Von Eusersdorff is a Dutch-based perfume house that is run by the descendents of German immigrants with roots dating back to the 15th century and who are now inspired by the vibrancy of New York City. According to the company’s website, the original Von Eusersdorffs ran an apothecary for three centuries, “dealing in rare perfume materials, spices and herbs.” The brand was reborn in 2010 as “Von Eusersdorff New York” under the direction of Camille Henfling-Von Eusersdorff, and its five eau de parfums finally became available in America a few months ago after being European exclusives.
I first tried a few of the fragrances last year at Jovoy, but didn’t have the time to give the full range a thorough assessment. Finding the scents in America turned out to be impossible, despite the “New York” part of their name. Then, several months ago, a very thoughtful, generous reader, “Petra,” kindly sent me samples of all the fragrances from German. About six weeks later, the perfumes became available in America, first at Twisted Lily and now at Indigo Perfumery. So, I thought it might be useful to briefly cover four of them — Classic Mimosa, Classic Orange, Classic Myrrh, and Classic Vetiver — leaving the fifth one, Classic Patchouli, for a comparative review with Lorenzo Villoresi‘s Patchouli.
Von Eusersdorff’s website is bare-bones and has no specifics about any of their fragrances, but Twisted Lily quotes the official descriptions and notes. In the case of Classic Mimosa, the perfume is described as follows:
A great blend of bergamot, neroli, and green leaf accords merge with Classic Mimosa’s heart of mimosa, rose and its delightful marine accords add a unique Mediterranean flair. All of this sits on a bed of musk, orange blossom and vanilla.
Bergamot, Neroli, Green Leaf Accord, Mimosa, Violet, Rose, Marine Accord, Musk, Orange Blossom, Vanilla.
Classic Mimosa opens on my skin as a green, dewy, floral with rather a liquid feel. The mimosa isn’t like the flower of my childhood, nor very pure or concentrated in nature, particularly as it is fully interwoven with the bergamot. The result on my skin feels more akin to a linden blossom than to pure mimosa. The two notes are followed by a substantial bit of greenness from the violet, and that very greenness is then further amplified by both the leaf accord and the neroli. Bringing up the rear are small whiffs of orange blossoms and a good dose of clean white musk.
It takes less than 5 minutes for the fragrance’s focus to shift. The bergamot, neroli, and violet greenness grow stronger, while the floral component seems less and less like a sunny, sweet, warm or pollen-laden mimosa. Quickly, Classic Mimosa’s main focus becomes dominated by green, violet ionones synthetics accompanied by notes resembling white muguet (lily of the valley) and lemony linden blossoms. The whole thing is infused with dewy freshness and crisp, chilled citruses. Waiting in the wings is the clean musk which pushes its way onto center stage 10 minutes into the perfume’s development, followed by the first hints of an aquatic note.
By the half-hour mark, Classic Mimosa feels nothing like the namesake note whatsoever on my skin. It is now a green-white floral with violets, green leafiness, and a kinship to muguet. The main notes are infused with strong neroli citrus, very clean white musk, watery aquatics, and a tiny drop of orange blossom. The perfume remains that way until the start of the 4th hour when it just barely clings to the skin as a wisp of something vaguely floral and green mixed with sharp cleanness and a hint of something like sea water. It dies a few hours later as mere green, floral cleanness.
All in all, Classic Mimosa was a very sheer, thin, fresh and clean fragrance with initially moderate sillage that soon turned soft, and with weak longevity on my skin. Two very large smears equal to 2 sprays from an actual bottle gave me 2 inches of projection in the opening moments. That number dropped after 90 minutes to half an inch. Classic Mimosa turned into a skin scent after 2.25 hours, and died away 5.5 hours into its development as a mere blur of green floralcy with cleanness.
I found Classic Mimosa to be disappointing because its core essence is absolutely nothing like the flower which I grew up with and know so well. It’s not bad as violet scent, I suppose, or a green, muguet-like floral, though I think there are much better actual muguet fragrances out there, particularly from Oriza L. Legrand. I also wasn’t keen on the strong vein of clean musk, but that seems to be a common thread in most of Von Eusersdorff’s creations. I think the house generally skews towards a “fresh and clean” vibe, even when they take on darker notes like incense, though their patchouli was much better in this regard. Neither fresh nor sheer, light fragrances are my thing, but Classic Mimosa isn’t a bad scent. I personally don’t think it’s distinctive, interesting, original, or worth $159/€115, but it’s a solid green, citrusy, fresh floral.
According to Twisted Lily, Classic Orange and its notes are described as follows:
A bitter sweet symphony of Sicilian blood orange and petitgrain blend with a swooning black tea accord and Chinese osmanthus creating a dark and incredibly profound Classic Orange perfume. The base features Hatian sandalwood oil and swarthy musky notes.
Sicilian Blood Orange, Petitgrain, Black Tea Accord, Osmanthus, Sandalwood, Musky Notes.
Classic Orange opens on my skin with zesty, tangy, crisp and juicy blood oranges, infused with the bitter, fragrant oils of its grated skin, followed by black pepper, woody petitgrain, and clean, white musk. There is a strong dash of something that is simultaneously smoky, black, sweet, and creamy, much like a milky chai black tea that has some honey in it along with a subtle woodiness from the tea leaves. It’s all very lovely, though I admit to being a sucker for blood orange notes in general. If you are, too, I think you’ll love Classic Orange’s opening.
Once that clean musk fades, the perfume’s opening is even nicer. If I had to ascribe a numeric breakdown for the notes, 85% is centered on the namesake citrus, with 10% woody petitgrain and 5% compromised of a medley of tea notes. The blood orange is not cloying or syrupy, but tart and tangy, and braced by the petitgrain. It’s as though the entire orange tree had been used, from the tart pulp and fragrant rind to the wood itself. In comparison, the milky, honeyed, slightly smoky black tea is a bit of a sore thumb. Sometimes, it seems to fit alongside the zesty citrus but, at other times, it doesn’t. Still, I think it lends an interesting touch and bit of originality to the perfume, though it is only a small part of the overall composition.
My problems begin 15 minutes into Classic Orange’s development. The perfume starts to get sweeter, the tart zestiness rapidly weakens, and I’m left with something that is slowly beginning to remind me of an orange sorbet. The perfume is still juicy, but the sweetness is growing increasingly strong, thanks in large part to the honey. It probably stems from the osmanthus but, regardless of source, it undercuts the tartness of the fruit, turning it from a zingy blood orange to a very regular, sweet orange. At the same time, the petitgrain loses steam, and its woodiness weakens. The smoky, black tea notes retreat to the sidelines where they are sometimes quite noticeable but, more and more, they hide behind a wall of sweet fruitiness.
By the end of the first hour and the start of the second, I feel as though I’m wearing an orange creamsicle with a ton of clean musk and a small nuance of soapiness. There is very little black tea, and absolutely no smoky tonalities or honey. A ghostly suggestion of something floral pops up occasionally, but it’s extremely muted. The whole thing is far too sweet for my personal tastes.
Thankfully, it isn’t a longstanding phase and the gooey sweetness eventually recedes after another 90 minutes. The clean musk is not as strong, the woodiness stirs faintly in the base, the flashes of smokiness return, and the orange creamsicle vibe lessens as the tartness returns to a small extent. All of this is largely a question of degree, though, and some of the elements are very subtle indeed, while others (like the sweetness) wax and wane in strength. For the most part, Classic Orange is primarily a sweet-tart, citrus bouquet with a lot of clean, white musk. The latter slowly takes on a soapiness that I’m not fond of, but I suppose other people will view it as “fresh.” From the middle of the 4th hour until its very end, the perfume is nothing more than orange soapy cleanness with sharp musk.
Classic Orange had generally moderate sillage and longevity on my skin. Using 3 large smears equal to 2 good sprays from an actual bottle, the fragrance opened with 3 inches of projection which turned into 2 at the start of the second hour. The clean musk makes the perfume feel much stronger than it actually is, if you ask me. Classic Orange turned into a skin scent after 3.75 hours, then died away 8.75 hours from its start.
I think Classic Orange will be quite a crowd-pleaser, particularly for those who don’t mind a clean streak or who have the skin chemistry to prevent the fragrance from turning overly sweet. It’s a better, more polished, warmer, and less heavily soapy interpretation of the genre than Atelier Cologne‘s Orange Sanguine. Classic Orange’s tangy, zingy elements are truly lovely, and I enjoyed the whiffs of smoky tea. For me personally, however, the scent veered too much back and forth between overly sweet creamsicle territory versus the tartness that I preferred. I also wasn’t enthused by the soapiness of its drydown phase, and I don’t like clean musk in general, even if neither note was as extreme here as in Orange Sanguine. However, these are issues of personal taste, so if you love this genre of fragrance, you should give Classic Orange a sniff.
The official description for Classic Myrrh, as quoted by Twisted Lily, reads as follows:
Mysterious incense, cedar leaf, and petitgrain blend delightfully with its heart of guaiacwood, violet and sandalwood bringing warmth and comfort to the composition. As it dries down we’re left with a sensual and intoxicating bed of black patchouli, vetiver and cistus.
Incense, Cedar Leaf, Petitgrain, Guaiacwood, Violet, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Vetiver, Cistus.
Classic Myrrh has more complexity and twists than some of its siblings. It initially opens on my skin with clean, light incense, followed by benzoin-like golden sweetness and warmth, cedar, guaiac woods, and a touch of citrus. For a brief moment, it reminds me of a thin, sheerer, cleaner cousin to Le Labo‘s Moscow Exclusive, Benjoin 19, only this one has a touch of citrus added to the mix. Actually, Classic Myrrh was initially so light and sheer with 2 large smears that I had to apply a 3rd, hefty one just to ensure I could detect all its nuances. That improved the initial sillage from just under 2 inches to about 3, but the perfume continues to feel almost translucent in weight.
Classic Myrrh starts to shift after 5 minutes. There is no petitgrain or violet on my skin, but the patchouli arrives to add a touch of spiciness to the ambered foundation. The “sandalwood” feels merely like soft, clean woods, but it’s quite minor as compared to the cedar or guaiac. Soon, Classic Myrrh loses its resemblance to Le Labo’s Benjoin as its focus shifts away from the incense with its smoky, dusty, or High Church myrrh tonalities and turns more towards the woody elements. The perfume is sweeter, less smoky, and is now a woody fragrance with incense, as opposed to the other way around. The main bouquet is now a cedar-guaiac duo flecked with myrrh incense, spicy patchouli, and a touch of clean citrus, all nestled within a gauzy, labdanum haze.
30 minutes in, Classic Myrrh suddenly switches gears again. The sandalwood floods the base with creaminess, while the citrus up top grows stronger and takes on a sharp quality, thanks to the clean musk which is etched into all the Von Eusersdorff fragrances. At the same time, the patchouli fades, and the vetiver arrives to take its place. The incense seems nebulous and abstract, as does the amber, its sweetness, and its soft warmth. Now, Classic Myrrh is dominated largely by cedar, sharp citrus, woody vetiver, and singed, smoky guaiac wood, all lashed with a suggestion of incense and then placed atop a base of creamy sandalwood that is lightly flecked by slivers of patchouli and amber.
Classic Myrrh continues to turn darker and woodier. 90 minutes into its development, the creamy softness and amber dry up in the base, while the patchouli is almost imperceptible. The perfume feels drier, a little austere, and a bit prickly. The myrrh, however, re-emerges and becomes more prominent, adding a bit of a “High Church” quality to the singed, burnt guaiac, the dry cedar, and the woody vetiver.
Over the next few hours, Classic Myrrh is centered primarily on woods and myrrh incense atop a sliver of citrusy amber and creaminess. The perfume hovers an inch above the skin, and continues to be very airy in feel. In the middle of the 5th hour, a sharp note appears in the background. It has a metallic undertone, but I can’t figure out if it is a violet ionone which is to blame or actual clean musk. I suspect it’s the violet note because there is something vaguely green lurking at Classic Myrrh’s edges, almost like violet leaves mixed with vetiver. Violet ionones can have a metallic quality, so that might be the cause, but the sharpness of the Von Eusersdorff musk doesn’t help matters much.
Classic Myrrh turns into a skin scent at the start of the 6th hour, then begins its drydown phase a few hours after that. In essence, the perfume is merely dry, singed woods with wisps of incense and a touch of creaminess. There is no patchouli, no ambered warmth, no citruses, and little vetiver, but a vestige of the clean musk clings on tenaciously. All in all, the perfume lasted just under 10 hours.
Classic Myrrh is a solid, largely uncomplicated woody-incense fragrance with some appealing parts, and easy wearability. The creaminess in the base is nice, and the ambered sweetness is an enjoyable contrast to the opening’s myrrh. Although its main focus is pretty unswerving, it has more nuances and subtleties than some of its siblings in the Von Eusersdorff line. It feels more expensive or polished than, say, Classic Mimosa, and more complex than Classic Orange. Plus, the perfume has good longevity, despite its sheer and airy nature. As a whole, I think it would be an appealing, casual scent for those who enjoy woody, incense fragrances, but hardcore myrrh lovers may be a little disappointed that the namesake note isn’t the centerpiece.
Twisted Lily’s quote for Classic Vetiver states:
A refreshing blend of grapefruit, bergamot and lemon mingle with notes of geranium, elemi and peppercorn. As the base awakens Classic Vetiver reveals it’s true glory and long lasting integrity due to its cedarwood, black patchouli and Hatian vetiver.
Grapefruit, Bergamot, Lemon, Geranium, Elemi, Peppercorn, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Hatian Vetiver.
Classic Vetiver opens on my skin as a classic, traditional, very fresh cologne. It is dominated by lemon and vetiver, followed by crisp, chilled grapefruit. Within seconds, a flood of sweetness seeps over the brisk, aromatic bouquet, smelling oddly enough of salted caramel and amber. Flickers of cedar, abstract spices, and peppered elemi wood resin pop up at the edges, along with something that feels rather like a pinch of nutmeg. The patchouli doesn’t smell like regular patchouli to me at all, but I suspect that it is indirectly responsible for some of the warmer, spicier elements.
For the most part, though, Classic Vetiver’s main focus in the opening moments is on the two sets of contrasting elements: a very sunny, yellow, bright, refreshing citrus medley, versus, a more oriental-gourmand mix of caramel sweetness, spices, golden warmth, and woodiness. While the initial cologne aspect didn’t strike me as distinctive, the new interplay is more interesting. I’m not keen on the thread of clean, white musk that lurks at the periphery, but the yellow grapefruit is a particularly nice touch, as it’s neither too acidic nor too briskly fresh now. Actually, it reminds me of a pomelo which lingers halfway between boring, regular bergamot and something more tangy, warm, and bright.
All of it works well with the woody notes, especially the namesake vetiver. Here, it has the sort of mineralized, aromatic freshness of the vetiver in Terre d’Hermes, rather than the darker, earthier vetiver found in something like Chanel‘s Sycomore. In fact, Classic Vetiver reminds me a lot of Terre d’Hermes, and I’m not the only one. On Fragrantica, one chap’s entire summary was: “Fresh Vetiver opening with a 98% Terre d’Hermés drydown.” The only other comment on that page references Terre d’Hermes as well. To me, the two scents aren’t identical, given the start, but yes, it’s hard to escape the incredible overlap or Classic Vetiver’s very mainstream, generic profile. It’s a touch more high-quality than what you’d find in the Sephora aisles, and definitely not glaringly synthetic like many commercial vetiver-citrus-woody colognes, but that doesn’t change the problem: Classic Vetiver doesn’t really stand out or feel very special to me, particularly as it develops and grows even simpler.
In a nutshell, the perfume becomes more focused on the namesake note, and starts to shed its nuances. 15 minutes in, the vetiver grows stronger, vying with the citrus cocktail for the lead, while the spicy warmth and cedar fall behind. After 75 minutes, the sweetness and spiced warmth recede, leaving a scent that is primarily vetiver with mixed citruses and a thin sliver of cedar. The clean musk continues to run through the fragrance, whose sillage has now dropped to just an inch above the skin. Classic Vetiver turns into a skin scent at the 3.75 hour mark, and is really just vetiver with bergamot and lemon. The grapefruit is extremely minimal, while the cedar, sweetness, and spices have gone completely. When the drydown begins at the start of the 6th hour, all that is left is simple vetiver with lemon that is slightly soapy. Classic Vetiver remains that way until it dies away 9.5 hours from the start.
Von Eusersdorff’s goal seems to have been a “classic” scent, and I think they accomplished that with a polished take on the vetiver genre. So, it’s undoubtedly unfair to expect uniqueness, originality, or distinctiveness, but Classic Vetiver is priced a little high for a largely unremarkable, traditional cologne, in my opinion. A 100 ml bottle costs for $159 or €115, while Chanel’s more elegant, more interesting, and rather famous vetiver soliflore, Sycomore, is $160 for 75 ml. Meanwhile, Terre d’Hermes costs $113 for a comparable 100 ml, or $81 for a 50 ml bottle. I’m not sure Classic Vetiver’s quasi-oriental touches in the opening 75-90 minutes really make the perfume stand out enough to warrant the price differences when the perfume is taken as a whole, but that is a personal feeling. If you like vetiver and want a fresh, casual cologne with some warmth to go along with its woody, mineralic, citrus aspects, then you may want to give Classic Vetiver a sniff.
ALL IN ALL:
I think there are three ways to look at the Von Eusersdorff Collection. The first is a Fragrantica comment that I read about one of the fragrances and which boils down to: they are a solid, no-frills, unpretentious, straightforward line of scents, and the focal point of each fragrance is treated with a polished touch. The second is the flip-side of that view, which is that the fragrances aren’t really anything special or distinctive. One might also argue the perfumes are too airy, linear, and simplistic for the price. The third perspective mixes both views, but the person likes the particular treatment enough to think the perfume warrants the price in question.
For me personally, and with my tastes, the fragrances were a disappointment. I don’t mind simple, linear scents, and some of my favorite comfort scents are incredibly limited in focus, so that wasn’t the issue by itself. The problem was that the scents lacked the body and depth that is always a critical, necessary counterbalance to simplicity for me. In other words, there is nothing wrong with a linear, two-note fragrance if there is also luxurious richness. That was not the case here. Another reason is a more purely personal issue relating to my loathing for fresh, clean musk — and all the Von Eusersdorff fragrances have it. I’m also not keen on soft, wispy, thin scents, never mind low-voltage ones that are suitable for an office environment. Von Eusersdorff checked both of those boxes as well.
Finally, the simple, honest truth is that I found the perfumes boring to wear. My favorite from the line is the Classic Patchouli that will be the subject of the next review, but I think it says something that this hardcore patch-head was unswayed even by that fragrance the first time I tried it in Jovoy. I thought, “Nice,” sniffed appreciatively for a minute or two, but moved onto other things, and then completely dismissed the Classic Patchouli in the face of more interesting takes on the note. (For example, Jovoy‘s own Psychedelique.) Here was my one chance to get a fragrance that I couldn’t find in the States, but I left the store without even a sample of the Classic Patchouli. It was the same thing for the Classic Orange which was the only other Von Eusersdorff creation to appeal to me at the time. All the fragrances seemed too airy, low in sillage, thin, overly “clean and fresh,” and lacking in distinction. They simply didn’t stand out enough to warrant full tests or samples, and I wasn’t going to waste €115 on Classic Patchouli when the Jovoy patchouli held so much more promise for only €5 more.
There are a lot of reviews out there for the line, and almost all of them are very positive. Some practically gush about how wonderful the Von Eusersdorff fragrances are as a whole, but a few of the scents seem to be more popular than others. To be specific, Classic Patchouli, Classic Orange, and Classic Myrrh. You can turn to Fragrantica as a starting point for comparative opinions on the four fragrances talked about here: Classic Mimosa, Classic Orange, Classic Myrrh, and Classic Vetiver. In terms of blog reviews, Victoria of EauMG enjoyed Classic Myrrh, primarily because the resinous wood notes were the centerpiece for her and the perfume wasn’t very focused on myrrh. In the same vein, Notable Scents called Classic Myrrh “an incense fragrance for those who are afraid of incense fragrances,” and found it to be something suitable for the office. He liked the rest of the line as well, though he felt that Classic Mimosa was misnamed and more a case of “clean and fresh” Classic Violet than the namesake note. Caro of Te de Violetas loved the Classic Orange which she called a “little gem,” and has a nice review of it. Finally, Alfarom of Nero Profumo gives positive, brief takes on four of the scents, with only the Classic Mimosa receiving a shrug.
Next time, I’ll look at the Von Eusersdorff fragrance that I (and many other people, it seems) like best: Classic Patchouli. It will be a comparative assessment next to Lorenzo Villoresi‘s Patchouli which actually wins out for me, but the Von Eusersdorff soliflore is quite nice.