Juxtasposed; The smell of Rock and roll

By Jo Phillips

Rock and Roll still  rules our world; it’s still our go-to reference for things that are not the norm, for those of us on the edge of the commercial world,  it’s a tool to let our hair down and feel free..but how does it smell?  Two new perfumes come close not because of particular accords but because the creators are just so fabulously ROCK AND ROLL.  Personally I may be 50 odd but in my heart I’m still just 18 year old  rock and roll fan!

So firstly lets meet Iron Duke from Beaufort.  The label was created by Leo Crabtree a bonafide rock and roll drummer.  His collection Beaufort is a strong dynamic brand of fragrances that often echo a darker less obvious refections of British history.  His first fragrance Come Hell or High Water, is an ode to Britain’s nautical past.  All the fragrances so far  relates to British crafts and seafaring like watch making, or nautical writings in pen and ink, so it’s no surprise then that the new launch Iron Duke  only slightly side steps this and celebrates itself as a tribute to the Duke Of Wellington (1769 – 1852). In fact this is the first in a new set of perfumes from a new collections called Revenants which will explore Historical British Figures from the country’s past.

So to start the group off is Iron Duke a collaboration by Leo with perfumer Julie Dunkle; a powerful fragrance with deep animalic, metallic and woody notes, it’s deep, dark (but with highlights of light) dirty and very  very Rock and Roll! The  inspiration of  Wellington, his horse and the Dukes love of brandy and drinking swells the hardcore side and even the imagery created is of  a dark horseman of a black horse rearing into a black field.  Not the pretty girly image we so associate with fragrance.  Leo talks with delight about creating the image with Photographer Matthew Seed and that the final image of the horse mid-roar may be not what he had intended but was certainly pleasing to have as an end image. Oh and the illustration on the bottle is by Leo’s friend, tattooist Robert Gisbourne-Ashby. 


Of The name ‘BeauFort London’ (derived from the 1805 wind force scale*) Leo says  “represents a kind of framework within which we can understand ourselves: The wind is constant, enduring, but ultimately changeable and potentially destructive” It’s fair to say the collection reflect this aesthetic as well, not for the faint hearted but as mentioned these are for us Rock and Rollers that love to play hard, dark and dirty and are not afraid of our most wild side.



So the next fragrance is again not quite straight forward either Hwyl Eau de Parfum by Aesop sums up the feeling of treading underfoot wet bracken in the woods after a heavy storm when the sun begins to peek its head and the flora and fauna let off their aromatic fragrance.  Yeah not so Rock and Roll either, that is until you meet Barnabé Fillion the perfumer behind the scent.  He is all long beard trendy French man, ex model who looks likes a Rock G-D and is defiantly a king of Scent.  Infact this is the second time he has collaborated with Australian brand Aesop (his first was Marrakech Intense )and Aesop’s third fragrance.

So what will you get with Hwyl? Well it starts off smoky and moves into spices and then to Thyme; Cypress gives a warm and woody heart, finishing off on notes of Frankincense, Moss effect and Vertiver.  Interestingly this is another full dark rich and robust scent but has towards the end, a slight lick of sweetness which is fleeting, subtle but makes the fragrance quite stunning.  The sweet hit comes from the fact that the Sandalwood trees used for the scent were grown in a field that once grew vanilla and so this smear of sweet is referred to as Sandalwood Bom Bom.


Barnabé descibed  his inspiration for Hwyl from when he  walked amongst remarkable 300-year-old Hiba trees in an ancient Japanese forest and whilst  experiencing the country’s lush temple moss gardens. Dr Kate Forbes Aesop General Manager, said ʻOur relationship with Barnabé is built on a passion for botanicals, enriching conversation and intuition, not creating a fragrance by brief or numbers.’ ʻWe shared creative ideas and inspiration throughout the collaborative process, and focused on sourcing botanical extracts of the finest quality to formulate Hwyl, an intriguing fragrance with a hint of eccentricity.’


Ok so I have slightly mislead and not told you the smell of rock and rock but I have given you some hints as to what to wear if you to live to that spirit…and so I say Long Live Rock and Roll.

Hwyl Eau de Parfum is packaged in a 50mL amber glass bottle encased in a box featuring the beautiful work of Australian artist Jonathan McCabe. Launching globally on September 25th, it will be available at Aesop signature stores, select department store counters and Aesop Online.

Iron Duke from Beaufort is available on line and at the new Jovoy store 21 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XP

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