Back in 2010 while I was working at CaFleureBon we participated in a project sponsored by the Natural Perfumers guild called The Mystery of Musk. The idea was to have natural perfumers create a botanical musk accord and then use it in a perfume created for the event. Twelve natural perfumers educated me in the myriad ways a real musk could be created using all-natural ingredients. Perfumer Tanja Bochnig of April Aromatics was just getting started in 2010 and was not part of The Mystery of Musk. When I tried her latest release Erdenstern it felt like it was a lost entry in that project.
Fr. Bochnig has become one of the leading natural perfumers over the last four years. I have been an admirer for a long time but I realized this is the first time I am writing about one of her perfumes. That lack of attention is not due to anything but my inability to cover everything I like and I like Fr. Bochnig’s perfumes a lot. She states on her website, “I strongly believe that people can feel the love and energy I give into my perfumes.” Speaking for myself I have always felt the passion she has appears in the quality of her perfumes. Fr. Bochnig comes from a background of aromatherapy and yoga and that shows up in her perfumes. While they aren’t meant to speak to specific chakras per se they do attempt to evoke specific feelings.
Erdenstern translates to “Earth Star” it was inspired by Avalon, the holy place between the worlds of gods and mortals. Naming Erdenstern after a place where two worlds coincide is a perfect analogy for the perfume. Erdenstern captures a combination of damp earth and wood along with the animalic accords of what lives among the trees.
As I mentioned above Fr. Bochnig has fashioned a botanical musk accord and it is where Erdenstern opens. The advantage of a botanical musk is the ingredients themselves add a texture not available from a traditional synthetic musk. As a result I really enjoy the more natural feel of these botanical musks and Fr. Bochnig’s version is as good as I’ve encountered. She pairs it with a very strident vetiver. So often perfumers try and pull the reins in on vetiver. Fr. Bochnig allows her vetiver to gallop freely alongside the botanical musk. Together they create the smell of the damp forest floor as you walk through it. The heart transitions to tobacco and opoponax. This is a very gradual shift from woods and earth to sweet tobacco. It always took me by surprise while wearing it in a very good way. Fr. Bochnig finishes Erdenstern with another botanical version of an animal ingredient as she constructs a botanical ambergris accord in the base. There is a delicacy to this accord that is mesmerizing and Fr. Bochnig wisely leaves it pretty much by itself to finish Erdenstern.
Erdenstern has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I mentioned that I haven’t written about Fr. Bochnig much prior to this but I have tried all of her perfumes. Over time I have seen another independent perfumer come into their own as each successive release built upon what came before. In Erdenstern it culminates in the best perfume Fr. Bochnig has made, so far.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.