Monday 27 July 2020

APSU by Ulrich Lang

If there is one fragrance style that is guaranteed to excite as well as uplift then it has to be one of those gloriously green scents. These perfumes that were once abundant in the electrically charged galbanum have, in more recent years, relied on man-made ingredients to conjure up cut grass and green leaves. However, when you skilfully combine the two then you can end up with a scent that transcends summery playfulness, adds in a dash of autumnal vegetation, and hints at tropical humidity. This is exactly what you get with Ulrich Lang’s 2016 fragrance Apsu. It may not be the latest, but it’s definitely one of the brightest.

Ulrich Lang doesn’t come from a perfume dynasty, and where he lives in New York the closest most people get to flowers is a window box, but as a child he was brought up in Germany. His grandmother owned and ran a small perfume shop and so being surrounded by fragrance imbedded a love of scent that would manifest itself later in life. Those memories of unimagined aromas would form part of his company’s ethos that any fragrance which carried the Ulrich Lang name should be original and emotive. Staying true to this idea has resulted in fiercely loyal fans and an exciting range of scents.

Ulrich originally studied business and marketing at the University of Passau in Bavaria, and upon graduating he started an internship with Estée Lauder in London. It would prove to be one of the defining moments that would eventually spur him to release his own fragrance brand. After returning to Germany to take up the position of Product Manager for L’Oréal, he took the gamble to relocate to New York in 1998. This saw him working in publishing but, in 2002, the fragrance company was finally formed and he launched Anvers in 2003. Six fragrances later, Ulrich Lang is synonymous with style.

In 2016 the company had released five fragrances but it was decided that the line-up needed a green scent. Ulrich Lang wanted a perfume that blended minimalism with freshness and described it as “a nod to a simpler lifestyle not easily found in today’s complex world.” Apsu was the result and, alongside photography provided by Brooklyn-based Matthew Porter, the perfume was nominated for a Duftstar Award by Germany’s Fragrance Foundation. By staying true to his goal of originality and emotiveness, Apsu gives the wearer a glimpse of sun-dappled vegetation against a background of aquatic humidity.

The fragrance opens with an incredible burst of crisp green leaves, as if you’ve crunched them in your hands, along with a watery sappiness that is wonderfully refreshing. The bergamot in the opening also helps to keep Apsu sparkling, but it gracefully gives way to a delicate waterlily that has a subtly spiced edge. The aquatic quality definitely outweighs the floral notes but, as the fragrance develops, you start to get a beautiful combination of dry cedarwood, vetiver, and touches of frankincense. This gives a woodiness to the finish that, alongside a smooth white musk, completes a glorious unisex fragrance that conjures up waxed leaves, tropical woodland walks, and a summery dash of humidity.

Apsu is available from the Ulrich Lang website at and also from Liberty in the UK priced at £98 for 100ml. [Sample provided by Ulrich Lang]

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