Fragrances, like people, often appear directly in our lives. Some of them stay, some of them don't.
I enjoy relatively stable health. That is why I did not go to the doctor immediately when I got something like a gastro-intestinal infection in the wake of a severe cough. I'll be all right. But last Sunday it was very bad. I hadn't eaten for days, lost almost 10 kg and looked accordingly zombie-like. I felt extremely weak and miserable. Visions arose. I had the feeling to be in this magic bus, in which the 22-year-old civilisation refugee Chris from the (true) film "Into the Wild" probably starved to death. That's when I got scared. My ex, who now lives in Budapest, recognized the drama of the situation and immediately drove to Vienna to see me. An ambulance was called. He came at three o'clock at night, examined me, gave me injections for nausea and prescribed me a latte of medication - antibiotics, cough medicine and medicine for diarrhoea, which my ex immediately fetches from the night pharmacy.
Meanwhile my busy ex had to go back to Hungary long ago. But Vienna is fortunately a social city, and as a single person, I manage to organise home nursing for the duration of my illness, which comes twice a week for a good hour, does the shopping for me and goes to the pharmacy and helps a little in the household.
Friday she came to see me for the first time. Tall, slim, dark-haired. She doesn't look 50 years old. She told me that she comes from Romania, but has lived in Austria for a long time, alone with her daughter. No easy life either. I give her the shopping list in her hand: pharmacy, cough syrup, and Billa - rusk, applesauce, rice pudding, packet soups, bananas, mashed potatoes; what I think I can eat and keep. My staple diet is protein shakes anyway
She's going. But what is this? I suddenly smell a fragrance in my freshly-ventilated bedroom. Sweet, cool and flowery it floats past me like a pink veil. My scent sensors are activating. Spring, I think. And: I know the scent - somehow sweet, romantic, graceful and girlish. Peony! That reminds me. I'm actually pretty good at identifying scents
When my nurse is back, I ask her, "They smell so good. What is that?" "Rituals," she replies, "the pink bottle." She shows them to me. The bottle goes well with the fragrance, I think. So plain, simple, clear and soft pink. I even get to spray the flowers of the Himalayas
While she makes me chamomile tea, I research the scent. And yes, there it is: Oriental Essence - Fleurs de L'Himalaya, a perfume from 2015, which is said to contain fragrances of lemon, peach, tea, calone, orchid, jasmine and peony, and to exude a base of patchouli and musk.
Calone? Yeah, there is. A synthetic, aquatic fragrance that is said to smell of sea breeze, flowers and honeydew melon. Sounds exciting. But then why do I only sniff peony from beginning to end?
Yes, the scent is pleasing, fresh, subtle, feminine. But under "Fleurs de L'Himalayan" I would have imagined a bit more. Of course: the pure, clear air of the Himalayas. I can understand them a little bit here. What else could go with a perfume with that flowery name? More aquatic, Lily, perhaps? L'Eau D'Issey from Issey Myake comes to mind involuntarily. But here, at the Fleurs, there is a reversal in the direction of "sweet", almost too sweet.
Flowery and sweet is a dangerous mixture. Unfortunately, the association with the hygiene scent is not far away. In fact, I can imagine the fragrance as a room or toilet scent, fabric softener, soap, whatever ... No, I lied. For me and my apartment I would not like it even as a room fragrance. It's probably because I don't use room scents anyway.
Unobtrusive, subtle, sweet, floral... No, that's not a fragrance that suits me. To me it seems somehow cheap, too banal, not enough "special". I've seen enough peonies in my life. I prefer the innovative, unusual, refined, interesting, demanding, inspiring. This one is unfortunately only mediocre and even seems a bit old-fashioned to me.
On my nurse I find the scent pleasant. I would rather not wear it myself. This brings me to the question of whether the Dutch are good fragrance manufacturers. Rituals is based in Amsterdam and is therefore a kind of Dutch body shop - also in terms of its portfolio. Elise Benat, the nose behind the Himalayan blossoms, is however French, as far as I know.
However, the fragrance seems to be popular, as it is sold in no less than 800 Rituals shops worldwide. Online as well, of course. It is also affordable. If you are looking for an undemanding, discreet floral fragrance with which you won't cause a nuisance anywhere, provided it is dosed sensibly, you may be happy with it.