2019Bella NY Magazine
2018Bella NY Magazine
Have you ever smelled a dream? This is the question posed by Sassy Ayr (aka Stacey Bresnahan)’s Life on a Star, a fantasy book whose pages are augmented with atmospheric scents that release when touched. Her first perfume in the series, Naughty Garden, was created by eminent MANE perfumer Ralf Schwieger. Now, four new companion perfumes join the collection. Each speaks to a specific character or place: Cognac, a plummy, apple brandy ne-gourmand; the beachy citrus Lost in the Moment; Ridge, a vibrant basil and woods scent, and snowy, complicated beauty Hinterland.
Hinterland, also created by Ralf Schwieger, is described in Life on a Star as a place of treacherous beauty. A forest of pine trees, winds, damp, and white, glowing fog, Hinterland is “a difficult sight to take in, much less describe.” And indeed, Schwieger’s creation unwinds in unexpected directions and artful detail. First sprayed on, Laubahn Perfumes Hinterland is an enveloping, downy white floral. A soft, pure jasmine floats over soapy-sweet neroli. At this point, Hinterland reminds me of an aldehyde-stripped Chanel 22. But then a piquant, unaccustomed note twangs: the greenish bite of bell pepper adds an alluring touch of strangeness and shifts the perfume into less familiar territory.
Smudgy incense rolls in like ground mist, weaving quietly into the flowers. The incense and white florals spread out like a blanket, piqued from time to time by that arresting bell pepper. A delicate but warm rose wafts in. Its effect is comforting; a counterpoise to the strangeness of the vegetal note. The rose, jasmine, neroli and incense float together for some time.
In the later stages of Laubahn Perfumes Hinterland, I detect a small, dry chocolate undercurrent. This becomes gradually evident as patchouli, giving way to earthier, damper smells. As Hinterland matures, aromas of forest and undergrowth emerge, and the composition becomes damper, earthier, darker. Truffle is listed in the notes, and I was curious to see if it would manifest. If you’ve never smelled fresh truffles, their scent is entirely different from mushrooms. They have a wonderfully rich, musky pungency, with hints of woods and soil. Here, the truffle note is carefully balanced so as not to overpower. But it is distinctively there, in concert with the patchouli and a slightly sweet musk that comes near the dry-down.
Laubahn Perfumes Hinterland is two perfumes perfectly melded into one: a classically structured white floral that could happily sit on a dresser next to Malle L’Eau D’Hiver (Jean-Claude Ellena) or Chanel 22; the second, an overlay of strange vegetal and forest touches that make me believe for just a moment that I am in Sassy Ayr’s starry world.
Sample of Laubahn Hinterland graciously provided by Laubahn Perfumes. My opinions are my own.
Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor
DECEMBER 4, 2017
If you’ve never heard of Laubahn Perfumes or their inaugural release Naughty Garden, composed by legendary perfumer and multi–award winning Ralf Schwieger of MANE, fear not. All will be revealed. One of the great joys of the rabid perfumista is the discovery of a heretofore unknown perfume line. Ever since Julius Caesar (in my history re-writing imagination) entered the Roman Senate thousands of years ago, sniffed the air and asked “Et Tu Brute?” perfume lovers have delighted in ferreting out the new, the undiscovered, the never-sniffed. Laubahn Perfumes of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is the brainchild of Ms. Sassy Ayr (née Stacey Bresnahan) the author of the book “Life on a Star” from which Naughty Garden takes its inspiration. Engaging Ralf Schwieger of Mane as perfumer is a bold, engaging and ultimately winning move.
Ralf Schwieger has created many fragrances, too numerous to list and his body of work includes Eau des Merveilles (with Nathalie Feisthauer) for Hermes, Womanity for Mugler, Afternoon Of A Faun and Fiel de Dieu for Etat Libre d’Orange, Orange Sanguine and Vanilla Insensee (and others for Atelier Cologne), Christopher Street for Charenton Macerations, Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazrena and Lipstick Rose for Frederic Malle, the quintessential violet/powder/rose. His compositions were and are ahead of their time, some might have been overlooked upon release, but ultimately they are recognized as extraordinary “reference” perfumes. So it should come as no surprise that Naughty Garden for Laubahn Perfumes is a “noteworthy” creation. Centered around an Elderflower accord, Naughty Garden (albeit not naughty at all) is a classic floral in the vein of Olivia Giacobetti’s En Passant but with an added “something-something” that is unique to Ralf’s signature.
Having never been asked to create a fragrance inspired by a story, I was all ears (and nose.) This is about flowers in a space garden, high up in the sky but bound to earth. Notes of elderflowers play with Indian sandalwood in weightless territory. The green aspects enhanced by galbanum round off the natural floralcy and contrast nicely with the woody and slightly mossy background.” –Ralf Schwieger for Laubahn Perfumes
Elderflower in perfume is not widely used; you may be more familiar with elderflower in wine and spirits. I grew up listening to stories about my Ukrainian Grandmother’s famous homemade elderflower liquor, which my mother described as “sparkling floral nectar”. It’s a shame that you don’t find elderflower in perfume more often, as its ethereal herbacious-honeysuckle scent is captivating. In Naughty Garden, elderflower is represented in all its complex beauty.
Opening with a zing of bergamot tempered with a slightly bitter galbanum, Naughty Garden wastes no time in introducing elderflower as the star of the show; a true Diva of florals. When combined with deft lashings of jasmine and ylang, Naughty Garden becomes one of the best white florals I have ever smelled in quite some time. The sea salt note keeps the composition grounded, but the sense of space and airiness of this perfume is what separates it from most white florals.
The individual notes never feel intrusive, rather they are seamlessly blended to create an unforgettable olfactory experience. The musk has that slight laundry detergent vibe, but the smooth sandalwood rounds out any harsh edges and restrains the musk for being overpowering, and that’s a very good thing indeed. Naughty Garden is a perfume that I am thrilled to have in my collection.
Notes: Bergamot, Galbanum and Ylang-Ylang, Elderflower, Sea Salt, Jasmine, Rose, Sandalwood and Musk.
Disclosure: Thank you SO much to Laubahn Perfumes for supplying my sample. The opinions are my own.
Please Note: Naughty Garden is an Eau de Parfum and is a limited edition of only 1000 pieces, and available thru the Laubahn Perfumes website: www.lifeonastar.com
-Robert Herrmann, Senior Editor and contributions from Michelyn Camen
–Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
Meet Ralf Schweiger
Thursday, December 7th, 2017
5:00pm – 7:30pm
Perfumarie 155 Lafayette Street
It’s holiday season and high-time to get twinkling! Life on a Star is a fun and innovative way to experience a fine fragrance. The fictional, scented story book gives readers and fragrance lovers alike a new way to experience Laubahn Perfumes Lost in the Moment fine fragrance via a scented page that is also sold separately as a perfume.
Bella NYC Online Current Beauty Obsession: http://bellanyc.com/current-beauty-obsession-life-star/
The vibrant aroma evokes whispers of wildflowers, fruit trees, driftwood and the warmth of the sun felt on a white sandy beach. Talk about getting swept away in a good story!
This fictional tale takes you on a delightfully scented journey with visual descriptions of different landscapes that will launch as corresponding perfumes in months following including the second perfume launch, Naughty Garden, created by Master Perfumer Ralf Schwieger who has created fragrances for Frederic Malle, Hermès and Yves Saint Laurent.
Each sold separately at LifeonaStar.com
Life on a Star Book ($17.95)
Lost in the Moment Perfume ($35, 7.5ml)
Naughty Garden Fragrance ($175.00; 100ml)
This Book Is 2017's Answer To Scratch & Sniff Perfume
But it gets even better — and a little more complicated. Throughout the book, the reader will find italicized names of fictional places. Those locations are "maps" to different fragrances available for purchase on the brand's site (Naughty Garden and Lost in a Moment). Soon enough, Bresnahan says, there will be more.