“We walked in the cold air
Freezing breath on the windowpane…”
Cold wind blowing over the 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 its 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 the 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 rococo, the obligatory “rest-n-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 its 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. – Classics and what’s new is “This Is Not a Blue Bottle”, I’m expecting to smell 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, Frederic 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.
The Plum Girl