Category Archives: Von Eusersdorff

Von Eusersdorff ‘Classic Orange’

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One of my favourite foody scents is orange. Fat, sunset coloured fruits bursting with sharp juices. Some firm, to be sliced with a kitchen knife, others small and plump and soft enough to peel with your fingers. I adore the lingering stickiness and the slightly bitter tang that citrus peel leaves on skin and under fingernails. Eating an orange is, for me, always a happy experience.

Orange blossom, or Neroli, in it’s essential oil form is one of the most hauntingly beautiful scents there is. It has a bittersweet, almost smokey delicacy that is truly moving. I tend to burn neroli oil when I am in need of some quiet reassurance and a gentle lifting of my worries. Where the burst of sparkling golden citrus from an orange is full of joyful laughter, neroli is a whispered protective mantra muttered over candle flames in the night.

Petitgrain is similar to Neroli, it is still harvested from the orange tree but this time from the unripe fruit, leaves and bark. It is sharper and slightly more woody but still has the same essential delicate, citrussy nature. Petitgrain is cheaper to produce and therefore it is often called ‘the poor man’s’ neroli. However high quality petigrain, mostly obtained from France, is a wonderful scent and used to add depth and texture to citrus scents in perfumery.

As you can imagine, I get very excited at the prospect of orange perfumes. It is amazing how many   interpretations of this humble citrus fruit there are and I have more than a few issues with most of them. The biggest problem seems to be that of longevity. Citrus molecules are notoriously short lived, evaporating on warm skin far too fast for my liking. In order to counteract this, perfumers often blend orange oil with orange blossom and other florals to prolong it’s life, or there are tell tale signs of chemical ‘super florilizers’, which trigger horrible headaches. When orange blossom is blended with other florals I often find that it turns to powder on my skin, it’s something I really don’t like. Only one perfume with a predominantly floral orange blossom accord has stolen my heart and that is Vero Profumo ‘Rubj’ Extrait. In this fragrance the orange blossom is allowed the space to sparkle and shimmer atop the more indolic jasmine and tuberose. It doesn’t turn to powder on my skin and remains light and beautiful throughout the development.

Other perfumes have more focus on the orange fruit itself. Often these are combined with other foody notes like tomato and various herbal combinations, woody notes like sandalwood or predictable festive spices. The most successful fruity orange perfumes that I have in my collection are ‘The Sun‘ from Gorilla perfumes, a sticky orange squash scent with a lovely, warm sandalwood dry down, and ‘Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic’ from Guerlain. This perfume smells completely amazing at first spritz, full of juice and zest with little white blooms floating atop it. That classic, herbal/balsamic Guerlain base comes through a little too strongly for me though, especially in summer when it can smell far too much like I’ve rubbed basil leaves on my pulse points.

Obviously I was intrigued by Von Eusersdorff’s latest launch, ‘Classic Orange’. Given the highly polished and superb quality of their other fragrances, I knew that this perfume was bound to be well made and appealing. Due to my deep love of orange and a distinct lack of scents that actually work on my skin, my standards in this genre of perfume are very high. So how does ‘Classic Orange’ perform…..?

When I spritzed the perfume onto my skin it felt as if I had just pushed my thumb into the firm skin of a huge orange, spraying bitter juices forth. Very quickly the sweeter nectar inside begins to flow. The opening is so completely like the act of peeling of an orange that my mouth waters. Developing slowly out of this torrent of bitter sweetness is the slightly smokey sharpness of petigrain and black tea, beneath that a smoother, polished surface of sandalwood. Now orange and woods are a combination that I’m already familiar with, but the difference here is the balance between them.

Sandalwood can warm a perfume up very quickly. Here the orange is very firmly in the lead role and keeps the whole scent cool and pleasantly bitter, helped by the aromatic and spiky black tea. The wood beneath is masterfully controlled and serves to add depth and longevity to the citrus, without surpassing it. Von Eusersdorff have again created that superb smoothness and finish that so impresses me, particularly here where the sharpness of the petigrain could roughen the edges. It also only has the bearest hint of a floral note, just enough to ornament it’s boldness with a flicker of femininity.

‘Classic Orange’ becomes more sweet and musky as it warms, however it maintains it’s citrus  slammer of a start for over an hour, which is impressive. The orange never fades entirely, it simply becomes more liquid and smooth. The sandalwood is ever so slightly soapy/lemony now and the more bitter bark of the petigrain reigns it all in under it’s quietly stern gaze. It doesn’t have a huge sillage but as I’ve mentioned before I don’t mind this in the slightest. As it has a very true orange nature and I wouldn’t want people to think that I’d emptied a bottle of juice over my head. I believe this is a scent to be sprayed in the air and walked through, enough to give you a corona of freshness. But that’s just me. For those who love a big perfume, ‘Classic Orange’ is up to the challenge.

Von Eusersdorff describe ‘Classic Orange as

 “A bittersweet symphony.”

I couldn’t agree more. I am so impressed with this perfume, it is by far the truest representation of orange that I have come across. Paired with the darker bitterness of petigrain and tea the fragrance is cologne-like and cool. There are no boozy notes, nothing overly sweet and sticky, no spices (thank god.) It is a perfume all about the orange and a beautifully made one at that. Von Eusersdorff do simplicity so, so well. All their scents are highly crafted and finished to exceptional standards. This is not the house to go to if you like a bit of rough. Their orange is a high definition, three dimensional portrait of a big blood orange, plucked from the tree outside the window and freshly sliced open on the wooden table, oozing it’s divine nectar in sticky rivulets into the grain. Damn it is good!

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Von Eusersdorff ‘Classic Myrrh’

Myrrh

So here we are, the forth and final review of Von Eusersdorff’s classic collection. It has been a very interesting change of pace for me to review the whole collection rather than just picking my favourites, but I felt it was important to better understand how the perfumes all relate to one another.

As you have probably noticed I like to dedicate a good number of words to a perfume and I don’t tend to review fragrance that I really haven’t enjoyed. I believe that it is such a personal experience that for every one person that doesn’t enjoy it, there will be at least two that will. Who am I to tell someone why they won’t like something? All I can offer is my experience and if it hasn’t been good then is it really worth sharing? I do not have enough experience to class myself as a critic.  Out of the four Von Eusersdorff perfumes there has only been one that I didn’t enjoy personally and that was the ‘Classic Vetiver’. But that is because I just don’t like vetiver. However, it was undoubtably a well crafted perfume and it didn’t seem right to leave a gap in the series, so it was a learning curve to write about something that didn’t do it for me for a change! I am relieved to say that I found the experience of ‘Classic Myrrh’, far more pleasant, a mesmerizing scent filled with echoing notes of incense and warm woods.

‘Classic Myrrh’ is a seamlessly stitched portrayal of an eastern temple. Myrrh, as you would expect, is present immediately, sweet and resinous. There is a citrus note sparkling away too, although it is gentle and serves to emphasise the sweet incense. I have experienced a few Myrrh fragrances, one I particularly enjoyed being ‘La Liturgie des Heures’ from Jovoy. Where that perfume was cold and sombre and full of winter light, ‘Classic Myrrh’ is warm and far more oriental in nature.

The incense here is still burning, wisps of smooth smoke curling up into the wooden rafters of the temple. A golden Buddha is seated upon a pedestal, hung all over with flower garlands. Offerings of food wrapped in leaves sit before his feet and the constant resonance of a singing bowl spreads it’s one note into the silence.

‘Classic Myrrh’ has a really spacious feel, the smokey sweet myrrh and possibly what might be musky amber could potentially become cloying but is enriched with what I believe is Oud. There is absolutely no sharpness to it, just a wonderful, rounded orb of living wood which is almost animalic. Von Eusersdorff have again achieved that beautiful smoothness and perfect finish that is present in all their perfumes. I am coming to the conclusion that it’s the very clever use of patchouli through the range that brings all the scents together in such a harmonious manner.

Black patchouli is present again in ‘Classic Myrrh’, this time with a dualistic effect. I am reminded of patchouli’s more herbal, dry floral side in this perfume, but also it’s juicy, dark stickiness that I love so much. The floral aspect makes the scent even more atmospheric and spiritual, whereas the darker juices amp up the Oud and woods, adding depth and smokey warmth. Out of the four Classic perfumes, this is the one with the most longevity. It has a very persistent presence that I was aware of all day long, it seemed that the longer I wore it the stronger it became. ‘Classic Myrrh’ seems very reactive to body heat, when I was out and about in the sun it was sweeter and more filled with top citrus notes, amber and myrrh, when I was resting at home I noticed the darker heart woods seeping through the smoke.

As with all fragrance, whether you love something enough to wear it on your skin is your own personal decision, but as I have said before, one cannot deny when a perfume has been crafted using superb quality ingredients and genuine passion. I really enjoy incense-filled perfume in the same way that I enjoy going to fancy dress parties. It’s a costume, a disguise. I revel in the experience of it but the next day it’s a relief to become yourself once more. I am impressed with ‘Classic Myrrh’ but it is not a perfume that I could wear comfortably in many circumstances. I know plenty of incense lovers who will adore this for it’s resinous, almost crystalline sweetness and it’s impressive sillage.

The winner from this collection for me definitely has to be the ‘Classic Patchouli’. I love it, my husband loves it, people have commented on how lovely it is when I wear it (which I can promise you rarely happens to me, even though I’m permanently doused in perfume!) This is the one that I will be saving to buy a bottle of. It is timeless and elegant and I just feel good when I wear it.

Von Eusersdorff’s new fragrance, ‘Classic Orange’ will be debuting on 27th September at Jovoy in Paris. If it has the same class and sophistication of the original four then we should expect great things. I’m very much looking forward to wrapping my nose around it….

Von Eusersdorff ‘Classic Vetiver’

vetiver

In this penultimate review of the Von Eusersdorff classic four collection, I will be swimming in the depths of ‘Classic Vetiver’.

I have previously talked about the sophistication of ‘Classic Patchouli’ and the perfect dream that is ‘Classic Mimosa’. Von Eusersdorff have set a very high bench mark for themselves and with a little more time there will be even more of a buzz about what they are up to. Scent is such a subjective thing and everyone’s taste will be different. What you cannot deny is that quality and skill shines through, regardless of personal taste. Von Eusersdorff do scent-making extremely well. They are not thrill seekers, these perfumes are in no way avant-garde or edgy. But they are, or so I believe, going to reach the status of ‘Modern Classic’ perfumes one day soon.

I appreciate Von Eusersdorff’s uncomplicated simplicity. There is no need to dress these perfumes up in allure and mystique in order to make them what they are. they just are. That is impressive.

There are many, many scents within the niche market that are surrounded by hype, some I have loved wholeheartedly and some have left me perplexed, even though everyone is gushing about them. Von Eusersdorff are not trying to convey some complex message, nor are they jumping on the latest trend wagon. I feel reassured by that somehow and I find all the perfumes in the Classic collection to be unapologetically understated, with wonderful clarity.

Fascinated as I am by olfactory art, it has it’s place and sometimes all a girl wants to find is a perfume she can actually wear! I know that I will return time and again to ‘Classic Patchouli’, it has really stolen my heart. For now though, let us turn towards ‘Classic Vetiver’….

This I found to be a perfume of polarities. Wet and dry, warm and cool. The opening scene is of chilled citrus juices flung onto hot pavements. The bitter twists of grapefruit and lemon burst instantly onto my skin with masculine assurance, warming and cooling at the same time with a kick of black pepper. Vetiver is unmistakably present too, like damp green mulch steaming slightly after a summer downpour. I can quite clearly picture a group of men in their shirt sleeves sitting outside a bar, when a sudden shower causes everyone to run for cover, upsetting their drinks onto the warm concrete. I usually try not to split fragrance into categories, but for me ‘Classic Vetiver’ is unequivocally a masculine cologne.

Once the initial splash of sharp citrus has calmed the vetiver becomes more prominent. It has a definite damp, woodiness to it and it pulls the fragrance from fresh into humid. Like the air in the city after a summer storm. Resinous elemi amplifies the green qualities, as does geranium. ‘Classic Vetiver’ develops into a mulchy, pulpy, leafy thing which is a little stifling after all that zingy fruit.

The fragrance stays this way for a little over an hour before starting to slowly dry off. Delicious black patchouli, with it’s sticky dark power, warms up at the base of the fragrance and allows a slow burn of cedarwood to permeate the humidity. When this starts to happen it lifts the perfume back out of the murky depths and allows a slight fruitiness to appear. The presence of the patchouli gives the whole perfume a much needed boost and holds it there for the remainder of it’s life on my skin.

‘Classic Vetiver’ was the most short-lived of the collection so far. I have a notoriously bad track record with citruses, sometimes burning up a perfume within 30 minutes of applying it to my skin. Here the longevity is aided by the persistent vetiver that works hard to stay centre stage for the whole duration, and also the patchouli, which really helps to warm and smooth out vetiver’s murky tendencies. I was able to cling on to this scent for about three hours before it evaporated into nothing.

The grapefruit and lemon at the beginning are so cool and true that I can almost taste them, which is lovely. The dryness and warmth at the end from the patchouli and cedar is comforting and smooth. But I struggled a little with the main body of the perfume, mostly because I just don’t really like vetiver. It doesn’t work on my skin, the dampness is too clinging and humid for my tastes.

I knew I was not going to have an easy time with this perfume, unlike the others from the Von Eusersdorff collection. But ‘Classic Vetiver’ should still be praised for being true to it’s namesake. It has very green depths and sparkling heights and with vetiver stewing in it’s heart it will be some people’s immediate joy. Alas not mine, I will fall back into the arms of my beloved ‘Classic Patchouli’.

Von Eusersdorff ‘Classic Mimosa’

Mimosa

I am currently on a journey around the olfactory delights of the Von Eusersdorff Classic collection. I started a few days ago with the effortless sophistication of ‘Classic Patchouli’. Now it is the turn of ‘Classic Mimosa’.

To quickly re-cap, Von Eusersdorff has an impeccable history in the trade of oils, herbs and petals for the perfume industry. The German family name has now been resurrected as a fragrance brand with direct descendant Camille Henfling and his creative team as the genius behind it. The company has since launched five perfumes, ‘Classic patchouli’, ‘Classic Vetiver, ‘Classic Myrrh’ and ‘Classic Mimosa’, then most recently ‘Classic Orange’. In this series of reviews I will be talking about the original four.

After the masterful power of ‘Classic Patchouli’ I was excited to see what Von Eusersdorff would do with mimosa, an airy soft baby of a floral….

‘Classic Mimosa’ opens with a blast of citrus wrapped in the cleanest cotton sheets. I am immediately drawn into an imaginary morning in a house by the sea, the sun shining and little clouds scooting happily across the pale blue sky. The tide is out, the sand is pristine and in the garden the line is strung with the morning’s clean washing.

White sheets, white sand, blue sky, green sea. In the window stands a porcelain jug filled with palest pink roses and a dish of warm, crisp little madeleines are cooling next to a tall glass of cloudy lemonade….and so on.

I make a snap judgement in those first few seconds and I automatically assume that I know what kind of a perfume this is going to be. It appears to fall very firmly into the ‘clean’ category of scent and I am momentarily disappointed. There are so many mainstream fragrances in this already overcrowded group, in my opinion there is no need for yet another ‘laundry fresh’ clone. However, and I must stress this for anyone else who would judge it so, ‘Classic Mimosa’ is much, much more than ‘just another clean perfume’. I’ll try to explain why.

After the citrusy freshness comes a green, slightly salty note that is very much like the idea of a perfectly clear, aqua coloured sea. The whole fragrance develops in this fairytale manner. It’s like a photograph of a holiday you wish you could take. It is misty lensed and rose tinted. I want to use the term ‘hyper-real’ but that wouldn’t be right, ‘Classic Mimosa’ is more idealistic in it’s representation of each note. The salty marine is perfect blue/green, the citrus is light as air and not in the least bit sticky or sharp. There is a gorgeous floral accord of roses and violet that smells exactly like a pre-raphaelite painting of roses and violets, if you understand what I mean. The petals seem to drift in and out and all around in a sheer but perfectly detailed performance.

Mimosa comes out to play in the form of clean, dry cotton. Not soapy or laundryesque, just absolutely clean, floating, soft soft fabric. It is enriched with musks and vanilla and these help to add just a little bit of weight -but not too much sweetness- to this feather light fragrance. Yet here again something a little bit dream-like happens. ‘Classic Mimosa’ gives every impression of being super fine and gauzy, but it has a lot of presence and an impressive sillage for a scent of this type. I applied a moderate smear to my wrist, went out and about all day and I can still catch it’s ending melody this evening.

This perfume has been created using the lightest of magic brush strokes, capturing a perfect, scented scene from a wistful daydream. It has a distinctly photoshopped quality to it, which is not to say that it smells overly artificial. The quality of the product is clear and this seems to be the theme running through Von Eusersdorff fragrances. It is about taking something quite simple and doing it very, very well.

As I have said in the past, I do not have an impressive back catalogue of comparisons to draw from, so I wouldn’t like to venture an opinion on whether this is a great mimosa fragrance specifically, but what I can say is that this a truly great fresh/floral fragrance, one of the best I have come across.

Just like ‘Classic Patchouli’, ‘Classic Mimosa’ smells of wealth. This is a perfume to wear at your villa in the south of France while you stand at the balustrade, wrapped in an exquisite Egyptian cotton dressing gown with french lace trim, looking out over the sparkling ocean and sipping a mimosa cocktail for breakfast. It is perfectly crafted and finished, there are no odd tweaks here to surprise you and again it is better for it. This is a highly crafted perfume, sleek, chic and artfully poised. It has the same rounded quality that I found in ‘Classic Patchouli’, and also an impressive restraint. Randomly, and for no scent related reason at all, I am reminded of fine gold jewellery as I wear this perfume. I think it is the timeless high status that gold will always represent, that status which is also at play in this scent.

This could so easily have been a flippant, girly nothing of a fragrance but the refined balance of notes and the considered simplicity take it to another level. I can imagine a lot of women, and men, falling head over heels for ‘Classic Mimosa’ because it has all the fresh, clean linen and sheer floral veils that are so popular, only done with real sophistication. It is not a scent which I personally would chose to wear for myself right now, but I have enjoyed reviewing it greatly. There is no denying that it is a masterfully created perfume.

Von Eusersdorff ‘Classic Patchouli’

Patchouli

Von Eusersdorff is a surname that has resonated within the archives of perfume history for nearly three centuries. The German family have a prestigious past in the world-wide trade of rare oils, herbs, spices and petals and now the name has appeared again.

Camille Henfling, descendant of Von Eusersdorff lineage and former businessman, felt a powerful calling to go back to his roots and re-discover his family’s heritage. He didn’t do it by halves either. Moving to Grasse and taking with him some of the secret formulas discovered in the archives, he spent three years learning how to build fragrances. Gradually putting together a skilled team who he still works with today, the Von Eusersdorff brand was launched afresh. The first perfume to be presented was ‘Classic Patchouli’, followed by ‘Classic Myrrh’, ‘Classic Vetiver’ and ‘Classic Mimosa’ in 2011. The most recent release is ‘Classic Orange’, but in these reviews I will be talking about the original four.

I didn’t know what to expect from these fragrances. They certainly look great, very sleek and expensive looking. Apparently the aesthetics and feel of the fragrances are inspired by New York, where the creative team behind the brand are based.

I knew that Von Eusersdorff have an impeccable lineage in the perfume world, but as this was in trading father than fragrance making I was interested to see what these four so called ‘classic’ scents would be like. As contemporary and chic as their wrappings, or classical and historical as their names and the heritage of the family behind them would suggest?

In a series of four reviews, I’ll be taking a journey with each of these perfumes. It is only fitting that we start with ‘Classic Patchouli’. As the first fragrance to be launched from Von Eusersdorff, it has quickly won fans in both Amsterdam and New York.

I will admit to previously not being the biggest fan of patchouli in perfume. For me the essential oil most associated with the hippy movement of the 1960’s has a nostalgia that is almost palpable. I am too young to have been there first time around but I went through a phase as a teenager in the 90’s when hippy style came back into fashion. I burned patchouli oil in my bedroom, listened to the Velvet Underground and purchased an amazing sheepskin coat that I pretty much wore everywhere. I wanted so much to go back there and experience it for myself, everyone seemed to be having such an amazing time. But it never sat completely comfortably with me and I soon moved on. The smell of patchouli oil usually just whisks me straight back to my teenage bedroom. It is a complex aroma and any young girl with a nose more used to Impulse body sprays is going to struggle with it. I thought I was being really cool at the time but the reality was that I just didn’t like the smell that much.

Since then I have come across patchouli many more times, either being burnt as incense in head shops or used in natural beauty products. It is instantly recognisable and always the same, green, bitter-sweet and slightly woody. I have never before come across it used in a way that does not shout ‘new-age and maybe a bit hairy’, so I was really wondering how Von Eusersdorff, with all their  immaculate class and sophistication, had created a fragrance based around it whilst managing to keep it firmly on the straight side of the beaded curtain.

‘Classic Patchouli’ opens with an elegantly powerful swell of woods, unusual as a first impression but very intriguing, sandalwood with a lovely, textural creaminess and the merest hint of smoke. Then in rolls a boozy, whiskey fire that warms my nostrils but doesn’t scorch them. It is extremely controlled yet striking start and I am instantly appreciative of the quality of ingredients at work here.

The patchouli arrives after a few minutes and I am so very pleasantly surprised at her appearance that I am unsure at first whether it is really her. This is black patchouli and as such has none of that bushy greenness that I have smelt so many times before. This patchouli is rich and smooth and unctuously chewy, with a slightly soapy corona around her. Intermingled with citrusy bergamot the combination is pure class and not in the least reminiscent of crystals and flared jeans.

The element of this perfume that is most beautiful to me is the presence of vanilla and tonka bean. I love tonka with it’s sweet, buttery, rounded aesthetic and vanilla that tickles your taste buds. Here they are not gourmand, but they bring a wonderful, rounded finish to the fragrance, smoothing any rough edges and bestowing a deep, warm, cashmere cape around the shoulders of the patchouli. All the elements of this fragrance are finished so well and quality simply oozes from my skin when I wear it. This, in my mind, is how an extremely wealthy, well bred and cultured person should smell. Effortless, tailored and polished to a lustrous glow.

‘Classic Patchouli’ fits to the skin like a fur-lined, designer leather glove. It smells expensive and has an impressive sillage, lasting hours on my skin. There are very few surprises once the fragrance has developed, but I am grateful for this, the fullness and sophistication resonate so truly that change is unnecessary. This is a celebration of carefully chosen elements all singing in perfect harmony together, any shift in key would take away from the clarity of it’s voice. This perfume needs to be lingered over like a fine wine.

I have re-evaluated my opinion of patchouli since experiencing this fragrance. I’m impressed with the balance of restraint and power with which it has been used here and I will definitely be wearing this perfume again. It is timelessly elegant, completely un-gendered and effortlessly cool. A fabulous perfume.