Courtesy of Krigler
It's easy to close your eyes, smell a perfume, and allow your mind to be transported to memory. However, it's much rarer for one to transport you back in time in a way that feels fresh yet historical.
Krigler, however, specializes in such challenges.
For five generations, the fragrance house has reimagined scent for icons around the world. F. Scott and Elda Fitzgerald, for example, famously wore the brand's Lieber Gustav 14 — and Leonardo DiCaprio wore the same fragrance to the New York and Cannes premieres of The Great Gatsby in 2013, nearly 100 years after F. Scott wrote the novel it was based on. Audrey Hepburn was known to have used Krigler's English Promenade 19. Grace Kelly wore Chateau Krigler 12, and Ben Krigler, the current head of the fragrance house, tells InStyle that it was her mentioning she used their fragrances that sky-rocketed them to fame in the West back in the '50s.
Time and time again, members of the Krigler family have stepped up to create some of the most iconic scents — and they all have fascinating histories.
The story starts in 1879 when Albert Krigler created his first scent, Pleasure Gardenia 79, as an engagement gift for his French fiancée — the daughter of an esteemed perfumer. A chemist by trade, Krigler became enamored by the art of fragrance creation and went on to open a perfumery in St. Petersburg in 1904. Within five years, he set up shop in Berlin before his eventual move to the South of France in 1909.
From then, the future of Krigler took off as the world entered some of the most impactful moments in history. "When you go through the history of the fragrances in Krigler, you go through the history of the world," Ben tells us — and it's true.
In 1914, the first world war broke out and Lieber Gustav 14 was created. "It was inspired by Albert's granddaughter, who lost her fiancé during World War One — he was a soldier," Ben shares. "She was in Provence, he had been in Germany. So, [Albert] created a fragrance based on the love letters they sent to each other." Even the ingredients used were an homage to their love — the lavender was sourced from France and the sandalwood and tonka beans from Berlin.
Krigler now has over 600 fragrances, of which Ben says they were all inspired by the places the Kriglers have traveled to. Of its grand collection, only 44 are currently available for purchase as the rest are either in the archive or bespoke — and the brand's newest launch, Voyage au Paradis 56, is one for the books.
First blended in 1956 to celebrate the wedding of Albert's great-granddaughter, this perfume was inspired by the French Riviera. Albert began creating it, but ultimately never finished it as he passed away. From there, his wife Rose took on the role of finishing what he started — creating a fragrance inspired by leisure, joy, and sensuality.
The medley of notes is reminiscent of a romantic vacation, and seeing as the essence of the house of Krigler is inspired by travel, it's only natural that the ingredients in its perfume boast the same worldliness. As such, Voyage au Paradis has notes of sparkling bergamot from the Riviera's Menton region, blood orange from Sicily, jasmine from Grasse, caraway from Hungary, French white musk, Osmanthus from New Caledonia, and Frangipani flower from Mexico.
Courtesy of Krigler
To shop: $605; krigler.com
After its initial launch, Voyage au Paradis was eventually retired and placed into the Krigler archive. However, in 2019, Ben decided it was time to bring it back to life as a "renaissance of joy." The process took three years because, in a similar fashion to fine wine, this fragrance was made in barrels to get a higher concentration of eau de parfum. "Other brands usually have between nine to 18," says Ben. "Ours begins at 25, and they go up to 35 — even 40%." This is important, as the scent lingers longer than most perfumes because of this.
The perfume's revival has a nearly-identical scent to its original version, but Ben explains that this iteration has been updated. "It has the same notes, but we subtracted some notes — such as animal scents and ingredients that are now protected — that we cannot use anymore," he explains. Ingredient regulations have evolved with time, and Krigler along with them. So, while the brand always contains somewhere between 80 to 90 percent natural ingredients, Ben explains that the remaining percentage are substituted with sophisticated synthetics. Voyage au Paradis, he says, contains about 90% naturals.
And while the scent itself is a near replica to its original version, the bottle also has blink-and-you'll-miss-it nods to Krigler's past. "Albert's favorite animal were parrots," explains Ben as he points out the colorful, feathered creature on the bottle.
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On the skin, Voyage au Paradis creates a journey for the user. Upon immediate contact, the fragrance smells fresh and uplifting. As Ben points out, it's "very good when you're tired because it picks you up." As it settles into the skin, the notes of jasmine, orange blossom, and white musk develop and transform the scent into a subtly sensual one.
It's the perfect summer scent, which is why Krigler relaunched this classic on the day of summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Voyage au Paradis translates to "journey to paradise," and if you close your eyes and inhale the fragrance, you won't be able to help but smile. After all, this is joie de vivre — bottled.