Pioneering Scent

Stories of Adventure and Exploration from the first Scottish Fragrance House - Kingdom Scotland.

Inspired by a career in the aromatic world of Scotch whisky, Imogen Russon-Taylor has created a fragrance house with a difference. Here she looks at how her research into the history of Scottish botany has influenced her work in creating the foundations of Kingdom Scotland.

I began my journey by working with the University of St. Andrews History Department to delve into Scotland’s perfumed past, searching for records of perfumed ingredients and stories with Scottish heritage. This research eventually led me to the pioneering world of Scottish botanists and explorers - a world full of inspiration and stories for telling.

One figure of particular interest was the Arctic explorer and Scottish botanist Isobel Wylie Hutchison – the tale of which inspire one of my first perfumes Albaura Eau de Parfum.

Hutchison was born at Carlowrie castle – West Lothian in 1889. She challenged social norms of the time by first venturing on a 260 mile solo trek across Iceland, later she travelled north of the Arctic circle into Greenland and Alaska where she collected botanical floral and grass samples for the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and Kew.

Isobel was a woman ahead of her era. I believe the expanse of the Arctic environment inspired her with a deep sense of freedom and escape, a love of silence and space only an iced landscape can provide - and this fuelled her creativity to write poetry, paint the landscape and even produce early film footage of her travels.

Albaura is a tribute to Isobel, inspired by the Aura and ancient name of Scotland, Alba. The freshness of snow and ice blended with berries and botanicals, a scent that is bold, fresh, and independent in spirit.

Scent has that unique ability to transport you to a memory, a place, a moment in time. I want to create that ‘sense of place’ in my fragrances and transport you to some of the most inspiring, dramatic landscapes and pioneering stories in the world. We have used the finest ingredients and the perfumes are expertly created, matured and bottled in Edinburgh in small numbered batches.

For more information on Isobel Wylie Hutchison see the new book by Jo Woolf – (writer in residence at the Royal Scottish Geographical Society) ‘The Great Horizon: 50 Tales of Exploration’.

Imogen Russon-Taylor