We all know the feeling; so much to do, so much we want to do, and yet there seems to be not enough hours in the day, days in the week etc, to do all that. I was actually in the privileged situation that Ines wanted me to write here on her blog, and it would have been a very suitable time to ‘help out’, since she’s busy with her thesis. But I just couldn’t find the space, neither in my diary nor in my head to write something, and that, although I wasn’t short of things that I wanted to write.
One of the things that I have wanted to write about, are the perfumes of April Aromatics. However, I got a bit carried away with one of them. So, I’ll save the others for another time.
April Aromatics are organic perfumes from Berlin based perfumer Tanja Bochnig. I first read about Tanja’s perfumes at another blog, where all her fragrances were listed with a mini review of each. One particularly seemed to be calling my name, not as usual because of the description or the notes as such, but the name; it was called ‘Unter den Linden’. This name associated so many stories for me that, wanting to refer to some of them now, I hardly know where to start, or how to explain the deep strings it tucks at with me.
First of all, the famous Boulevard in Berlin, the place where for the last three and a half centuries Berliners and visitors alike have been taking their Sunday strolls. It’s also the calling name for the famous old Statsoper Berlin, also called Staatsoper Unter den Linden (as opposed to the (former)West- Berlin opera called Deutsche Oper Berlin), in short Unter den Linden. Any musician talking about Unter den Linden will be referring to this historic house. Then there are the numerous poetic references to lime tree in the German literature as being the tree of love. From Walter von der Vogelweide’s (1170-1230) ‘Unter den Linden’ to the Romantic poetry, the lime tree becomes the symbol of love and harmony, the place where lovers meet, below the lime trees. Perhaps most famous of all is Müller’s poem from Schubert’s Winterreise ‘Der Lindenbaum’ or ‘Am Brunnen von dem Tore’ as it’s called when sung as a simple strophic version of Schubert’s more complicated artsong. My own favourite song of lime trees is Mahler’s interpretation of a Rückert poem ‘Ich atmet’ einen linden duft’ (I breathed a gentle fragrance), where Rückert plays with the different meanings of the word Linde in German to make it respectively; the twig of lime blossoms, gentle, soothing or with ease. It is also under the lime tree that the thwarted lover seeks and finds eternal peace (as in ‘Am Brunnen…’, or another Mahler song ‘Die zwei blauen Augen’). So there is also sadness in this idyll. You probably see where this is going…
UdL has a lovely fresh citrusy opening, like the first linden blossoms still light and gentle. As the fragrance warms on the skin, you feel other blossoms coming out to play, here I especially smell a rounded mimosa; but like with the bergamot in the beginning, it feels like they are there to add to the true nature of the linden scent, rather than wanting to take over from it. There is never any of that heavy summer drunkenness of the lime, it’s the early excitement of the first curious flowers all dewy fresh in their loveliness, and only slightly sweet. Now and again I feel as if a tiny bit of twig found its way into the perfume as well, as if in homeopathic style the flowers would still remember the tree which they grew from. The fragrance shimmers as if you were walking underneath the lime trees, the sun shining through the heart-shaped leaves, between lightness and sweetness, playfulness and reflection.
Unter den Linden manages to be calm yet uplifting, and joyous yet melancholic. It’s an adorably beautiful Linden Duft, and just perfect these days as we long for warmer and gentler weather.
Notes for Unter den Linden from Tanja’s webpage; Linden blossom, Mimosa, Honey, Bergamot and Gardenia (and confirmed no twigs in thereJ) and can be purchased at