In 1879, Albert Krigler created Krigler Perfume’s first fragrance, calling it Pleasure Gardenia 79 for his French fiancée. This perfume established what would define the company’s core: an intimate relationship between fragrance, love, and memory.
After opening his first store in St. Petersburg in 1904, Albert’s business fanned out to Berlin, the South of France, and eventually to The Plaza Hotel in 1931. Since then, Krigler fragrances have adorned the likes of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, John F. Kennedy, Ernest Hemingway, Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Princess Charlene of Monaco, to name a few.
Ben Krigler is the 5th generation Krigler Perfumer. Once he discovered the secrets and magic behind his great-great grandfather’s business, he sealed his fate: he would rebuild the empire that once was. To this day, Krigler Perfume celebrates not only a personal connection with fragrance, but also a connection with history, romance, and individuality. Ben invited us to explore Krigler’s intricate past, and learn about what lies ahead in its future.
Were you always inspired to be part of the family business?
As a student in architecture, I was looking in our cave in France for some old items I could use for a class. This is when like Alice in Wonderland, I read, discovered and smelled Krigler.
When I was a child, I didn’t really think about it, since the business as we know it today was completely gone. Since the 1970’s the main core of Krigler was custom made fragrances. So to me, it was not a question of being part of the family business, since there was none at that time. In the 1980’s we went to empty my grandfather’s home. This is when I discovered what Krigler truly was.
I came upon the archives, a variety of souvenirs, small bottles of perfume and books. Then, as a student in architecture, I was looking in our cave in France for some old items I could use for a class. This is when like Alice in Wonderland, I read, discovered and smelled Krigler. I then started to think that this could be so good to have it back to what Krigler originally was.
It took almost three decades to buy back the name, the brand and the concept. Then, in the early 2000’s, I was living in Manhattan and we were contacted by the then Plaza Hotel management who wanted to know if we would be interested in bringing Krigler back the the hotel.
In your opinion, how does the Krigler name continue to be such a strong representation of France, while at the same time, have a seamless connection with the rest of the world?
Well , actually today I realize even more how Krigler is global. My family has Prussian and Russian roots as well as generations of French roots from Provence. France is the history, the tradition, the culture. We embrace our diverse origins, which today also includes American roots. I really enjoy that combination.
In France, people love that we are based on the Cote d’Azur and that we have French Riviera identity. In Germany, people adore that we were a big part of the Bourgeoise Berlin scene in the early 1900’s. In Russia, people respect that fact that we have traveled the world and remain connected to our passionate Russian side.
What have you done to modernize the Krigler name and give it a common language and identity to new generations?
I applied the basic rules of Albert Krigler: Quality, Quantity, and Love. Pictures of my family home inspired the mirrors and black and gold color scheme of our stores. We offered filling of perfume bottles on site with our atelier and fountains. Then I started to offer the service of custom-made scented candles, which no one else was doing.
In 2006 we started selling our perfumes online, making us one of the first luxury brands to sell online. It was phenomenal, because with our website, it opened up a totally new way to the experience of purchasing fragrances. It then became obvious to me to have samples available online, allowing an incredibly fast way to reach our clientele. I wanted that person living in Albuquerque, Lyon, Moscow and Tokyo to have the same experience with our fragrances at home…and we won, it works perfectly fine.
What direction do you see Krigler going in for the future?
Krigler is known as The Perfumer of Palaces, so perhaps one day there will be a Krigler Hotel. Also, I believe that the future will go back to a more and more artisanat way of creating fragrances. The concept of our the capsule collection will start very soon and the fact that our fragrances will be indeed globally available.
If you could pick anyone alive or dead to create a new fragrance for, whom would it be?
I would like to create a perfume for the person who will bring peace to our world. That person will be so phenomenal, that the perfume should be as pure as possible.
Which Krigler scents are near and dear to your heart and which ones do you wear?
These days, I wear Sierra vista 2142 a lot. It is a perfume I created from beginning to end. It reminds me of my trip to Arizona. It is wild, warm and a journey. It was my Arizona Dream and a discovery for me. I am a chameleon though; I wear every single scent from our collection.
My mother always wore Chateau Krigler 12, I have this smell in my mind everyday. Today she is addicted to Kabarett Krigler 216, since we introduced it in Berlin. I also wear America One 31 because that was my father and grandfather’s scent, it actually runs in the family.