Is it a coincidence that two perfume lines reflecting family traditions originating in Germany have both reached me here in Brooklyn at about the same time?

Perhaps not, as the number of perfumers from the region increase and are becoming more known in the US at the same time.These two are both manufacturers from start to finish of their own perfumes, evolved in this present day to be aesthetically direct, down to earth, focused, and streamlined. There is a modern urban feel to both, a clarity and uplift of mood expressed through intelligent simplicity.

A high level of quality and workmanship show through, so please take that for granted on all the perfumes I describe here. Both have two perfumes that revisit certain classic themes in their own enlightened and sophisticated way. Both have a citrus perfume using a predominantly blood orange theme, and both have one of their most successful perfumes based on a note that has been overused in the past; that is violet for Frau Tonis, and patchouli for von Euserdorff, and both transformed them into sophisticated modern beauties that are still unmistakably themselves.

There's much about these perfumes that reminds me of the pervasive Bauhaus design principals that have shaped international design style into this day, especially here in NYC, where many of the Bauhaus artists and teachers took refuge from WWII. [...]Frau Tonis Parfum Berlin has a shop located close to what used to be Checkpoint Charlie, and a set of about 26 perfumes which emphasize single elements and can be used in layers, and also others that are more complex, and will make custom perfumes composed from these elements.

After some discussion about #37 Veilchen and #41 Orange in the perfume community online, I was intrigued.Frau Tonis #41 Orange is fresh and bright, a true orange; clear, uplifting and refreshing. Indeed Stephanie Hanssen, the perfumer herself, wears it all winter as a shield against the sadness of the grey skies of Central Europe's long winters. There is a realism here, like the concentration of many many blood oranges distilled into a vitamin supplement of a perfume. This is one of the line that is meant to be used as a layering agent, or could be worn on its own.

Though I was reminded of Atelier's Orange Sanguine, since the theme and the notes are similar, Frau Tonis #41 Orange holds a more down to earth and realistic quality, that while incorporating an element of spaciousness and air within it refers only to itself and its materials, and so opens itself to only your own associative experiences with orange, rather than someone else's possibly more glamorous stories of travel or history in an exotic landscape.

There's an initial hit of that first draft of fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning, that you've made yourself of juicy blood oranges, that hold the sunshine and sweetness of pure energy, refreshed by green notes. It has an unusually good longevity for a citrus and is made in an eau de parfum strength, and is available, as all the Frau Tonis perfumes are, in several increments of size/price online, if you are can't get to the store in person. #37 Veilchen is a heady yet dry and sophisticated violet perfume, inspired by the spirit of the Twenties, especially as exemplified by the persona of Berliner Marlene Dietrich.

Mixing the theme of violet with licorice, the bloom on raspberries and the softest aspect of vanilla transmits the aura of Dietrich's otherworldly and decadent glamor.This treatment up-markets a perfume note that was almost too common in that era, and shifts its meaning from a delicate ephemeral and often sentimental form of Spring beauty to an assertive elegance that is highly violet, only this time with a little playful bite and longevity.

It's for those who can appreciate violet on its own terms without the shades of virginal naivety or vintage forms of sentimentality so often attached. The perfume brings out the evening tones of dryness in violet, as a little swan's down powder puff infused with the fumes from a glass of champagne might pass over skin near midnight dark violets tucked into the decolletage. This perfume is a floral both sexes can wear, as it is dry as anything; the candy sweetness is an intoxicated ghost wandering the background, and the flower is freshest as it rests in its own darkest color in the shade...

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