Celebrating nature, simplicity and quietude, Skandinavisk implores you to harken to your senses, capturing the unique sprit and beauty of Scandinavia in scents…
Capturing the unique sprit and beauty of Scandinavia in scents wasn’t an easy task for an English chap whose heart was first captured by a blonde gardener, then by the landscape itself. But Shaun Russell was driven to try, believing ‘…a more Scandinavian approach to life offers a blueprint for a better future in a world that’s forgetting how to listen to quieter voices.’
For Shaun, a traditional Scandinavian proverb sums up their approach to living, and the simple measures we can all take to drastically improve the quality of our daily lives. Writ large on their beautifully designed website – and, it seems, on his heart – it reads:
Fear less, hope more.
Eat less, chew more.
Whine less, breathe more.
Talk less, say more.
Hate less, love more.
And good things will be yours.
Because Shaun is a man who definitely follows his heart – all the way from England to Scandinavia, in fact, because the story of how Skandinavisk came to be begins with a love story. ‘Skandinavisk was started by a curious English chap, Shaun,’ the ‘About Us‘ narrative begins, ‘who fell in love with a blonde Scandinavian gardener and never left.’ Embracing not only the breathtaking scenery but the entire concept of how best to live your life, Shaun explains he was struck with a realisation that ‘…living Scandinavian is not just which part of the world you come from, it’s also how you think, how you treat others and the nature that surrounds you, and what you treasure.’
And though many of us around the world have gasped at photographs of the fjords and forests – or have emulated the cosy cabin interiors – what matters most, and grounded the idea of Skandinavisk as an independent business in 2013, was their belief that ‘Where community, consciousness and timeless values of trust, equality, respect thrive.’
Shaun was later joined in the business by ‘a second English emigrant, Gerry Kingham and a Danish designer, Line Krüger, who captured their combined experiences and translated it all into our distinctive design DNA.’ Together, they’ve explored the Nordic region for twenty years, and Shaun passionately wanted to bring some of their discoveries to a wider, global audience.
As he explains, when they started the business ‘we knew that the natural stories and the design traditions of Scandinavia were rich and captivating… But its scents? We had no idea.’ It seemed most people had only the vaguest (and somewhat stereotypical) ideas of how Scandinavian smells would translate into fragrances. ‘In fact,’ recounts Shaun, ‘one French perfumer drily responded, “Isn’t it all just pine and snow?”’
It’s a response not without precedent, with the majority of the perfume industry having been based for centuries on the French perfumery tradition, in turn shaping our global understanding of what fine fragrance should smell like. But remaining true to their spirit, it was vital that Skandinavisk reflected the reality of their own surroundings.
‘There are no lemon groves in Scandinavia,’ Shaun drily reminds us, ‘no ancient olive or fig orchards on rocky, sun-baked slopes. We have fir, not cedar forests. Our fruits aren’t pineapple and grapefruit but the more mundane apple and pear.’ But for authenticity’s sake, ‘Our scent bases must be grounded in real experiences of Scandinavia, the dominant notes being true to the region.’
It took a very special perfumer, therefore, to map and recreate the unique scent-scape of Scandinavia, and Skandinavisk found the perfect ‘nose’ for the job in perfumer and musician, Stéphane Coez. This represented a personal challenge, because, Coez explains, ‘it was a region I knew little of…’ But together with the team he explored and, just like Shaun, found it ‘truly inspiring,’ falling for ‘not only the individual flora, but the overwhelming drama of the landscape.’
And so, in the Skandinavisk fragrance ‘chapters’, as they call the thematic collections, comprising home and body fragrance products – including, most recently, three stunning eaux de toilette – you will discover frosty evergreen forests, endless summer days, cosy hugs in a bottle and in each, a vibrancy, an excitement for celebrating the small things while living large with all your heart. ‘Ultimately’, Shaun muses, ‘it’s a multi-sensory combination that we’re constantly refining and increasingly fall in love with. Just don’t ask us for sandalwood and tonka bean.’ But do, we encourage you, enjoy a calm moment – and explore the beautiful fragrances below…