A few months ago M. and I went to Berlin for a long weekend. Together with friends we had rented a flat in the fashionable Prenzlauer Berg district and life was good. One evening on the way back to the apartment, our bellies full of Schnitzels and potato dumplings, we recognised a brightly lit corner shop. It wasn't just your average open till late serving for the night owls type of corner shop. It was a proper specialist liqueur and wine store, with shelves after shelves of interesting bottles containing precious juices. The owner was a young Turk and a real spirits aficionado. Not only did he know his stuff, he had a lot of it as well. A fantastic selection of Whiskeys, Malts and Blends, Brandys, Cognacs, Rums and Gins. This quintessentially British tipple seems to enjoy a great new following on the continent and of course, they try to do their own now.
The bottle we ended up buying was a limited edition Berlin distilled Gin, named Berliner Brandstifter*, which smells and tastes of woodruff and elderflowers. It's dangerously delicious. *Berliner arsonists, but it's also a pun on "gifting" a "liqueur"
The whole process of admiring the bottles, talking to an enthusiastic sales person, being able to sniff and even taste some of the open bottles reminded me a lot of perfume buying and M. and I started thinking that opening a combined perfume and liqueur boutique is a fantastic idea. If we did that we would be travelling all over Europe and beyond in search of the loveliest of smells and tastes and aromas. From the best Mirabelle Austria can offer to the foulest smelling Italian Grappa, from independent perfume houses in Barcelona's medieval back streets to candle factories on the coast of Ireland. We liked the idea. A lot. We imagined having a theme of the month, comparing the use of, let's say peach or rhubarb
notes in both categories and...........................
Yes, we did get a bit carried away. The gin was, as I said, delicious. But since then I have become more interested in perfumes with a boozy note. A perfume named Speakeasy has had therefore not much trouble to get my attention. Even better when this perfume is a collaboration between the house of Frapin and Marc-Antoine Cortacchiato, the perfumer and owner of Parfum d'Empire. Not paying homage to one particular alcoholic beverage but the concept of prohibition and how to cheat it in style, it was bound to be an interesting mix.