Stora Skuggan is a niche perfume brand from Sweden, founded in 2015. The brand is run by a small group of perfumers and designers. All production – from perfume formulating to branding – is done at the Stora Skuggan fragnance studio in Stockholm. The perfumes are compounded by hand.
Stora Skuggan perfumes are based on stories that blur the line between myth and reality. Central to the brand, these tales are conceptualized through scent and art, creating a small universe for each product.
The brand has created four different scents that all have hugely different background stories. Read more about each perfume here:
Fantôme de Maules
What is Fantôme de Maules?
Who is Fantôme de Maules?
The setting: Maules, a small village in the french-speaking part of Switzerland, surrounded by agricultural fields and dense forests.
The subject: An enigmatic being, seen by many wandering the local woodlands for the past decade, dressed in nothing but cloaked camouflage and an obsolete mask. Most likely human but one cannot be sure. Looming at almost two meters tall he seems to take particular interest in the surrounding flora and fauna.
Unaware of passersby, he spends his time picking and smelling flowers; only then he lets down his guard. A crack of a twig or the rustle of a leaf and he’ll vanish back into the foliage.
The locals call him Le Loyon, but the character calls himself Fantôme de Maules. The ghost of Maules.
So who is Fantôme de Maules? A recluse, an outcast from society who has made a home in the forest? A survivalist preparing for the apocalypse? We will never know, because he doesn’t want us to.
And perhaps that’s what makes Fantôme de Maules a character with such a riveting mystery. The modern world is alight with information and the shadows are shrinking. It is rare to come across someone who doesn’t feel it is necessary to explain himself.
The famous Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner is considered the founder of modern zoology, but as a true 16th century scientist he was also: a prominent physician, botanist, linguist and – of course – spelunking adventurer.
In his ‘Descriptio Montis Fracti sive Montis Pilati’ from 1555, he chronicles his climb to the summit of Mount Pilatus, but we also get to follow him into the caves of the Alps. ‘At night, the moon shines into the cave so brightly the light itself seems to take form, like a mist. It gathers in the ceiling and makes the limestone stalactites glitter and gleam, dripping tears of white liquid into puddles on the rock floor that never dries. Moonmilk.’
“Even if one just tastes it, at once arouses a humour throughout the body and has a very healthy aroma” – Pedanius Dioscorides, around year 70 BC
Silphium (probably of the genus Ferula) was a plant that grew in the area of Cyrene, present day Libya, and was widely renowned as a spice, medicinal herb and perfume ingredient throughout the empires of the classical antiquity. It was praised by Greek philosophers and writers, as well as Roman emperors and cookbook authors.
There were many attempts to cultivate Silphium, but they inevitably failed. It would only grow wild in a limited area of the north African coast. This, in combination with its qualities as seasoning and medicine made Silphium the most valuable spice in the world, outshining both saffron and cinnamon. The demand for Silphium eventually became so overwhelming that it was harvested to extinction, and the taste and smell of the once greatest spice in the world were lost in time.
Our rendition of this historical plant is created by researching surviving assumed relatives of Silphium, using aromachemicals (the molecular building blocks of scents) to create an accord that we feel represents what descriptions remains. This is set against a background of ancient incense, woods and leather.
“Like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands” – Bem, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
A Mistpouffer is an unexplained natural sound, a sonic boom like distant cannon fire that seems to come out of the fog over large lakes or rivers. It has been recorded all over the world throughout history, and is the source of many legends. In Japan the phenomenon is called uminari meaning “cries from the sea”. In Connecticut, the Machimoodus state park gets its name from the native american name for the area, which means “place of bad noises”.
Despite scientific attempts to understand the sounds (that can still be heard to this day), its source has still not been identified. Possible explanations include solar winds resonating in the atmosphere, underground earthquakes or gas bubbles being released from the deep. Others believe it is the work of extraterrestrial or subsurface civilisations. Early settlers in North America were told by the native Haudenosaunee Iroquois that the booms were the sound of the Great Spirit continuing his work of shaping the earth.
Rendering this mystical water thunder as a fragrance was as elusive as the sound itself. We spent four years and hundreds of iterations before finding the right balance between being distinctive and inexplainable. Foggy but not aquatic, smoky but not heavy. Natural, but in equal parts supernatural.
All Stora Skuggan perfumes are sold in beautifully designed 30ml bottles, price 130€.