I know there has to be a fair amount of consideration given to the naming of new perfumes. When a perfume has a good name it can set my expectations appropriately. When it has a non sequitur kind of name it can leave me thinking more about the name than the fragrance. The new JF Schwarzlose Fetisch falls in between these two extremes.
JF Schwarzlose is another resurrected Heritage perfume brand. Creative director Lutz Hermann has partnered with perfumer Veronique Nyberg to both revive some original formulas as well as create new perfumes. My favorite Heritage brands are taking this approach as they honor the history of the brand while striking out in new directions. Hr. Hermann has been using the new compositions as ways to evoke the town where these perfumes were born, Berlin.
Berlin is known for its vibrant fetish club scene. It is a city which wears its kink freely. This was where I expected Fetisch to venture. When I visited the JF Scharzlose stand at Pitti Fragranze there was a leather harness hanging there. I expected Fetisch to dive deep into the bite of leather and the shine of latex all tinted with a Gothic sensibility. Hr. Hermann had other less subversive things in mind. Fetisch does have an exotic leathery quality but it has an oddness rather than a kinkiness to its style overall.
I love the opening of Fetisch as Mme Nyberg opens with a beautifully intense osmanthus. The leathery quality of the floral is matched by a refined leather accord. I wanted a biting birch tar leather. Mme Nyberg’s accord is much softer. Which is good because the saffron also present in the top notes has room to breathe and swirl through the osmanthus and leather duet providing exotic harmonics. The first hour of Fetisch is spent here. The heart is where Fetisch provides a little weirdness. Mme Nyberg has a milk accord she uses which is less creamy and more like raw milk with a bit of an animalic undertone. Before it gets too strange a dollop of vanilla sweetens the heart. The base is a sharply resinous incense and styrax. Here at the end I get some of the Gothic vibe I was looking for.
Fetisch has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Despite its name Fetisch does not really want to dive deep into unconventional waters. Only with the vanilla milk heart is there anything truly unusual here. Which is really good because despite the name the top accord of osmanthus, leather, and saffron is simply gorgeous. Which is the problem with the name there needs to be some danger. Instead Fetisch is all slap and tickle. If you are looking for an exceptional osmanthus and incense perfume Fetisch will fill that desire. If you have other darker desires you think a perfume called Fetisch should realize, this is not that fragrance.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from JF Schwarzlose at Pitti Fragranze 2015.