"You smell like a bar" is rarely a compliment. The comment conjures the smell of half-lit cigarettes and cheap beer, not swanky cocktails and classy cologne. But what if you could smell like one of the best bars in America: where the drinks are less, well, well and more world-renowned; where broken barstools give way to swanky booths?
de Kloka + Death & Co New York Read More
de Kloka + Death & Co Denver Read More
de Kloka + Death & Co Los Angeles Read More
Cue Death & Company, a cocktail bar with locations in New York, Los Angeles and Denver, which just dropped a trio of scents made in collaboration with de Kloka, a California perfumery founded by ex-bartender Jackie Brenner. Death & Co, as it's colloquially called, is a mainstay on The World’s 50 Best Bars list and actually won the award for Best American Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu at 2010's Spirited Awards, an international affair hosted by Tales of the Cocktail.
And the cocktail bar produced an encyclopedic "cookbook" filled with recipes, origin stories and tons of original photography, which earned a James Beard award for Best New Cocktail or Spirits Book. You see, the company has grown quite a bit since the first Death & Co opened in 2007, and, as such, so has its retail arm, the Death & Company Market.
In it, you'll find glassware and bar tools, but also these new colognes, which are as much merch as they are a new endeavor altogether.
"Capturing the essence of the Death & Co bar experience in perfume form was a sensory adventure down memory lane for me," Brenner says. "I tapped into all my past experiences in the bar world, the different sensations of sitting at Death & Co, and the smells and textures they bring forth. All three perfumes share a handful of common ingredients – saffron, cardamom, coffee, and sweet incense. These core ingredients capture the Death & Co spirit and carry a cohesiveness through each perfume."
Sure, each scent smells slightly different, but they're all based on Death & Co bars, which bear similarities, of course. Subtle twists separate them: in the case of the Denver cologne, there's a touch of mountain pine; for New York, Brenner played on the aroma of vermouth, a key ingredient in a number of classic cocktails; and for L.A., she mixes the glamour Hollywood with the area's fresh citrus supply.
Death & Company x de Kloka, Tested
Associate Editor Johnny Brayson got hands-on with Death & Co's new colognes. Here's what he thought of each.
"FYI, this juice has quite a bit of color, so be careful where you spray it. This is the strongest of the bunch, and it’s pretty pungent — fitting for NY, really. It’s easily the most animalic scent offered here, with a strong natural leather note that dominates here. My dog likes it, and yours will too. The leather is accompanied by some booziness, like a sticky booth in a club (smells better than it sounds). It’s definitely best suited to a night out in cold weather — like a trip to the OG Death & Co in the East Village."
"This is also a colorful juice (green, if you’re wondering), but a bit lighter than NY. No surprises here, it’s easily the most outdoorsy out of the trio. Think walking through a pine forest after a freshly fallen rain. And while it’s certainly fresh-smelling, this is no 'freshie.' The evergreen notes are most prominent here, but like all scents in this collection, it’s a very natural-smelling note — no Pine-Sol or car air fresheners here. This is one is a spirit-lifter, for sure."
"I lived in L.A. for eight years, and it never smelled nearly this good. The opening is all fresh and vivid citrus, like tearing into an orange and lemon simultaneously. Once it settles, the citrus fades to the background a bit and props up more spicy notes. It’s quite a unique blend of citrus and spice — not really Christmas-y at all, but not something you’d want to wear in the summer either. It’s real nice though, is my favorite of the three."