If Samnaun were a fragrance

Perfumer Mathias Leipold

Mathias Leipold in Samnaun mit dem Piz Ot im Hintergrund
Samnaun is known as the only Swiss duty-free zone outside an airport. In addition to watches, jewelry and cigarettes, Samnaun has made a name for itself with exclusive perfumes. In Samnaun there are 17 different duty-free stores with exclusive perfumes.

The Samnaun answer to "The Perfume

When I set off for Samnaun one morning, I didn't know what to expect.
Who is the young perfumer everyone is talking about and how will he smell me?
Scenes from the best-selling novel "The Perfume" come to mind.
It's a sunny day and I stroll down the village street through Samnaun Dorf, Switzerland's only duty-free paradise, to the Arcada Haute Parfumerie in the middle of the village. I enter the store and am already expected by Mathias Leipold, who also immediately gives me a tour of "his kingdom". Workmen are in the process of laying a new carpet in the boutique. A rich brown tone. Matching elegant leather chairs with golden legs. The look reminds me of a classy, luxurious hotel lobby. "For my 10th anniversary, I was allowed to wish for new furnishings," laughs Mathias Leipold.When I set out for Samnaun one morning, I didn't know what to expect.
Who is the young perfumer everyone is talking about and how will he smell me?
Scenes from the best-selling novel "The Perfume" come to mind.
It's a sunny day and I stroll down the village street through Samnaun Dorf, Switzerland's only duty-free paradise, to the Arcada Haute Parfumerie in the middle of the village. I enter the store and am already expected by Mathias Leipold, who also immediately gives me a tour of "his kingdom". Workmen are in the process of laying a new carpet in the boutique. A rich brown tone. Matching elegant leather chairs with golden legs. The look reminds me of a classy, luxurious hotel lobby. "For my 10th anniversary, I was allowed to wish for a new interior," Mathias Leipold laughs.

With "Gucci Eau de Parfum II" to the dream job

The year is 2009, and fate has brought Mathias Leipold, a trained restaurateur, to duty-free Samnaun. One evening, the owner of the Haute Parfumerie Arcada stopped by for a drink at the bar in Chasa Montana, where Leipold was working at the time. "You're wearing Gucci Eau Parfum II!" said Leipold to the lady after serving her a drink. This impressed her so much that she immediately offered him a job in her exclusive perfumery - his dream job, as it later turned out.

Today, after 10 years in the perfumery scene, he has acquired his very own scent vocabulary, with which he now advises his customers and clients. There is no "scent training" or special training to become a perfumer. Rather, Leipold describes a fragrance by means of an image that arises in his mind when he smells it: "St. Tropez, strolling, taking a walk, the sun shining on your skin."

Leipold has been cultivating the network of the latest trends and fragrances for years at trade fairs, for example in southern France and Italy. It used to be a good bit of work to get exclusive perfume companies under contract. Today, manufacturers come to him with a request to include them in his range.

Mathias Leipold in seinem Reich

Individuality begins with fragrance

I wanted to know how Mathias Leipold finds the perfect fragrance for a person: "In addition to a good nose, you need a good dose of people skills." These, he says, he acquired early on. Frequent contact with a wide variety of people has made him what he is today. If you come back to the village from the slopes of the Silvretta Ski Arena Samnaun/Ischgl or from a hike from Alp Bella to buy an exclusive perfume, three fragrances are recommended to you after a brief consultation. One is it then - the fragrance you always wanted but didn't know.

Leipold builds the consultation around the person's appearance. Is it a sporty man, a chic woman, a strikingly made-up woman, a businessman or tattooed from head to toe? For him it is clear: the fragrance must underline the personality. He then compiles a selection from the fragrances that come into question for this or that appearance. To present the fragrance, Leipold forms a rose from a cosmetic tissue and sprays it. Why? It is supposed to represent the skin and is so much more airy and authentic than the familiar perfume strips.

The individual consultation speaks for itself, so 80% of the guests are regular customers.

If Samnaun were a fragrance, what would it smell like?

Mathias Leipold would give Samnaun two fragrances. One for winter and one for summer.

...a purist fragrance in winter


Mathias Leipold: "Very clear, crystalline, straightforward, puristic, cool like the snow and the blue sky, like an ice-cold night in which you can see your breath".

...in summer a mountain floral fragrance

In summer, Mathias Leipold describes to me his thoughts on the scent as follows: "Mountain meadows, blossoms, freshly mown grasses in combination with the mountain summer on Piz Ot, which is covered with green meadows up to the top."

Blumenwiese Samnaun

When we say goodbye, I get the three obligatory perfume samples to take with me. One of them is Mathias Leipold's favorite fragrance, described below. Again and again I catch myself smelling the cosmetic tissue rose sprayed with it. But I can also identify with the other fragrances in a very special way - which perfume will probably become my second skin?

About Mathias Leipold:

Age: "A fragrance has no age and neither does yours truly" (Quote: Mathias Leipold).

Origin: Since 12 years in Samnaun, originally from the "German Pampa" (Quote: Mathias Leipold)

His highlights in Samnaun: Piz Ot in summer, autumn in Samnaun with the colorful larches and the special scent, in winter deep in snow with the flair of Christmas coming up, fairy tale path Murmina Murmin with a viewpoint of the village of Samnaun, the other villages and the Piz Ot.

Favorite scent: "One of which you can spray on a lot," Leipold smiles. In general, you can never be over-perfumed with a good perfume, he gives me as good advice along the way. His current favorite scent is Zarko Pink Molécule - a Danish fragrance with the champagne molecule as its base, a linear perfume that, because of this nature, you are also not supposed to rub. "The scent tingles, is fresh - I could bathe in it!" he says.

Text: Madeleine Pope
Photos: Cyrill Suter

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