Ben Krigler knows his scents. The fifth generation perfumer is a Krigler legacy—the historically iconic perfume house that has created fragrances for everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Grace Kelly. The high-end perfume company was born of Albert Krigler’s desire in 1904 to create unique luxury fragrances made with the finest ingredients from around the world. The brand hopped from St. Petersburg to Berlin to the south of France before landing at New York’s Plaza Hotel in 1930. Thanks to Ben, the brand’s first west coast outpost will call the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills home this year. It will house a custom-made scent laboratory as well as boutique, and will showcase the brand’s latest fragrance, Charming California 215. This homage to SoCal combines exotic spices with aromatic florals and hearty woods. The fragrance opens with coriander and orange blossom, combined with Japanese green tea. Bulgarian rose and Brazilian jasmine mix with delicate French lily of the valley for an enchanting heart and Californian cedar wood and earthy sandalwood as a finish. We sat down with Ben to discuss his new scent, his favorite destinations in Los Angeles and his high-end brand’s most iconic scents, but you’ll also be able to check out where this fragrance king comes up with his fabulous olfactory ideas.
Why did you decide to focus on California for your latest scent?
California has such an irresistible glamour and an undeniable allure. From the stunning city atmosphere to the exquisite beaches, it is such a paradise. I also wanted to celebrate the opening of our very first West Coast store at The Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, so I chose to create a fragrance dedicated to California.
What about SoCal inspires you?
Los Angeles is such a magnificent place. My mother and I have always been inspired by both the elegance and the relaxed nature of Southern California, as well as the stunning vistas that surround the City of Angels.
What are your favorite destinations in LA?
During the construction and decoration of my new store at The Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, I have come to LA so often that I now know the city like the back of my hand. I love the coziness of Santa Monica, where I can ride my folding bike on the beach. The farmer’s market there is also excellent—it’s truly one of the best across the U.S. Venice Beach has a wonderful atmosphere and an interesting crowd, and of course, Hollywood is an incredible place. It’s the world capitol of the entertainment industry, and on every corner there’s an award ceremony or a movie premiere. As an architect, I’m also drawn to the city of Playa Vista. It’s an absolutely incredible city, and I’ve spent hours looking at the remarkable structure of the buildings. Marina del Rey has a wonderful vacation atmosphere that feels just like the French Riviera. When I miss Manhattan, I take a stroll in Beverly Hills—the stores and the city remind me a bit of 5th Avenue. It also has a lot in common with my other favorite city, Cap d’Antibes in the South of France, where my family has lived since the 1910s. Finally, as a perfumer, I find the Hills so inspiring. I would never have thought it possible to find such a beautiful panorama. The view is incredible, and it’s so peaceful that it’s incredible to think that you are just minutes away from the city.
What do you consider to be Krigler’s top three most iconic scents?
There are so many, but I think I would say Chateau Krigler 12, English Promenade 19, and a tie between America One 31 and Lieber Gustav 14. However, I also like to mix the scents together, so I will give you my top three combinations as well. I like to mix Chateau Krigler 12 with English Promenade 19, which is a pairing we refer to as “the Grace and Audrey.” Next, I like to blend Chateau Krigler 12 with Pleasure Gardenia 79 for the perfect floral scent. Finally, Pleasure Gardenia 79 effortlessly complements the notes in English Promenade 19.
BEN KRIGLER’S DESKTOP ESSENTIALS
1. Tea kettle and tea cup: I drink only still water and green tea. I drink it in my family’s porcelain, specially ordered by my parents to Bernardaud in France and called “Pondichery”. It’s just priceless to me!
2. Fragrances: I am always working on new fragrances; they are everywhere on my desk. For one fragrance coming out, it represents years of patience.
3. Lion: This lion has been in my family forever. We have a saying that if you touch his tale, it will bring you luck, so I touch it at least once a day! And my guests do the same.
4. Paper and books: I’m an architect as well, so I cannot stop sketching, drawing, reading… When I create a fragrance, it starts with writing what I’ve been thinking for a while and drawing images that I envision. I consider it a short novel with images.
5. Lancel watch: This old watch has been in my family for decades now, I just love its retro style. It’s also a very special gift that my mother received. She gave it to me knowing that I would cherish it. It reminds me daily that time matters.