Monday 10 January 2022

KANSAS by Jonathan Ward

The past two years will live in people’s memories for the rest of their lives. The world saw one of its biggest upheavals and, after having displayed a “me first” approach to life for far too long, households found themselves reconnecting with their neighbours and communities. How long this ultimately lasts has yet to be seen, but it definitely feels as though many have exited the storm into this new world with a determination to build on newfound ideals and beliefs. This realisation deserved to be celebrated, and that’s exactly what Jonathan Ward has done with his long-awaited debut fragrance Kansas.

Jonathan Ward is best known as arguably the finest candlemaker in the United Kingdom. His scents conjure up snapshots of time, place and emotion but, unlike many other brands, he doesn’t simply hitch his wagon to a cause or pop in the most fashionable buzzword in order to generate publicity. His range of candle fragrances are carefully curated, respectfully presented, and truly offer affordable luxury. I first wrote about Jonathan back in 2018 when he was top of my Candles For Christmas list with Roscuro and, over the following years, his high standards have ensured he’s appeared regularly in both solo and group reviews.

The idea of launching a perfume is something that has been rattling around in Jonathan’s mind for a number of years, ever since customers began asking for fragrance versions of their favourite candle scents. However, the time just hadn’t been right. He told me, “I never launch a new product unless there is a strong reason to do so, it has to be the right time, and I finally felt as though that moment had arrived. The world has struggled for two years, that needs to be recognised, but it also feels as though we have the chance to make changes.”

Many people referred to the pandemic as a storm or a tornado, and so referencing the most famous literary example definitely feels right. Kansas is the hometown of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. She is famously plucked from her monochrome life and finds herself in a Technicolor world that’s waiting to be discovered. She does eventually return home, but only after realising what is truly important. Just before we discover the scent, it’s worth mentioning that the cyclone on each bottle has been realised in gold and tarnish-coloured metal. Hand applied by Jonathan Ward, this also makes Kansas a visually beautiful creation.

The fragrance opens with a burst of bright bergamot, reminiscent of the sun catching your eyes after a period in the darkness, before being joined by a hypnotic blend of ylang and jasmine. This floral pairing feels “otherworldly” and strangely calming, which is definitely needed after a rough journey. An arid quality then arrives with notes of dry vetiver, cedarwood and even a touch a mate leaf but, alongside these, the davana gives a dried fruit quality that adds to the feeling of renewal. As a whisper of peppered birch subsides, a smooth sandalwood and tonka bean offers a reassuring familiarity, and it’s a definite nod to the hope that we can all learn and build from the past two years.

Kansas is available from the Jonathan Ward website at priced at £92 for 30ml EDP or £6 for 10ml EDT. [Sample provided by Jonathan Ward]

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