Sven Pritzkoleit’s disarming house style is unique in the industry. His packaging is a mix of Roger & Gallet and organic-store Reformhaus, the goofy mugshots on his website are as remote from Tom Ford bedroom eyes as it is possible to be, and the whole thing fairly fizzes with unpretentious enthusiasm. Even the box the perfume samples came in was in character: large, with a fat piece of tape top left bearing the words Vorsicht! Fragile! in tall, handsome handwriting. Indeed all the labels are handwritten by him, a reminder that he is a pharmacist by training. He included a biggish bottle of Violet Moss, which he described as his favorite, a book (in German) he wrote about perfume, and two large matchboxes containing respectively samples of Wood and Fresh collections.
Violet Moss, part of the Wood collection, is single-session therapy for all those who have suffered through years of Le Labo misdirection. My first thought on spraying it was “it does what it says on the can!”, a huge, beautiful and nicely balanced accord between the bitterness of oakmoss and the iridescent floral-woody character of ionones. There seems to be relatively little alpha-ionone in there, so the sugary side of many violet perfumes is largely absent. From experience, given the apparent simplicity of the formula, I expected the violets note to quickly go away, and the oakmoss to hang around for hours. I was wrong. Pritzkoleit’s just-having-fun shtick is clearly a protective coloring. If there was a prize for Best Artisan Drydown (and there really should be) SP would walk off with it and be a member of the jury the following year. Just when you think Violet Moss is going to erode predictably, a small miracle happens: for a start, the thing still smells of violets fully an hour into the fragrance on skin. Second, the accord gets richer, fresher and softer with time while staying in character, as if the composition had been made from the bottom up, as Maurice Roucel is fond of recommending.
The rest of the collection is put together with the same beguiling combination of directness and skill. I would single out Lignum Vitae, a very interesting take on sweet earthiness, Dark Rose, a mysterious, wine-like cedary flower, and Sunmilk Flowers, a fragrance that drifts beautifully from a sap-like green top note to a rich, powdery citrus-oriental heart. Really impressive work: try them all.
Categories: niche houses