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I’ve been doing armchair travel with perfumes. Browsing through “The Best of 2019”on the CaFleurBon blog I noticed several super-positive comments about the work of a Scottish perfumer by the name of Euan McCall. He’s the nose behind Senyokô Paris, and in 2010 he started his own company Jorum Laboratories in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since 2016, Euan has worked with his partner Chloe Mullen, and the hand-made brand is now named Jorum Studio. 

On their website I learned about their new collection of six fragrances, Progressive Botany Vol. 1, which takes inspirtion from nature:

Progressive fragrances (3): “…non-conformist and intentionally challenging…do not conform to any standard form in traditional or modern perfumery. These are ‘free-form’ fragrances…multi-faceted…”

Botany fragrances (3) “…perhaps a little more familiar - original twists on slightly more traditional perfumery structures which present new sensory forms.” 

Carduus is a Progressive…” an alter of spices, wood, resin and roots. With an intriguing buoyancy oscillating between weightless vapours and dense fluidity.” Since I crave challenging scents I ordered it immediately, and I‘ve been blissfully wandering through the hills of Scotland since it arrived.

The thistle is the national flower of Scotland. Carduus nutans, or musk thistle, is a common species that grows on chalky soils and can be found on rough grassland, roadside verges, waste ground and scrub. An invasive hardy plant which is a member of the sunflower family, thistles are best known for their hardy prickles that protect them from being eaten by cattle, deer and other large herbivores. Its purple blooms have a sweet, musky scent that wafts in warm summer air, July through August, and seems to inspire Scottish perfumers. 

That potent musky scent flies right out of the bottle onto my skin, part of a dense and complex bouquet of herbs, leaves, seeds, grass, spiced up with black pepper and cloves, sage and chamomile, with honey and rose petals, then tuberose, then heliotrope, then branches and twigs and roots and dirt. There is a rich intensity but no single stand-out top note, or recognizable accord, rather the notes waft up and down, in and out, sometimes feeling vegetal, then medicinal, then floral or green, then woody and dry. Carduus is definitely non-conformist, challenging my expectations so that I’m fully experiencing what it is slowly revealing, and not judging and comparing as I often do with new fragrances..  

After an hour or so the intensity in Carduus changes, herbal and floral notes pull back, revealing a subtle accord of dark cocoa infused with sweet tobacco and wood notes, cherry and mahogany, and the drydown expands  into an airy musky incense-like accord that is absolutely weightless. I feel soothed and peaceful. It smells like home.

Euan McColl is a gifted perfumer. His scent story of his native landscape in Scotland is definitely unique and non-conformist and challenging, and can be worn anywhere by anyone. For me, Carduus inspires the extraordinary sensation of being connected to a landscape and a history, of being in MY HOME. Maybe I really belong in Scotland.

Notes: Chamomile, Bengal PepperHoney, Clary Sage, Sea-holly, Marjoram Tea, Myrtle, Rose Absolute, Vetch, Clove Bud, Hart’s Tongue (fern),Tuberose, Musk-thistle, Heliotrope, Tormentil, Mahogany, Cocoa AbsoluteTobacco, Meum, Deertongue, Cherrywood

Type: EdP

Perfumeur: Euan McColl


Price: $6.00