The Virtue’s latest release is a deconstructed duo that re-tells a tale of life and legacy using fragrance as the medium.
Fragrance brand The Virtue has a knack for creating unique and globally-inspired fragrances which hold their own stories. Knowing how profound the power a lingering scent holds, The Virtue aims to celebrate and capture those fleeting moments in time that we hold dear in our memories and have imprinted on our hearts through a richly enduring, sensory experience.
The brand’s latest releases are called Mary Mary I and Mary Mary II which are inspired by the story of Mary Katherine Lyons. As the story goes, Mary was one of several Irish passengers who boarded the Lady Aislinge in Dublin in search of a better life. The Lady Aislinge docked in New Plymouth in the winter of 1882. According to public records, Mary found work as an oyster girl by day and a ‘fallen woman’ by night to support herself. She disappeared in the winter of 1894, rumoured to be with child of a prominent townsman. There are many theories behind Mary’s disappearance, but her warmth, feminine charm, charismatic persona, and the scandal and mystery behind her departure still lingers on the ocean winds of the rugged New Plymouth coastline well over 100 years later.
Brooke Lean, Founder and Creative Director of The Virtue was enthralled by Mary’s tale and spent months researching and creating a fragrance to capture the essence of the folklore of Mary. Brooke soon discovered that a single fragrance wasn’t going to do justice to the local legend and instead created two intoxicatingly different sensorial experiences to tell the story of Mary. The first ‘Mary Mary I’ attempts to personify her existence, the second ‘Mary Mary II’ her legacy. “Fragrance is able to add depth and incite emotion that words alone struggle to capture. I’m honoured to be able to attempt to tell Mary’s story in both life and death using fragrance as the medium” explains Brooke.
Brooke worked with local artist Ronelle Pienaar Jenkin designing a visual piece to accompany the fragrances. Upon researching further into Mary’s life, death and the rumour and scandal that accompanied it, not only has Ronelle created a stunning series of visual works, she also wrote a piece of poetry. The lead piece in the visual concepts has been hand printed onto 50 limited edition, salt rinsed silk scarves along with the poem Ronelle penned, capturing Mary’s story in look, feel and verse and when sprayed with the fragrance, providing something that attempts to translate Mary’s story richly as a multi-sensory experience.
She’s softness; powdery, gentle, sensual and feminine personified softness.
Classically old world, a composition evoking charming residues of things past. Powder, lace, rose absolute, sweet tea; buttery soft yet not subtle, exquisitely delicate yet her underlying strength is captured in notes of cedarwood and sandalwood that reveal a classic base of musk, patchouli and just a hint of incense. A fragrance that has survived many things, imprinted with the delicate subtleties of life, revealing a warm heart and an unforgettable ending.
She’s windswept, rinsed in salt, unravelling, then completely undone, yet never more eternally alive.
The ocean almost overwhelms and retreats to reveal the freshness of water mint and a hint of bergamot citrus. Further brought to life with green, earthy honesty; calone and coriander add mystery and a sweet earthiness unfolds which welcomely grounds us with both feet. It opens with unhinged life and ends with a return to the earth, solidifying a rumour to last an eternity…
Alone they stand as two powerfully moving, story stelling scents that inspire and incite a whole collection of emotions on their own. However, when layered together, the two fragrances combine to provide a completely different, highly unique olfactory experience. The raw ocean and earthy notes of Mary Mary II cut through and neutralise the powdery soft old-world overtones of Mary I. The exquisitely complementary layered combination bridges the juxtaposition between the two, resulting in a completely genderless fragrance. A sensory exploration of lust and tenderness, vulgarity and heart. Perhaps it’s the ending Mary deserved… a tale retold.
Available in both 50ml and 10ml bottles online at The Virtue’s website and with an expanding wholesale network.