Here we are, in the last few weeks of 2016 – I cannot believe that this year has gone so quickly! This will be my last post before I take my Christmas break (don’t worry, I’ll be back soon enough with The Candies 2016 – my best-of-the-best round-up of the year), during which I will gorge on just about anything edible I can get my hands on. But before the festivities kick off, I wanted to share my final review of 2016 with you and I’ve deliberately left this fragrance to last for the very simple reason that it’s really bloody good, which makes it the perfect perfume to end a year of fragrant discover on. So let’s do exactly that.
Fathom V is the latest scent from Beaufort London, a daring niche brand created by musician and writer Leo Crabtree who offers a collection of fragrances inspired by the sea. I’ve not written about Beaufort London yet because I’ve found their fragrances quite challenging, if I’m being entirely honest. There’s a darkness to this collection, yes, but also an incredibly unique take on familiar themes that really does push the limits as to what is acceptable and palatable in modern perfumery. But when a brand names their first collection of fragrances ‘Come Hell or High Water’ one knows that they mean business and Beaufort London certainly takes the art of perfumery seriously. These scents aren’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, in fact they can be downright difficult, but that’s exactly what makes them thoroughly intriguing sniffs.
This newest addition to Come Hell or High Water is inspired by the imagery of “violent weather, shipwrecks and magical islands” within Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, taking its name from the nautical measure that represents six feet of depth, essentially referring to a body of water that is five fathoms deep. The fragrance is an olfactory clash between the green and the aquatic, creating something that is as contrasting, ever-changing and as powerful as the ocean. Fathom V is not your typical green fragrance nor is it your typical aquatic, in fact there is nothing ‘typical’ about this scent at all – it is wholly and entirely unexpected at every level, depth and fathom.
Top: Earth, Green Leaves and Aquatic
Heart: Cumin, Lily and Black Pepper
Base: Vetiver, Moss and Salt
How Does it Smell?
Like gunpowder, lush vegetation, murky waters and the barnacle-covered hulls of pirate ships.
Beaufort London is not a brand that makes perfume by halves. They go hard and challenge one’s notions of what perfumery can achieve. It stands to reason then, that when making a green fragrance, Beaufort London has created possibly the greenest thing on Earth – a verdant fragrance that is chemically engineered to be greener than green. This green eyed monster is Fathom V and it’s a beautiful beast powdered by an aquatic tornado that gives it impressive speed, lift and tenacity.
Fathom V opens with an entire jungle’s worth of green, almost as if one is sticking their nose into a plethora of heavy palm leaves filled to the brim with rain water. The level of ‘green’ in the opening is unrelenting and unforgiving, like a barrage of botanist gunfire that is loud, disorientating and entirely enveloping. This onslaught of green is carried on a crashing wave of murky sea water with a vibe that is aquatic but not in the traditional sense of the word. Far from the sanitised and salty-skinned sexed up surfers kind-of-a-aquatic that one is used to, Fathom V drudges up aqua from the deep and swirls it all together in a whirlpool of chaos and darkness.
Underneath the jungle and the lagoon, Fathom V has smoke and mineral a plenty. It takes on a grey, ashy character that speaks of canon fire and gunpowder. Despite these olfactory explosions, the smoke conjured by Fathom V in the base is remarkably cold, almost evoking a low lying mist that hangs just above the surface of the water in icy clouds. Contrasting this idea entirely is an underlying floral facet that is peppery, crisp and white, almost like the cool air trapped inside a florist’s fridge. The whole thing really is fascinating and unexpected at every single turn.
Fathom V is a green fragrance so good it has completely turned my opinion of the genre (one that I find so difficult to get on with) entirely on its head. It’s a fragrance that pushes its themes to the limit, creating the greenest and most aquatic scent in the most unusual manner. Forget your green meadows and salty sea spray scents, this is real green and real ocean – real perfume. Smelling Fathom V is like a frantic experience. My mind jumps from facet-to-facet, imagining thousands of fascinating tableaus as each element unfolds, like a never ending painting that depicts an epic battle at sea that goes on and on in infinite detail. This, my friends, is as exciting as perfumery can get.
Fathom V is available in 50ml Eau de Parfum for £95.
Sample, notes and quotes via Beaufort London. Images are my own.