Heroic, virile and unsoftened by luxurious living, the Norsemen pointed their storm-tossed sea-ploughs down the great rivers of Russia to the Caspian and the Black Sea. In the west, these hairy-headed men of daring resoluteness, seekers after the ideal, sailed in their wave-kissed longboats along the Atlantic coast, past Arabic Spain, through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean. The most courageous and battle-hardened even voyaged as far as the Outer Hebrides. Marauding hordes of Vikings, dexterous seal hunters and fearless drinkers to a man and woman reached across the wide unknown Atlantic and conquered as far afield as America, Greenland and Iceland…Vikings don’t die and go to Valhalla. They make perfume and people are going berserk about it.

Andrea M
Andrea M

Cult Icelandic artisanal fragrance brand Fischersund has released its latest scent, No. 101 which is the zip code of Reykjavik, and the fragrance is inspired by the backyards of the Icelandic capital. Like all Fishersund fragrances, No. 101 comes with its own scent poem, evoking fingers digging up sorrel and dandelion, and falling snow on a forgotten trampoline. Made from chervil, Arctic angelica, Icelandic grass, poplar pine, red sorrel and bergamot, 101 also has its own song, Baekgardar, written by co-founder and self-taught nose, Jonsi, once of Sigur Ros rock band. The company’s flagship store in Reykavik offers schanpps to all browsers as well seductive music. No 101 retails at a round $100.

There isn’t an Eau de parfum called Pillage, or a Nordic fragrance called Berserk, or the scent of geysers yet, but Denmark and Iceland are emerging perfume-making nations with a rich cultural heritage and natural resources to draw on and influence their fragrance makers, like the Birgis sisters, Lilja, Ingibjorg and Sigurros, who, with brother Jonsi, make the sensorial experience that is Reykavik’s Fischersund.

The Fischersund family
The Fischersund family

Their No 8 conjures up crushed fresh flower stalks, orange cake crumble in the pocket of freshly washed clothes and Arctic wind blowing through a damp pine forest”.

Last autumn’s Utilykt evokes headwind in every direction drifting snow creeping under coat collars, snow beads on woolly mittens, head resting on a pillow of moss, an undressed Christmas tree blowing down a sidewalk in the sea breeze and frosted windows and the car heater on full blast.

The Reykjavik Distillery makes 64 degree Landi for men using native botanicals including crowberry, Arctic thyme, Arctic bilberry and Iceland’s native flowers avens. Iceland is for women. Andrea Maack produces scents which are easy to wear but hard to decipher, and between the commercial and avant-garde

Lightsource fragrance

Her Pool is inspired by Iceland’s pool and sauna culture. Coven is the embodiment of a shadowy woodland walk while soft tension is inspired by thick fog, a place to get lost in and let yourself go. Her Lightsource is an ode to the 90s rave culture.

Andrea talks about the concept of wearable art and intentionally playing with emotions as a means of evoking desires. All her work stems from a drive to create multi-sensory experiences.

The Danes take their scents equally as seriously, Marianne Tromborg is inspired by the soft, downy, beautiful cumulus clouds in the Scandinavian sky. With her biochemist husband Tim Schyberg, she offers Bio-intelligence in its most beautiful form” Her creations like the eau du toilette Mallumo (Esperanto for darkness) involves quantum vibrations aroma therapy and hygge.

Henrik Vibskov’s Type C for Copenhagen is a tribute to his homebase and creative cradle. He claims it is reminiscent of the salty air and fresh waters experienced on boating trips outside the Trekroner fortress at the entrance to Copenhagenʼs harbor. The best place to catch herrings.