A dense, verdant jungle knits itself together around you, branches and vines weaving together to form an emerald mesh above your head. The air is steamy and thick with the low pulsating breaths of this mysterious environment. Water drips from every leaf, runs down every trunk, even weighs down the air itself. And the water in the air is salty, heavy with the mineral tang of the sea that lies somewhere behind the leafy green canopy, hiding, waiting.
Welcome to the jungle, welcome to Fathom V by BeauFort London.
Earth, green leaves, aquatic, cumin, lily, black pepper, vetiver, moss, salt.
BeauFort London take their name from the wind force scale (see, I knew my GCSE in Geography would come in useful one day). Many of their fragrances draw on the inspiration of the sea, or aquatic elements and the debut collection of the brand is entitled “Come hell or high water”.
The company is the brainchild of Leo Crabtree who moonlights as a musician and writer. Ah yes, another one of those *cough*hipster*cough* crossovers.
Perfume lines like this, which are so concept-heavy rather than following the slightly more traditional models, can be hard to judge. Sometimes the concept rules too strongly and the scents end up being of limited appeal, almost unwearable. Indeed we had heard this criticism of BeauFort before testing this scent. You can rest easy though, this fragrance might not be for everyone, but it is definitely very wearable.
Fathom V is a very green perfume. From start to finish it positively wallows in viridity. As soon as you apply it, a fuggy miasma of warm, wet greenery rises to meet you. It’s like opening the door to a tropical glasshouse and having that wave of damp, foreign-country-smelling air roll out to meet you. It’s so vital and aromatic that it instantly reminded us of tomato leaf, or perhaps even tomato fruit before it’s ripened and gone red. There’s also an utterly delicious ribbon of fennel type aniseed rolling through the first few notes. Strangely, we found this more discernible when the scent was cooler, but being a lover of fennel it made my mouth water.
The greenery is deliciously offset by what to us smelled rather like rose. Rose isn’t listed in the ingredients – lily is – but we would have sworn this was rose if we hadn’t looked at the notes after. It’s got that fabulous crisp, leathery note that proper tea roses have when you smell them after a summer rain shower. A million miles away from sweet or cloying or powdery; this is wet and powerful and raw.
The opening to this scent is triumphant; the green leaves and the floral undertone play together magnificently and the impression is of the vitality of early summer when everything is growing and nature seems utterly unstoppable. It’s both beautiful and enlivening.
The heart of this perfume stays with the lush, jungle feel but introduces a salty, ozonic element to that too. Ozone can be overdone in perfumes making them tip over from moreish into oppressive, but here it’s handled perfectly. You’re left wanting more but without that fizzy headache that too much replicated salty sea air can give. This is the jungle getting darker as night draws in and the air sweeps up from the sea.