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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Nostalgia - Wiener Blut Klubwasser

As PST’s resident Viennese I am predestined to write about an exclusive perfume by Viennese niche perfume line Wiener Blut called Klubwasser.

Klubwasser is German for Club Water, it is a classic fougére in the manner of 19th century perfumes that were worn on handkerchiefs, so called “Taschentuchparfums” or the french translation that should be more familiar – Eaux de Toilette.

Wiener Blut is a small company founded by Alexander Lauber, who made it his goal to bring back several scents based on popular bouquets of 19th century Vienna, he researched extensively and experimented with an Austrian perfumer Yogesh Kumar. The first fragrance of the line (it is to be expanded soon), Klubwasser, was introduced in 2009.

Wiener Blut, which means Viennese Blood, is purportedly full of zest, full of power, full of courage, if I am allowed to cite, and butcher in translation, the text of a waltz by the same name by Johann Strauss.

The company obviously sets big stock in history and the accurate rendering of historical fragrances, an approach I find charming and interesting.

And Klubwasser is an interesting scent. The Eau de Parfum has a strong sillage and lasts for hours on me. I have tested it on skin as well as in the traditional way, as it was (or at least historically was) intended – on a cotton handkerchief. On fabric, Klubwasser lasts a week.

I much prefer Klubwasser on fabric or a paper blotter than on my skin, where the harsher aspects are more prominent, whereas on fabric it smells softer and smoother, rounder and the floral notes are allowed to shine.

Due to the style popular then, as well as technical reasons (perfumery techniques were rather different in the 19th century), Klubwasser is a dense, well-blended mix, where no particular note stands out, nor is there a lot of development. It is very interesting to smell such a scent, because there are not many reference points to compare it too, if you are not a perfume historian or have regular access to the Osmotheque in Versailles, I suppose.

Klubwasser smells rather masculine at first, probably due to Indian cumin and lavender, as well as the intense green of galbanum and a little peppery spiciness. It is bolstered by an abstract floral bouquet, which rests on a rich, mossy base. Thanks to IFRA regulations it is a rare occasion one smells real oakmoss these days, and I don’t know how it is done here, but Klubwasser smells very much like the real thing. The drydown is herbal, hay-like, aromatic – gorgeous. I fell in love then.

Klubwasser is a classic fougére fragrance that feels very traditional and almost nostalgic. It evokes images of the Wiener Kongress, the Kaiser, the times of grand Soirées and Balls at the Hofburg and Sunday afternoon strolls through the Prater.

I rather enjoyed the almost arcane routine of carrying my Grandmother’s beautiful, monogrammed handkerchief in my bag and regularly taking it out to sniff. Klubwasser made me smell my lovely handkerchief compulsively and I have to admit, I have a new obsession.

Although certainly genderless, I personally would prefer smelling Klubwasser on a man (and believe me, I am working hard on getting my dear husband, the great perfume adventurer, to try it.)

Klubwasser is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum at very few, select stores, Colette in Paris, Campomarzio in Rome, Breathe in Berlin as well as in Vienna.

Interestingly though, not in a perfume store, but at Lobmeyr’s, the famous crystal glass maker. (They have fabulous customer service by the way. A warm Thank you to the lovely lady who went out of her way to help me getting a sample of Klubwasser).

The reason for this venue is that there is a limited crystal glass flacon designed by Lobmeyr filled with Klubwasser.

I am looking forward to the new perfumes Wiener Blut will launch soon. Watch this space!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only does Klubwasser sound wondeful, but that flacon- incredible.

12:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous annemariec said...

I have a miserable old collections of hankies, all screwed up in my draw. My mother was fond of hankies and would faithfully wash and iron a bunch of them every week. Over time they become lovely and soft. What a nice thing it would be to go and buy some new handkerchiefs, and wash and iron and scent them properly. I can see myself becoming obsessed too.

Klubwasser sounds great. A whole week on fabric - sensational. I suppose that once, in an age of more primitive sanitation than we enjoy now, carrying a scented handkerchief was a sensible thing to do.

Wonderfully interesting review, thanks.

3:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Asali said...

What an wonderful post, I vividly imagine those viennese gentlemen, in their corsets, sniffing away at their handkerchiefs. You know I have just recently been craving a Vienna 'fin de siecle'- perfume. But rather than one imitating the old ones, I suppose I was looking for something which summed up the time of coffee houses, strolls in the Prater, the music of Brahms and Mahler, the paintings of Klimt. Kind of a modern interpretation of this time. However, Wiener Blut sounds like a fascinating new brand, I shall be looking forward to hearing more of it. :-)

4:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Can't say that I'm on the lookout for a classic fougere, but if I was, this one certainly sounds good (Indian cumin, lavender and galbanum sounds like a great combo). Mostly though, I enjoyed learning about the name of the company -- the thought that Viennese Blood is "full of zest, full of power, full of courage."

A very enjoyable review, Birgit.

2:10 PM EDT  
Blogger tara said...

What a lovely thing to do, to spray this on your Grandmother's handkerchief - personal and historical at the same time. The drydown of Klubwasser sounds fabulous, I'm all for herbal, hay-like and aromatic.

It really does seem like the Viennese know how to make amazing perfume flacons if Wiener Blut and Puredistance are anything to go by!

2:11 PM EDT  
OpenID said...

the flacon is quite a piece of art.

2:33 PM EDT  
OpenID said...

the use of a handkerchief is truly romantic and quaint, I love it. I am glad you like that idea too. :)

2:37 PM EDT  
OpenID said...

What you describe could be an Alma Mahler celebritiy scent, for example. I would buy that! :)

2:40 PM EDT  
OpenID said...

thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it! I wish I would feel a little more of the alleged attributes of Viennese blood on a Monday morning. ;)

2:43 PM EDT  
OpenID said...

those two brands have really extravagant and impressive flacons. I am glad that the perfumes are available on their own though, so they are still affordable.

2:48 PM EDT  
Anonymous Asali said...

WOW, you're absolutely right, it was precisely what I meant, eau de Alma, I would definitely buy that one.

5:36 PM EDT  
Blogger deeHowe said...

What a beautiful flacon! And the fragrance sounds lovely---maybe a good summer scent?

I too like the idea of the scented handkerchief, and have one that my great-grandmother embroidered for my great-grandfather; I think that I will use it for this purpose. Now I just need to choose which scent it will wear!


7:02 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Gehring said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful...a fragrance that my mother would have adored! Thank you for sharing!

10:52 PM EDT  
OpenID said...

Would be a great idea for Wiener Blut to make Eau de Alma. :)

12:26 AM EDT  
OpenID said...

oh, let me know what you end up spraying on that beautiful heirloom.

12:28 AM EDT  
OpenID said...

I am glad you liked it. :)

12:29 AM EDT  
Anonymous Marian said...

The only perfume I've tried from Austria is Pure Distance, which I liked a lot. I wish the Wiener Blut brand was carried in the States- I'd love to smell Klubwasser and some of their other historical scents. There ARE a few stores that carry Lobmeyr's glass. I'm especially fond of their Chinese Pavillion chandelier. And that perfume flacon is stunning!

3:09 AM EDT  
OpenID said...

it is a young and small company, but they are planning on expanding their range. Hopefully also the retail locations will get more, while still keeping exclusivity. But I think selling it at Bergdorf's would not hurt. ;)

5:10 AM EDT  

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