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Autumn23 #

FFERN X JULIUS ROBERTS

A match flares; the fizz of sulphur burns out into beeswax, soft honey and smoke. In the grate last night’s embers gently smoulder. Through the window overlooking the valley, ringing with gold, comes the sun, a fat slice of butter.

Set deep in the Dorset countryside, this is the home of cook Julius Roberts, our collaborator for Autumn 23. Surrounded by orchards, the scent of windfall apples is sharp and sweet. It mingles with the earthiness of vegetable patches and the jammy, grassy tones of hay - the bales prepared for Julius’s young goats that bound around the farm.

As a cook and gardener I’m often guided by smell, so the idea of making a fragrance with Ffern was a really exciting prospect.

It was amidst this scene that we found ourselves last year, collecting scent profiles that would shape the Autumn 23 fragrance. The best thing, Julius told us, was the fig tree. We found it growing against the southern wall, below an open window, its waxy leaves a heartstopping green between the smooth grey boughs. The figs themselves have long since been plucked and eaten, but the scent of the leaves is emerald, clear and wild - holding traces of the delicious fruit.

The fragrance nods to the fig tree that grows outside my bedroom window and the meadow hay we make in early autumn, that feeds my animals through winter.

We all agreed that this should be the heart of the fragrance. But how to recreate it? Fig is a ‘mute’ plant - you cannot extract its essence. We explored this with Elodie, our nose, and after six months of exacting work we created a natural fig accord - rich and multi-faceted, it has as its stars violet leaf and tonka bean.

To build the picture of the landscape around this fig accord, we looked to orris root and carrot seed, new ingredients for us. Orris is powdery, soft, earthy, slightly sweet, even suede-like. One of the rarest perfume ingredients, it pairs beautifully with woody, spicy carrot seed.

From here, Julius was keen to take the scent in a darker direction. To capture some of those embers in the open fireplace, the remains of autumn bonfires in the landscape. And so we turned to birch tar, an ingredient we haven’t used since Winter 21, with a distinctively smokey facet.

The result is quite different from any other Ffern fragrance - dark fruit, rich hay, a drift of smoke. A fragrance for the harvest festival.

This perfume really sings of autumn, it’s got this sweet warmth to it that you’ll love to wear when the cold begins to take its toll.

Julius Roberts, farmer and chef


Photography by Elena Heatherwick for Ffern

The Fragrance #

Autumn 23 launches on the equinox, September 23rd 2023. Bottles are exclusively available to our ledger members. Sign up to our waiting list below, and we’ll send you an SMS if a space comes up.

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