Thursday, 3 August 2017

IRIS & WILD CASSIS by Bronnley

A company’s follow up fragrance is always a bit of an unknown quantity in the perfume market. They desperately try to work out what made the first one so popular and how that information can be translated into number two. Bronnley found themselves in just this position after last year’s successful Pink Peony & Rhubarb and their approach is refreshingly “old fashioned”. Rather than create a variant on the first fragrance they have taken the original idea and applied it to a new combination of ingredients. Keeping the fruity floral pairing, but adding a contemporary twist, it’s time to welcome Iris & Wild Cassis.

The history of Bronnley is pretty well known to most people but, in case you're unfamiliar, let me get you up to speed. James Bronnley started his company back in 1884 in a "shed" at 34 Verulam Street, Holborn. He had spent the previous year in Paris studying perfumery and soap making with the aim of making “quality” products in Britain. Two royal warrants followed, from King George VI and later Queen Elizabeth II, and his family legacy was secured. The company moved to Islington and then to Acton, but it was during Gladys Rossiter’s ownership, James’ daughter, that Bronnley relocated to the town of Brackley in Northamptonshire where they remained until 2012.

So, back to the present. Bronnley is now owned by the Jatania family and, with help from Geoff Percy, and under Dionne Anderson's watchful eye, the Milton Keynes based company continues to thrive. For the release of Iris & Wild Cassis, Bronnley have once again employed the talented artist Helen Campbell to paint the star floral. Her beautiful peony, which was used on last year’s release, definitely contributed to the success of the fragrance and this year's bearded iris is just as stunning. Her watercolour style was chosen because it matches the delicacy of the new scent and is the perfect pairing.

One of the interesting things about iris is that so many people now associate the scent from their fragrance rather than the flower. The ingredient is extracted from the root of the iris and is known as "orris butter", a wonderfully powdery ingredient with hints of violet and a delicately fruity undertone. A staple of many vintage fragrances, and a firm favourite of all of the Guerlain perfumers, this ingredient purrs sensuality, seduction and sophistication. Used gently it adds a dash of elegance and this is exactly what you get with Iris & Wild Cassis.

Iris & Wild Cassis opens with a red berry accord and a subtle citrus brightness before the delicious florals arrive. All are muted and don’t dominate, especially the beautifully constructed tuberose, and allow a deeper coffee note to come through. The iris of the title is present as that wonderfully powdery quality whilst the cassis, or blackcurrant, is hinted at rather than pushed to the front. As the fragrance settles on the skin the patchouli appears with a bitter chocolate accord to add depth, character, but thankfully no sickly sweetness. Iris & Wild Cassis is a great addition to the Bronnley range and makes me wonder what 2018 will bring.

Iris & Wild Cassis is available from the Bronnley website, and selected stockists, priced at £14.50 for 50ml.

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