Give Me A Handkerchief!
The new Austrian brand Wiener Blut presents “Taschentuch Parfums” - handkerchief perfumes which allegedly were popular in Vienna around 1900. Between home fragrances and traditional colognes it looks like this newcomer has found a special niche. But do these fragrances come up to this concept?
Indisch Leder sounds very traditional, just like Russian Leather. However, I do not think there ever was a traditional fragrance of that name. Anyway, around 1900, real leather accords had not yet been invented, and so perfumers helped themselves with birch tar, and the romantic Cossack story about “Russian” Leather. At least, just like the historical Cuir de Russies, also Indisch Leder contains no clear leather note at all. Instead, I suppose we should take it as a hint that Indisch Leder should fit very well with leather garments and accessories.
Whereas the leather is completely missing, the “Indisch” part in it is a vast amount of spiciness – saffron! There is hardly any other perfume where saffron is presented that straightforwardly. This spice is well known from pastries, but also as an indispensable ingredient in any good paella. I really like saffron – it has a kind of mustiness that can provide an individual character and also volume to a dish as well as a perfume. In perfumery, we often find saffron accompanied by the up-to-date oud bases. According to my experience, saffron belongs to the fragrance spectre of the traditional Arab perfumery.
It is a warm and warming, and also slightly sweetish perfume Pierre Guillaume created for Wiener Blut. A lean frame which occurs to me as slightly woody, and a faint bitter appeal stand up against the sweetness and mustiness, but without playing an equal part. This time, the saffron comes without any oud, and so this spice stands much clearer and more distinct before us than in its near relatives. I would consider Micallef's Aoud Men the closest kin since both fragrances share this honey-style sweetness. If you do not like the Micallef fragrance, you will hate Indisch Leder!
With its nearness to Micallef's opulence and sweetness, Indisch Leder is anything but a sports fragrance. Nothing is dynamic here, instead it has a rather solid and sedate appeal. The distinct saffron mustiness gives me the impression that the border between the fragrance and its wearer's own scent might become blurred. It is the saffron which gives a Spanish paella the full right to occupy the centre of the table, and in the same way Indisch Leder underlines the presence of is wearer. But – how should it be applied?
On my skin Indisch Leder after two hours dimmed down to a somewhat indefinite amber accord. Nevertheless, the saffron aura was still around me, and I think this was transmitted by my clothes. There seems to be something real to this handkerchief story!
No matter how much I like saffron – intense spices are difficult to use: if you have too much of them, a life-long averseness will be the result. Other than with food that is eaten rather quickly you should consider the longer period of time that one is exposed to a sensation by wearing a perfume. From this point of view I vote for the handkerchief!
One could produce the handkerchief once in a while and enjoy the fragrance but then put it away again – maybe into a leather handbag or shoulder bag, and so the inlet would develop an even more attractive scent! I would not like to spray myself with Indisch Leder the usual way. It would be simply too much.
Indisch Leder is a highly interesting fragrance but its new concept calls for a very considerate and sensitive use. Will the sales people be able to properly instruct the customers?