“So what other fragrances do you like?” asks Euan McCall, parfumeur at Jorum Studios, which he owns with his partner, Chloe Mullen.
Since I am so fickle when it comes to scent, I go completely blank. I can, however, think of a few notes that I love.
Violet, for instance, and patchouli, which reminds me of my grungy teenage years. Also, smoke, leather, and rose, neroli and bergamot, and anything herbal.
Too many. Still, there could be no better place to find your perfect scent for Mother’s Day, or just because you’re worth it, than at Scotland’s first fragrance house.
It’s in Stockbridge, in a beautiful property that has models of noses on the wall, a huge tapestry of an iris, and a workshop out back, with 2000 ingredients that they use to craft their collections. McCall started out working under the name Jorum Laboratories back in 2010, went into business with Mullen in 2016 and opened this place in 2019.
He takes me through to the consultation room, where they can create bespoke fragrances, with prices starting from £3000. That seems a lot, but apparently it’s comparatively cheap, and is a much more common practice in the Middle East, where Jorum has a few clients.
Today, I’ll be talked through their existing ranges, with bottles starting from £70. They offer this gratis service to shoppers, or you can just come in, and sample the fragrances yourself. Don’t be shy.
We go through a dozen, each of which McCall spritzes onto a paper spill. His knowledge is encyclopedic.
I feel rather overwhelmed, as they’re all totally intriguing and gorgeous. However, there are ones that are particularly memorable.
Carduus is Scotland in a bottle, and apparently their US clients love it. It’s a tribute to the thistle, with peppery and milky notes of tuberose, Bengal pepper, tobacco and exotica like deer tongue and meum plants. It’s as much of a changing shape than a smell - jaggy at first, then round.
Elegy is a tribute to all the old-fashioned perfumes, like Chanel No 5, except lovelier, in my opinion. According to McCall, as soon as you use a combination of rose, jasmine and other expensive floral extracts, the fragrance becomes like one of these classics. Book worms will love Athenaeum, which was inspired by McCall’s childhood and features oak, ink, apple, honey, beeswax and other evocative extracts, and Nectary is one of the most beautiful florals.
However, I do find a favourite in Medullary-ray.
It’s a woody one, with sandalwood oil, fig leaf, juniper, cardamom and frankincense, among other notes, which make me continue to sniff at the spill.
I feel like I’ve been bewitched, but I also can’t stop thinking about the other ones. It seems that I’m still fickle, though smitten by every last one of these Scottish fragrances.
12 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh (0131 225 9200, www.jorumstudio.com)