Celtic Fire is possibly the hairiest, most virile scent I have ever encountered. Intense, rugged, romantic, it is also the best ‘smoked’ smell I have come across – a very specialized nook in perfumery that includes such alumni as Feu de Bois by Diptyque (technically a room spray but fine as a perfume), and Le Labo’s legendary Patchouli 24. While the Diptyque is severe and somewhat one note as you claw among its embers, and the Labo has a meaty jambon/vanilla fusion I can find nauseating, the first half an hour of this scent achieves a fiery perfection: it is natural, clean, and trustworthily sex-charged. Presumably it is the ingredients that count here. A litany of no-nonsense UK sourced botanicals that, when blended together, add up to a club-wielding brute to set hearts pounding (the company itself describes it as ‘positively tribal’ and I can’t say I disagree).
Bog myrtle from Fife; glowing birch from Inverness; an ‘oak extract from ancient forests’: pine needles from the wilds of Aberdeenshire, the list of storm-lashed ingredients goes on, though one will get the most attention: a touch, in the heart, of Marmite, that yeast-extract spread that polarizes all those who taste it with its sour, hoary breath.
Fear not: the effect when you first smell this scent is more fragrant lapsong tea chest than weird savoury: a fierce, glorious smoke that conjures a hunter, fresh from the forest, thrusting you to the ground with a feral intensity acted out brutally on a black bear rug, as the open fire crackles and emptied whisky glasses glow in its light.
(…………..pause as the writer fans himself….)
As this arresting accord dissipates, however, a more typically ‘masculine’, harsh woody drydown begins to feature more prominently, at which point I am no longer enthralled. We find ourselves now less in a hirsute wood cabin and more in a Friday night meat market: the bestial grunts have gone, and we are left instead with winking chat up lines. Nevertheless, it is still a good smell, and sexy – I just wonder who could carry it off. Perhaps a naturally manly type who can wear it with humour; a desperate woman with Joan of Arc fantasies; or else by a pale, timid urbanite who imagines a bit of hair on his chest and dreams of a fireside, booze-drenched frenzy.