I Traveled to Scotland for a One-on-One Scent Butler Experience

It was a firsthand experience with a master perfumer.

Exclusive Scent Butler Experience

Room service and an in-house spa are luxuries that most people have heard of. A scent butler, on the other hand, is one of the kind. That's par for the course for The Balmoral Hotel, which serves as an iconic symbol of Scottish elegance and heritage in Edinburgh.

While, yes, guests of the hotel can enjoy the top-tier accommodations, cuisine, afternoon tea, and more, it was the one-of-a-kind Scent Butler service that caught my attention. As a scent aficionado with more than 30 perfumes in my bathroom cabinet, diving deeper into the world of fragrance seemed like a worthwhile way to spend my time.

The Scent Butler experience is a unique collaboration between The Balmoral Hotel and Kingdom Scotland, long considered Scotland’s first luxury fragrance house; it entails a one-on-one scent masterclass led by Kingdom Scotland's CEO and founder Imogen Russon-Taylor. (Visitors who book the Bowes-Lyon Suite can enjoy it in the comfort of their suite.)

The Bowes-Lyon Suite has a tranquil countryside ambiance accented with exquisite antique furnishings — making it the perfect setting for a scent masterclass. “We are constantly striving to provide our guests with unique and authentic experiences, while introducing them to modern Scotland and all that it offers,” says Richard Cooke, the cluster managing director for Rocco Forte Hotels, UK.

On top of that, fragrance can be particularly powerful, especially when coupled with travel and relaxation. “Many of our fondest memories are centered around scent, whether that be from memories from younger years or travels to new places," Cooke says. "Through this collaboration, we’re giving our guests the opportunity to learn about the first Scottish fragrance house while taking home a sensorial keepsake of their time here.”

Exclusive Scent Butler Experience

My Scent Butler experience began with an introduction to Russon-Taylor, who explained her journey into the world of fragrances, recounting her mission to create a scent that would capture the essence of Scotland. “Scotland has such a beautiful dramatic natural landscape that enthralls the imagination. I wanted to bottle that in scent and transport people to some of the most inspiring places in the world,” she told me.

To accomplish that, “our creative process begins with the natural world," she said. "We seek stories based on the drama and beauty of nature." Her scent-formulation process begins with images, a mood board, and aromatic notes, as well as ingredients she wants to work with. In particular, she says, "we take a huge amount of time to source our ingredients, seeking the finest sustainable, ethical, traceable and vegan aromatic oils.” 

Next, she unveiled an array of bottles, guiding me through different notes to find the ideal fragrance that would embody my stay. Each bottle boasted a distinct concoction of Scottish-inspired aromas — from the earthy tones of Caledonian forests to the potent whiff of juniper. She even introduced me to some captivating scents I'd never encountered before, like the mesmerizing Iso E Super and vetiver families.

Exclusive Scent Butler Experience

Finally, Russon-Taylor asked about my fragrance preferences before introducing me to the range of Kingdom Scotland's signature scents. If you want to capture the beauty of the outdoors in a bottle, Albaura is the perfect choice — and my personal favorite. The scent lingers from day to night, encapsulating the invigorating spirit of nature. The cherry on top is the gorgeous packaging and minimalist bottle. I couldn't wait to bring it back home to New York with me as a reminder of this experience.

The unique adventure allowed me to learn about Scotland in a sensorial way that encapsulates the country's stories, history, and, most importantly, aromas that I will never forget. It's worth the trip for everyone, from scent enthusiasts to those seeking an unforgettable gift for a loved one — or just someone eager to delve into the realm of aromatic wonders.

The Scent Butler experience with a stay in the Bowes-Lyon suite starts from £1500 per night for two people, inclusive of breakfast and a complimentary bottle of Baile Mhoireil.

Related Articles