One of the most genuine people in the perfume business is Ulrich Lang. Mr. Lang has promoted the greater cause of independent perfumery by co-founding the Elements Showcase and being someone who believes there is a significant place for it. He is so passionate about those themes you might not know he is the creative director of a brand which carries his name; Ulrich Lang New York.
One of the reasons you might have overlooked these perfumes is since the debut of Anvers in 2003 there have only been a total of six releases. Mr. Lang has worked exclusively with perfumer Frank Voelkl over that time. A brand which is not constantly churning out new releases is almost by definition going to fly under the radar. Over the years there has been one of these six perfumes which has become one of my spring staples, Lightscape.
When you think of fresh fragrances a perfume featuring violet and iris is unlikely to be something you might describe like that. Violet has a metallic sharpness while iris can be powdery. Even just that would seem to be a recipe for a construction akin to a head-on collision. Mr. Lang and Mr. Voelkl take some impressive measures to not put these notes against each other; instead finding a way to make them harmonize in a fresh way.
The way they go about this is two-fold. For violet Mr. Voelkl instead of using the actual essential oil of the flowers he instead creates a violet accord. That allows him to tune out those metallic aspects. It also allows the powdery nature that is also a part of the violet flower to be modulated, as well. For the iris, he chooses to use a high-quality orris which doesn’t have as much of the powderiness of iris in favor of a more grounded earthy character.
Lightscape opens with a snappy duet of lemon and galbanum. An attention-grabbing zesty green citrus. To go along with it Mr. Voelkl adds in violet leaf. This adds more green to the galbanum. Then the orris and violet accord appear. I am always so surprised at how uplifting the combination comes off here. It is why I reach for it every spring because it is green and fresh. Cedar brings it back to earth with a wood-based foundation tempered by the botanical musk of ambrette seed.
Lightscape has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.
I can say all six of the Ulrich Lang New York perfumes are Under the Radar gems. They are worthy of being put on your to-try list. If you need one to start with Lightscape is a spring perfume which is a fresh purple fragrance of violet and iris.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.
Because many of my favorite wetshaving products are violet scented I think I am predisposed to liking any perfume which does violet well. I also find my favorite violet perfumes do especially well in the heat of summer. As the mercury has climbed I’ve found myself wanting to take a violet break. If you want to join me here are five of my favorite violet perfumes.
Comme des Garcons X Stephen Jones signed by Antoine Maisondieu. This is also probably my all-time favorite violet fragrance. What makes that statement a little funny is this is the least violet-like fragrance on this list. M. Maisondieu creates an iris which has been crushed by a meteorite. Hot mineralic facets and the smell of over-heated electronics wrap up the violet and violet leaves in a futuristic take on violet that is among the most worn perfumes I own.
Mona di Orio Violette Fumee signed by Mona di Orio. Violet Fumee was the first perfume released after Mme di Orio’s death. It was a fragrance she composed for her longtime partner Jeroen Oude Sogtoen. She combined many of his favorite smells but primarily this is a violet and tobacco perfume. A beautifully resinous finish of myrrh and casmeran provides some of Mme di Orio’s trademark shadowplay. Like the Stephen Jones above combining the violet with something which smokes provides an interesting platform for the violet to play off of.
Tom Ford Violet Blonde signed by Antoine Lie. This perfume is often jokingly called Violent Blonde because this is by far the most powerful violet I wear. M. Lie throws subtlety out the window as he layers on orris, leather, vetiver, and baie rose. These are all amplifying notes for the violet which lands with the force of a sledgehammer. I often think how much I like the transparent types of fragrances. Violet Blonde reminds how much I like something a lot less filmy from time to time.
Ulrich Lang Lightscape is one of those transparent kind of violets. Lightscape combines violet and iris in a purple flower fantasia. What always surprises me when I wear Lightscape is it manages to remove the two most problematic aspects of violet and iris, the metallic and powdery qualities, respectively. I have made many samples for people who just can’t believe how good these two notes combine here.
Atelier Cologne Sous Le Toit de Paris signed by Ralf Schwieger. This is the perfume I layer on top of my shaving routine when it has been an all-violet morning. If you want an incredibly authentic violet this is your perfume. Hr. Schwieger allows the violet to form the core on top of which he adds the traditional cologne ingredients of neroli and bergamot and leads to a non-traditional cologne base of leather. This has become one of my summer staples because there is simply no better way to start my day.
Disclosure: This review was based on bottles I purchased.