If you thought a great drink was sim­ply a mat­ter of taste, think again. Hilda Hoy was ut­terly se­duced by the con­cept and drinks at Fra­grances, a per­fume-in­spired bar that takes mixol­ogy to the next level.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

Fra­grances: a vial of es­sen­tial oils or a per­fume-in­spired cock­tail bar?

B y the en­trance to Fra­grances is a quote from leg­endary per­fumer Jean- Paul Guer­lain: “Per­fume is the most in­tense form of mem­ory.” It’s a hint of what awaits in the Ritz Carl­ton’s in­com­pa­ra­ble cock­tail bar, where drinks are in­spired by a per­fume and de­signed to stim­u­late ev­ery sense.

En­ter the bar via its walk-through “menu,” where each drink is rep­re­sented by a tester bot­tle of the per­fume it’s based on, an art­ful still life of key in­gre­di­ents, and a photo il­lus­trat­ing the fi­nal pre­sen­ta­tion, which ranges from play­ful – a milk bot­tle topped with foil – to whim­si­cal, like a pink mug with a pig’s ear han­dle. That drink, in­spired by Guer­lain’s spicy-sweet Gour­mand Co­quin per­fume, comes with a choco­late spoon for scoop­ing the white choco­late foam float­ing on top. Be­low is a scrump­tious blend of rum, rose­wa­ter, sin­gle malt scotch, and smoky lap­sang sou­chong tea. It tastes un­can­nily sim­i­lar to the sam­ple of Gour­mand Co­quin that I sniff while I greed­ily slurp the frothy white choco­late with as much deco­rum as I can.

Fra­grances is the cre­ation of the Ritz Carl­ton’s bar manager Arnd Heißen, who not only came up with the one- of-akind con­cept, he also crafted ev­ery drink us­ing his nose, cre­ativ­ity, and 10-plus years of bar ex­pe­ri­ence. He repli­cated the aroma notes of his fa­vorite perfumes into drink­able form: saf­fron was in­fused into rum, tonka beans were sim­mered into syrup with vanilla, rose pe­tals were added to gin. Much as I loved the choco­late foam, my fa­vorite drink was the one in­spired by Pen­haligon’s warm, homey Vaara per­fume, where Heißen re­ally let his cre­ativ­ity out to play. He blended pear puree, saf­fron rum, bour­bon, rose­wa­ter, and mag­no­lia-vanilla-honey syrup into a con­coc­tion served in a small wooden play­house. Lift off the roof and out comes an aro­matic puff of san­dal­wood smoke, which lingers in my nose with ev­ery sip and will linger in my mem­ory for a great deal longer. Pots­damer Platz 3. T: 030 337777. www.ritzcarl­

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