Arran Sense of Scotland – Independent Product Review

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Arran Sense of Scotland is a premium beauty and body care product manufacturer that creates luxury fragrances inspired by the natural elements of the Isle of Arran.

Discover a collection of Arran Sense of Scotland’s best sellers in this article, which includes unbiased reviews and detailed product descriptions.

Arran Sense of Scotland - Independent Product Review 1
arran sense of scotland

The Isle of Arran

Arran Sense of Scotland

Of all Scotland’s west coast islands, the Isle of Arran is the only one I find myself returning to year after year. This wild, impossibly pretty island certainly isn’t the largest on the west coast, but it sure packs a punch when it comes to visitor attractions.

From the breathtaking mountain summit of Goatfell to the lush green forests of Dyemill and Glenrickard, Arran has something to offer all visitors.

Hillwalkers can lose themselves in the dramatic mountain ridges on the north of the island while mountain bikers can hurtle through the forest tracks on the southern side. Day trippers can easily enjoy Brodick and its nearby historic castle thanks to regular ferry crossings from Ardrossan, and drivers can soak up the glorious views on the Arran Coastal Way.

To say Arran has a little bit of everything that’s great about Scotland is a massive understatement, which is perhaps the reason why this stunning isle has gained the nickname ‘Scotland in miniature’.

I personally fell in love with Arran a few years ago during my first-ever visit as a result of a spur-of-the-moment ferry crossing from Ardrossan.

I’d planned a cycle tour of the Campbeltown peninsula, but engine problems with the ferry meant I’d end up losing the first day. A quick booking change later and I was off to Arran instead, unsure of what to expect but excited nonetheless.

Those three days on the island were some of the best I’ve ever had in Scotland and I’ll never forget the thrill of cycling along the Arran ring road and being gobsmacked by the scenery around every corner (helped no end by the fact I was lucky enough to enjoy a very rare three days of uninterrupted sunshine).

Isle of Arran

Watching herds of wild deer roam in front of Lochranza Castle while a deep red sun dipped beneath the glittering waves of the Sound of Bute is an image forever burned in my memory, and it sums up everything that makes the island such a special place.

The last day of the trip saw my return to Brodick by way of the castle which I’d made a beeline for with the sole purpose of checking out the gift shop for a memento of my epic cycling adventure. Sadly nothing took my fancy, but one of the helpful guides suggested I take a look at Arran Aromatics on my way back to the ferry terminal.

Great idea, I thought. What could be more apt for a keepsake than something produced on the island?

Arran Sense of Scotland

I found the Arran Aromatics shop (now rebranded Arran Sense of Scotland) less than a mile south of Brodick Castle on the A841 in what I’m guessing is a restored dairy farm warehouse. A good-size car park is situated at the front of the building and there’s an artisan cheese shop to the left and a café to the right, with the aromatics shop clearly signed straight ahead.

Now, I’m not going to pretend I’m any kind of expert when it comes to fragrances, but I know what I like and I know what I don’t like, and I have to say I loved every single sample I poked my nose into.

With the memory of the sunset at Lochranza still fresh in my mind I decided to check out the Lochranza men’s eau de toilette and I was blown away by how good it smelt. Rich, spicy, slightly floral and with (to my senses) a tang of citrus, it smells masculine without being overpowering and my other half gave it a massive thumbs up, which was all the incentive I needed to buy a bottle.

Years later, Lochranza eau de toilette is now my signature scent and a bottle is permanently on my Christmas and birthday wish list along with the matching shower gel. When I’m feeling flush I’ll add a bottle of Machrie eau de toilette to the collection which is a wee bit lighter and works wonders as an all-day-long scent, and I’m hoping my incessant hints will encourage Santa to deliver a Machrie wash bag down the chimney at the end of the year.

Recently, I was contacted by Arran Sense of Scotland (I’ll shorten it to Arran SOS for the remainder of this article) and asked if I’d like to try a few samples of their products for a fair and unbiased review, which is basically where this long-winded introduction is heading.

Arran Sense of Scotland

I (of course) jumped at the chance as there’s never enough Arran SOS smelly-things in my house, so a few days later a shiny box jam-packed full of goodies arrived at my doorstep which I’ll now attempt to do justice with unbiased reviews.

I’ve either tested these products myself or have handed them over to family members to test, and the following reviews are our 100% personal thoughts after a week of use. There’s no corporate marketing BS here, just ordinary people giving their honest opinions.

I’ll also mention a few of the reasons why I’ve stuck with Arran SOS over the years, including their commitment to protecting the natural environment which includes using recycled materials in their bottles and moving towards 100% renewable energy at their manufacturing plants.

But before we get to that, let’s take a deeper look at the first review which is for the delectable Lochranza eau de toilette.


Lochranza eau de toilette

arran sense of scotland

Fragrance description from Arran Sense of Scotland: A warm fragrance with a woody base of patchouli and vetiver, enhanced by the freshness of lemon and grapefruit. Earthy and enigmatic.

Back in the days when I was a spotty teenager, I attempted to woo girls with liberal doses of Lynx body spray coupled with a healthy splash of my dads trusty bottle of Old Spice. For some reason I could never work out, that approach didn’t work and the ladies seemed to be repelled more than they were attracted (admittedly the spotty head didn’t help).

Oh, how things would have been different if I’d had a bottle of Lochranza at my disposal!

I gotta say, I love this stuff. The Lochranza range manages to do something that most fragrances for men fail to do which is have a rich scent that isn’t overbearing and can be used at any time of the day, whether it’s popping into town at lunchtime or getting ready for a late night out.

The smell is quite refined but I’d say it could be used by any age group from teenagers upwards. There’s definitely some zesty, citrusy notes in there but it’s also quite woody, with the end result being a fresh smell that starts off strong but calms down to a lighter scent the longer you wear it.

I’ve even had people comment on the smell four or five hours after applying it, which is something I never get with other eau de toilettes.

Arran SOS markets this product as Lochranza – Patchouli & Anise, which I took the time to research for this review. Apparently patchouli (if you weren’t already aware) is a type of aromatic herb that’s dried and distilled to extract the essential oil which has a woody, spicy smell. It’s also used in many part of the world to treat dermatitis and acne.

Now I really wish I had Lochranza eau de toillete when I was a teen.

You probably already know that anise is a seed used as a flavouring, but it’s also cultivated to extract an essential oil that has smells similar to tarragon and fennel. I guess it’s the combination of these two extracts that contribute to Lochranza’s overall scent, but regardless, take it from me it totally works as a fragrance for men.

Even the bottle looks great. It’s understated with a classy wooden cap that makes it look like it costs twice as much as it actually does, so if you’re looking for a gift for the man in your life (or you’re a fella looking for a new scent) I heartily recommend giving Lochranza a try.


Machrie bath and shower gel

arran sense of scotland

Fragrance description from Arran Sense of Scotland: Clean and crisp; Machrie is a balance of sea salt and clary sage stirred with the woody earthiness of rockrose.

In my Guide to the Arran Coastal Way I mention how nice the west side of the island is, mainly because the views across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Campbeltown peninsula are drop-dead gorgeous. Cycling along the A841 on a sunny day is an unforgettable experience, especially once you get midway around the junction where ‘the string’ road cuts across the island to Brodick.

It’s at this point where you’ll find Machrie, with the famous Machrie Moor standing stones located a mile further down the road. It’s a truly enigmatic coastal area and it’s one that’s unlike any other in Scotland, with the mainland peninsula offering a picturesque backdrop to the waves breaking on the rock-strewn shore.

It’s understandable, then, that Arran SOS chose this part of the island as inspiration for a scent that takes its cues from the island’s beachfront coastline.

The Machrie range is lighter than Lochranza with faint notes of herbs and an underlying woody earthiness that I feel is best suited for wearing during the day, and I imagine it would be the ideal choice for workers that want a pleasant and understated fragrance to wear in the office.

As I mentioned earlier, whenever I get a bottle of Machrie eau de toilette I always try to get a bottle of the body wash as well, as the two work together for a fresh all-day scent. The body wash foams into a wonderfully rich lather that only needs a wee drop, and it leaves skin feeling thoroughly invigorated once It’s washed off.

According to the Arran SOS website, Machrie shower gel is enriched with Pro-vitamin B5 which keeps skin soft, smooth and healthy. All I know is my skin feels amazing after I’ve showered with it and it helps no end with keeping my dry skin at bay.

Final thought? 100% recommended.


Seaweed & Sage bath and shower gel

arran sense of scotland

Fragrance description from Arran Sense of Scotland: Bright and open, an ozonic fragrance highlighted with the natural warmth of herbal top notes.

Seaweed and Sage bath and shower gel is usually the domain of my other half, but now that Arran SOS have sent me a sample I’ve finally had the opportunity to try it out. And guess what? It’s awesome! I’d previously never used the contents of the deep blue bottles on the boss’s side of the bathroom as I mistakenly thought it would be too feminine, but I’m happy to report that simply isn’t the case.

In fact, I wouldn’t say it’s a male or female scent at all. It’s just… nice. The scent is light, lighter than Lochranza and Machrie for sure, but not so light you can’t smell it once it’s washed off. I reckon it would be obscured by a strong aftershave or perfume but I can definitely smell it on my partner if she doesn’t wear any other fragrance.

Seaweed & Sage shower gel has a zesty, citrusy smell a bit like Machrie (to my nose at least) and I’m sure there’s a gentle hint of orange in there as well. Like Machrie shower gel, it has a fresh scent that’s perfect for getting your body into gear early in the morning and it rinses off nice and easily.

The real selling point though, is how soft this body wash leaves your skin afterwards thanks to the moisturizing oils included in the ingredients. I’d even say it leaves skin feeling smoother than Machrie body wash which is quite an achievement in itself.

A big bonus for our household is the fact you can get Seaweed & Sage body wash in giant two-litre refills that work out at around £7 per bottle, or less than half the full retail price of a standalone bottle.

Like the Machrie shower gel you only need a little to work up a rich, foamy lather so £7 per bottle is great value as it means you get months and months of top-notch premium moisturizing shower gel for less than fifty quid. Bargain.


Glenashdale Grapefruit & Green Leaf bath and shower gel

arran sense of scotland

Fragrance description from Arran Sense of Scotland: This invigorating fragrance is a zesty blend of freshly rasped lemons and essential oil of grapefruit and finished with the clean, crisp lift of bergamot.

Arran SOS were kind enough to include a double pack of Glenashdale Grapefruit & Green Leaf bath and shower gel and body lotion in their goodie box and I was keen to try both. However, after a good sniff I decided it’s definitely a scent for the ladies so I handed the bottles over to my mum for her opinion.

A week later and the response is… she wants more for her birthday. That might not sound like a big deal, but this is a woman that always asks for wallet-busting L’Occitane products for her birthday, and to ask for anything else has been unheard of for the last twenty years. Suffice to say, the Glenashdale range get a big thumbs up from her.

This is another zesty, citrusy scent but in my opinion there are light underlying floral notes in there too. Mum, on the other hand, swears the main scent is grapefruit (makes sense) which lingers long after it has been washed off.

Whatever the fragrance, it was our unanimous decision that it’s quite delicate and perfect for ladies of a certain age.

Glenashdale Grapefruit & Green leaf bath and shower gel has the same pro-vitamin B5 ingredient as other Arran SOS shower gels and by all accounts it lathers up just as well.

In fact, according to the 70-year-old reviewer it even works up a foam better than L’Occitane’s offerings, and the bottle looks nicer.

As far as negatives go, I was given none except that she’s now heavily hinting she also wants a bottle of Glen Iorsa Lavender and Spearmint shower gel as well as Glen Rosa Figleaf shower gel, just so she can decide which is her favourite.

It’s going to be an expensive Christmas…


Glenashdale Grapefruit & Green Leaf body lotion

arran sense of scotland

Following on from the Glenashdale shower gel, opinions were gathered for the matching body lotion.

This is a tricky one as my mother, bless her, has very dry skin so any moisturizing lotion really has its work cut out. I tested this lotion on myself before handing it over and I’m happy to report it soaks into skin amazingly well, leaves no residue, and isn’t at all oily.

That’s partly the reason why she likes L’Occitane as their shea butter body lotion is one of the few lotions that moisturizes without leaving a greasy smear.

Glenashdale Grapefruit & Green Leaf body lotion appears to be another moisturizer that doesn’t leave skin feeling greasy, and the scent was actually preferred.

I was informed it didn’t leave skin feeling quite as soft as L’Occitane’s lotion, but then Arran SOS’s version is considerably cheaper, the packaging is nicer, it smells great, and of course, it’s proudly made in Scotland.

One point I’ve been asked to make is that when the shower gel and body lotion are combined the scent is strong and pleasant enough that no other fragrance is required, at least during the day. For evenings, a little extra would probably be nice to have such as the Glenashdale Grapefruit & Green Leaf body mist, or perhaps one of Arran SOS’s eau de parfums.

So long story short, is this Glenashdale lotion any good and is it a recommended purchase? The even shorter answer is – yes, absolutely.


After the Rain reed diffuser

arran sense of scotland

Fragrance description from Arran Sense of Scotland: A fresh blend of rose petals, musk and floral citrus combines with the notes of Arran’s precious woods.

About two years ago my other half decided it would be a good idea to get a reed diffuser from a high street fashion store and plonk it on the fireplace in the living room.

After an hour the entire house smelled like a mixture of Mr Sheen and petrol and the diffuser was unceremoniously dumped in the bin with a joint agreement that one would never darken our doorstep again.

It was with some trepidation that I unpacked Arran Sense of Scotland’s ‘After the Rain’ reed diffuser which they had included in their sample box. Would this be another stomach churner?

Well, I’m happy to report Arran SOS’s diffuser is as far removed from that first horror as it’s possible to get. In fact, it smells fantastic.

Personally, I really hate overpowering perfume smells at home whether it’s scented candles or pot-pourri, but hats off to Arran SOS because they’ve managed to create a reed diffuser that’s light, fresh, and permeates through the house, but not too much.

There’s definitely a smell of flowers in there (rose petals according to the website) as well as a little citrus, and if I’m not mistaken a little spiciness as well. It’s really quite uplifting and as soon as I walk in the door I’m reminded of freshly cut flowers.

The house feels just a wee bit cosier somehow, and every visitor has so far commented on it.

The reed diffuser comes in a big 200ml bottle of fragrance and I’ve no idea how long it will last, but a few of the reviews on Amazon suggest up to a year. Frankly, that’s amazing, and it works out at incredible value for money.

If you’re looking for a special gift to give to friends and family, Arran SOS reed diffusers are a great option.


Why choose products from Arran Sense of Scotland?

I’ll be totally honest here – the first thing that kept me returning to Arran SOS’s products is that the scents last for ages, as you’d expect from a premium brand. That, coupled with the prices (which are very reasonable for a top-tier beauty product manufacturer), mean everything in the Arran SOS catalogue is a wee bargain because a little goes a long, long way.

However, as nice as saving a few quid is there’s always a nagging doubt when buying cosmetics and beauty products that the excessive packaging is doing no end of harm to the planet.

We all know that using too much plastic is bad for the environment, but did you know the beauty products industry is one of the largest producers of waste plastics globally?

According to beatthemicrobead.org, each year the industry produces over 120 billion items of plastic packaging, 95% of which is thrown out after a single use.

That’s a disturbing statistic, and a sad one when you consider only 9% of all the plastic waste that has ever been produced has been recycled, with the rest either burned – releasing noxious chemicals into the atmosphere – or dumped in landfills which slowly pollute the environment.

The main problem with plastic is that it takes a long time to break down – a long time – with an average plastic bottle taking an estimated 450 years to decay. That’s millions upon millions of plastic bottles floating around the oceans and waterways for the rest of our lives, our children’s lives, our grandchildren’s lives – and beyond.

plastic bottle pollution

You can begin to see how devastating plastic packaging is to our planet, so it’s great that responsible companies like Arran SOS are doing their bit to reduce the impact of these packaging materials.

In fact, Arran SOS are so committed to reducing their use of plastics they have a plan to ensure all of their bottles will be 100% made from recycled materials by the end of 2021.

Not only that, they are one of the few premium beauty product manufacturers to offer liquids in large two-litre refill containers, meaning customers can buy their favourite shampoos and hand washes and refill the bottles they already have which reduces plastic consumption by up to 76%.

Hopefully this trend will catch on, but from my own research there aren’t many top-tier brands that have this option so Arran SOS is definitely leading the pack in this regard.

Another environmentally-friendly aspect to Arran SOS is their move towards using 100% renewable energy and they plan to fulfil this aim at all their manufacturing plants by 2022. Again, well done Arran Sense of Scotland.

There are two further points I want to make about why I choose Arran Sense of Scotland, and why you should consider purchasing their products as well.

The first is that their items are manufactured here in Scotland, so by choosing Arran SOS you’re supporting a born-and-bred all-Scottish business. Take that globalization!

The second point is a bit of a personal one but I feel it probably applies to lots of people. Myself and my other half have rather ‘difficult’ skin and we both flare up with rashes with a lot of big-name health and beauty products, meaning we have to be very choosy when it comes to face wash, soap, shampoo… basically everything.

Not so with Arran SOS. I’ve tried most of their range (as has my other half) and neither of us has ever had a hint of a rash or the slightest tingling of that horrible dry itch that chemical-infused products give us. That in itself is reason enough for our family to stick with Arran Sense of Scotland year after year.

Long may it continue.

Arran Sense of Scotland - Independent Product Review 14

FAQ about Arran Sense of Scotland

How do I contact Arran Sense of Scotland?

Arran Sense of Scotland can be contacted by:

email: info@arran.com

Post: ARRAN Sense of Scotland, Home Farm, Brodick, Isle of Arran, KA27 8DD

Phone: 01770 302 595

Website contact form: https://arran.com/pages/contact-us

Can Arran Sense of Scotland products be returned if I’m not happy with them?

From the Arran Sense of Scotland website: ‘If you are not 100% happy with your purchase from ARRAN Sense of Scotland we offer a simple returns policy. Simply return your items to us within 14 days for a full refund.’.

Where is my local Arran Sense of Scotland stockist?

Find shops selling Arran Sense of Scotland products with their website stockist finder: https://arran.com/pages/find-a-stockist

Arran Sense of Scotland also has their own stores on the Isle of Arran and in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow.

What mail order delivery options does Arran Sense of Scotland offer?

See the Arran Sense of Scotland delivery page for latest updates: https://arran.com/pages/delivery

arran sense of scotland

By Craig Neil

Scotland travel writer and specialist 360° photographer. Founder of the Out About Scotland travel website and Vartour virtual tours.