Transporting your mind to the aromatic outdoors, Aja Botanicals founder Tilly Wood talks us through the inspiration behind her herbaceous blend
Growing up in the quintessential British countryside, Aja Botanicals founder Tilly Wood has always felt a close connection to nature, specifically the woodland. It’s here, beneath the stretched-out branches, where Tilly feels calm, grounded and most at peace. It’s unsurprising, then, that one of her favourite scents from the Aja Botanicals home fragrances collection – available as hand-poured candles and a natural reed diffuser – is inspired by a verdant scene of leafy canopies and fragrant botanical bushes.
On an Alpine retreat in early springtime, Tilly conjured up the idea for Dreams. Her hope was to capture the serene setting, where enchanting forests meet snow-capped mountains, with a scent that will cleanse your ‘space, energy and soul’. Working closely with master perfumer Richard Howard, Tilly’s instructions were clear: to create a spa-like atmosphere. ‘It had to be herbaceous,’ she tells us. ‘I wanted the incredible depth of aroma you get when you run your hands through an old rosemary bush – the dried wood, the green leaves and the fresh blue flowers.’ For it’s this aromatic, outdoorsy combination that transports Tilly back to her time spent on the restorative retreat.
The perfect perfumer for the job, Richard is an advocate for aromatherapy, and a leading essential oil producer. He’s also a close friend of Tilly’s. Six months in the making, the duo found “the one” in their ninth iteration. ‘What really helped us in the end was playing the song that I later chose for the name of the fragrance – Dreams by Fleetwood Mac.’ Like scent, music can stimulate the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain and this uplifting track created a vibe that enabled the pair to formulate the winning blend. ‘I thought the name “Dreams” suited the fragrance,’ recalls Tilly, who lights this candle whenever she meditates. ‘The scent helps me to enter a state of deep relaxation that feels dreamlike.’
Taking us on an olfactory journey, Dreams begins in the woods with earthy and ever-so-slightly sweet fir needle and spikenard. ‘Spikenard has the energy of serenity, of ritual and sacredness,’ says Tilly of why she chose this ingredient. Meandering through the trees towards the mountains where wildflowers grow, floral fragonia comes to the fore. ‘There’s a “white light” energy surrounding fragonia,’ she continues. ‘It truly has a cleansing power.’ Not solely experienced by Tilly, fragonia’s power is often used in sacred circles to calm anxious spirits and re-establish inner balance. Closing the fragrance is angelica, a green, refreshing note that conjures up that crisp Alpine air. ‘It’s fresh, herbaceous and emotionally uplifting,’ summarises Tilly.
Providing a warm glow, candles are often reserved for evenings as daylight disappears. But it’s during the day that you can really reap the benefits of a soothing scent that will improve relaxation and reduce stress. ‘I always light Dreams when I want to cleanse the energy in the house, so especially the morning after the night before or when I need to really think straight or relax,’ explains Tilly, adding that it’s when she’s relaxed, that she can open her mind and find solutions. For this reason, she says, ‘It’s a good fragrance to work with during the day – it stops me from stressing out!’
Hand-crafted in Britain using the finest essential oils and biodegradable wax (made from coconut, soya and beeswax), all Aja Botanicals’ candles harness the power of natural ingredients to provide an ultra-clean burn that’s non-toxic. Truly a breath of fresh Alpine air, ‘Dreams is for long, hot baths, for yoga and for lighting in the kitchen in the morning,’ concludes Tilly.
Emma-Jade Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and wellness enthusiast. Previously senior beauty writer at Grazia UK, she has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles, including Glamour UK, Net-A-Porter, Woman & Home and Stylist.
Discover the Aja Botanicals Dreams collection.