Top Review 14
Fragrance with literary immortality or: Vienna in a bottle
One of the nicest perfumeries I know of is in Vienna: Am Graben is the "Duftg'wölb", as it is affectionately called in Viennese. One of those remnants from k and k times, of which there are fortunately still some in my hometown - even if they are threatened with extinction to an alarming degree.
If you don't know where to find J.B. Filz, you will almost certainly pass it, because despite its noble location at the "Graben" in Vienna, the entrance is very discreet: an old glass door, on the left and right of it about 20 cm "display". And just as narrowly it continues in the business. To the right, parallel to the wall and down to the depth of the vault, the "Budel" of the shop assistants, to the left just enough space for one customer to stand next to the other. Passing each other is indeed a challenge in terms of courtesy and consideration. And the walls? From floor to ceiling, old-fashioned wooden boxes with sliding glass doors, in which one wonderful fragrance stands next to the other in close proximity, without regard to presentation. During the first visit, one is almost overwhelmed by the overabundance that the eye encounters. But immediately there is competent help at hand, who stands by with the inimitable Viennese mixture of courtesy and personal familiarity.
Many treasures would be to be raised in the affectionate selection, but today I leave all the niche perfumes, big names and noble waters to the left, because my gaze falls on a simple glass bottle with the name J.B. Filz.
What now, the perfumery has its own fragrance with the simple name Eau de Lavande? The carefully cared for lady behind the bar kindly explains to me that the lavender water is produced by the house - and that Heimito von Doderer mentioned it in "Die Strudlhofstiege oder Melzer und die Tiefe der Jahre"
Okay, all right, before even a single scent molecule hits my nose, I know that Eau de Lavande will accompany me home. This is not a scent, this is lived history, a living breath of the past and for me as a Germanist and historian completely irresistible. Lavender is one of my secret quirks anyway and thanks to the wonderful story I immediately forgive the fragrance that it is not, as expected, a pure lavender water, but also clearly carries rose in itself. A fresh rose with lots of leaves and little weight and hardly any spice or sweetness. A simple, frugal, charming fragrance, which is just as suitable as a morning refreshment as a gentle sleep scent or as a delicate fragrance on a hot summer day in a hammock with dress and straw hat.
The wonderful saleswoman, who feels my interest and my real enthusiasm about the anachronistic scented water with the literary immortality and the wonderfully old-fashioned ambience, starts chatting and turns out to be the sixth generation of the J.B. Filz dynasty, which has been active in scented water since 1809. I also sniff the second house fragrance, the "Vienna's favourite water/Viennese favourite fragrance" and regret very much that the fragrance with the wonderful name "Genuine Parisian Ladies Conservation Water" is no longer produced. Because I am quite sure of that: I could certainly not resist this name! The "favourite Viennese water", a simple citric-herbal summer freshener, is immediately reserved by me for my next visit.
The simple flacons of your own fragrances are sold without outer packaging - but if you want to give the fragrance away, you can buy a pretty purple box made in a workshop for handicapped people for 5 euros. Also this concept fits perfectly to the sympathetic Wiener Duftg'wölb and its charming owner.
With Eau de Lavande, I have acquired a nostalgic little water, a kind of olfactory manifestation of the inimitable Viennese mixture of modernity and backwardness, larmoyance and optimism, the fragrance seal of my home, favourite and heart city.
And for me personally a tender shield against homesickness, which sometimes suddenly and violently attacks me.