The single biggest impact on modern perfumery today – and the aspect that has us more excited than almost anything else within the fragrance industry right now – is the new voices we’re seeing emerging. In fact, these diverse nations are peoples have been practicing and developing the art of perfumery for centuries, yet only now do we truly get to experience this rich cultural heritage, to hear those stories, and to wear these scents ourselves. Part of this new generation of perfume houses, harking back to their ancestral roots for inspiration, yet merging modernity, is Shloksha. Here’s a house with emotionally resonant fragrances that spiralled from unique beginnings…

Shloksha madurai mathura


Jay Patel is a self-taught perfumer with Indian heritage, who’s always been interested in self-expression, and found himself magnetically drawn to art ‘be it music, painting, sculpture or gardening.’ Following the birth of his daughter, Jay tells us, ‘Old habits of smelling every curious looking plant, flower or objects became more compulsive to point that I had to read and explore more theoretical knowledge to understand my feelings and emotions evoked by certain things.’ Spending years with his nose buried in perfumery textbooks, it was a slow process, fuelled by his passion and developing the practical ways he learned to express these emotions and scent memories in the formulas he experimented with. Another factor that perhaps propelled Jay onwards to pursue this new perfumery career path? Well, it so happens Jay had, until this point, been a dentist. We won’t put too many dental puns in, we promise, but even Jay admits perfumery was a welcome escape ‘from the daily grind’ of his day job, and he explains he composed the Shloksha fragrances because ‘they are drawn out of an emotional need to exist.’


Moreover, we might say, what the perfume world has needed for many years is more diversity of fragrant cultural heritages being expressed – and available for all to wear, and therefore come to understand, as those stories and histories unfurl on the skin. Shloksha is a proudly family-run business, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent; and therefore, although Jay was born in India and ‘fragrances played key roles in my daily life, with exposure to flowers, daily rituals, aromatic food, spices… [an] environment full of different smells’ – there’s an intriguing overlapping of cultural scent memories at work. In the splendidly named and immediately evocative Godfather’s Pudding, for example, smouldering woody oudh weaves through traditional Kentish hops and blackcurrants, surrounded by cigar smoke.

Shloksha godfathers pudding


More fully immersive in Indian tradition, meanwhile, is Madurai and Mathura – directly inspired by the holy temples dedicated to the god Krishna, where heaps of floral offerings are draped around statues, suffusing the air for miles. Key among these floral tributes is the kadam – a scented, spherical bloom from the kadamba tree, mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, and considered holy because it was the shady spot Krishna and the beguiling Radha fell in love. And for Aqua Fern, we’re invited to imagine ‘elephants strolling on the beach’ beside lush mangrove forests, where ‘on the Western Ghats of the Konkan and Malabar coast, you get freshness’ mixed with the verdant, fougère-like depth of the undergrowth, from which emerges ‘the sweet scent of renewed air from the sea.’ A more contemporary fragrant vision of Malabar, on the other hand, is discovered in Malabar Woods, for which one imagines previously be-suited professionals disrobing to blue jeans for their journey, and where the ‘perfect balance of sophistication and everyday comfort’ is achieved with ‘wooden sea boats, and hippie-inspired peppery spices.’


Sensorially exploring Jay’s Indian homeland with eaux de parfum, traditional attars (perfume oils with which to anoint the skin) and a developing collection of home fragrance, Shloksha invite us not to see these scent memories as outsiders, but to fully immerse ourselves within them and experience them for ourselves. Truly, perfumery is the most immediate and emotionally evocative way to accomplish this, outside of teleportation, and how exciting to fuse such scented traditions in contemporary, so-wearable (and sharable) ways. Exploring worlds previously unknown to us and returning to a diverse, cultural heritage truly is the future of fragrance, now…

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