Mischievously Sensual: The “picturesque” fragrances created by IIUVO

11 Jul 2018

Since the launch of house’s bestseller Bullshit, a mischievous, rebellious scented candle jointly created by IIUVO and artist Stefan Brüggemann, IIUVO has made its mark on the fragrance industry – traditionally an industry of luxury and quiet elegance – with its signature frolicsomeness. Founded in 2015 by London-based duo Tomi Ahmed and Leo Gibbon, IIUVO is a modern fragrance brand inspired by the poetry of simple things. The name is derived from the Latin verb iuvo, meaning ‘to assist, delight and gratify’, reflecting Ahmed and Gibbon’s commitment to creating products that transport and inspire using the very highest quality materials and all natural formulations. Both founders have long been fascinated by the powerfully suggestive nature of scent and its ability to evoke distant memories and bygone eras, and now having married their passion with their backgrounds in luxury design and marketing, the result is IIUVO, a brand which subverts one’s imagination for fragrance with its bold, clear design and minimalist aesthetic.

THE PRODUCTS

With their initial range of home fragrance candles, IIUVO explores the sensuality of scents, inspired by poignant olfactory memories from the founders’ lives: the woodsy scent of Leo’s grandmother’s Irish garden, the sultry damask roses of a summer spent in Provence.

Released last year, Edition One represents IIUVO’s first foray into personal fragrances. Over the course of two years, Leo and Tomi collaborated with the renowned perfumers at Robertet to develop this trio of scents, working from narratives inspired by the intangible charisma of great artistic figures of the past. Bygone talents and fleeting artistic movements return in spectral form through the diffusion of each carefully curated scent. As with the candles, the aim was to distil the experience of a recalled sensory memory or favoured concept and enable the wearer to inhabit it at will. Perfume worn on the skin possesses an even greater suggestive potency; the ability to not merely recall an environment, but to invoke the very spirit of an idol or muse and be imbued with their qualities.


CANDLES

Ajon |190g / 40h burning time

A bull in a floristry workshop

A tribute to Leo Gibbon’s childhood. Leo was raised in St Albans, the son of a florist and interior designer, and grew up in a world brimming with visual and olfactory knowledge and inspiration. This is reflected in the creation of Candle Ajon, a delicate floral scent inspired by his mother’s floristry workshop. The bottom note of rose essence echoes the overwhelming fragrance that fills a crowded florist’s, while the delicate scent brings together those notes of rose essence with orange blossom, jasmine and tiare blossom for a floral aroma that exudes a welcome freshness. Handmade in the south of France and captured in a sleek, matte vessel.

· Top: orange blossom/jasmine

· Core: tiare blossom

· Base: rose​

Emmie | 190g / 40h burning time

Submerged in a magical Irish garden

Emmie, named after Leo’s grandmother, is a scent dedicated to his childhood spent in her immaculate, magical Irish garden. Myrrh and galbanum combine to form the bitter top notes. Cedar, vetiver and patchouli blend to further enforce a green, woody core. The earthy base is formed through the fusion of moss and lichen. With hints of grapefruit and cucumber, Emmie perfectly encapsulates an Irish garden moments after rainfall.

· Top: myrrh/galbanum

· Core: cedar/vetiver/patchouli

· Base: moss/lichen

Woodgrain | 190g / 40h burning time

A scent with a rhyme

Leo Gibbon is a man of many interests: did we mention he is an avid fan of soul, funk and hip hop? Candle Woodgrain is the result of Leo’s love of hip hop groups such as Dipset and Drake. Inspired by the lyrics of southern hip hop, Woodgrain fills the room with an atmosphere of opulence. The deep, sweet combination of nutmeg and cardamom combine with myrrh to form the top notes. The bold core is made up of cedar and patchouli, whilst the base notes are formed of amber, tonic bean and fir balsam to complete a very warm, soporific essence.

· Top: myrrh/cardamom/ nutmeg

· Core: patchouli/cedar

· Base: amber/Tonka bean/fir balsam

Bullshit | 190g / 40h burning time

Rebel with a cause

The house’s bestseller, Bullshit is the result of a collaboration between IIUVO and Stefan Brüggemann. The concept is based on their shared belief that the world we live in needs bullshit, or else there is only harsh reality. The realisation of idle content that manifests in the no man’s land between truth and invention. It’s time to focus on product, not context.

· Top: Sichuan pepper/grapefruit/tangerine

· Core: lavender/rose/lily of the valley

· Base: musk/Tonka bean/vanilla/Guaiac wood

Bosé | 190g / 40h burning time

Motherly love

Another sentimental creation, Candle Bosé is a tribute to co-founder Tomi Ahmed’s Nigerian mother, Ruth Bosede Ojuluwayo, and is inspired by the scents of her home. The candle’s fragrance comes with a range of different notes, a balance between ‘rich and sharp’ and ‘delicate floral’. These scents include a top layer of mandarin, bergamot and raspberry, as well as notes of orange blossom, jasmine, musk and cedar wood.

· Top: mandarin/bergamot/raspberry

· Core: orange blossom/mimosa/jasmine/hawthorn

· Base: iris/musk/praline/cedar wood

Kurīn | 190g / 40h burning time

A journey through Arashiyama Forest

In the verdant countryside of Kyoto, Japan’s first capital, the air is remarkably pure. Surrounded by mountains and nestled between pockets of greenery, a visit by Leo to this tranquil region served as the inspiration for Kurīn – a scent whose name, phonetically, means ‘clean’. Top notes of peppermint and green tea evoke the teashops found on the corner of every street, while a streak of mandarin alludes to the magnificent orange tree in the gardens of the Imperial Palace, beneath which cedar, moss and musk, inspired by the Arashiyama Forest, form an earthy base. Although often overshadowed by the much-mythologised cherry blossom, seas of violets span field upon field in the areas surrounding Kyoto and, combined with cassis, these blooms provide Kurīn’s lighter, floral notes.

· Top: mandarin/peppermint/cassis

· Core: green tea/violet

· Base: moss/cedar/musk


FRAGRANCES

EDP Soigné | 100ml

The good old 50s

Soigné is an elegant little word, used to describe a man of immaculate style and appearance. It recalls a time of opulence, when stars like Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra thrilled with their effortless talent and style. Possessing a swaggering confidence bordering on arrogance, they were the embodiment of unstudied elegance; carelessly seductive and wild. Soigné is a provocative and nostalgic scent, evoking the fire of an artistic sensibility. Spicy top notes of nutmeg and Ceylon cinnamon overlay a warm centre featuring cashmere wood and patchouli, built upon a delicate base of sandalwood and white musk. Soigné is a warm, sensual embrace in the arms of someone dangerous.

· Top: cyclamen/nutmeg/Ceylon cinnamon

· Core: crystal violet/cashmere wood/patchouli

· Base: sandalwood/white musk​

EDP Gilot | 100ml

The scent of a muse

Gilot is a fresh yet complex scent, inspired by the Mediterranean. Dedicated to formidable women, the name comes from Françoise Gilot, the young lover and muse of Pablo Picasso, who eloped with the artist to the South of France after meeting him in a Parisian café at the age of just twenty-one. Picasso painted Gilot numerous times, depicting her in cool, aquatic tones of blue and green, and liked to refer to her as his Mediterranean inspiration. After ten years Gilot left Picasso, despite his fierce protestation that “Nobody leaves a man like me”. A photograph from 1948 shows the couple on holiday in Golfe-Juan, with Gilot walking magnificently in front while Picasso follows behind, shading his love with a parasol. Her power, and his vulnerability to it, are palpable. Fresh top notes of grapefruit and bergamot wash gracefully over a core of neroli and nutmeg, softened by the warm base notes of musk and white marshmallow.

· Top: bergamot/grapefruit/freesia

· Core: neroli/bitter almond/nutmeg

· Base: musk/moss/white marshmallow

EDP Fonteyn | 100ml

When Ballerina Margot Fonteyn met Stanley Kubrick

Fonteyn is an ode to Alhacen’s Theory of Visual Perception, which dictates that “Darkness makes beauty appear, for the stars only appear in darkness”. An element of the sinister throws beauty into starker relief, as in the early photography of Stanley Kubrick and a 1970 recording of Frederick Ashton’s Nocturne ballet. The legendary prima ballerina, Margot Fonteyn, seems to dance a beautiful solo, until the camera pans left and reveals a shadowy figure behind, for whom Fonteyn’s performance is a desperate entreaty. Likewise, Kubrick’s haunting images of Chicago in the forties are filled with eerie details, glimpsed only at the last moment. When the shadowy figure finally advances into the light, Fonteyn falls to her knees in tears before him, undone. Inspired by the impulses explored by these two artists, Fonteyn is a scent of tender delicacy, laced with depravity. Complex top notes of rosemary, wormwood and cardamom combine sensuously with a rich, fruity core of rose, blackcurrant and violet. Fonteyn’s notes reflect the interplay of darkness and light that inspired it, with the base being formed using the earthiness of papyrus, moss and Virginia cedar, mingling with the relative sweetness of vanilla.

· Top: grapefruit/rosemary/wormwood/cardamom

· Core: rose/blackcurrant buds/freesia/violet

· Base: papyrus/moss/vanilla/vetiver/patchouli/Virginia cedar