Thursday 30 May 2019

PORTAL by Kingdom Scotland

Finding the right inspiration for a new perfume brand is often the springboard that leads to its success. Many have tried to find that magic “something” but it often proves illusive even to those with boundless energy and drive. When Imogen Russon-Taylor decided that she wanted to launch her own fragrance house she had to hunt for the individuality that would set her apart from everybody else, and she found it very near to home. Kingdom Scotland launched at the end of 2018 with a collection of three scents and success was clearly on the horizon. A Fragrance Foundation Award Nominee, it's time to head to Edinburgh.

Imogen Russon-Taylor had a successful career in the world of whisky when she started to think about the practicalities of launching a perfume company. Being based in Scotland it would seem natural that whisky would find its way into your life but Imogen was surprised that, even though distillation appeared in both industries, there was no Scottish fragrance house. If you think about how much time goes into the flavour and aroma of whisky it seemed strange that these similarities hadn’t been spotted earlier. With her interest well and truly engaged, Imogen knew that she needed help.

Many fragrance brands don’t have in-house perfumers and so rely on the services of external companies to create the scents for them. A good example of this is Jorum Laboratories, which is based in Edinburgh. It was founded by Euan McCall in 2010 and has gone on to work with some of the leading fragrance companies in the beauty industry. When Imogen approached Euan with the idea of launching Kingdom Scotland it sowed the seed that would eventually result in three perfumes. With the practicalities dealt with it was time for the pair to start creating the debut collection.

I mentioned earlier about companies needing to find that magic “something” to build their fragrances around and Imogen Russon-Taylor very quickly realised that, for her, the inspiration would be Scotland. The debut collection took three very different subjects but wrapped them in a botanical blend to add a consistency. Metamorphic took the complex geology of the country as its starting point, Albaura was a tribute to the botanist Isobel Wylie Hutchinson, but my favourite has to be Portal which is described as “a transporting herbaceous and woody scent - a gateway to the ancient Caledonian forests of Scotland.”

Portal is a mysterious fragrance that really sums up the feeling that you get when you walk through a woodland. Bergamot mixes beautifully with notes of mint and clove, although there is also a touch of trampled grass underfoot, and delicate forest florals reveal themselves through an almost icy mist. The crispness keeps the rose tones to a clover-like delicacy with a feeling of variegated foliage providing the atmospheric colour. An earthiness is provided by a beautifully balanced vetiver and, with a carefully controlled note of pine, you can’t be anywhere else than at the centre of your own forest.

Portal is available from Kingdom Scotland’s website at priced at £20 for 7.5ml or  £110 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Imogen Russon-Taylor]