A lifelong passion for blooms has taken Tilly Wood on a journey to capture the uplifting gift of love in a floral fragrance
‘When someone gives you flowers, it’s a very loving gesture.’ This is the joyful expression that Tilly Wood, founder of Aja Botanicals, wanted to convey when she was creating Hello, I Love You, a blissfully floral fragrance that celebrates the passion she’s had for blossoms since childhood. ‘Flowers for me are the ultimate scent,’ says Tilly. ‘They were the first smell I fell in love with as a child and there’s nothing like the aroma of a rose in an English garden or jasmine when you travel through Asia. Those heady top notes – the ones you encounter first in a perfume – are so uplifting and exhilarating that they really move me.’
It's that apex where love – be it for others or one’s self – meets a feeling of jubilant intoxication that takes this floral scent from the traditionally romantic bouquet into a world of its own. Translating these inspirations using her training in natural perfumery, Tilly tapped into notes of jasmine and bergamot that would also infuse the fragrance with nostalgic memories of growing up in the British countryside. The picture she envisioned took her back to happy-go-lucky teenage years. ‘I could imagine two girls aged about 17, going out at night and running down the road without a coat on or a care in the world,’ Tilly elaborates. ‘For me, the fragrance has a youthful abandon and a nostalgia, that sense of freedom and joy, going where the night takes you. But it was almost too intense, so we added frankincense and cedarwood to ground the scent. It was like the teenagers had now put their coats on!’
The “we” in Tilly’s telling refers to herself and master perfumer Richard Howard, who worked with her to refine a scent from her time training. ‘I’d made it for myself so we had a reference point,’ she says. ‘Creating a scent is like alchemy – you never know what’s going to happen. It becomes this lovely experience where you bring together your inspiration and their knowledge until a bit of magic happens. You have to have a good vibe going with music, crystals, nice tea and a candle burning so it’s about respecting the process of perfume creation. But the way we really nailed Hello, I Love You was to play the song together.’ That song is the iconic track by The Doors and echoes the sentiment behind it. ‘The fragrance became reflective of The Doors lyric, “she’s walking down the street, blind to every man she meets,” and the girl not knowing how gorgeous she is,’ adds Tilly.
Hand-crafted in Britain from the highest quality pure essential oils, Hello, I Love You is a blend of jasmine, bergamot, geranium and frankincense. Jasmine is a sweet, white floral note that is loved for being able to cleanse our minds, relieve stress and elevate alertness, as well as being a flower that Tilly says simply makes her happy. Geranium, meanwhile, has a rosy quality that’s ‘soulful and touches our hearts,’ she adds. It also entwines beautifully with jasmine and infuses a woody depth into the fragrance, ensuring it pairs perfectly with frankincense to give a resinous note and grounding quality. Finally, bergamot is bright, slightly citrusy and encourages everything to blend well together, allowing the opening joyful floral notes to easily evolve into warmer, woodier ones.
The ambiance this perfume conjures up is rare in that it suits both daytime and evening use. The scent is not overly soporific as it acts as a pick-me-up during the day, yet it’s not so uplifting that it keeps us awake when winding down at night. With that in mind, Tilly’s favourite places to burn the candle are in her bedroom and workspace. It’s also her go-to for parties or when friends visit as the fragrance creates a happy, loving atmosphere. While the aroma from the candle transforms from a floral into a scent that is earthier and warmer, using the diffuser to impart it through the wooden sticks had a more continuous, richer, resinous quality. Tilly keeps one in her hallway to pick up plenty of the fragrance when walking past because of the air flow and uses it to add a beautiful background scent during dinner parties or a sumptuous lunch, complementing rather than competing with appetising smells from food that someone has lovingly prepared. ‘It’s a scent that helps us connect to our hearts and souls,’ she enthuses. ‘Thinking about love grounds you and makes your heart swell a little – that’s what Hello, I Love You does too.’
Author and journalist Caroline Brien has spent over 25 years writing about her passion for beauty, from cosmetics to spas via skincare. A particular passion for fragrance has won her two accolades at the prestigious Jasmine Awards, which recognises excellence in writing about perfume. Former beauty features director at Maire Claire, she has contributed to a host of UK magazines including Red, Psychologies, Good Housekeeping and Glamour as well as the Financial Times Weekend, Telegraph and Sunday Times Style magazine.
Discover the Aja Botanicals Hello, I Love You collection.