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arborist: a specialist in arboriculture, the cultivation and care and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants …WIKIPEDIA

Arborist: one of the six fragrances in the 2019 nature-inspired Progressive Botany Vol. 1 collection by perfumer Euan McColl of Jorum Studio in Edinburgh, Scotland. Euan McColl is a gifted perfumer, so this story of his native landscape is true to his non-conformist style, challenging and intriguing. The clarity of his vision plus the obvious quality of the materials he uses in his small-batch fragrances have landed his independent brand on the perfume map.

Arborist is an earthy woody musky bomb of a forest fragrance. “An ode to enchanting woodlands…found across Scotland… an imagined day-in-the-life of a Virideer”. (Note: What is a Virideer? – Google and Wiki have no clue). 

The opening of Arborist is a dense cloud of woodland smells, trees, leaves, resins, moss, forest flowers, the earthy dampness of decaying undergrowth that slowly transforms into an unexpected accord of osmanthus flower, its faint apricot fruitiness dusted with spice (saffron) and tart fruit (quince), wrapped in smooth worn leather smeared with woodland honey. Maybe the Virideer is the Green Man, the ancient guardian of forests, symbol of rebirth, maybe the Green Man wears leather garments…

This unique accord mellows into the heart where the majestic trees come into sharp focus. Aromatic resins of spruce and Douglas fir, forest saps of labdanum, burdock, myrhh , add to the woody splendour that I inhale and savour over and over. As Arborist dries down, the majestic forest accord becomes multi-faceted as Euan McColl’s forest story reveals sensual musky notes from tuberose and jatamansi and malt, redolent of “more than a hint of human skin, oily tool and distilling elixirs haunting from afar…”

Euan McColl warns that Arborist is not just about lumber. Nor is it just about trees because it is a far cry from a green or leafy or poetic scent. Arborist includes leaves, flowers, fruits, insects, trees, sap, bark, roots, and soil – I can smell the living breathing forest. 

Arborist is spicy and musky, woody and earthy and powerful, a uniquely perfect olfactory portrait of Euan McColl’s native forest, untamed by the intrusion of humanity. 

Arborist is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Arborist, 30 ml. Jorum Studio - image by


Oh, Penhaligon's, when we first met, it was love at first sniff. That love burned bright for a long time, but like all relationships, we've had our ups and downs, our ebbs and flows. But we've hung in there, and our commitment has paid off, with some of the best fragrances produced by any niche line in the last few years, like Agarbathi.

Whenever I get a whiff of this men’s EdP, it's like falling in love over all again.

Agarbathi is part of Penhaligon's 'Trade Routes Collection', which was inspired by scents of the London docks at the turn of the 19th century, where ships carrying booze, fabric, spices, fruit and flowers from foreign lands would unload their treasures. Each fragrance in the collection was inspired by a different trade route and its origins in the 19th century. Agarbathi is an olfactive voyage to the temples of India.

Agarbathi is named for the brightly coloured incense sticks that are used in Hindu rituals.

In a press release, nose Alex Lee, who created Agabathi explains, 'Agarbathi is meant to transport one inside an Indian temple. I wanted to create the smell of sandalwood and burning incense sticks dancing with the intoxicating sillage of jasmine garlands donned by the worshippers. In the background, there is the smell of milk being offered to the Hindu Gods.'

Agarbathi opens with bright bergamot followed by the woody scent of Palo Santo. Palo Santo is an aromatic holy wood with gorgeous fruity, balsamy, spicy, citrus and incensy aspects, and I get hints of them all here. Pink pepper amps up the spicy, herbal aspects of the Palo Santo while also adding a rosy nuance. As it progresses, the smell of incense becomes woody and smoky and smells of ritual and ceremony in a way that keeps you present in the moment. And then, Agarbathi gets milky – sweet and a little spicy, like masala chai. It's is the perfect counterpoint to the heady incense and the ideal way to usher lead in a note of jasmine. The jasmine here is sweet, opulent and indolic. It’s seductively fragrant and surprisingly fitting in scent made for men. A base of fragrant woods anchors it all. Woody vetiver; milky, soft, creamy, sandalwood and the rich warm intensely balsamic aroma of Canadian fir. A suede accord adds a velvety, soft sensuality to the base.

Agarbathi dries down to a soft, spicy, incensy, woody scent that stays close to the skin. This is a fragrance that takes its time to develop fully, revealing itself over time, but the reward is so worth the waiting.  

What makes it so special so that it doesn't smell like a Hindu temple on your skin so much as it smells as though you are walking around inside a Hindu temple, experiencing each scent and smell as you go through it.

I read on Penhaligon's website that the ritual taking place in Agarbathi's temple was a wedding, 'with Garlands of Himalayan Jasmine, God's own flower, hang ready outside, for the wedding festival to adorn the heads of guests.'

With Agarbathi, I think Penhaligon's and I have just renewed our vows. And I think we are going to live happily ever after.

Agarbathi is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Photo - Courtesy of Penhaligon's

Welcome to

"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight."

                                                                       Raymond Chandler

We are Gwen and Kay, two perfumistas making our scent journey in the cool, clear North.  We are also BFFs - we hang out together a lot, travel together - so we try, buy and share fragrances.

What started out as a shared interest grew into a hobby, and has now become our obsession.

We’ve spent many evenings with a glass of prosecco, a little cool jazz playing in the background, spritzing, sniffing - “How does this smell on you?” and, sadly, sometimes scrubbing.

We’ve tested and tried hundreds of samples over the years, and when we deemed a fragrance ”full bottle worthy” (FBW), one of us has tracked it down and bought it. We now own a lot of really great perfumes, and we continue to buy bottles of what we think is the best of "niche" as new scents are launched.

Also, we include many perfume "classics" that are the foundations of modern perfumery - like Shalimar, Chanel No.5, Eau Sauvage - plus other perfume "gems" that have been discontinued, or were ahead of their time when launched but now fit perfectly in the Niche category. 

With so many exciting discoveries, we can’t help but talk about our passion with other friends. Wherever we go, people ask “What is that perfume you’re wearing? Where can I get that?” So we end up sharing a bit of our “juice” with friends. But the circle has grown, so we've started this website to let others buy and try samples from our collections and experience the fragrant beauty we write about.


We blog

We blog once a week and post a story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent critics, so these aren't negative reviews. We love all our fragrances  - that’s why we bought them! But we describe how we think they smell, and share our stories about why we love them - maybe you’ll rediscover an old flame, or fall in love with a new scent.

Or we post conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention recently. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to explore new territory by trying 3 or 4 fragrances in a special pack at a special discount price.

We sell

We sell 1 ml. decants - .7 ml volume once you allow for the stopper in the vial - filled from our own bottles in our collection because the only way to experience a fragrance is to try it on your own skin. We take the fragrance from its original bottle and decant it into a smaller brand-new, 1 ml sterilized glass vials so that you can try it on your skin to see if you like it.

Through our Decant Store you'll have access to some of the world’s greatest niche scents, hard-to-find fragrances, and classic favourites. 

When you click on the Decant Store tab you’ll find our personal descriptions of each of the fragrances we currently offer from our collection, then you can add them to your Shopping Cart.

Let's be clear (this is a disclaimer!!)

  • We don’t sell full bottles of any fragrance - just .7ml decants. We only sell decants  from the perfumes we've bought.... because we love them.
  • We don't re-sell manufacturers samples.
  • We don’t represent any perfumers or distributors, so we don’t have every scent from a whole line of perfume.
  • We aren’t being paid to promote any product or scent.

If, after sampling a fragrance, you decide that you must have it, i.e. it is FBW (full bottle worthy), and you can’t find it, e-mail us and we will direct you to the best source we know – retail store or online source.

We provide

A place for you to learn about scent, and to share your fragrance experience with others. Click on the section called Resources, under My Perfume Notes (see top right), where  you'll find a Glossary, and fragrance FAQs. You'll also find two great tools we've created - Handmaps and My Sample Perfume Notes - so you can keep track of, and record your own scent experiences.
We hope you enjoy, and visit us often. Leave your preconceptions behind, look around, see what’s on offer, read the Blog, share your experiences and discoveries, and join the circle.

It’s just us.