Monday 16 December 2019


Starting a new perfume company is a venture that can be fraught with delays and disasters but, if you’re lucky, can also prove to be one of the most exciting rides of your life. Everyone offers opinions on bottle styles, graphics, and even launch dates so navigating people’s good intentions can be tricky. Sometimes coming at the whole enterprise from a different angle can reap its own rewards and this is where we find ourselves with the latest addition to the perfume market. Elementary has launched Unscheduled Wander, an olfactory Time Machine that positively revels in the androgynous beauty of the chypre fragrance.

Steve Foulkes had always had an interest in perfume but, increasingly, he found that the scents that were on the market didn’t have exactly what he was looking for. The majority of people at this point would have settled for the closest possible match but, in Steve’s case, he decided to take a more “productive” route. The seed was sown to launch his own perfume company that offered the style of fragrances that he was drawn to. However, a lack of experience was going to prove a difficult obstacle and so he started to surround himself with like-minded scented adventurers.

His partner in crime became Becky Stacey, who had a background in media and photography. By creating a strong idea of how they visually wanted the product to look it helped to cement the style of fragrances that they would launch with. It was decided right at the beginning that Elementary would be a natural brand and Steve worked very closely with an independent perfumer to formulate the scents. Without realising it at the time, this talented trio have ended up including a perfume in their initial line-up that is going to have vintage fragrance lovers champing at the bit.

One of the toughest times for any retailer is the Christmas period that runs from October to December. The whirlwind of companies pumping millions into advertising and packaging means that many smaller brands can get lost, and it's certainly not a period when most would choose to launch. However, Elementary arrived on 6th December with a website-exclusive collection and the interest in their debut range has already been incredible. The initial series comprises Lazy Sage, Lowbrow Jazz, and the wonderfully Guerlain-esque Unscheduled Wander. So, let me take you back to the decadent, yet dissenting, Thirties.

Unscheduled Wander brings back memories of Jacques Guerlain’s 1935 Cuir de Russie with its piercingly smoky aroma. The opening conjures up glorious notes of bergamot, galbanum, and birch tar which, together with oakmoss and tonka bean, puts a hint of those archetypal Cossack boots within reach. A geranium in the heart gives the scent an assertiveness rather than a floral delicacy and, as it develops on the skin, the cedarwood and oud combination adds a dangerous elegance. With a nod to Mitsouko, Unscheduled Wander is every vintage perfume lover’s dream and is definitely my fragrance for New Year’s Eve.

Unscheduled Wander is available from the Elementary website at priced at £65 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Steve Foulkes]

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