How The House Of Krigler Puts History Lessons In Each Scent

When it comes to perfume, telling a story is a surefire way to connect to a scent. Nobody does this better than the House of Krigler, a perfume dynasty with five generations going strong. Inside each one of their artsy bottles, there is not only a story about the scents, but a history lesson, and a story about the time that the scent was created, whether it was 1922, 1945 or even 2023.

It all started in 1879 in Moscow, when Albert Krigler designed a floral fragrance called “Pleasure Gardenia 79,” a floral scent with jasmine, vanilla, mimosa with a mix of musk and gardenia petals. But it wasn’t until 25 years later that he launched the House of Krigler in St. Petersburg, and “Pleasure Gardenia 79” is still sold today. The brand has over 750 different scents and was founded in 1904 in Berlin, Germany, but Krigler moved the brand to Russia.

Many of the scents were created in the French Riviera, and many ingredients from the region are used, giving it a refreshing, coastal touch to many of their scents.

Everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Grace Kelly, and Jackie Kennedy has worn Krigler scents, and royals, as well.

“Many celebrities and royals have worn our fragrances, if you go through the history of Krigler, you discover the history of Europe in the 20th century and the U.S. in the 21st century,” said Ben Krigler, the fifth-generation heir of the Krigler family, and a widely recognized fragrance historian.

One scent called “Extraordinaire Camelia” was created for the Princess Charlene of Monaco in 2009. And back in the 1930s, Marlene Dietrich dropped by the Krigler studio and fell in love with “Lieber Gustav 14,” a lavender scent that was initially created for men—but quickly became the brand’s first unisex scent.

Lieber Gustav 14 (meaning “Dear Gustav” in German, and was numbered 14 because it was created in 1914) was a scent inspired by the love letters between Ben Krigler’s great-grandmother and her fiancé, a soldier who passed away during the First World War. The scent was also worn by F. Scott Fitzgerald, so naturally, Leonardo DiCaprio wore the scent at the 2013 premiere of the film he starred in as Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby.”

Each scent tells a story and takes us back in time. To Krigler, the true power of fragrance is subjective. “It’s all personal, the fragrance could give you the confidence and help you psychologically and mentally to conquer the world, to make you feel good, to surround you with success,” he said.

There are countless history lessons packed into each bottle. Look at “Jazzy Riviera 210,” which was created during the hype of the jazz era, and celebrates the centenary of their Antibes studio, or “Abrakaadabra 221,” a scent designed in 2020 during pandemic, designed for healing. Their “Oud for Highness 75” was a bespoke scent created for the Princess of Monaco, and “Blue Escapade 24” was designed for a British Lord who had a home in Biarritz in the south of France.

If that wasn’t enough of a trip through time, “Voyage au Paradis 56” was designed on the French Riviera, inspired by tropical paradise, and “Chateau Krigler 12” was inspired by the scents at a Krigler family home in Champagne, France. This scent was made famous by Grace Kelly after she won an Oscar for Country Girl, calling it her “lucky charm.”

“Lovely Patchouli 55” was the scent worn by Jackie Kennedy and “Eleganter Schwan 06” is a limited-edition scent made with Bavarian roses that bloom only once per year (only 1,000 bottles a year are made).

The Krigler brand is mysterious, it must be sought out. There are no standalone Krigler boutiques, rather, they’re tucked inside five-star hotels across the world, like the Ritz-Carlton Miami, the Palais Hansen Kempinski in Vienna and the Four Seasons Houston. “That’s how the adventure started,” explains Krigler.

“In Berlin, our very first store opened in a five-star hotel, Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin. That became our brand DNA, and Krigler is today known as the Parfumier des Palaces. We are linked to hotels, as they perfectly fit our standards and lifestyle.”

Inside The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, the Krigler boutique is in the heart of the lobby, with their gold bottles stacked to the ceiling. “I love the design of our South Beach location,” said Krigler. “South Beach is the most personified district for Art Deco design and Krigler’s golden era was during the time of Art Deco style.”

The brand’s latest scent is “Mediterranean Peach 15,” their re-creation of their 1915 perfume from the Côte d’Azur. But to Krigler, one of his personal favorites is “America One 31,” because it was worn by men like his father, Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy. It was also the first scent to be designed in America by the House of Krigler in 1931. Today, it’s informally known as the “president’s scent.”

Krigler himself has designed scents inspired by his travels, from a scent called “K’Oud 752014,” which was inspired by Texas to “Imperale 213,” inspired by Brazil. “We always make a perfume inspired by something; whether it’s a city, an island, a restaurant, fashion or even animals we encounter,” said Krigler. “Our founder Albert Krigler was known as the ‘Perfumer Voyager’ traveling the world.”

Another way that Krigler sets itself apart from other perfume brands is that they do make bespoke scents for high-end clients. It can cost up to $60,000 for a custom scent—though, the cost varies. To get to know the client, the brand has their own Proust Questionnaire with over 100 questions. “It goes from your favorite food to a clear memory from your childhood,” said Krigler. The process can take up to three years.

That’s no time at all when you look back on Krigler’s long history. When he looks to the past, there’s a tradition Krigler hopes to carry on from his great-great grandfather. “I hope to have love while remembering the past and carrying that with me in the present.”

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