Monday 26 June 2023

COUNTRY (GWLAD) by Wales Perfumery

A bottle of Country (Gwlad) perfume from Wales Perfumery
The first fragrances released by a company can often set the template for everything that is to follow. Whether it’s favoured ingredients, particular scent styles, or even the inspirations, getting that first collection right is so important to the long-term success of any perfume venture. Even after the fragrances have been created, the amount of work that it takes to get them seen by customers can often feel like an uphill struggle. That’s where having an existing core base of followers can be a lifesaver. Country from Wales Perfumery is one of the company’s debut trio of scents, and the land of song is definitely singing its praises.

Wales Perfumery was founded by Louise Smith and is lucky enough to have its headquarters right in the middle of a stunning walled garden. Based in Monmouthshire, the company has grown from its original concept of perfumery workshops, through to candles and diffusers, and now boasts a trio of fragrances. Expanding on her original palette of ingredients, Louise then fully explored the possibilities that synthetics could bring to scent, and this has led to her now creating bespoke fragrances for companies both inside and outside of Wales. It’s been an exciting journey, so let’s look a little deeper at the collection.

Being located in arguably one of the most beautiful regions of the United Kingdom, I was born in Wales so I am obviously biased, the collection of three fragrances took their inspiration from the surroundings. Wales has extraordinary coastlines along with incredible forests and, as I’ve said before, these sit side by side with beautiful countryside. That’s why Louise wanted to try and encapsulate these inspirations into her perfumes. Coast (Arfordir), Forest (Coedwig) and Country (Gwlad) were the results and, being a Welsh company, all three proudly have their names in both English and its native language.

The box for the perfume Country (Gwlad) from Wales Perfumery
It’s always difficult to pick a favourite from a debut collection, and I would encourage you to try all three, but Country felt like it has that extra something. It’s a broad inspiration for this one, it’s almost a celebration of both Wales and the landscape, and I think that it’s this combination that gives an intrigue and an originality. Wales is famous for its national symbol of the daffodil, and its industrial past, but it also boasts four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Two of these make appearances in the fragrance, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Dyffryn Ogwen's Penrhyn Quarry, but they’re wonderfully striking in their subtlety.

Country opens with a spacious hit of green freshness, with definite notes of cut grass and woody petitgrain, but the arrival of a strident neroli signals our first destination. Its metallic edge locks onto a mineral slate aroma, which places you firmly in the quarry, before the promised daffodil appears to truly signify that we’re in Wales. This brings along with it the watery impression of the aqueduct, and even a touch of sweat pea, but the development of Country is far from over. You’re then met with a peppered vetiver and a dry cedarwood, which seems to conjure a slightly sandier terrain, but the final hint of a velvety amber accord definitely makes you long for a slice of Bara brith and a pint of Reverend James.

Country is available from the Wales Perfumery website at priced at £22 for 7.5ml, £54 for 30ml and £81 for 50ml. It’s also available as part of the Discovery Set which costs £24. [Samples provided by Wales Perfumery]

* I carried out some consultancy work for this company in 2020 when they were called Monmouth Botanicals, but I had no input into these fragrances.

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