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Vilhelm Debuts Fragrances, Plans Candle Launch

The perfume business has three new scents and five candles coming out this fall.

Vilhelm Parfumerie is launching its latest scent, Purple Fig, in September.

The scent is one of two Vilhelm will launch this fall. The New York-based fragrance business is also preparing for its line of candles to roll out in November.

Purple Fig is inspired by a lone fig tree on a side street of Cité du Figuier, in Paris, near Rue Oberkampf, according to Vilhelm founder Jan Ahlgren.

“The whole process started when I did my first fig fragrance for Collette, that’s when I got into fig,” Ahlgren said. “Then this tree came to mind because when you go into this passage or this side street in Paris that is right by Rue Oberkampf, where they have all these bars…there is one fig tree standing there. It’s so unexpected, you don’t forget it. I’ve had some really early mornings there, or late nights — that’s when it first had that purple glow. And it’s probably not so purple, but it seemed purple at the time.”

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The fragrance contains top notes of lemon, cassis kir and angelica seeds, middle notes of cyclamen and galbanum, and Virginian cedarwood and cypress in the dry down. Like the other scents in the Vilhelm lineup, Purple Fig retails for $245.

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The launch follow’s Ahlgren’s August rollout of Modest Mimosa, inspired by the mimosa flower. The goal of the fragrance is that after application, the scent grows bolder on the skin throughout the day. “It was extremely complicated, I wanted to capture the character of the flower,” Ahlgren said. “It diffuses the way it does…because we used an incredible amount of real mimosa,” Ahlgren said.

Vilhelm’s new launches follow the brand’s creation of exclusive fragrances for both Collette in Paris and Barneys New York downtown. For Collette, Vilhelm launched Colette x Vilhelm, a fig scent, and for Barneys, launched A Lilac a Day, a lilac fragrance.

Ahlgren founded the line roughly a year ago, after developing an interest in fragrance during a stint designing leather handbags. The brand is named after his grandfather, Vilhelm, with whom he shares his middle name. Ahlgren describes him as the Cary Grant-type, and is working to translate that charisma into the brand. So far, the line is sold in Liberty, Barneys and Violet Gray. For 2015, the line did an estimated $700,000 to $800,000 in sales, and is expected to surpass that for 2016, according to industry sources.

Following the Purple Fig and Modest Mimosa launches, in November, Vilhelm is set to roll out a fragrance called Dirty Velvet, inspired by Ahlgren’s favorite Parisian hotel, Villa d’Estrees.

“I spent so much of my time in Paris, and I have a huge love for the city, and the hotel for me is so, so sexy and it’s just a feeling in the air,” Ahlgren said. “Like the whole ambience, and you just walk in and you’re hit by it right away. It’s just all around you, everything — the music that is playing, the colors, all the velvet — I wanted to re-create or capture that scent.”

Dirty Velvet contains top notes of pomello, a middle layer of tobacco leaves and fig, and dries to unveil sandalwood, salt and vetiver.

Also in November, Vilhelm is making its official debut in home fragrance with a line of five candles, all featuring new scents.

“I absolutely love playing with scents. I am so passionate about it and love it so much [that] I could just do it all day long,” Ahlgren said. “It sort of felt natural to do [candles] at this stage.”

Art Deco, inspired by the elevators in the empire state building, has top notes of clove buds, cassis, middle notes of ylang and carnation and closes with papyrus and Haiti vetiver. Lazy Sunday, inspired by the days you can stay inside because with any luck its raining, according to Ahlgren, features neroli, petitgrain, orange flower, lavender, cashmere woods and white amber. Tea Noir, meant to bring about a sense of home, smells of bergamot, Ceylon black tea, guaiac wood, papyrus, sensuous musks and black amber. Then, there’s Vilhelm’s Pipe, a candle inspired by the smell a smoking pipe leaves in the air during a family gathering, featuring Sicilian lemon, Indian spices, carrot, jasmine pearls, stonewashed lather, vetiver, balsa wood and ocean moss. The candles, which have an approximately 75-hour burn time, will retail for $85.