I had a dream, not long ago.
I found myself in the wood of dark and tall oak trees, cold and leafless, and the air smelled of damp wood, wet leaves, moss, and rain. At first, this place felt threatening, no path was visible in the fog surrounding me. Yet, as I walked on, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, I faced a clearing in this forest and begun to hear birds chirping in the trees, and felt a ray of sunshine touching my face. I felt relief and determination to find my way out. When I continued to walk my own way, not feeling lost anymore, I suddenly and unexpectedly came upon a clearance.
There was a field amidst high trees before me. The trees were dark and gloomy but the field I saw was a field of spring flowers! Colors of yellow and white and lilac, Crocus, Hyacinth, Primrose, and Snowdrops protruding from the fresh green grass, what a sight! I was happy. I woke up smiling.
Now, Mr. Freud surely would have analyzed this, asking me more questions about this dream, and what my feelings were while experiencing all events and images described.
At the turn of the last century, Sigmund Freud published his book, The Interpretation of Dreams, arguing that our dreams are nothing more than wishes that we are looking to fulfill in our waking lives. Born in Freiberg, when he was four years old, Freud’s family moved to Vienna, where he lived and worked until he fled Austria in 1938.
My line of thought that morning: ok, I am spending a vacation in Vienna, I should do some planning in advance. While I’m there I will visit the Freud Museum because I never managed to do so on previous visits. And I will explore perfumes, of course.
This led me to reading everything I could find about WienerBlut perfumes and ta-naaa! There it was. The perfume Freudian Wood! Bingo. And yes, this blog falls under my caterogoryWhat’s Up In Da City- Vienna.
„The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.“ – Sigmund Freud
Let me paraphrase you, Mr. Freud: I would say that scents are the royal road to our olfactory memories, conscious and unconscious! Also, nowadays we have aromachology, the psychology of understanding how we react to certain smells.
Yes, the fragrance designers are well aware of the power of scents, or as Proust put it, little Madeleine cookies planted in our memory. Scents have evocative powers. By stimulating the olfactory pathways to the brain’s limbic system (which processes smell, mediates mood and stores memory) a fragrance CAN bring back or forth a sense of energy, sensuality, confidence or exhilaration!
Wien, Vienna, Beč, the city I love to return to. What are the scents that define Vienna to me? As I walked the streets surrounding Stephansdome, it was a mixture of humidity in the air coming from Danube, Christmas Market hot Gluehwein and punch at the corner of Kaertnerstrasse, the scent of warm plums served with Kaiserschmarn coming from a restaurant I passed by, the smell of the carriage horses strolling around in slow pace and fresh-baked Sachertorte at Demel‘s.
Olfactory impressions aside, I did visit to experience specific scents from Vienna, focusing this time on WienerBlut collection, one fragrance in particular: Freudian Wood.
The term WienerBlut was coined in 1873 and describes the unique blend of archness and hedonism attributed to the Viennese. It implies never-ending nostalgia, the longing for turn-of-the-century Vienna and its unique atmosphere. It’s the essence of Vienna, lifestyle and spirit of the city, although you might know the term because of the waltz or operetta by Johann Strauss II, an album by Falco, a song by the Austrian metal band Stahlhammer or a song from Rammstein. I will remain by these positive interpretations of this term, sticking mostly to the one which translates it as Viennese Spirit.
Perfume making has a long tradition in Vienna, blooming in the times of the Habsburg monarchy. Lavender water variations, Kniže as an Imperial Court supplier, even today a timeless classic. WienerBlut was founded in 2009. by Alexander Lauber and creates fragrances based on original formulas and frags of 19th century Vienna, bringing back these imperial period scents but with a modern twist.
It is a small company, niche-oriented, featuring an Austrian perfumer, Yogesh Kumar. The first fragrance line was introduced in 2009., some perfumes were discontinued, but the new lineup is truly worth a sniff.
They are niche by every possible definition, being authentic and minding the quality of the ingredients, sporting a Nose and a certain degree of sustainability.
The packaging concept is simple, the bottle does not take attention away from the perfume and overall packaging is more about the content and less about the frills. My cup of tea.
As I wrote to Alexander, he recommended that I visit KussMund, located in the center of the city. So I did, and a wonderful place it is, check the link. With a very helpful and perfume storytelling SA. Here you can find the whole WienerBlut collection:
Allow me to focus on the perfume Freudian Wood- created by Mark Buxton. This is what I came for, right? This is the official description by WienerBlut:
„In the world of Freud, wood stands for
sexual desire in general and the female
bosom in particular. A milky fragrance
that captures intimate skin feeling –
with animalic and lactonic notes
vibrating around a luscious woody core.
Notes: Ambrette Seeds, Cypress, Milk,
Cumin, Costus, Mimosa, Sandalwood,
My olfactory impression: This perfume is composed of intriguing notes, playful and powdery at the same time, with a very sensual woody aftertaste. It is seductive in a refined and elegant way. The first note that strikes me is Mimosa but it is layered upon Cypress, which is rather surprising in a good way. Then milk rises, almost buttery milk, warm, combined with Cumin making it creamy and caressing, soft and gentle as the skin on skin. Ambergris plays softly but quite strong and sandalwood is present but not loud. It is like a dream after which you wake up smiling: sensual, warm, encompassing but providing joy of life feeling and making you feel good in your own skin. Longevity is very good and sillage noticeable. I feel I could wear it all year round, morning to evening. It works very well on me in cold weather, and I can’t wait to test it on a warm Spring day.
What can I say? It was worth my trip. To Vienna and to WienerBlut I shall return…Oh, wait! Did I tell you about Sale Marino?
There I go again: unable to determine which one I like the most! Have fun exploring these fine perfumes!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, installation photographed at the Sigmund Freud Museum by Austrian multimedia artist Peter Kogler
Samples provided by KissMund Wien
I outed myself. I am a perfume addict. To be precise, I am a niche perfume addict. Not a hoarder of bottles, mind you. I collect olfactory experiences……
This will be probably the shortest perfumes travelogue ever written in my blog series: what’s up in Paris?
I wanted to write just that and post some photos, but couldn’t resist, so here it goes…
Call me a Francophile if you wish: for me, Paris is the capital of the World. Fine perfumes world, too.
What can a perfume geek like me do&see&visit in Paris?
Now, here we have a problem: that depends on how much time you’ve got. A day or two will drive you crazy, a week wasn’t enough for me.
If you have a one day stay in Paris, I suggest making a quick tour of grands magazines: GalleriesLafayette, BonMarché and Colette.
Or Nose, 20 rue Bachaumont. Here you can find some well-known perfumes, all in one place, a fine selection. Running around from one to the other will be a race with time, so dress properly and get those metro tickets ready!
If you find the time, visit Le Grand Musée duParfum, I find it really fascinating!
For a bit longer stay, let’s say a couple of days, I suggest a visit to some major flagship stores, like the famous Guerlain shop on Champs Elysees.
Run quickly to see Serge Luton at Palais Royal. Do drop by AnnickGoutal’s at 14 rue de Castiglione, for some real chic Parisien, lingerie included (both in 1st arrondissement). I skipped Fragonard simply because I’ve spent days researching it in Grasse, but as long as you are running around the 1st, have a go. Oh, while you are there, drop in at Maitre Perfuemur et Gantier, yet another famous Parisian perfumer.
The man I adore, Francis Kurkdjian resides nearby as well:5 rue d’Alger was the one I rushed into. Then move over to Saint-Germain-des-Pres district, there you’ll find the flagship boutique of one of France’s most beloved modern noses, Frédéric Malle. My beloved as well… Don’t forget Parles Moi de Parfum, run by Benjamin and Romain Almairac. Their fine boutique has a selection of over 200 raw materials, which serve as a basis to create their niche perfumes.
If you are planning to devote a whole week to this kind of sightseeing, there are ooh! So many! Niche houses! I can’t really name them all here, but I know the next time I visit Paris I will certainly find time to go to Le Jardin Retrouve Salon…
Is that all? Not in your dreams. There’s more. And more. So much more. I already have a very long list of “must do’s”!
One thing is certain, though: I’ll be back…over and over again. Feeling like Alice in Wonderland…
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl private collection
Update: February 2018.
Short, business visit: this city gives me more and more each time I visit! Ok, Seine has flooded terribly but the spirit is high.
Since I didn’t have much time I planned a visit to Le Jardin Retrouve showroom. Apart from meeting Clara in person (finally!), she showed me everything: the history tree, concept, novelties, plans for new products and the lab!
Next time I will definitely save some time for JAR experience, which is on my bucket list as well. Enjoy the pics!
And, of course, some Guerlain classics at Guerlain flagship store, including the monster bottle spotted at Sephora, 68 Champs Elysees, just next door to Guerlain:
Love this city! ❤️💙❤️
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl
„According to the legend, Venus lost her necklace during a sea bath and the pearls scattered in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It created a beautiful string…