Thursday 14 January 2021

APERTURE by Ulrich Lang

The whole perfume industry is currently going through one of its biggest ever upheavals. All of the established rules of launching, promoting, and selling fragrance have been thrown up in the air because our personal interactions have completely changed. With more of a reliance on the internet and social media, the way we view and experience scent has dramatically altered. This means that we're literally living life through somebody else’s lens, and it was this idea that brought to mind Ulrich Lang’s high definition Aperture. Originally launched in 2014, this seven year old photo-collaborative fragrance is the perfect example.

Ulrich Lang’s journey to fragrance is not a romanticised vision of a fifth generation flower farming family creating scents with soil-weary hands. Instead it’s the story of a man who studied business and marking at the University of Passau in Bavaria and began his career as an intern at Estée Lauder. This led onto the position of Product Manager for L’Oréal in his native Germany but, in 1998, he made the decision to relocate to New York. With the help of his long-time friend and business partner Britt Biegelsen, it was here that he launched Ulrich Lang New York in 2002.

His love of fragrance stems from his Grandmother, who owned a small perfumery store, but he'd always wanted to elevate the scented experience. This “passion for perfume and contemporary photography” saw him collaborate with the Aperture Foundation in 2014, a non-profit organisation that helps connect the photo community with its audiences. Ulrich’s previous releases had always heavily featured the photography of a chosen artist and so this truly was the ideal pairing. The photographer tasked with bringing Aperture to visual life was Olivia Bee, who perfectly captured its “complex, introspective, and heady scent.”

The idea of using a photograph as inspiration for a perfume is nothing new, but perfectly aligning the scent with a marketing visual is much more difficult. The aim is to photographically embody the fragrance so that it almost sparks the senses, gives you an impression of how it will smell, almost like looking down the focused eye stalk of a Dalek. Whilst Aperture may have begun life as a photo-inspired collaboration, recent events have brought a whole new meaning to the perfume. It now beautifully communicates the experience of discovering fragrance through someone else’s lens, and the coming together of scent and style.

Aperture opens with the electrically-charged quality that you get from having multiple screens open, thanks to a clever blend of pink and black pepper along with sparkling aldehydes, but is immediately joined by an animalic note of civet that links seamlessly to the jasmine in the heart. However, an elegant cedarwood wastes no time in adding a controlling dryness before the final pairing of vetiver, more green than earthy, and amber-touched lily of the valley complete this wonderfully resinous unisex scent. Aperture may have originally been “the tranquil, kaleidoscopic serenity of a sunset” but, viewed from a different angle, you really do get the beautifully evocative effect of overworked computer screens delivering whispers of fragrance.

Aperture is available from the Ulrich Lang website at and Roullier White in London priced at £125 for 100ml. [Sample provided by Ulrich Lang]

[Background image © Character Toys History of the Dakeks Set #1]

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