This post has been on hold since lockdown. We’re not out of the woods yet but it feels right for me to start talking about perfume again.
I got to try Scottish perfumer Euan McCall’s work for the first time when up in Edinburgh last year and then Val the Cookie Queen sent me some samples. I’m pleased to finally be able to talk about them here, although they have been established for a decade now.
The Jorum Studio website has a beautiful aesthetic and – joy of joys – 15ml bottles are available.
Here are my impressions of the six fragrances in the Progressive Botany Vol. 1 collection which is split into Progressive and Botany.
These first three Progressive fragrances below are more unconventional.
Quince, Honey, Saffron, Osmanthus Absolute, Magnolia, Burdock, Papyrus, Mugwort, Rose Absolute, Tuberose, Myrrh Absolute, Spruce Resin, Douglas Fir, Labdanum, Jatamansi, Malt, Lichen
As the name suggests, Arborist is inspired by woods however, it is also deeply spicy and musky. Rather than green and leafy, the scent is as earthy as if we are down and dirty in the soil covered roots. There’s Indian spice (which reads as a very smooth cumin to my nose) and vegetal musks which lend it a sensuous feel. It’s all a bit too husky to suit my winsome style but cohesive and nicely done.
Chamomile, Bengal Pepper, Honey, Clary Sage, Sea-holly, Marjoram Tea, Myrtle, Rose Absolute, Vetch, Clove Bud, Hart’s Tongue, Tuberose, Musk-thistle, Heliotrope, Tormentil, Mahogany, Cocoa Absolute, Tobacco, Meum, Deertongue, Cherrywood
Carduus has a bracing, slightly medicinal flush with a bouquet garnet of fresh, leafy herbs. It has the feeling of being out on Scottish heathland with the wind blowing a hooley under a rapidly changing sky. It’s aromatic with a breath of aniseed; the antithesis to Swarovski-studded nouveau niche. While Carduus may not be to everyone’s taste, it rewards the wearer with the sense of windswept wellbeing you get from braving the wilds of nature. In short, it’ll put colour in your cheeks.
Passion Fruit, Rhubarb, Mulberry, Nasturtium, Honeysuckle, Blaeberry, Camellia, Oysterplant, Meadowsweet, Gorse, Ambrette, Sesame, Amyris, Tonka Bean Absolute
Phloem is not one of those candied berry bombs we are used to encountering across the high street, but I find the combination of curry spices and boiled fruit challenging in its own way. It’s pungent and plummy, with a lot of depth. Phloem feels well-rounded but never thick and cloying. In the drydown there is nice salty skin effect which works well as a counterpoint to the spiced compote effect.
The next three fragrances are in the Botany category and are more traditional in style.
Carrot Seed, Bergamot, Nectarine, Thyme, Cicely, Pink Pepper, Juniper, Cloudberry, Angelica Root, Orris Butter, Kombucha, Centaury, Suede, Oud, Musk, Ambergris, Styrax, Vanilla, Incense
This iris perfume was the one I was most eager to get on better terms with. Trimerous is one of those lovely, innocent irises which forms a fluffy cloud. Rather than being grey and rooty, it feels white and powder-soft. It has a gentle presence with a musky, vanilla sweetness. I found it the most easy to wear of the six though I prefer my irises a little less naive. Good for those that usually find iris too austere and unapproachable.
Fig-leaf, Cardamom, Olive, Juniper, Frankincense, Orris Butter, Rose Absolute, Pomegranate, Myrrh, Vetiver, Guaicwood, Papyrus, Hay, Birch, Cedarwood, Castoreum, Valerian, Sandalwood Oil
Medullary-ray are the lines that radiate out from the centre of a tree, cutting across the rings. While this collection is linked to botany and the flora of Scotland in particular, this fragrance is inspired by the woods and fruits of Tuscany. What I get is fig teamed with smoke. This combination really surprised me and I had to check that it’s not one of the experimental fragrances. The milky fig against the bone dry smoke (not the tarry kind) with accents of ripe pomegranate and herbal valerian, is unlike anything I’ve tried before.
Bramble, Cranberry, Peach, Rose Absolute, Oud, Ambergris, Roseroot, Olibanum, Selfheal, Castoreum, Civet, Labdanum Absolute, Musk
The name says it all: this is a lush nectar filled with golden light. I have issues with sugary perfumes but this has a natural sweetness that makes me swoon. To my nose, it is chiefly a peachy rose with the dreamy quality of a lazy summer’s day. It’s filled out by white musk which I find a little heady but I hugely enjoy the overall melting feeling Nectary gives me. I don’t get anything as animalic as castoreum or civet.
I found all the above Eau de Parfums have moderate throw and very good longevity.
When sampling these handmade fragrances what really stood out to me was the clarity and quality. The materials smell top-notch and the compositions are distinctive. I can see what all the fuss has been about. Jorum Studio have carved out a niche that is all their own.
Have you tried anything from Jorum Studio? If not, do any of the above appeal?