sarage 10/27/20 09:13
The Scent of Finland: Airy Scents of the Cold North
The land of thousands of lakes has always been in my mind a much desired frontier. Although I have traveled to many places, on many continents, Finland and its fascinating landscape with the arctic midsummer has eluded me. It was therefore with excited interest that I came across a brand inspired by this landscape, Scent of Finland. How would this multi-nuanced country with its far away traditions, even though we reside on the same continent, translate into scent? Would I be transported under a midsummer sky full of continuous light? Would I be able to glimpse the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, which has fascinated me since I was a child?
The Scent of Finland brand was conceived in 2018 out of a concept at times referred to as The Fragrance of Memory, which, whilst highlighting the deep linkage between smell and emotions, stipulates that a perfume can evoke the most vivid memories. Behind this approach is a well-traveled cosmopolitan with a great personal interest in fragrances and how our memory links to scents.
French perfumer Maud Chabanis from Grasse was contacted and then invited to Finland to get a sense of nature. She had a chance to get to know areas like Nuuksio national park, the Saimaa lake area, and Rovaniemi up north.
The idea behind the Scent of Finland Eau de Parfum series was to create high quality fragrances inspired by Finland’s most iconic places of wild nature tempered with the Nordic spirit, culture, and aesthetics. Therefore, Scent of Finland is an artistic contemplation of Finland where each fragrance represents different perspectives of the country’s natural beauty. The magic lights, the great forests, the blue waters, and the clean air that keeps calling you back; all these got a reflection in the Scent of Finland Eaux de Parfum series.
"The four fragrances are interesting and really different. Each perfume refers to famous places in Finland and thus reminds me of great memories of my travel. The act of creation should be realised in full awareness. For me, it is important that the idea and the emotion that I shared are directly understood. This transmission is not always easy," Maud Chabanis said.
The Scent of Finland collection offers four distinct fragrances aimed at all sexes, which comprise a uniform line inspired by four different images of the Finnish landscape and seasonal time stamps.
"Kajo is Finnish for shimmer. The Midnight Sun illuminates the summer 24/7. Always keep the magical light of Finland with you."
Notes of rose, lily of the valley, lemon, grapefruit, lotus, peach, ylang ylang, amber, aquatic notes, musk and powdery notes.
A floral fragrance, this ethereally sensual exercise took me by surprise, as I am accustomed to consider our Southern European vines of jasmine the pre-eminent scent of floral romanticism and seduction (and how could one blame me?), but apparently there is something to be said for the floral nostalgia that hides within a cooler landscape of wildflowers. There, the piercingly sweet and green bells of the lily of the valley hide amidst the greenery, beckoning you closer, to stoop and rejoice in the simple pleasures of the joys of warmer weather. The soft hints of watery lotus aromatics, something slightly mentholated, a powdery clean musk, and softly warm amber finish off the composition with a feminine and delicate lace of prettiness. The most girly in the otherwise unisex collection, however an uninhibited man could wear Kajo for those times of quiet relaxation or when surrounded by nature.
"Kaltio is Finnish for spring, as in Lapland water wells. Finland has the cleanest water. Treasure the 180 thousand lakes, let the pure natural springs refresh you."
Notes of bergamot, lime, limette, ozonic notes, coriander, white flowers, cedarwood, moss, amber, patchouli and green notes.
An aquatic aromatic fragrance, Kaltio is not to be confused with the scent of the ocean with its salty aroma which brings on molecules of melon and Azurone, but rather it is limpid, citrusy, and with a clean whiff of amber in the background. The lichens are represented by a smidgeon of greenness, but one could not pin this down as a green citrusy scent. It has that hot steam of an iron on a clean shirt that I also encounter in Cologne by Thierry Mugler, although I prefer the latter overall.
"Korpi is Finnish for deep forest. 70% of Finland is covered in green gold. Retreat to the forest, feel it inspires and revitalizes you."
Notes of bergamot, grapefruit, green notes, cardamom, fougere, clary sage, amber, moss, musk, sandalwood.
A woody spicy fragrance, Korpi is Maud's favorite in the line, reminiscent of the tradition of the Finnish sauna, when people exit the hot cabin only to then brace the coldness of the northern forest. It does take some guts, that one, I bet!
She calls it a "detox" fragrance and I couldn't agree more. The scent of birch trees is what I'm reminded of at first. The agrestic nuance of the herbal aspects, plus cardamom, a cool spice that we don't usually associate with the typically Christmass-y and foodie allusions that warmer spices like cinnamon and nutmeg bring on, makes it the most masculine leaning one in the collection. Lightly smoky, as if a garland of incense is rising, Korpi has a contemplative air, something introverted, but zen-like too, and has infiltrated my circle of comfort scents.
"Vire is Finnish for breeze. Finland has the cleanest air. Breathe on top of a fell, see the Northern Lights dance above you."
Notes of aldehydes, green notes, jasmine, tonka bean, rose, solar notes, powdery notes, and musk.
An aromatic mineral fragrance, Vire is optimistic and dynamic, meant for people who want a clean, brisk ambience about them. The crispness of the composition, like pure unadulterated snow falling softly in the gently blowing air, is welcome on a stifling, heavily humid day, of which I'm sure Finland doesn't get many, but which I could appreciate perfectly. More musky, in a clean starched way, aided and lifted by the citrusy-waxy aldehydes, than powdery or mineral, in the sense of chalky, but Vire does differentiate itself from most feminine powdery scents reminiscent of cosmetics, so don't let that, or the lilac hue of the liquid, stop you from trying it out if you're a man.
Bonus points for the nice and user-friendly Scent of Finland website and the simple but aesthetically pleasing presentation of the boxes and bottles. The bottom of the satisfyingly heavy glass bottles includes a bubble of air that resembles a drop of water; a nice fitting touch.
Elena Vosnaki Editor, Writer & Translator
Elena Vosnaki is a historian, archaeologist and fragrance author. She has written for Fragrantica since 2009. Vosnaki has worked as the Perfume History Curator for the Milan EXPO 2015, and as a guest lecturer at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She is the founder & editor of Perfume Shrine, one of the most respected independent online publications on scent. Her writing has been twice shortlisted in FIFI Editorial Excellence Awards and is extensively quoted by authors. Interviews regarding Vosnaki's unique status as perfume historian & writer appear in VOGUE Hellas, ICON Magazine and Queen.gr.
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