Thursday, 16 January 2020

17 NANDAN ROAD by Ulrich Lang

The reasons why someone launches their own perfume company are always so varied and that can also be said for the background of the founder. Some may have been inspired by a lifelong interest in fragrance whilst others may have already worked within the industry for many years. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but, because the nuts and bolts of releasing a fragrance are so much more than just creating the scent, a little bit of inside knowledge can be helpful. This can certainly be said of Ulrich Lang whose most recent fragrance, 17 Nandan Road, definitely hits the right note in both scent and styling.

Ulrich Lang grew up in Southern Germany and, from a very early age, was surrounded by fragrance. His grandmother owned a small perfume store and so his appreciation of scent literally grew as he did. In 1987 he began his studies at the University of Passau in Bavaria, specialising in business and marketing, and it was this area that would eventually lead him into the world of perfumery. An internship at Estee Lauder in London helped him to move onto the role of Product Manager for L’Oréal in his native Germany but, in 1998, he made the decision to relocate to New York.

It was a city that had always fascinated him and, without realising it at the time, would also be the spur to start his own company in 2002. He originally moved to New York to work in art publishing but, with the help of his long-time friend and business partner, Britt Biegelsen, he set about designing his first scent. Anvers was released in 2003 and was described as “fresh, provocative, and embracing.” Its success saw a demand for further fragrances but it would be four years before he released Anvers 2 in 2007 and, subsequently, Nightscape in 2009.

The series then fell into a two year pattern starting in 2012 with Lightscape and was followed by Aperture, APSU, and finally 17 Nandan Road in 2018. Whilst the first three fragrances were classified as masculine, the latter four were labelled as unisex. 17 Nandan Road continues Ulrich Lang’s “passion for perfume and contemporary photography” and uses Shanghai’s Guangqi Garden as its inspiration which, during the month of October, sees the osmanthus in full bloom. With imagery provided by Chinese author and poet Song Yuan, 17 Nandan Road promises a “uniquely faceted floral fragrance” but does it deliver?

The fragrance opens with the crystal-clear top notes of Sicilian lemon and bergamot but, whilst there is a hint of foliage, the osmanthus in the heart cannot be constrained. It arrives with its delicate plum-like aroma before revealing an apricot nuance that also locks beautifully onto the powdery iris. The development of the scent brings out an elegant cedarwood, which is given a decadence by the addition of the woody ambery Ambroxin, and a hint of black tea suggest a subtle dryness. However, the osmanthus gives a final gift of its leathery facet that adds an androgynous quality to this delicate, yet enticing, fragrance.

17 Nandan Road is available from the Ulrich Lang website at ulrichlangnewyork.com and Liberty in London priced at £98 for 100ml. [Sample provided by Luxe Associates]

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