If you’ve been ready this column long enough, you know I’m obsessed with Vintner’s Daughter and its Active Botanical Serum, an award-winning face oil formulated with 22 nutrient-rich botanicals for nourishing and restorative moisture. With this serum as my base, my makeup glides on beautifully, and I’m left with an understated, hydrating sheen that stays with me all day. Very few, if any, other faces oils measure up.
So you can imagine my delight when I discovered the brand, founded by a pioneer of the sustainable, fewer-is-better skincare philosophy April Gargiulo, is debuting its first fragrance, Understory. The philosophy behind Vintner’s Daughter is slow and measured skincare formulations that take years to perfect, so it’s not everyday the team creates a new product. I sat down with April to understand the inspiration behind Understory as well as how it dials back to the essence of Vintner’s Daughter, itself.
Understory. Love the name. What’s the meaning behind it?
Understory is the botanical world under the canopy of a forest. The inspiration for our Understory is a magical redwood forest where vibrant moss, lush florals, and deep earth come together.
Can you describe the desire to launch a fragrance? I would have thought you’d add another product to your skincare arsenal.
Our community has been asking for a fragrance for as long as I can remember, so it was something that I was always curious about. The stars aligned when my friend Lauren Harwell Godfrey introduced me to perfumier, Loreto Remsing. When I spoke to Loreto about her approach to fragrance I felt a kindred spirit. She speaks about it in much the same way I speak about our skincare. The reverence we both share for the botanical world was palpable.
What makes Understory different from what’s on the market?
Understory was developed as a way to create a deeper connection to nature and to oneself through a 100% natural scent. We chose an oil so that it could become even more personal upon application to pulse points, warming and sinking into the skin versus dispersal in the air. Understory isn’t about an announcement of scent to others, but rather a thoughtful and celebratory moment with oneself.
How does Understory reflect a similar philosophy to your skincare?
Like everything we formulate, Understory is in service to and inspired by the harmony and elegance of botanical life, connecting one to nature in an intimate and deeply resonant way. Our customers have always loved the scent of Active Botanical Serum. So, creating a stand-alone fragrance made from whole-plant botanicals was a natural progression and is in keeping with our Fewer, Better sensibility. Our mission is to make an incredibly positive impact on our customers’ skin and lives. Understory furthers that mission in a beautiful way.
What was the process like in creating the scent?
I described the idea of a magical redwood forest to Loreto as a starting point for inspiration. Even as vague as that sounds, she understood exactly what I wanted to capture. After a couple of dozen variations, we landed on the current blend. It’s so beautifully intelligent, captivating, down to earth and indulgent. I love it so much. Loreto is a genius.
What surprised you about creating a fragrance in comparison to what you’ve done in the past?
We have never focused on scent while formulating skincare. Scent was always a happy by-product of a very performance-focused formulation process. Both processes express the power of the botanical world, but in very different ways. So as much as it was a completely different process, there are also very similar aspects to the development as well.