After many years of making fragrance an afterthought at Molton Brown things changed this year. They released sixteen new perfumes this year. I haven’t been able to figure out why the sudden interest. What has been pleasant is the trend I had been noticing over the past couple of years of the Molton Brown fragrances having a distinct non-generic aesthetic was transferred to this prolific period. One of my favorite Molton Brown releases of last year was their Holiday offering Muddled Plum. What drew me to that was not relying on the typical spice cabinet fragrance to represent the festive season. That sensibility has returned for this year’s holiday release Molton Brown Bizarre Brandy.
Last year’s release reminded me of the plum rum I make each year. Bizarre Brandy is reminiscent of the late Christmas Night brandy I enjoy. Perfumer Karine Dubreuil matches that with maple syrup and tobacco for a delightful late night treat.
Bizarre Brandy opens anything but strange with a spiced citrus accord of orange, cardamom, and ginger. What is nice about this is it lasts a very short time before the three keynotes arrive. First the booziness of the brandy and the sweet narcotic effect of dried tobacco are beautifully balanced. This is an appealing heart accord all on its own. Then Mme Dubreuil adds in a twist of maple syrup. This doesn’t smell like straight helichrysum but an accord containing that. Mme Dubreuil manages to up the sugary sweetness and a sense of viscosity with whatever she uses for this accord. The effect on the perfume is an oozing drizzle of syrup coating an unlit cigar and a snifter of brandy. This is a completely odd gourmand effect that engaged me thoroughly. In the base there is a reminder of the season as incense on a cedarwood foundation finishes Bizarre Brandy.
Bizarre Brandy has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I think Bizarre Brandy is going to be a new Holiday party scent for me. It is everything that is fun about this time of year.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Molton Brown.