Welcome to our third of five episodes of Guest Spotlight! This miniseries welcomes a group of exciting perfume reviewers + enthusiasts who are also on Instagram. This short series will run the length of the week of April 26-30, 2021 and each day we will feature two perspectives on two different fragrances from the same house – perfumers from five different countries! Today it is our pleasure to welcome one of our Insta-faves, Scentaliona, and we are honing in on the house of J.F. Schwarzlose (Germany) today. First up, Aliona will share her impressions on Trance and then we, Notetaking, will cover 20/20. Here we go:
I was first introduced to Schwarzlose Berlin at MiN NYC about 3 years ago, when they still stored other rare brands besides their own. I wondered if it was the perfume itself or the dark atmosphere of the store that made everything seem special. I finally ordered a discovery set to find out.
If I were to define this brand’s DNA, I would compare it to the “elusive allure of that special someone’s warm breath”. There is a prominent physicality to most of their frangrances. They have a common note that smells both damp, lactonic, and very intimate. It could be white florals or a particular combination of the base notes. Styrax, labdanum, and sandalwood sometimes produce this effect when mixed with other notes.
Out of all fragrances, Trance stands out for me for its very peculiar yeasty note that comes from the oud-rose combo. It makes me think of fresh bread and wine, and evokes associations with both royal splendor and peasant simple joys. And if it is about trance, then it’s a trance ambience of a religious ceremony.
There is definitely a medieval feel to it. If I were to use this fragrance to scent a book, I would pick The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak for its intensity and vivid descriptions of the medieval daily life.
But back to the scent itself. Texturally, it is very dense, springy, sticky, viscous. It won’t surround you with a cloud; instead, it will reveal its core right away, and it will make you the core, the center of attraction. The opening here is sweet and salty, but also high in tannins. Shortly after, labdanum does its magic: it makes a standard rose-oud combo smell really unusual. You won’t understand what it was, but you will remember the experience.
Oh my. OMG. My goodness gracious. If I had pearls I’d be clutchin’ them about now. I thought I really liked the previous fragrances I reviewed, and along comes 20/20, more like vision/ary than the year that time wants to forget! Thanks to the enticingly sharp mind of Ms. Veronique Nyberg out comes an enchanting mix of shimmering isms and modern day patchouli. This is spiced to the nth degree, piquant like pepper, and has instantly become my new favorite from the house. I’m literally with mouth agape, I kid you not.
This comes off like a frozen rose, so contemporary and upscale, all balanced by some incredibly smooth, hollowed out wood hues that are nearly bulletproof in terms of dense resonance. There’s a dark green element snaking on through, and some sort of dark, pulpy, fruity essence, maybe blackberry or currant – but it’s shadowy, not fully fledged. There’s a smokiness to this, not like incense, necessarily, but something most assuredly a bit removed, imperial, aloof. 20/20 has a chimerical quality, in the way it sparkles, in the way it floats. (92%)