Following an artisan perfumer: “Duftspuren”

This post takes a look at artisan perfumers. It discusses the autobiographical record by Sven Pritzkoleit published in 2016.

Autobiographical books are a well known and a popular genre in the growing literature on perfumery. Thus, in addition to his fragrant creations Jean-Claude Ellena is well known for his Diary of a Nose. Less well known are artisan perfumers who share their experience and journey.

There is a notable exception to this rule as I learnt from Paul Kiler who mentioned “The Fragrance Designer’s Primer” to me.  But this is a book I learnt about after this  comment went online…


In any case, “Duftspuren” by Sven Pritzkoleit stands out (not only because it is in German) and deserves a closer look. Sven Prizkoleit started out as a pharmacist in the 1990s. In 2006, he created his first perfume formula Pink Patchouli. Since then, he has developed numerous scents as well as his own fragrance line SP Parfums. In 2017,  Pritzkoleit received international recognition: His creation Liquorice Vetiver by SP Parfums was nominated a finalist for the Art and Olfaction Awards in the Artisan Category.

More recently, Sven Pritzkoleit also started to work for other brands. The owner and creative director of Zoologist, Victor Wong, has been working with different independent perfumers ever since the beginning of his brand. For the latest release Hyrax he chose to collaborate with perfumer Sven Pritzkoleit, as Mark Behnke notices. We do not know very much about the practice of this collaboration. Yet, it is an interesting move that might show how self taught perfumers can go beyond expressing themselves. Collaborating with a brand and meeting the requirements of a creative director clearly signals an advanced form of professionalism.

Sven Pritzokoleit published ”Duftspuren” in 2016. The book reveals numerous facets.  It is more than an idiosyncratic record and notebook of a self taught perfumer. Yet, this is the reason why I got interested in the book. You might know that we have been researching the field of artisan perfumery, career trajectories as well as the Art and Olfaction Awards. Actually, this research lead to a contribution to the recent work on organizing craft.

An attentive reader of Pritzkoleit’s “Duftspuren” learns that DIY perfumery goes beyond following some recipes. Instead, the author shares some of his key learnings and notes (including his idiosyncratic classification of ingredients – as shown on the featured image of this post). Numerous references and key quotations from the history of perfumery, literature and culture encourage the reader’s reflection. Last but not least “Duftspuren” can serve as a valuable sourcebook in German that encourages the reader to start a fragrant journey of ones own. The book includes a useful bibliography for everybody who wants to begin this olfactory journey. Pritzkoleit’s book “Duftspuren” has also been exclusively published online on Fragrantica.

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Pritzkoleit, S. (2016). Duftspuren: ein (Ver-) Führer für kreative Nasen und Parfümbegeisterte. Calbe (Saale): Ed. SP Parfums Sven Pritzkoleit.

Ellena, J.-C. (2012). Der geträumte Duft. Berlin: Insel.

Ellena, J.-C. (2012). Diary of a Nose. Particular.

Ellena, J.-C. (2012). Journal d’un parfumeur suivi d’un Abrégé d’odeurs. Paris: Librairie Générale Française.