I recently purchased some samples from Krigler and have been experimenting with them, wearing them for a full day, and also spot testing them. I ordered Established Cognac, Cozy Cedar Wood, and Good Fir. Krigler also included a free sample of America One. Given the price of the individual samples ($7.50 each!), I was grateful for the freebie but not blown away by its inclusion. These are pricey samples. That said, they send a full vial and the perfumes are quite concentrated - a little goes a long way.
Despite my explorations with these fragrances, I'm still not sure what to make of Krigler, or of their perfumes. I don't really buy their marketing angle of being original formulations from long ago. They are certainly high quality fragrances. The materials are good. The blending is solid, more like a well-crafted designer scent utilizing a number of materials than say a Creed or any of the natural perfumes that seem to be a melange of a handful of notes. That said, there is a distinctly modern "white musk" note that is prominent in the base of three of the four I have tried. You know the musk - the one that has the "laundry detergent" smoothness to it and is usually called out by notes such as "cashmere" or "clean musk." This makes me think that Krigler probably crafted new perfumes based on notes or samples of the originals rather than meticulously engineering them according to the original formulas.
America One seems to have quite a bit of this musk note. It also has a lovely citrus in the topnotes, making it one of those warm-yet-fresh openings. I know that is an overused expression, but here it applies. As it dries down, florals become more prominent; not really heady feminine florals but more unisex, clean, and fresh floral notes. Again, I am reminded of a detergent, though at this point a highly fragranced one. One of the reviewers on Fragrantica said this perfume reminded her of growing up in another country and receiving packages of American clothing from relatives. I can see where she'd have this association.
Krigler lists the notes for America One as "A Cedar vibrato with dry notes of black pepper and cumin. The energetic effect of Mandarin with voluptuous accord of Neroli and Vetiver. A mysterious, voluptuous and full of contrasts fragrance."
I guess cedar is a possibility, but it is dwarfed by the white musk. Pepper, and especially cumin, I simply don't smell at all. Well, I guess if I use my imagination while the scent is in the heart notes, I can get a tinge of cumin. Mandarin and neroli, I can believe, especially in the topnotes. Vetiver is not really apparent to my nose, again, the white musk is masking it, if it is indeed there. If you go to the list of individual notes and corresponding perfumes on a different page of the Krigler site, you will also see they list sandalwood, bergamote, and coffee as notes in America One. Again, it's possible there is sandalwood here, but it's hiding behind the musk. Bergamote seems like a good bet. Coffee simply makes me tilt my head and raise my eyebrows wondering why they would list that as a note in this. It's entirely possible I'm just especially sensitive to the smell of the musk they are using (it does give me a headache), which is causing my dismay with this fragrance. Needless to say, it's not what I expected it to be based on the description and note listing.
Krigler goes on to characterize this perfume as Fruity, Spicy, and Woody. I would call it a clean, musky, unisex floral. The lasting power is very good - days later I can still smell the musky base. The sillage is too high for my comfort, but then, I believe a man's fragrance should not project beyond a few feet. I'm giving this a thumbs-up because I think it is well-made and of a good quality, even if it did not meet my expectations of it based on notes and description. For someone who likes this type of fragrance, this might be a great find.
[By the way, the same musk pervades Cozy Cedar Wood, which to my nose, does not smell at all like cedar, or spice, despite Krigler's categorizing it as Woody and Spicy. Good Fir comes closer to its note listing, but still has strong traces of the white musk in the base, which makes for an odd pine-on-white-musk smell. The best of the bunch that I've sampled, and the only one that didn't disappoint with the clean musk note is Eastablished Cognac, which has an incredible topnote that really does capture the smell of the nose of a good cognac - deep raisiny grapey scents combined with something almost chocolate like, on top of a dry, woody base that has only a tiny hint of white musk. The wood base in EC has a quality to it that reminds me of vintage Santal Noble - that resinous, almost dusty quality. Unfortunately it is also, by far, the shortest lived of the four. I guess I will likely do full reviews of these once they are in the Directory.]
America One, like all Krigler's I have tried, is a very unusual nostalgic fragrance. Cold modernity has not intruded onto the minds of the makers of this fragrance. It is aromatic, almost camphorous, and more that just a bit minty and soapy. It is not particularly "masculine" nor "feminine" nor "unisex" -- it defies those characterizations entirely. After all, would the scent worn by an old uncle or auntie be something you would characterize based on gender or experience? This is a fragrance of nostalgia and experience. This is a history lesson in a bottle. A beautiful, strange history lesson. It is pretty much the opposite of what one would conceive as a modern fragrance. It is not subtle, easily understood or intentionally non-offensive. This is a fragrance that knows its name, and likes it. This is more of an upfront powerhouse, but just maybe it goes so far back that it would make the 80s powerhouse fragrances seem vulgar. It tries to some extent to smell fresh with an added element of mint and some other odd unpredictable fresh notes that I can't grab. (Is that Tide I smell?) But in the final analysis it's not really a fresh scent. It is not a shy fragrance by any means, but it is well, I guess you'd say "nice" (unless it's put too strongly, and then wouldn't be nice). This is an acquired taste for sure.
The kiosk in the Plaza is so charming, and so interesting in a simple but undefinably retro way, with the picture of Grace Kelly and all, I can't help but think of this as a simple, undefinable retro fragrance. I am not sure in trying America One whether I should laugh and say, "wow they actually make fragrances like this in 2010/2011?!" Or, wow, how lucky am I that I can actually BUY something like this today?! I have no idea how others will take to this. It is either an odd museum piece or a classic. It is either something to be loved as a gem or dismissed as an irrelevant relic. I am not sure. I may be sampling this for years.
Follow up December 2015: Not a frequently used fragrance. America One has lost much of its allure to me, an occasional "go to" but not something that I continue to find compelling or fascinating.
06th December, 2010 (last edited: 06th December, 2015)