Aesop Distills The Fragrance of Intrigue and Exception - Men's Folio
Grooming, Fragrance

Aesop Distills The Fragrance of Intrigue and Exception

  • By Charmaine Tan

Aesop presents its Eaux de Parfum line — a collection of 10 fragrances that are considered and curiously unorthodox in concept and scent. 

“Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that the winds were love-sick with them,” wrote Shakespeare. This was how Cleopatra enraptured Marc Antony with her presence, and is just one example of how fragrance has come to encompass the inherent qualities of beauty and romance in literature, and now modern living. With our penchant for storytelling, it’s no wonder today’s perception of fragrance is heavily tinted with this lyrical quality. But perfumes are only manufacturable and in liquid form thanks to chemistry, and like a happy accident, is how Aesop’s Eaux de Parfum line transformed from side quest to a full-time, earnest endeavour — all thanks to the brand’s dedication to researching and combining the best essential oils for maximum skin, hair and body care.

In other words, the natural aroma emanating out of Aesop’s complex and nuanced formulations and later, companion fragrances, were what urged Aesop to really look into personal fragrances. Since then, they have come together with prominent French noses Barnabé Fillion and Céline Barel to come up with a rich repertoire of genderless and non-conformist fragrances, and they been widely lauded to be the perfect fit for those who seek something a little different, something a little more storied.

Some of their earlier scents drew directly from the very roots of perfumery, which only existed then as incense; the word perfume is a combination of per or “thorough” and fumus meaning “smoke” — put together by the French as parfum. Marrakech Intense, their earliest tie-in with Fillion, is an amalgamation of Moroccan spices, the Ochre City’s intense colours and the desert, while Tacit, developed in partnership with Barel, was an ode to traditional colognes and the fragile vegetation of the Mediterranean coast. Later on, Aesop also worked together with Fillion to develop Hwyl and Rōzu — the latter inspired by the life and work of Charlotte Perriand and the garden rose that was created in her name, and a favourite of this author — and more unorthodox fragrances enigmatically known as Othertopias. Titled Miraceti, Karst, Erémia, Eidesis, Gloam and Ouranon, they were conceptualised to capture the liminal space between the real and the the imagined, here and elsewhere. These were later followed by home fragrances meant complement the aromatic experience, comprising a trio each tof Aromatique Candles, Room Sprays, Oil Burner Blends and Incense, as well as a botanical-based toilet deodoriser — not to mention a distinctive Bronze Incense Holder created in collaboration with Vogel Studio and a Brass Oil Burner designed in partnership with Studio Henry Wilson.

In select stores, Aesop’s Eaux de Parfum line will be housed in a cabinet known as the Fragrance Armoire, which not only holds the fragrance bottles but also contains porous objects suffused with an Aesop fragrance — allowing you to get a sense of each scent without spritzing. Many of these Fragrance Armoires also contain an Infusion Chamber, which is a glass case where customers can hang clothing items that they want to have infused with their chosen scent. Once hung, the glass case will be closed and the fragrance will be spritzed, after which a uniformly scented piece of clothing will be produced when the vapours settle. Some stores take it even further with a dedicated room called the Sensorium, which hosts a series of unique olfactory experiences. If anything, these microcosms of scent give intimacy and personality to the experience of Aesop’s most beguiling fragrances, and are a reason why the brand continues to be loved by

Once you are done with this story, click here to catch up with our May 2024 issue.