Rausch by J.F. Schwarzlose

The thrill and excitement of a Berlin nightclub, a throng of bodies, the air heavy with cigarette smoke and intoxication.

Listed notes

Pink pepper, sandalwood, cypriol, patchouli, vanilla, amber, oud.

Top notes

The blurb behind Rausch is that it is inspired by the nightlife of Berlin in the 1920s. It’s easy to believe that this city, which is renowned for its bar and club scene today, was as full of joie de vivre then as it is now.

Rausch opens with a deep, animalic hum from the oud and cypriol. This is more than simply ‘woody’ though. This is wood soaked with sweat, earth on which people have lived, and old, dark places drenched in humanity and the acts of living. It’s very much like when you are stood outside a club and the deep, thrumming base hits you right in the diaphragm. It smells like sweaty bodies, flesh pressed against flesh in a warm room; a lustful fancy for those amongst us who enjoy fragrances on the darker, more sensual side of the spectrum.

The pink pepper which overlays this animal’s heartbeat is thrilling. A shiver of excitement that raises gooseflesh. Excitement and danger combined in a scent make this a very attractive opening, but beware, this is powerful stuff. It is not office friendly. It is not polite, but damn is it sexy.

Heart notes

The opening of Rausch (which roughly translates to English as ‘intoxication’) is big, and it borders on the challenging, but as the fragrance settles it gives an inch or two. The tiger doesn’t quite become a house cat, but it does move towards being slightly more domesticated than it was before.

A smoky, leathery feel emerges as the scent unfurls. This could be the leather jacket of the nightclub owner, baptised in hours of sweat and cigarettes. There is a faint powdery tinge in the background, like the jacket also carries a hint of a lady’s make-up. Perhaps the jacket’s owner wrapped it around her shoulders whilst escorting her home?

There’s also an oiliness in Rausch, which could be the oiliness of sin. There’s debauchery, hedonism, abandon, whatever you want to call it it’s here and it is intoxicating.

Base notes

An exhilarating sweetness is noticed as Rausch wears. The smoke lays heavy across the face of the scent, but a surprisingly persistent sweetness starts to peek through. There is a roundness, and an approachability to this sweetness. With it’s gentle persuasion, it tames the smoke further, warming and bending the smoke to its will.

The smoke itself is interesting. It’s potent throughout the wear, and it clings, like cigarette smoke did back in the days when we used to have smoking in pubs and clubs. The smoke in Rausch isn’t quite as dirty though, or as acrid, as cigarette smoke can be. It’s like a crossbreed of woodsmoke, cigarette smoke, incense, and even an almost citrusy, lemony nuance at times, a light sourness that rides the edge of an inhale.

Rausch is a very bold and polarising scent. This isn’t the sort of fragrance that you just like. You will either love it or it will be too much for you to bear. There is a timelessness about the scene that it depicts. It could be Berlin in the 1920s, or the 1980s, or somewhere else entirely at any point since music and dancing were fashionable, the nights hot and the music loud.

Rausch certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but those who hear its call will be thrilled by the ride that it delivers.

The other stuff

The longevity of Rausch is excellent. It comfortably and easily lasts 12 hours from an early morning application, at times even longer. The sillage of the scent is also really good. From even minimal sprays it reaches to handshake distance or even further. Perfect for spending the evening dancing in any sort of club.

Rausch leans more towards the stereotypically masculine end of the spectrum, with the heavy smoke tone, but don’t let that stop you if you want to wear it and you don’t conform to that type.

Given the blurb behind the fragrance it really needed to deliver on its ability to both recreate the vibe of a Berlin nightclub, but also weather being worn through an evening out in one. It definitely does, and then some. As a result, that is exactly the type of situation we would suggest you should wear it in. It’s not really office friendly, but that is very much part of its charm.

The brand

J.F. Schwarzlose are a German brand with a long pedigree, having their roots in Berlin in the 1800s. After a bumpy period through and after World War 2, the company closed its doors in the 1970s. It was revived in 2012 and has been growing its line ever since.

There’s something solid about the Schwarzlose line up. The presentation is simple but elegant, and the fragrances are well crafted – they’re characterful and strong, no messing around here. The Schwarzlose fragrances get to the point and do that very well indeed, plus they all have a little seem to have that little something that gives them a bit of oomph and makes them noticeable.

Buy it

Rausch is available from the J.F. Schwarzlose web boutique where it is priced at €129 for 50ml EdP.

You can also buy Rausch from the Cosmeterie website, priced at £27.60 for 10ml or £118.70 for 50ml.

We were given a no-strings-attached sample of Rausch when we visited the Schwarzlose stand at Essence in 2019. Thank you to them for their generosity.

Photo by Pim Myten on Unsplash.


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