Anatomy of a scent: Healing Berry
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 Healing Berry Extrait de Parfum, a realistic juicy berry gourmand perfume with comforting fresh-harvested orris and cereal accords.
Blackcurrant Absolute, Tayberry, Willowherb, Sloe, Wild Mint, Rose Absolute, Logan Berry, Buckler Fern, Violet Leaf Absolute.
Artemesia, Raspberry leaf, Orris Butter, Himalayan Balsam, Cereal.
Blackcurrant bud absolute + Davana + Rose absolute = juicy, finger-staining berries
The soul of Healing Berry is blackcurrant bud absolute and lots of it. Blackcurrant bud requires some taming as it can be an unruly beast (see Jorum Journal Issue 20 for more information on this satisfying yet unusual fruity wonder). With Healing Berry I didn’t want to remove too much of the harshness from the blackcurrant. In fact, I wanted to keep much of the harshness alive and well and not heavily concealed. A healthy dosage of exquisite Turkish rose absolute softens some of the harshest notes of blackcurrant absolute by adding aromatic harmonics around the sulphur compounds inherent in blackcurrant absolute.
The inclusion of davana adds fruity realism to Healing Berry. Davana itself possesses some weird facets which I find mesmerising. The exotic fruit notes that davana provides adds richness and allure. The resulting accord is one of realistic berry; freshly picked, staining fingers and pleasing tastebuds.
Undecavertol® + Violet leaf absolute + Orris butter = fresh harvested orris rhizomes
Orris butter is one of my most treasured aromatics, I use it wherever I can. As noted previously, the cost of the material is prohibitive however when weighing the costs against the positive impact orris has on performance and the end profile, it’s usually an easily justifiable cost. Orris can benefit from some brightening in certain applications and this can be achieved in a myriad of ways. In the case of Healing Berry, the perfect mauve-hued partner was violet leaf absolute, an intense aromatic with an assaulting green opening, endless violet flower complexity and cucumber-y juiciness and crunch.
Violet leaf's vibrancy gives our orris a real jolt of energy, producing a very living orris rhizome experience. The combination of orris and violet leaf is exceptional as they are both found across the violet spectrum, albeit at arguably opposite ends of that spectrum. One of the perceived issues with violet leaf is its aggressiveness and dominating character. Much like blackcurrant bud absolute, it needs a bit of taming.
To control the violet leaf (and to some degree blackcurrant bud) I used Undecavertol®, a material that possesses a violet leaf profile but much softer, sweeter and more controlled. As noted above, my intention was not to hide the harsher characters found with these aromatics but to control them with greater articulation. I wanted the violet leaf opening of Healing Berry to have a slightly more sucrose edge but without a powdery connotation as I wanted to stay clear of traditional Parma Violet powdery qualities and closer to freshly picked and quickly tossed candied violets (a particular favourite delicacy of mine).
There’s a hint of mint added to Healing Berry, providing a natural rush and helping to cut through some of the saccharine intensity.
Gourmand fragrance profiles are often very similar to one another and approached in likeminded ways. With Healing Berry, I wanted to create an unapologetic, uncompromising and undeniably gourmand perfume but using less traditional materials and embracing the harshness inherent with some of the most naturally gourmand materials available to the perfumer. In the end, we have a sophisticated and mature gourmand perfume that on one hand is a bit of a puzzle for the nose and brain and on the other, a super moreish, fun and pleasing niche Scottish perfume that’s easy to wear.