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Anatomy of a Scent: Elegy

Perfumer in a white lab coat standing behind a table with digital scales. Image overlaid with blue-toned geranium flowers

Welcome to Anatomy of a Scent, a series where in-house master perfumer Euan McCall dissects much-loved scents from our collection of unique Scottish fragrances to reveal their inner workings. This time we're looking at Elegy Extrait de Parfum, a complex powdery floral perfume presenting a contemporary take on a classic French chypre fragrance profile.


Bergamot, Lavender, Petitgrain, Heather Absolute, Rose Absolute, Jasmine Absolute.


Orange Flower Absolute, Geranium Bourbon, Ambrette Seed, Benzoin, Cedar Absolute, Patchouli Absolute, Hay Absolute, Oakmoss Absolute, Musk*, Labdanum Absolute, Ambergris.*

*of synthetic origin.

Petitgrain + Ylang-ylang + Aldehydes = Haunting Citrus 

Depending on how you approach Elegy, it can present as either sombre or joyful. For me it is the latter. It was my intention to recapture the smell of my grandmother's perfume – you always knew when she had been in a room by the delicate trail of perfume she left behind. This spectral aroma signalled her presence even when she was no longer in the vicinity. It was this aromatically-charged air that I sought to capture in Elegy, grounding it in an updated chypre structure. 

Petitgrain is a useful material for adding naturalness in a bouquet, especially when citrus is present. Using petitgrain alongside citrus fragrance notes adds heft, grit and dimension, strengthening the hesperidic notes that can typically stutter and fall quickly. 

Using a trio of aldehydes (c-10, c-11, c-12) not only reinforces the vintage shimmer but also boosts the citrus freshness and adds a diffusive perfumed quality, helping Elegy to suspend in the air. Furthermore, it is an effective device for evoking the grand perfumes of yesteryear.  

Jasmine Absolute + Rose Absolute + Geranium Bourbon = Regal Floral  

Jasmine absolute paired with rose absolute creates devastatingly beautiful results – they complement one another so well, an almost annoying cliche! I find that depending on the ratios used of each material, various effects can be achieved. Interestingly, when both are used in equal amounts there is a special strengthening of both profiles as we find here in Elegy. 

Geranium Bourbon is an unsung hero in my opinion. It’s easy to dismiss it quickly – when smelling in isolation there is a harsh, raspy metallic facet that my mind automatically wants to soften... however over time I have grown to love Geranium Bourbon. It is a material that is so vastly different when used in a formulation. The raspy quality gives bite and texture to more volatile materials and the dry-out blooms with a floral naturalness that’s extremely useful.

In short, Geranium Bourbon can improve the citrus, spice, herbaceous or incense opening of a fragrance whilst adding a floral cocoon to central themes, and alluring depth to the most enduring sensations as a fragrance develops over time. Geranium was admittedly a tough material for me but with time – and embracing its fickleness – I came to understand where and how it can improve a formulation, and it’s now a group of aromatics that I keep close at hand when creating Jorum Studio perfumes.

In Elegy, Geranium Bourbon plays a vital (possibly the most vital) role – it bridges the citrus, floral and woody notes, acting as the spine of the perfume.

As a side note, my grandmother was fanatical about Geraniums, growing every conceivable type. She wore geranium-heavy perfumes and used geranium hand and body washes throughout her home. My grandfather owned a horticulture business for almost 60 years and both he and my grandmother were avid gardeners – roses were their combined passion, geranium my grandmother's and jasmines my grandfather's. Using these regal florals in Elegy is no coincidence!  

Hay Absolute + Vetiver Bourbon + Patchouli MD = Contemporary Chypre 

The Jorum team are big chypre fans. As much as we love and appreciate the classics, we also like neo-chypre perfume structures too – and you can find a number of cunningly disguised ‘chypres’ in our collections! Gorseland, Rose Highland and even Pony Boy, Healing Berry and Paradisi can be considered as chypre-leaning. With Elegy I wanted to hint at classical chypre constructs yet maintain a lightness and a more contemporary feeling overall.

The combination of hay, vetiver and patchouli is nothing short of superb. We use an exquisite ambrosial high-altitude hay absolute a lot in our laboratory. There's something special about it that’s hard to articulate, and is best described as succinctly as possible: it is sublime.

Vetiver is another material we use lots of in our work, all different types depending on the effects and results we want to conjure. During the formulation of Elegy we trialled no fewer than eight different types of vetiver before settling on a particular Vetiver Bourbon from Madagascar.

Rounding out this earthy duo is the clearest patchouli extract in our possession. Molecularly distilled for purity, there is a lack of mineral dirty roughness with this patchouli – resulting in a beautiful hazy-woody aura being imparted to the hay and vetiver combo. 

The result is a sultry and shadowy film noir setting – think backlit protagonist, cigarette in hand, sheltering from the rain at night, a dangerous rendezvous and a just-missed-them game of cat and mouse. Elegy could easily be 1949 or 2949: contemporary with a traditional slant. 


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