Perfume has often been described as a frivolity that simply forms part of a person’s daily beauty ritual, but that’s a pretty harsh judgement. The fragrance that we decide to wear for the day, or the evening, is often carefully chosen because of the way it makes us feel. Scent has always had the incredible ability to alter the wearer’s mood and mindset, with the more traditional domain of aromatherapy now being very popular in the perfume industry. One of the latest to combine scent with emotion is Marcus Fellowes of Barbershop Botanicals, and his calming Nirvana couldn’t have come at a better time.
The idea that citrus invigorates and lavender calms is instilled in us from childhood, with the perpetuating story getting passed on from one generation to another. Often though the link to aromatherapy is lost along the way and it’s just taken as a fact of nature. The way that we interact with scent, both physically and emotionally, is still not fully understood but the results are clear to see. The idea of using fragrance as a way of controlling mental and physical conditions links seamlessly with the current trend for natural beauty, and this is where Barbershop Botanicals comes in.
When Marcus Fellowes founded the company back in 2015 it followed successful careers as a software analyst and media designer. However, he wanted a change and ended up taking the decision to move into hairdressing. It was through contact with his clients that he realised that there was a lack of barbershop quality natural products on the market, and so he set about developing them. The products and scents were tried out on his willing customers, and some were even inspired by their needs, before a final line up of four scents were created. They truly do form a barbershop quartet.
The finished collection comprises the warming Rum Spice, an arresting Smoked Citrus, a wonderfully elegant Sartorial, and the levelling Nirvana. Now, it’s interesting to note with the Barbershop Botanicals range that, even though they are a natural brand, the fragrances have a spacious quality that is often missing in this style of fragrance. The blends come in a rollerball oil form or solid perfume, as opposed to the standard spray variety, and this helps to keep the scent more personal. As Marcus recently told me, “It's all about subtlety nowadays.” All four have their own character, but Nirvana is simply exquisite.
The fragrance is an unashamed celebration of lavender, but don’t think for one moment that we’re in the Great Aunt area. The key ingredient is brightened with the aroma of sweet orange and this, in conjunction with the natural herbaceous quality of lavender, provides an evocatively addictive opening. The clever addition of chamomile adds a touch of fruitless to the fragrance, and even a note of sweetness, before a whisper of earthy vetiver gently takes hold of the campherous quality of the lavender. It’s this aspect that adds a roundness to the scent, and which truly pushes the calming aspect of the ingredients.