March 01, 2024 6 min read

Alongside our Meander pieces, we love to stock fellow Scottish brands who share our values and love of the outdoors. Last weekend, we had the pleasure of spending the morning with Imogen Russon-Taylor, the founder of Kingdom Perfumes, Scotland’s first ever  perfume house. Imogen took us through some of Kingdom's scent inspiration, from the fauna found in Edinburgh's Botanical Gardens and our Caledonian forests, to the metamorphic rock along our northwest coastline. Read our Q&A to find out about how Imogen's career in the whisky industry has armed her with a perfectly-trained nose to embark on her 'bottling Scotland' mission and how she has built this sustainable perfume house with a loyal celeb following.



What inspired you to start Kingdom perfumes, Scotland’s first perfume house?

I love scent! I always have from being a little girl. From the start of my career, I worked for many years in the aromatic world of whisky and this inspired me to create a Scottish fragrance house, telling stories of Scotland in scent and delivering a unique sense of place.

 We understand you had a long career in the whisky industry prior to starting Kingdom.  How has this inspired your perfume journey?

There are so many parallels between the worlds of whisky and perfume. Both seek the finest ingredients to create a complex reveal, both work in the world of distillation, blending and maturation. Our sense of smell is responsible for 80% of taste - so nosing whisky is an incredibly important part of the whole experience. This connection first attracted me to look at the world of perfumery in a new way being trained in luxury drinks. Whisky delivers an incredible sense of place and can transport you - I wanted to do exactly this with my perfumes, transporting you in scent to some of the most compelling and beautiful landscapes in the world.

You speak about ‘telling stories through scent’, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your four scents?:


This is a scent in tribute to the Scottish botanist and Arctic explorer, Isobel Wylie Hutchison. Inspired by the Aura and ancient name of Scotland, Alba. It opens with the glacial freshness of snow and ice blended with berries and botanicals. Independent of spirit, this is a bold and pure beauty in scent.


A transporting herbaceous and woody scent – a gateway to the ancient Caledonian forests of Scotland. Invitingly fresh and outdoor – an escape to a sylvan wonderland.

Intriguingly this scent includes a ‘new-make’ spirit accord. Refreshingly complex and memorable.

Kingdom Botanica

A vibrant, opulent and green-floral woody, oriental scent. Inspired by the adventurous Scottish plant hunters of the past, present and future.

This is bio-diversity in a bottle - a botanical maximalist scent!  Expertly crafted to celebrate 350 prolific years of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.


Scotland has some of the most complex geology in the world and this scent is inspired by metamorphic rock that is spectacularly woven into the landscape. There is also a reference to my love of Islay Malt whisky with a smouldering aspect that is softened with the heart of dark rose. Complex, rich, with an intense metamorphosis on the skin.

Can you tell us about the design inspiration behind the brand and packaging?

I worked with the most talented designers to create a unique and memorable brand identity. I am so proud of what we created, the iconic K to present Kingdom Scotland with a sense of magic - and a simple yet impactful look, tone and feel. I wanted to create a new Scottish luxury brand with standout and unisex appeal. I believe we have done that

Can you tell us a bit about the creative process and how a perfume idea goes from the drawing board to a physical product? How long would this take?  

It takes time! On average 2-4 years to create our scents. I always start with images - mood boards to represent the vision I have in mind. This is approaching scent as art. I always have a strong view on the notes I want to work with from the start. I then work with my suppliers to ensure we select the most beautiful sustainable and ethical aromatic ingredients. Then we go to creation, blending, the alchemy of perfume creation - this takes time and contemplation - and we can take up to 150 modifications to get to the final scent! Once we have the scent finalised we go to maturation, very much like the world of whisky, and then chill filtering and onto hand bottling. Everything is crafted, matured and bottled in Scotland.

Kingdom perfume is vegan and made using natural, sustainable ingredients. Can you tell us a bit about your brand values and the importance of sustainability for Kingdom? 

The journey of sustainability is incredibly important for Kingdom Scotland. Right from the very start we approached the creation of Kingdom Scotland with sustainability at the top of our mindset. Our scents celebrate the beauty of the natural world, so naturally we seek to protect and enhance our natural environment. From sourcing the finest sustainable, ethical, traceable, vegan and cruelty free ingredients, through to selecting recycyled, recyclable, decomposable options for packaging. We are always looking for ways to improve the sustainability of our packaging and do not use plastic wrappings or plastic caps. 

We are very proud of our partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and profits of our Kingdom Botanica perfume go towards vital biodiversity research in the face of climate change.

Tell us about your work with the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh to produce ‘Kingdom Botanica’. Were there any stand-out moments during that process?

This was an incredible experience, I think of it as the best brief in the world - to create a scent to celebrate over 350 years of plant protection and adventure. We delved through the amazing archives and live plant collections at the Botanics, working with the archivists, botanists and horticulturalists to ensure we selected stories throughout the centuries. We went right back to 1670 when the gardens were created as a physic garden in the grounds of Holyrood Palace to heal nobility. We looked at the international connections the garden has and linked these plants, explorations and studies in scent. Every ingredient tells a story of the Botanics. The result is a botanical explosion, a hugely biodiverse green, floral woody scent that celebrate the past, present and future of plant protection and adventure at the RBGE.

Have you had any celebrity clientele? 

We actually have a really wide and loyal customer base for which we are very grateful. We found that in the time of Covid, when we couldn't travel, people, including celebrities, sought peace in aroma, scent that could transport you to some of the most beautiful and inspiring landscapes in the world. So in terms of celebrities - we have film stars, TV celebrities, journalists and influencers all enjoying and wearing our perfumes. We feel humbled by the reactions to our scents and don’t want to mention names but they are enjoyed by some very high profile individuals. We recently were invited to entertain guests in scent at the BAFTA Burn’s Night in LA. It was such fun.

Can you tell us about any highlights on your journey in creating Kingdom,  Scotland's First Perfume house? 

So many, it has been quite a journey, from launching with Harvey Nichols to being contacted by Harrods and Gleneagles to stock, to being asked to be the Scent Butler at the iconic Balmoral hotel - are all milestones we are incredibly proud of. Our partnerships too, with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and The Macallan, we are so thrilled to be working with such prestigious brands and institutions. 

I am, however, most proud and humbled by the reaction to our Scent Experiences - when people are introduced to the power of their own sense of smell and the pleasure and self knowledge it can unveil. 

What’s next for Kingdom perfume? Is there anything exciting on the horizon?

Yes! We are excited to say we have two news scents in creation ready to launch later in the year. More news will be revealed soon.

We also have a new website soon to be launched - and new stockists across the country. We are also planning export of our scents as we are only available in the UK just now. We get daily requests from customers and boutiques to sell our perfumes internationally - so this is definitely a focus for 2024.



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