– a review of Von Eusersdorff Classic Orange
When the ever-darker days of October descend upon you, do you ever reach for an instant fragrant mood-enhancer? One that puts an extra spring in your step in the morning as you duel the possessive embrace of a duvet that won’t let you go? One that makes you inhale deeper, feel lighter, freer and more hopeful even as the wind blows rain in your face?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the chill of winter looms ahead as the landscape around us grows ever more sere, dun and bare and the days grow ever drearier, and I don’t know about you, but in my rainy, wind-blown corner of Scandinavia, I’ll take all the help I can get.
Whether it’s a sign I still have a few scraps of sanity left or else encroaching senility, I turn to one childhood scent memory more than any other when I need to give myself a swift, hard kick of motivation and/or happiness to spray.
I spent a fair portion of my childhood in southern Florida, and in those days at least, citrus trees of all permutations were literally everywhere. In schoolyards and backyards and public parks and everywhere I went and even in the backyards of houses I lived in, some oversized specimen of citrus x. sinensis or aurantium would glow in the foliage with its sneaky sensuous blooms, waiting for its chance to startle me happy.
To this day, the scent of orange either bitter or sweet – a tree generous enough to perfume all its parts from blossom to fruit to leaves and wood – enlivens my mood (always for the better), motivates me like no other, kicks me alive and awake and puts a song in my heart.
So it figures that last year on the Facebook perfume groups, when one name kept popping up as a new kind of scented joy and someone mentioned orange, my ears perked up, or was that my anticipation?
The name was Von Eusersdorff, the perfume was Classic Orange, and with a name like that, it had me at hello.
Von Eusersdorff was once a storied European supplier of perfumery materials and apothecary items, which after all is where everything began in perfume if you think about it.
Dutch businessman Camille Henfling decided to resurrect his centuries-old family heritage and the company name by creating a series of perfumes that each highlighted a classic perfumery staple; patchouli, mimosa, vetiver, myrrh and orange under the tagline ‘Inspiringly different fragrances.’
After training for three years in Grasse as a perfumer three brand new Von Eusersdorff eaux de parfum were created in 2011; Classic Patchouli, Classic Vetiver and Classic Mimosa, followed by Classic Myrrh and Classic Orange in 2013.
I can’t say anything about the other four perfumes of the Von Eusersdorff line since I haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet, but I can say that if Classic Orange is any indication, these perfumes are a) Not ‘classic’ or fusty in the slightest and b) surprising.
Oh, how I like surprises!
The problem with a focus on perfumery standbys is the ever-present danger of resorting to clichés to get your point across. Or is it rather those very same materials have been so
bastardized/vandalized, diluted and distorted in mainstream perfumery that the complexity and intrigue of the real deal takes us completely by surprise?
Given the ubiquity of orange in perfumery, it would have been so easy to turn this into yet another orange cliché; for instance, a souped-up, super-charged eau de cologne, or else an opulent orange blossom absolute-centric bombshell (a favorite kind, and the evidence is everywhere here on TAG).
Well, dear readers, Classic Orange is not any of these, or even anything like any of these. I’ve spent this past (hot!) summer with it, and found it blooms magnificently in heat as well as on those cool, windy, rainy days in melancholy October when I realize that November lurks straight ahead, my least favorite month of the year.
For one thing, it contains blood orange – that stunning fruit that glows like a combination of ruby and citrine – and blood orange is a bit like orange on steroids with a twist. Blood orange has not only all the redeeming qualities of regular bigarade or sweet oranges, it also features a luscious raspberry facet in its scent somewhere in those glowing depths. Even in those first intoxicating moments, a very fruity laugh lurks underneath that initial bright burst of sunshine, a healthy dose of orange peel and pith and petitgrain greenery.
So it begins, but it isn’t long before it grows richer and deeper. The notes say nothing about orange blossom (or even blood orange blossom), but on my skin, I detect definite traces of neroli and orange blossom absolute, and then – the surprise.
Indeed, black tea, enhanced further by a sweet osmanthus curling like a sentient vine around the ever present orange. Not so much Darjeeling but more a Lapsang Souchong, because this orange grows smokier as it glows. Nothing as smoky as incense or even myrrh, but instead a restrained feather touch to add intrigue and heighten your interest and there, this not-at-all classic and nowhere boring orange remains for a long, long time before it leaves with a laugh, a wave and a wink of vetivery, ever-so-slightly musky orange.
What surprised me the most – apart from being not at all what I expected but much more than I hoped for – is just how perfectly balanced it is. I’ve grown so accustomed to perfumes that evolve like characters in a play, the spotlight moving from one note to the next as notes enter and exit stage right or left.
But here, the spotlight never strays from its star, the other notes merely adding a few elegant, enhancing, and very Modernist reinvention flourishes to an old evergreen standard that makes you wonder:
Why haven’t I heard this before?
Sometimes it happens I’m surprised, and after four years of writing about perfume with no end in sight, that’s a very grand and glorious thing.
But best of all, I think I’ve found my own personal name for this ruby-orange bombshell.
In the depths of a blustery week full of rain and wind and harbingers of winter to come, I’ll call it simply:
Orange Me Glad!
Notes: Blood orange, petitgrain, Chinese osmanthus, black tea, vetiver, musk.
With grateful thanks and a fragrant hug to Amato for making this review possible.