumes and play with them to find your own signature scent. You can become older or younger by wearing a certain perfume as well. I notice people increasingly wish to have a more personal, original perfume.

I always tell people that buying a new perfume is like buying new shoes. At first people might not feel very comfortable when wearing their new shoes but after a while the shoes feel comfortable and fit your feet beautifully. It is the same with a new perfume.

Ramon Monegal

At the end of your book you introduce a list of perfume ingredients to help people to choose their own perfume. Could you tell us more about the list you included? 

The ingredients are the language a perfumer uses to compose his perfumes. Normally this is not something perfumers talk about publicly. In general perfumers are very much hidden behind a celebrity scent. It is not even known that they made the perfume. Fortunately this is beginning to change. With my book I wanted to introduce the public to the work and language of a perfumer.

Each ingredient of a perfume transmits a special quality. For example rose transmits love and cedar wood transmits strength. It is important for people to be aware of these qualities when they choose a perfume. Are the qualities of the perfume in harmony with their own personality? With my book I wanted to explain this by using some examples of celebrities like the actress Audrey Hepburn, actress Ava Gardner, dancer Isadora Duncan and Princes Diana of Wales.

I associated Ava Gardner with the perfume Opium by Yves Saint Laurent although she did not wear it. Ava Gardner was a very passionate woman. She had love affairs with famous Spanish bull fighters while staying in Spain. Like Opium, she had the strength and vigour of pepper and the energy of blossoming oranges.

Ramon Monegal

You have developed your own perfume line and have a boutique in Barcelona as well. What was the reason for opening your boutique? 

I chose to do this for several reasons. The way we smell is not very well developed. We easily get distracted by other senses, light and noise. Some places where perfumes are sold can be quite aggressive with their light and noise. So I wanted to create a special place for my perfumes where people could choose while in a comfortable place, suited for scenting perfumes. I designed the interior as well, as interior design is another passion of mine. The perfume bottle is also my design. In the 19th century it was very common for perfume houses to have their own place. When the fashion designers started introducing perfumes this disappeared.

Ramon Monegal

Are perfumes craft products, are they works of art or both? 

Some perfumes are works of art like Dior Diorella, Nina Ricci L´air du temps, Chanel No 5 or Coty Chypre, Guerlain L´Heure Bleue. Yves Saint Laurent Opium can be seen as a work of art as well although the quality of the ingredients was lacking. The modern perfumes are more works of design. Perfumers do not have freedom to create what they want. For me it is not easy to have my own freedom as a perfumer.

Orange Blossom

If Spain would be a perfume what would it smell like? 

It would smell like orange blossom, azahar. I still have the idea of developing a perfume, Made in Spain. Spain would smell like Southern Spain with incense, labdanum cistus, orange, azahar, maybe some jasmine, melon or other fruits.

In my experience it was very difficult to find an orange blossom or azahar perfume in Spain. Could you tell me the reason for this?

In Spain, orange blossom or azahar is very much associated with only one part of Spain- the South. Azahar is a very Arabic scent. Normally orange blossom is used in perfumes with jasmine or tuberose. Personally I find that orange blossom brings brilliance and optimism to a perfume and I like to use it.

Ramon Monegal

How do you work as a perfumer? What is your personal style?

A perfume should stand on its own and be enough as it is. I do not like this whole trend of creating flankers of existing perfume. It is like asking the composer Beethoven to make another version of his Fifth Symphony.

The book La Perfumista is available on line on Amazon in Spanish. More information about the perfumes of Ramon Monegal can be found on his official website.

Photographs of showroom and Ramon Monegal are published with courtesy of Ramon Monegal Projects. The Rose photograph was made by me, the Orange Blossom Tree is freestock.

I would like to thank Henriette Hackenberg for her help with this text and Ramon Monegal for giving this interview.

This interview was originally published June 30, 2012 and updated February 2, 2016