Pony Boy by Jorum Studio

A fragrant retelling of the Scottish kelpie myth.

Listed notes

Rhubarb, coriander seed, fig, pink grapefruit, champaca absolute, pink pepper, beetroot, pink lotus, vetiver, ambrette seed, atlas cedar, raspberry leaf, red cedar, calamus.

Pony Boy by Jorum Studio bottle

Top notes

Jorum Studio are a brand with a strong identity. They’re a brand that isn’t afraid to push the envelope on both materials and perfume composition. Their scents are nothing short of thrilling and, even if you don’t particularly like them, there is value in smelling all their fragrances to understand how particular ingredients can be twisted and cajoled into novel-smelling shapes and devices. There is something deliciously rebellious about their compositions which are never polite, never crowd-pleasing, but always fascinating.

Pony Boy is one of the latest scents to be released by Jorum Studio as part of the Scottish Odyssey and it is a a fragrant retelling of the Scottish myth of the kelpie – given the Jorum treatment, of course.

A sour, rhubarb-centric fragrance, Pony Boy opens with an interesting blast of pure rhubarb zing. It’s rhubarb juiced, unsweetened, concentrated and it makes your whole face tingle. What’s this got to do with a kelpie myth? You may ask. But actually, the rhubarb is a really interesting way of conjuring a windswept shoreline. Imagine being out on a Scottish winter day, the wind is howling, the rain is driving sideways and your very skin feels scoured by the elements. That’s what the start of Pony Boy feels like. The sourness of the rhubarb is bracing, energetic, and even cold. The effect of smelling it is very similar to the memory of a windswept walk and the inventiveness that came up with this link is wonderfully satisfying.

I imagine our kelpie friend emerging from the waves, wind whipping at his hair. A grey glint on the white sand catches his eye and he bends to retrieve something metallic from the surf, the cold metal mingling its own aroma with the fortifying, vivifying coolness of the tart rhubarb spray.

Top and cap of Pony Boy by Jorum Studio

Heart notes

The rhubarb in Pony Boy does take up a significant amount of the space in the composition, but it is embraced and bolstered by other sour facets such as the pink grapefruit which really concentrate that juicy, acidic tang. Like all Jorum compositions, the delight is in the details and nuances which flirt around the edges of the composition lending the scent a detailed and yet slightly secretive tone. Not all the different facets are visible at any one time; sometimes all you will smell is the sour rhubarb, at other times a slightly herbal, medicinal facet flits across the face of the scent, sometimes something which smells like black tea. On other occasions there’s a rooty, close, dense sort of smell which seems to be tied to a vein of something sweeter.

Like the kelpie, there is something of a changeling in Pony Boy. It starts out wild, untamed, raw, but as the scent progresses there is a mellowing, a sweetening, a refinement. This is represented most in the mid section of the fragrance where there is a noticeable soothing and calming. The rhubarb takes on a powdery aspect like it has been candied and dusted with icing sugar – the scent is never really sweet, as such, but the rhubarb gives up the razor sharp edge of sourness that it had at the start.

Jorum Studio box and packaging for Pony Boy

Base notes

What is left of Pony Boy in the final phase of the scent? What does our kelpie change into? Well, in some ways Pony Boy is a tale of domestication, of the way in which a wild and bracing start can be moulded and changed into something refined, elegant, and house trained. What we end up with in Pony Boy is a sort of circular experience, or indeed something viewed through a different lens from a different perspective: the thing itself hasn’t changed, but the way in which we are viewing it has.

The end of Pony Boy does retain the juicy tartness that we began with, but the viciousness of the bracing crispness has melted into something more gentle which is further softened by a lingering powdery aspect. A more floral tone comes in and whilst it isn’t strong or too high in the mix it smells redolent with pollen when you manage to catch it. Now and again Pony Boy goes a touch soapy, but it is one of those scouring pink soaps used in a draft, tiled bathroom in the depths of winter, slightly carbolic, very clean. If what initially emerged from the waves still retained vestiges of the wild kelpie, by the time it reaches the end of a wear, it has turned into a scrubbed and gently starched gentleman with an exotic flower in his button hole. And the metal object that he picked from the sand is perhaps nothing more now than the watch that adorns his waistcoat. But like all things Jorum, Pony Boy is tricksy, and you can be certain that he will reveal different parts of his story each and every time you dare to wear the scent.

The other stuff

The perfumer for this fragrance is Euan McCall.

The longevity of Pony Boy is good, lasting at least eight hours following application. The projection is also significant. The scent seems to hover nicely around the body, projecting to handshake distance or further fairly easily.

Pinning this fragrance down to a specific season or occasion to wear feels more challenging than it does for some scents. Pony Boy is bracing, cool, and as such does seem appropriate for winter. At the same time it has a crispness which would make it pleasant to wear in summer. The wildness, particularly in the start, makes it feel like something which would work well to an evening event, whilst the rhubarb sourness feels kitsch and fun, like something that would wear well during the day. In essence, and like always, wear it when it suits you best.

The brand

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. High concept scents that deliver, these are the sorts of fragrances which won’t please the crowd, but which will appeal to those who enjoy scents which push materials and ideas towards the new and innovative.

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.

We’ve previously reviewed Carduus, and Arborist by this brand – and they are both equally fascinating scents to try out.

Buy it

Pony Boy is available from the Jorum Studio web boutique (and actual bricks and mortar store which is in Edinburgh) where it is priced at £84 for 30ml of Extrait.

We were kindly gifted a no-strings-attached bottle of this fragrance by the brand, and we thank them for their generosity.

Header image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay, images of the product by The Sniff.

Pony Boy by Jorum Studio

2 Comments Add yours

  1. rickyrebarco says:

    Great review! I definitely need to try this scent. I love a good rhubarb note in fragrance.


    1. The Sniffer says:

      I hope you’re able to try it. It’s really unique!


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