A bar that makes sense
Applying the techniques of the parfumeur to drinks creations. Winner of MIXOLOGY’s “Mixologist of the Year Award” in 2014 and bar manager of the Curtain Club at The Ritz Carlton since 2011, Arnd Heissen launched his novel sensory bar concept last weekat the five star Potsdamer Platz hotel.
Walk through the grand marble lobby decorated as an homage to Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and to the right and you will be on the brink of a sensory journey likely to surpass all previous drinking experiences. Fragrances is a bar for all of the senses. Arnd’s Proustian brainchild combines Willy Wonka-esque playfulness with sophisticated intimacy. Fifteen niche perfumes’ fragrances are matched in taste and produced as cocktails, which are ushered to patrons in whimsical, delightfully unexpected vessels.
Enter the menu
Black mirrored walls, flocked couches, black-gold columns, and giant orchid bouquets are the setting of a new reality. As Arnd puts it, “upon entering the bar, you are inside the menu”. Patrons sniff their way through the “Hall of Fame”, a well curated Diageo sponsored display featuring the perfumes’ alluring bottles, a photo of the cocktail, and a few cylindrical tins holding main drink ingredient-fragrances. Flaps below reveal a more conventional list of the cocktail’s ingredients. Patrons are encouraged to “rely fully on their senses. An experiment which requires some courage and curiosity of the guests, but at the same time can be incredibly inspiring,” says Mr. Heissen. Five non-alcoholic beverages also inspired by fragrances are available and so is a standard non-sniff drink menu.
Cocktails that tell a story
Each cocktail-fragrance combination has its own story and evokes specific emotions and memories. Penhaligon’s Vaara whose spicy Indian fragrance was inspired by the Maharaja Gaj Singh II’s home town of Jodhpur is a pear puree, saffron infused Zacapa 23, Bulleit bourbon, rose water, magnolia-vanilla-honey-tonka bean-syrup, and sandalwood cocktail which is served inside of a small wooden tree house complete with a chimney fragrantly filled by a smoke gun. It brings you back to a summer cabin of your childhood.
Deliria by L’artisan Parfumeur transports you to a world of ecstasy. A wooden box whose doors open to reveal a forest where a tiny black top hat with a feather and white chocolate straw holds your Zacapa 23, red apple pink lady, raspberry, vanilla-palm-sugar syrup, fresh lemon, and whiskey aged bitters drink.
The delicious food options are slight twists on classic bar cuisine. Their sophisticated flavors compliment the drink-fragrance pairings while satisfying the child within. The vegetables come from the hotel’s garden, the steaks from nearby Michendorf, and the honey from the Ritz Carlton’s own bees who harvest the nectar from Tiergarten flowers. A lobster roll with German caviar, beef burger, or steak served in generous portions satiate patron’s hunger. For those with a sweeter tooth, the pink vanilla-raspberry “Macaron Énorme” is a perfect compliment to the “Signorina,” a Salvatore Ferragamo fragrance which arrives in a tiny basket cozy with wheels.
Coddle your senses
Fragrances is currently open Wednesdays through Saturdays starting at 18:00. Those craving intense olfactory pampering can participate in the Ritz-Carlton, Berlin and Frau Toni’s Parfum “Luxury Perfume Weekend” including one night’s stay in a double room, a tour of the Frau Tonis Parfum factory, the chance to create your own fragrance with an expert, a 50 ml Eau de Parfum and corresponding fragrance cocktail, and more. The weekend starts at 225 euro per person. Email [email protected] or call +49 (0) 33 777 6300 to book.
The scent-drink relationship at Fragrances not only places the smells and tastes into a fresh context, but also enhances the components’ in poignancy. The enchanting aromas, full flavors, and almost forgotten memories linger post-departure, making the experience truly one of a kind.