“We walked in the cold air
Freezing breath on the window pane…”
Cold wind blowing over Danube, this means nothing to me.
Then the other song echoes in my head as soon as I see the City – Junge Roemer. I hear Falco, the wind carrying his voice over vast squares, Imperial yellow facades echoing it…Auditory and olfactory experiences and memories of Vienna.
I walk the empty streets in 2. Bezirk, because it is Sunday. Mind that if you plan to visit this great city, as it is so in Austria – Sunday is a day off. Warmth glows from within Tachles – das Kulturcafė we stumbled upon and it smells like books and bier, candles and relaxed people quietly chatting, some sitting quietly and reading books. Feels so easygoing and I just melt in. We forget to say “Aufwiederschauen” instead of “Aufwiedersehen”, but “Gruess Gott” is ever present. My closest friends accompany me and we fill the dark street (thanks to lights pollution prevention) near Karmelitierplatz with laughter. Life is good, thank you very much, Vienna.
What does Vienna smell like to me? I’ve visited the city on many occasions and I always felt at home there. It smells warm, of old dust and moist air, dark chocolate hand-written triangle on Sacher cake, horse dung and pumpkin stew in early November.
It is connected with Nature like Sissy and hardworking like Franz Joseph, the Kaiser who was a workaholic.
It smells of decadent and amazing past, cruel and glorious as all empires are but it also carries a frisk scent of future.
Vienna is famous for it’s lust for perfumes as well. Don’t forget the tradition of the Habsburg monarchy and imperial suppliers, such as Nägele&Strubell, since 1880. Many of the historic fragrances, if you are a fan, can be obtained today. These are created by the Wiener Blut, a company specializing in reinterpretation of imperial perfumes. Where emperors ruled – there were perfumes, simple as that. The Habsburgs ruled from 1526-1804, giving plenty of time and resources for fine perfumes refinement. It is old, it is new, it is modest and luxurious, busy and relaxed, never to be taken for granted.
My curious nose took me to “Le Parfum“. What a wonderful location it has! Very close to St.Stephans Cathedral, just next to St. Peter’s church, at Petersplatz 3.
Graben is right behind the corner, if shopping is what you are looking for. Need a handkerchief? Trust me, not just any handkerchief? Check out Zur Schwabische Jungfrau 🙂 The oldest boutique in Vienna, an institution, dating from 1720. The snowball is definitely not the only souvenir this city can offer!
Why “Le Parfum“? It’s back to basics but also a step forward for the Oelschlaegel family, owners of the exclusive “Nägele & Strubell” stores. In the time of mass market perfumes they pondered the quintessence of the perfumery, creating “Le Parfum”: a place of reflection, olfactory heaven, reserved for exquisite and selected perfumes. Refined noses are very welcome!
So, here we are: at Vienna’s prime! “Le Parfum” carries a fine choice of niche perfumes, check their list here. The staff? Simply brilliant, as it goes with exclusive niche stores. Interior is urban-cool roccoco, the obligatory “rest and relax while enjoying” corner ever present.
This is what I’ve hunted down for you; I am happy to present the following pearls. This is just a brief preview. Detailed reviews will follow in weeks to come.
Teresa Helbig – Teresa, A bulldog in the Atelier, Tangier Memories – there they go, taking me back to Morroco again! Each one with a story, each one to savor.
Carner Barcelona “Black Collection” – Smells of Catalonia (I really do miss Barcelona very very much…). It’s all about memories, feelings, olfactory impressions. I agree and present the “Rose&Dragon” (Once upon a time, a Princess was enslaved by a Dragon…St. George killed the beast to save the Princess. It’s blood drenched the soil and from the Dragon’s blood a Rose grew…and this perfume captures it’s fragrance).
Santi Burgas White Collection – Unplanned Perfumes: unplanned? Hmmmm. Just as Nature is unplanned…fascinating world of associations in insect decorated bottles!
Not a Perfume- Juliette has a gun – and a bullet that goes straight through your heart. Oh, Romeo, beware thee!
Histories de Perfumes- 1889 and 1804. – male, female or vice versa. The spirit in the bottle. Classics and what’s new is “This Is Not a Blue Bottle”, I’m expecting to meet it soon as well!
Byredo – Newest from Stockholm – Cedar is also available, but I really find Blanche quite interesting.
Hello Mr. Guerlain, bonjour Santale Royal. Le Parfum proudly displays and presents Les Exclusives in Austria.
And Serge Lutens Collection, Killian, Amouage, Maison Margiela, Roja, Federic Malle and candles, presents in boxes, enough to feel completely dizzy! I will see where these will take me, as soon as I carefully dip my nose in every little vial I have chosen to take with me.
I’ll be back, no doubt about it.
In the complex and fascinating world of artisan perfumery niche brands, shops are places of olfactory hedonism, a gateway to a different Universe. Just recently, on a rainy…
What a difference a small fruit made!
Yesterday, on a rainy Autumn Saturday, I went briefly to the nearest open market, desperately in need of Vitamin C. The past week was hectic, and while I tremendously enjoy workout and dancing, the last training I had with lengthy series of side abs obliques workout left me feeling my each and every rib, my whole rib cage sore with muscle pain.
As I walked in the market and lifted my umbrella, a sudden rush of orange color was all around me. It is the season of mandarins, fresh, bright orange, citrus’n’honey smelling, little balls of sunshine and sweetness! The benches in the open air market were filled with them, big heaps of mandarines, some still with leaves and branches, just picked, brightening up the day.
On my way home I peeled one and left the peels in the open bag: that sweet smell in the car already made me feel better. It took me away, bringing back an olfactory memory…
Morroco. Tangerines. Sahara.
Smells of kasbah, souks and lack of any scent at all, deep in the landscape of fine orange sands in Sahara. Some years ago I was on a trip to Morocco, from Casablanca to Marrakesh, from Fes to Chefchaouen: the ever-shifting landscape of Morocco provided plenty of distractions as we watched the scenery change from lush, palm-lined oases to surreal, barren stretches of otherworldly rock formations. There were ocher colored vast hills; verdant valleys with crystalline lakes, just planted young olive trees and snow-blanketed peaks of the impressive Atlas Mountains.
I also made stops at artisan workshops, buying rose and argan oils for which Morocco is famous.
I picked a fresh and ripe Tangerine from a tree on the outskirts of Medina, on my way to El-Attarine (perfume and spice) Souk in Marrakesh, its taste and smell forever to remind me of that exact location.
Mandarines, tangerines: pretty much alike, not the same. Moroccan Tangerines are somewhat larger, sweeter, the scent stronger and very present in the perfumes’ production. What I needed was a balm, and there was the Azena’s Green Tangerine sample waiting for me.
Why Azena? It is 100% natural. It is a family owned small business, run by the third generation heirs. They have a great story going back to the Grandpa who was famous for his Comfrey creams, herbs and healing teas. Now they feature Eco friendly packaging, continuing their tradition of 100% natural, handmade cosmetics. Azena Green Tangerine’s ingredients are tangerine oil and Marigold flowers essence. It also contains Comfrey root extract, renown for healing muscle pain and used for its medicinal benefits for over 2.000 years. It seemed that timing was right for me to try it out!
The (100ml) body balm is greenish yellow, mousse like but quite oily, best to use after showering on damp skin. It has tingling fresh effect, leaving your skin silky. Happy skin. The fragrance is green Tangerine skins at first very sparkly, uplifting and fresh. Then, as you rub it in, the warmth of skin turns it in earthy, rich, hay-like and musty Marigold hue.
My olfactory impression: short lasting but uplifting Tangerine scent, vision of a tangerine cut in slices for cocktails. Fades fast, fresh and greenish citrus vitamin C kick transforming into warmer hay and honey scent, which I find great since I am not a fan of Fanta-like orange-sticky sweet mandarine scent.
Where to buy: Azena, Origin – Croatian Cosmetics
Samples provided by: Origin – Croatian Cosmetics
Tangerine Perfume Recommendations:
New! scent of Ben Gotham‘s Swedish perfume house Byredo, which has released its first-ever retailer exclusive, a unisex fragrance Belle de Tanger, exclusively sold at Neiman Marcus. I haven’t had a chance to sniff it yet but as soon as I do, will let you know precisely.
You may also like Tangerine – Demeter Fragrance, Agrumi da Sicilia – Monotheme Fine Fragrances Venice and Fraiche Badiane, Les Aromatiques (the nose behind this fragrance is Jean-Paul Millet Lage).
Mass Market suggestions: 6902 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles by Zara, Trendy by Avon 2015.
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Azena web page.
“Tangerine Trees and Marmalade Skies” is a verse from “Lucy In The Sky a With Diamonds”.