“If ever they remembered their life in this world it was as one remembers a dream.”
~ C.S. Lewis, from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Quince, honey, saffron, osmanthus absolute, magnolia, burdock, papyrus, mugwort, rose absolute, tuberose, myrrh absolute, spruce resin, Douglas fir, labdanum, jatamansi, malt, lichen
Nobody ever accused Jorum Studio of being purveyors of boring scents and no more is this true than of Arborist. The brand describes this fragrance as “The Green Man – a study of humanity’s tempestuous and visceral relationship with nature”. Which is an appropriate and fitting description of this scent.
The fragrance opens in a densely fronded thicket of Scottish woodland. The air is heavy and sweet with the potent greenery of pine needles and sappy tree blood. Sharp needles reach towards your tender skin, threatening to scratch flesh with their armoured talons. But instead of a wound, you receive a caress, sharp but gentle. They could injure if they wanted, if the wind buffeted them harder, but for now they are docile, stroking you in the same way that you enjoy feeling the needles under your own hands.
Occasionally, as you wander, you catch scent of a fruitier greenery, less aromatic needles and more tart green fruit, the quince perhaps? Or the fruit from a rogue apple tree that has strayed into the territory of its less domesticated arboreal cousins.
Being alone in the dense, dark forest is a little unsettling. The trees press in, darkness gathers in their branches, and it is very different to the polite order of the city you were so comfortably used to. There is no tarmac or street lamps here. Your heart beats faster. The oiliness of old machinery surrounds you, the last vestiges of civilisation clinging to you as if it wants to draw you back into the domesticated world, but you press on and the machine-oil becomes intertwined with the natural greenery, as if it is melting away to nothing but swirls of rust.
Pushing your way through the needled fingers of the trees you aim to find a clearing but instead you stir their musky, intimate greenery more. The air is cool and on it you are delivered the acrid smokiness of a fire. Somewhere, someone is burning tree limbs and there is a stirring in the air that makes you feel as if perhaps the trees aren’t all that pleased about it.
A musky, leathery warmth from the saffron makes you pause and contemplate if you are unwittingly heading in the footsteps of some creature unseen, or perhaps it’s just the leather jacket you are wearing reacting to the touch of the trees and the cold air. Most of you hopes it’s the latter, but there’s definitely part of you which wonders, hopes maybe, that it is the former. There is a hint of something, not quite human, not quite animal. It isn’t smelled so much as perceived deep at the back of the brain, the old part that acts on instinct as much as input.
Even as I type this, I know it’s hyperbole, but Arborist feels like the doorway to Narnia. It feels like the dense, heavy press of coats hanging in a confined space – but in this reality the coats are leather jackets rather than old furs. The press of the garments gives way to the touch of needled fronds which in turn leads you out into a strangely familiar yet alien forest. It’s like the forests of childhood, forests filled with monsters and imagination. The muskiness and sweetness could be Mr Tumnus the fawn who passed this way just moments before you fought your way out of the thicket. The smoke could be the fire from his hearth.
Arborist goes through a sweeter, maltier phase which is perhaps the moment at which Mr Tumnus invites you in – not for a cup of tea, but instead for a rather more grown up malty whisky or similar beverage. To chase away the cold. His home though is made of trees, a smoky fire glows in the grate, and all around you the forest presses in equal parts comforting and threatening with its closeness. Whether you feel safe or scared here depends on your appetite for adventure and just how much of your inner self is domesticated.
Arborist is a fragrance for those who like forests, who like green things, natural things but who don’t see them as scenes on postcards or chocolate boxes. There is most definitely something visceral about the landscape here, something raw and unbridled. It scares me a little, but it is thrilling too: I guess much like falling through a wardrobe and into a whole other world might feel. Falling into another world, seeking The Green Man, and suddenly realising that you have taken on that wildness yourself now. Perhaps you are become what you have been hunting all along?
The other stuff
The projection and longevity of Arborist are both powerful. Even from limited sprays it projects over six foot, well beyond handshake distance with ease. It also lasts for hours as well, easily a full day. Sometimes when I wear this I can still smell it the next morning too. It is strong stuff, stuff with backbone.
Arborist feels like the sort of fragrance that could be worn at any time of year really, but expect it to be very noticeable on you if you wear it in summer.
Wear this fragrance at any possible occasion where you want to smell a bit wild. I think it would work particularly well for shaking up boring boardroom meetings where you would rather be out on the hills and in the forests with your boots on, getting muddy.
Jorum Studio are a Scottish brand who produce, formulate and compose fragrances for their own line as well as for others. Their fragrances are punchy, very real, full of character and substance.
The scents are presented in elegant, streamlined bottles and benefit from a beautiful, uncluttered simplicity. No bling here, the fragrance speaks entirely for itself and need no frippery and fancies.
Arborist is available from the Jorum Studio web boutique. It is priced from £49 for 15ml to £125 for 50ml.
I won a bottle of Arborist in a giveaway held by the brand on Instagram. There was no request from the brand, or expectation that I would review it, whatsoever.