Germany has always done herbs and botanicals exceptionally well – many of the best herbal teas, essential oils and plant based medical ointments are assembled or manufactured here (you definitely can’t beat Pompadour’s Pfefferminze for a perfect mint tea); I find many of the best aromatherapeutic essences often turn out to be Deutsch; and Kneipp, a 130 year old institution whose expensive – but incredibly soothing, stimulatingly effective – natural bath salts are very popular in Japan – is no exception ; a company whose products are great for those who like bracing and potent medicinal plant oils to clear their nasal passages or free up sore joints, just unwind( their eucalyptus is unparalleled; I also really like their peculiarly blue forests wintergreen when you need a really long deep soak).
The hand creams produced by Kneipp, though, I must confess, are sometimes somewhat more problematic. From the greasening, emollient point of view when your hands are dry they are of good quality, do the job, and also come in dinky mini sizes that you can easily slip into a small pocket for a crafty drop of scent when you might feel like one. However, the scent of these creams, even when a citrus, is often perturbingly animalic, or at least ‘bodily’ ( a little bit dirty); the plant hormones of the oils used not sanitized and cliniqued out of the final product into something hygienic and more consumer -palatable as they might be elsewhere; The ylang ylang tube I once bought unnerved me – I couldn’t quite place why, but I never used it ; this new apricot cream, which I just picked up on my lunch break, is also carnal, luscious – creamy as an apricot fromage frais ( sometimes I think there is no fruit flavour more delectable : it is easily my favourite jam, and the scent of Fauchon’s apricot tea is to die for …….. — has this note, come to speak of it, to your knowledge, ever been used convincingly in a perfume ? I do remember a gorgeous apricot vanilla confection once by Comptoir Sud Pacifique from back in the day but that is all that is coming to mind right now unless you stretch to the fruit orchards of Femme de Rochas); at any rate, I think I like this, though the scent definitely feels slightly too uncanny – forbidden, almost — to be used in my classroom later this evening.