Anatomy of a Scent: Rose Highland
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 Rose Highland Extrait de Parfum, a salty rose fragrance with a blanket of unusual florals and a fresh, peppery, airy quality.
Azalea, Sweet Basil, Pink pepper, Bell Heather, Clove Bud, Primrose, Rhododendron, Jasmine Absolute, Geranium oil, Rose Absolute.
Atlantic Oak, Flag Iris, Vetiver, Ambergris*, Mineral Accord.
Basil oil + Pink pepper + Rose Oxide = airy, peppery roses
Rose Highland opens with a bracing floral attack. Of course roses are critical to Rose Highland, but they are not the dominant profile. It was my intention to create an airy floral perfume accord without being too transparent or watery. I find adding a mineral pepperiness always helps to capture the feeling of airiness. By adding a slight contrast or a note that rubs against the harmony of the air notes, one can create a more vivid sensation – air without contrast could be a little too soulless, the peppery facet gives a bit of background colour to enhance the experience.
Choosing the right type of spiciness is key and for Rose Highland there was only one real contender – basil oil. Basil oil compliments roses so well and adds just the right amount of aromatics, spices and green lift. Giving a touch more transparency to the spices required add a slither of pink pepper oil – just enough to add sparkle to the basil oil.
In order not to lose sight of the roses, the incendiary hot flash of rose oxide helped to retain the rose profile front and centre, boosting the rose absolute comprising the heart of Rose Highland as the fragrance transitions from impression through fade.
Cashmeran® + Vetiver = Mineral musks
Cashmeran® is a fascinating musk that undulates between tart green apple skins, sun bleached dry woods and angular muskiness. It’s a deceptively difficult material to work with as it can flatten formulas in the blink of an eye. This can be a pretty useful tool in its own right – working almost akin to an anti-musk (driving the projection of a formula downwards rather than exalting like most other musks).
Rose Highland uses a conventional amount of Cashmeran®, used specifically to boost the mineral aspects of this rose and vetiver fragrance. Cashmeran® when used creatively can add a refractive quality adding crystalline shimmer and shine to a perfume. I find the combination of Cashmeran® and vetiver to be exceptional, both boosting the other and elevating the results to a higher place. I used one of my favourite Haitian vetiver oils in Rose Highland and lots of it, reinforced with cashmeran to augment and add increased mineral radiance to the entire profile.
So there we have it: transparent spices, airy florals against angular mineral musks – Rose Highland.