At our September 2023 VOYAGE show at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, we presented a popular perfume seminar called “A Botanical Scent Experience with Kingdom Scotland.” As Scotland’s first fragrance house, Kingdom Scotland’s Founder and CEO, Imogen Russon-Taylor taught us about classic perfumes and aromatic ingredients used in the art of perfumery. Here she shares her tips and tricks for finding your own signature scent.
From Shalimar to Chanel #5 to L’Air du Temps, there are some scents that are timeless. In your opinion, what makes a classic perfume?
A scent with complexity and reveal, one that changes with time and there is an alchemy with the skin. The key is the selection of the finest ingredients, and the craft of the perfumer to blend to perfection. I see scent as art, so there is an important correlation with culture. A classic scent will resonate with the era it is created and enjoyed. I believe we are now in a time of more contemplation, where we crave the influence of nature and wellbeing, where storytelling captivates the imagination. Scents that tell stories that connect with the wearer and their sense of self are today’s classics that will endure time.
When looking for a signature scent that will have longevity, what are some things to consider?
Ingredients are an important consideration for longevity. For example, deep woody base notes last. Our complex woody metamorphic scent will last for at least 5 hours and can even last through a shower! If you love citrus and lighter botanical notes you will just have to reapply – as they are essentially top notes and the lightest molecular weight so do disappear. Deeper ingredients such as woods, amber resins and musks all last longer on the skin.
When choosing a floral scent, what are some of the most common and popular ingredients and combinations?
There is so much to choose from in the floral realm. Rose and jasmine are very popular in classic floral scents. There are much more complex notes such as tuberose and lily but these can be polarizing and not for everyone. Modern perfumery likes to mix floral notes with darker woods or leathers or even oud to create striking contrast and longevity.
Tell us a little about Kingdom Botanica, which you created in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Kingdom Botanica is an extraordinary scent celebrating over 350 years of plant protection and adventure at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Every ingredient tells a story of the work at the RBGE. This was such an exciting project and was recognised by the Fragrance Foundation for innovation in scent. Crafted over 2 years of research and development, this is a scent in tribute to the work and passion, enlightened spirit and dedication of the botanists, horticulturalists, scientists, and plant hunters of the past, present and future. The resulting Kingdom Botanica is a vibrant, opulent and green-floral woody scent. This is biodiversity in a bottle!
The top notes start with a green cassis bud note and herbaceous botanicals – reminiscent of walking into the Victorian glasshouses. Then a spiced plum blossom is revealed celebrating the Chinese collections at the garden. The heart notes are a floral explosion of exotic white florals, including lily, ginger lily, jasmin, iris, ylang-ylang, blended with sweet myrrh and frankincense. It’s completed with a complex base of warming sandalwood, patchouli, cedarwood, vetiver, musk and amber. Kingdom Botanica is botanical maximalism in scent.
What is your signature scent?
This is so hard to answer! I wear so many fragrances. I like to think of my collection as a fragrant wardrobe. I wear different scents depending on my mood, the season, the occasion. There is so much pleasure and personal expression to be had when choosing a fragrance to wear.
Kingdom Scotland creates sustainable, ethical unisex perfumes that tell stories in scent, with each celebrating the beauty and drama of the natural world. Learn more at kingdomscotland.com and @kingdomscotland.