Monday, 19 August 2019

PERGOLA by Exaltatum London

The fact that our reaction to fragrance is so personal is one of the reasons why it can often be so difficult to gauge how a perfume will be received. Many companies launch scents with very specific stories and, if the customer doesn’t engage with them, they can end up overshadowing the actual fragrance. Exaltatum London has overcome this by simply relating their scents to the inspiration and encouraging the customer to draw on their own memories and experiences. The company’s current collection of three fantastic fragrances are all created by Eglija Vaitkevice but, within the trio, Pergola truly is theatrically majestic.

Eglija Vaitkevice was born in Germany and studied Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at Vilnius University in Lithuania. Whilst this might not sound like the normal beginnings for a perfumer, I feel that this understanding of storytelling and cultural shifts is why the fragrances that she would eventually go on to create have such a superb feeling of narrative. After graduating it would be into the world of beauty that Eglija was drawn, and it was this that truly acted as the catalyst for her love of fragrance. It would be the beginning of a long journey that would eventually result in Exaltatum London.

After studying Aromatherapy, and also beginning to blend a series of natural fragrances, Eglija felt that she needed to cement her knowledge and so enrolled at The Grasse Institute of Perfumery. It was here in 2016 that, under the guidance of Max Gavarry, a passion for fragrance was turned into a fully-fledged business. Eglija’s uncompromising approach to her creations has often been difficult and she told me, “It was a very long journey from the idea to the final result, I struggled almost every day and night.” Well, it’s definitely now time for her to celebrate what she has achieved.
The company’s first perfume was Osmanthus Noble in 2018 and was quickly joined by Ruby Wood and Pergola. As I mentioned before, you are encouraged to experience these with an open mind and free from the confines of a “story,” and that is exactly how I fell in love with Pergola. The perfume’s inspiration is, quite simply, the pergola that is located on London’s Hampstead Heath. Originally built in 1906 by Lord Leverhulme and Thomas Mawson, this vestige of faded grandeur embodies extravagance, history, and a wealth of scented secrets that are lovingly restored in Eglija Vaitkevice’s evocative perfume.

Pergola opens with the most incredible rush of twisted green vegetation and instantly transports you back to the heyday of that decadent walkway. There is so much happening in here but the notes of galbanum, bergamot, and ivy are particularly spectacular. The floral heart is a swooning blend of narcissus, tuberose, and jasmine but the pergola’s passage of history is provided by an earthy pairing of patchouli and vetiver. You get a real impression of its heritage from touches of resins and moss and, whilst it’s described as a fougere, there is definitely a feeling of the most glorious aromatic chypre.

Pergola is available from the Exaltatum London website at exaltatumperfume.com priced at £70 for 15ml and £130 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Exaltatum London]

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