First Smell: Henrik Vibskov’s Type B

When a friend came back from Copenhagen, Denmark’s fashion week, she brought me some samples of Danish designer Henrik Vibskov’s three new fragrances. Each is themed after a city: Type B is Berlin, Type C is Copenhagen, and Type D is Damascus.

Vibskov, my friend tells me, is known for his eccentric runway shows (which have names like “Big Wet Shiny Boobies” and “The Fantabulous Bicycle Music Factory”) and tickets to them are as coveted as those to Marc Jacobs are in New York. His menswear is drapey, with a lot of drop-crotch pants. It’s a little androgynous, the kind of stuff that people outside the fashion business complain about. (See some runway highlights here.)

This isn’t technically Vibskov’s first fragrance. He worked with perfumer Louis Turner on the second series by Six Scents (a project that pairs six perfumers with designers and creative types to make a line of fragrances) for #3 Solar Donkey Power, a bergamot, sage, geranium, patchouli, moss, incense, and pine fragrance. The perfumer described it as evocative of a sauna.

My favorite of his new trio, due out in August, is Type B. It’s a smoky fragrance, at least in the top notes, with some spice and a note my girlfriend thought at first was oud. I sprayed it on liberally—usually a mistake—but it isn’t as powerful as most fragrances on the market right now. My guess is it’s a toilette or even cologne concentration. Now, about two hours after I sprayed it on my wrist, it’s subtle and woody.

The press materials describe it like this:

Type B

For Berlin, captures a cold winter’s day in the former Eastern part of the city, where—even today—numerous buildings and houses are heated with coal. While the scent starts with spicy and fizzy top notes (black pepper, sulphur match), it soon ignites its soft woody heart (cedarwood, vetyver, gaiac wood) and evolves toward an unexpected, yet cosy and welcoming musky black wood dry down (birch and coal tar), recollective of smoky and leatherish odors of the streets of Pankow.

I love it, and I wish it were stronger. There’s an aromatic fireplace scent to it, made mild by notes of fresher woods. It’s described as a Berlin scent, but it could easily be any cool northern forest.

Reading again the notes from Vibskov’s Six Scents collaboration with Louise Turner, I wonder how similar it is to Type B—and whether or not Turner had a hand in it. At this point, I don’t know whether or not it will be sold in the U.S., although Vibskov’s line is carried at boutiques in New York City.

UPDATE — August 4, 2011: The Vibskov fragrances are available for pre-order online at the website for the Paris retailer Colette. Type B sells for about $95, not including VAT (which is $18). Shipping to the US would be about $25, and VAT wouldn’t be charged for overseas orders.

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3 Responses to First Smell: Henrik Vibskov’s Type B

  1. kjanicki says:

    You know, “the aroma of the former East Berlin” threw me, but that sounds really good. I love smoky, woody perfumes. I find the smell of a fireplace very comforting.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I know, I was trying to be concise in my Twitter description, but I made it sound all Berlin Wall. I think it’s meant to be modern East Berlin.

    Maybe it’s the season, but I’ve been craving smoky things lately: D.S. & Durga’s Burning Barber Shop and Le Labo’s Patchouli 24 in fragrances and mezcal and scotch in cocktails. I think you’re right, those earthy, savory smoky qaulities are very comforting.

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Lists | cocktails & cologne

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