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The Scents of Soil

2 November 2022

“Soils are sensual…They are the skin of the planet. With more microbes in a handful than there are people on Earth, they have texture, scent, colour… Grab some, lift it to your nose. With your eyes closed, discover the dynamic of our living earth. This is the foundation of all life… “

Jojo Gibbons RDI

Soil_739_©Eva Vermande cropped

image by Eva Vermande for JOJO GIBBONS

The passion for preserving nature brought us together with landscape architect JOJO Gibbons RDI with whom we embarked on a four-year-long sensory journey to capture the scent of soil, as an invitation to re-acquaint with our innate ability to love nature.

© Eva Vermandel_722_JG_Soil_Crop

JOJO GIBBONS photographed by Eva Vermande 

JOJO GIBBONS RDI is one of the UK’s most respected landscape architects. For her pioneering, influential work that combines design, activism and education JoJo was named a Royal Designer for Industry in 2019. 
Her body of work at her award-winning practice J & L Gibbons spans four decades during which soil biodiversity has become her driving force and the foundation of her research and work as a designer


Through our creative collaboration we seek to bring the visceral art and science of soils into focus through the form of perfume for the skin and for the soul, as an elegant embrace of distilled glimpses of the natural world, like fleeting moments of the botanical life and soil biodiversity

Erda Insta on white

REDE PARFUM - image by Anton Robert

ERDE PARFUM  is the first perfume and evokes the sensuous nature of soil. In the Southern coast of Africa soil is a significant part of people’s lives. They turned to it for its healing power concocting remedies for a better life. The perfume is dedicated to these remedies and beauty rituals, thus, the African Stone, aka the Hyrax Stone alongside the red ochre earth were the inspiration behind it. You will remember the smell of dried autumnal leaves decaying alongside other plant and animal past life, revealing the transformative power of nature, where nothing disappears, but everything transforms in source for new life. 

Verda Insta on white

VERDA PARFUM - image by Anton Robert

VERDA PARFUM is the second perfume and captures the processes of germination and growth… In the Southern African savannah where climate is extreme, the rain falling onto the dry soil releases a scent so potent that animals found at long distances know that soon, they will have access to water and food. Every rain season’s arrival in Africa symbolises life and its cycles going on… The perfume is dedicated to this exact moment of germination and growth, of the fertile soil coming to life.

Our perfumes dare to explore the landscape, intending to immerse you in this hidden habitat that holds the key to our survival. We send to you a message in a bottle, to inspire the notion of planetary health and bring attention to the Earth's vitality and beauty

804_Moss crack_©️JOJO GIBBONS

Moss and stone  - photograph courtesy of JOJO GIBBONS 

The scents of soils are as varied as the soils types, from location to the climatic conditions, vegetation, and even the impact of human life and industrialisation. The most potent smell of soil is when the rain starts. This is the moment when geosmin releases… Geosmin is composed from organic compounds (like terpenes - which are secreted by plants) fallen on the ground, or rocks and that are processed by the living organisms, microbes and bacteria in the soil. For each of us, the scent of the earth will be recognised as a familiar scent based on where we lived the most part of our lives. For some might be the hot asphalt of the big metropolis, for other the grass of the savannah.

We created Erde and Verda as tools for reconnection with the earth for those who cannot get "dirty" in a garden, or have the opportunity to be in nature very often.

They are therapeutic aids for when you seek a life in harmony with nature. 

We believe that our journey as a specie is dependent on nature and its remarkable healing power. 

"Soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all" - Wendell Berry

to purchase the perfumes in UK click here or here