This One Moment – Review: April Aromatics Unter den Linden

Unter den Linden – underneath the linden trees – is the perfume that first captured my attention and the one I needed to try first from Berlin-based organic perfume company April Aromatics. Find out more about the line on the company’s website.

The name spoke to me as much as the perfume itself, and that is probably a deeply set cultural phenomenon, because the linden tree has special, tenderly emotional connotations in the German speaking world.

unter den lindenUnter den Linden was created by Tanja Bochnig and includes notes of lindenblossom from Bulgaria & France, mimosa from France, frangipani from India, honey extract, bergamot from Italy and a gardenia accord.

My friend Asali wrote a fantastic review about this perfume on Ines’s blog All I Am – A Redhead. I let her speak here, because I couldn’t put it better anyway, and her associations are the same as mine, we share the same feeling of tugging at the heart strings by the name alone, compounded by the beautiful scent.

“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 Staatsoper Berlin, also called Staatsoper Unter den Linden (as opposed to the (former) West-Berlin opera called Deutsche Oper Berlin), in short Unter den Linden.

Then there are the numerous poetic references to linden 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 linden tree becomes the symbol of love and harmony, the place where lovers meet, below the linden 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 linden 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 and gentle, soothing, with ease. It is also under the linden 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…”

Yes, I see were this is going: Unter den Linden manages to convey that particular, ambivalent, bitter-sweet feeling of longing, of pining away, of unfulfilled desires, of uncertain futures and missed chances, but also the exhilaration of new love, the promise of pleasures to come, the tender expectations are there right along with the memories of things inevitably in the past, never to be recovered again – or maybe only for a fleeting second while inhaling the gentle fragrance of linden blossom and mimosa, honey-tinged and soft. Barely sweet, but full of enticement, luring you in, calming, soothing, tender, Unter den Linden is both a harbinger of the things to come and a reminder of what is gone forever.

Paul Hey Brunnen, Ansichtskarte

It captures the essence of time, which is the fact that the only moment we really have is this one right now.

And poof, in an expelled breath, a soft sigh, the blink of an eye, flying away on the wings of angels, it is gone again.

—————————————————————-

If you are interested, here is the text of Schubert’s Der Lindenbaum, a poem by Wilhelm Müller in a translation by Walter A. Aue.

The Linden Tree

At wellside, past the ramparts,
there stands a linden tree.
While sleeping in its shadow,
sweet dreams it sent to me.

And in its bark I chiseled
my messages of love:
My pleasures and my sorrows
were welcomed from above.

Today I had to pass it,
well in the depth of night -
and still, in all the darkness,
my eyes closed to its sight.

Its branches bent and rustled,
as if they called to me:
Come here, come here, companion,
your haven I shall be!

The icy winds were blowing,
straight in my face they ground.
The hat tore off my forehead.
I did not turn around.

Away I walked for hours
whence stands the linden tree,
and still I hear it whisp’ring:
You’ll find your peace with me!

Image: Paul Hey, Volksliederkarten
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About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in April Aromatics, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Honey, Lindnblossom, Mimosa and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to This One Moment – Review: April Aromatics Unter den Linden

  1. Undina says:

    Unter den Linden is a beautiful perfume! There are not that many all-natural perfumes that I like and this is one of them.

  2. lucasai says:

    Sounds great. When I was in Berlin in September 2012 we walked through Unter den Linden street too. I remember that I checked their website once and I remember I wished their samples were cheaper…

  3. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Thank you for bringing in a new brand (I’ve never heard about them before… :-( )
    The linden tree is quite special for me – the house, where I lived between the age of 4-18, had a huge park-like garden (it was the school yard, my parents were teacher) – and there were 5 huge, old linden trees. Of course I loved them, I loved to read in their shade (and scent). I even liked the linden tea, with its comforting honey aroma… So if all this is captured in April Aromatics’ parfum then I’ll have to try it (hm, the bottle is pretty too, isn’t it ?).

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are welcome!
      I loved learing a bit about your childhood, it sounds wonderful sitting under that tree and reading a book.
      And yes, the bottle is great!! Which is a big plus in my book! ;)

  4. Asali says:

    Thank you Birgit for mentioning my review, I loved reading your thoughts on UdL too. Tanja’s perfumes are great, and I’m very happy to see them getting so much blog-love these days :-)
    I think Unter den Linden will probably always be my favourite, but Calling all Angels and Jasmina are amazing too. And unlike many naturals, her fragrances have wonderful lasting power. Also like you and Undina, I agree that a good natural perfume is one where you can’t tell whether it is one or not.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for letting me “borrow” your thoughts. I always remembered your review, so I’m glad I finally got to smell this lovely perfume.
      They do have a long lasting power indeed, which is astounding! A great find.

  5. Tara says:

    I remember Asali’s beautiful review and I loved the way you expressed the feelings it brings up in you.

    Such a poetic perfume!

  6. brie says:

    Gorgeous……
    I have been eyeballing April Aromatics for quite a while now (am drawn to naturals) and Unter der Linden is the first one I would very much like to try!

  7. Annina (nina) says:

    Oh the Linden! We have a tree in our backyard! We moved into this house 2 year’s ago in April, and in our first spring here, I smelled the most gorgeous smell while sitting on our deck. I found out that the tree was a Linden, thanks to my mother’s vast botanical knowledge. I then went in search of a Linden perfume, which resulted in my ordering Demeter’s Linden perfume. It’s lovely, and fairly adequately captures the scent if the tree’s blossoms, but it lacks the “fanciness” and complexity I prefer in a composition. I will definitely have to try this Unter Der Linden!

  8. shellyw says:

    I have now spent 20 minutes (at 5:40 am) looking for this in San Francisco area. Looks like Etsy is the choice. It sounds beautiful. Nothing like a perfume quest first thing in the morning.

  9. Vanessa says:

    I love this one too – it was Asali’s review that prompted me to hunt it down in KaDeWe when I was in Berlin at the end of April. The price is a huge barrier, sadly, and there weren’t any others in the line that really grabbed me, though I did dutifully – and rather perfunctorily – review a handful of the others following my visit. It was at a time when I was tuning out to perfume temporarily, so it is all credit to Unter den Linden that it managed to shine to the extent it did. : – )

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree, the price is hard to swallow.
      I’m glad you enjoy UdL too, as you know, I’m a bit out of the perfume frenzy as well now, but this one enchanted me anyway.

  10. Suzanne says:

    I love that this review encapsulates the thoughts of two of my favorite perfume writers, you and Asali. Gorgeous!!

  11. krickard says:

    Wow, perfume blog as therapy. I think you have provided me with some insight into my family’s history…There was a linden tree in the backyard of the house I grew up in. My father always said he bought the house because of the tree. It reminded him of his childhood home.

    Lila, my grandmother was born in Berlin. She married an American before WWI and had a son (my father). My grandparents divorced in the 1920′s and she and my father moved back to Germany and lived there until things became so bad that they were forced to flee back to the US in the mid 1930′s.

    The best word to describe my German grandmother would be “haughty”. She was always impeccably dressed, very slim and chic. Unlike my Irish grandmother, she did not cook, she was not affectionate or warm, and her accent was harsh. In short, she was difficult to love. But my father loved her. They would speak to each other in German; a language we were forbidden to learn. The one thing I do remember my grandmother doing warmly was singing (in German) and when she did my father’s eyes would well up with tears. I never understood why… I suppose he was remembering things long gone… A place he and she would and could never return to.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, krickard! I can very much relate when it comes to the haughty Grandmother and bittersweet memories.

      (It’s also a bit funny that you say “perfume blog as therapy” as I’m a psychotherapist by training. ;) )

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