Winter Water, a collaboration with De Boerin of Kleinood Farm.

“Because of the nature of Kleinood farm, where everything happens organically and often by pure coincidence, the acclaimed de Boerin Extra Virgin Olive Oil was originally the only de Boerin product. A Verjus followed, and only when our bees were settled did we start harvesting their honey. And as the Kleinood gardens grew and became more established and bountiful, the flowers and scents brought the need to create objects and extracts that would capture the enchanting grace and beauty of each new season here.”

Interpreting the scent of the water running through the Kleinood forest in winter into a perfume, some notes:

“The water has a different quality in winter. It certainly has something to do with the rain washing vegetation into the river but it’s more than that.”

There is a confluence of the Moordenaars and Blaauwklippen rivers in the centre of the forest. Just beyond the point where they meet is the spiritual home of Winter Water. Vegetation falls into the water and trails into the water. The rich soils in the region give the water a distinct minerality. The forest canopy is reflected in the water. The winter light penetrates the water softly. The tannins from the fynbos further upstream gives the water its rust colour.

Lichen growing on a dead branch. The presence of lichen is indicative of a clean atmosphere, as these organisms absorb everything they come into contact with. Tree moss. Mosses are incredibly resilient and versatile. They range from microscopic discolourations on the soil to great shaggy knee-high carpets. Moss growing on an oak, not oakmoss, which is actually a lichen.

Each type of mushroom has its own scent but the following descriptors are common to most: pungent, earthy, vegetative, marine/seaweed, and hay-like.

Dried grass and leaves smell dusty. A rotting felled tree trunk. Decomposing leaves on wet earth. The sweet smell of humus. Rusted oak leaves stubbornly hold on. Vegetation decomposing in the water. The soft heartwood of a decomposing tree.

“The light is especially atmospheric in winter. Sometimes not quite making it into the spaces below the canopy. There’s a glow of appreciation when it does.”

Glinting flower. The ‘island’ between the two rivers has fewer trees and more grassland. Dappled light on the plectranthus. Leaf shadow play on the road into the forest.

Despite most of the forest being deciduous, some plants and trees remain and thrive during winter, sending out their green and aromatic perfume.

I loved working with Libby and Melissa because their brief was so clear – a perfume that will smell like the river in the forest in winter – and they were completely receptive to the honesty of the result.

Winter Water is bottled on Kleinood farm and available to purchase directly from the tasting room and online.