“The name of the brand 19-69 is a powerful statement. The year 1969 represents an era of freedom, tolerance, and counterculture. It is also the year I was born and my way of putting my heart on the sleeve and says – This is real. This is who I am.” – John Bergelin.
Swedish artist and product developer John Bergelin founded 19-69 in 2017. After a long creative journey collaborating with artisans from Scandinavia, France, and Italy, Bergelin launched the 19-69 eau de parfum collection.
Bergelin works to encapsulate iconic moments of counterculture in his fragrances. Individually the fragrances work to tell a story about a moment in history, and are inspired by culture, art, music, or fashion of the past.
The company creates each 19-69 eau de parfum to capture a specific moment in time. This is captured within the scent itself, but also with the names and accordingly colored packaging. 19-69 has launched 13 parfums and nine candles. “Purple Haze” and “Chronic” are the fragrances in the collection that are crafted with the use of cannabis accord. Cannabis accord is an essential oil made from the natural oils found in the plant.
Purple Haze and Chronic were both inspired from different time periods where cannabis and culture worked hand-in-hand. I had the opportunity to try out both fragrances, and see if I could draw a connection to the era and the fragrance it inspired.
$198 for 3.3 fl. ounces
As published on 19-69’s website, “Chronic is an acknowledgment of the cannabis cultivation in Southern California during the 90s.”
Nineties hip-hop and rap acted as an outlet for artists to voice their love for cannabis after George Bush reinstated the War on Drugs in the late 1980s. The parfum’s moniker comes from Dr. Dre’s 1992 album release The Chronic. While Dr. Dre is famous for merging cannabis culture with rap, artists like N.W.A, Snoop Dog, and Cypress Hill also rapped about the beloved plant.
When people think of a cannabis-inspired fragrance, it’s not uncommon to think that it will have that “skunky” smell we are used to. But that’s not always the case.
The fragrance starts pretty strong with clear notes of grapefruit and cedarwood. At first, the scent is a bit overpowering but after a bit of wear down, it starts to become a fresh, earthy scent. The light notes of cannabis essential oils work with the cedar and petitgrain to provide a lush outdoorsy feeling through the eau de parfum.
19-69 fragrances are gender-neutral. But I find that Chronic leans more towards the masculine scents because of its musky base notes. I am a fan of masculine scents, however I don’t think this fragrance is my style. I personally prefer the candle which has the same smell. The candle’s fresh fragrance beautifully suits the home.
I think the scent makes a great attempt to capture the inspiration. The citrus notes chime into a summer feeling, like the always sunny state of California. Meanwhile, the earthy notes of cannabis and cedar blend with the musky notes, making for a scent that could be any rapper’s delight.
$138 for 3.3 fl. ounces
When I hear the words “Purple Haze,” the first thing that comes to mind is Jimi Hendrix. According to Rolling Stone, Hendrix’s 1967 album Axis: Bold as Love was ranked as the number one stoner album of all time. So naming a cannabis parfum after the Woodstock legend’s favorite strain only makes sense.
Purple Haze sets the tone for 19-69, as it was one of the first fragrances created by Bergelin. On 19-69’s website, Purple Haze is described as, “Embracing the hippie movement and counterculture just like John and Yoko’s bed-ins in Amsterdam and Montreal as well as the Woodstock Music and Art Fair (1969).”
I found that both chronic and purple haze had a strong scent at first. According to Perfume.com, Eau de parfums are typically stronger scented than the standard perfume, due to parfum’s oil to alcohol ratio. I don’t mind this though because both scents grew fainter within 10 minutes.
Purple Haze starts strong with notes of patchouli, bergamot, and cannabis that give a very distinct 70s vibe. Around the 20-minute mark, as the notes of violet leaf and thyme take over, the scent fades to become more of a floral fragrance. After hours of wearing the parfum, the lasting notes are vanilla, patchouli, and white musk.
I found that with Purple Haze, the cannabis smell didn’t last as long as it did with Chronic. So if you want to smell like you just walked out of a hot-box, this probably isn’t the fragrance you’re looking for.
Purple Haze is a great unisex scent in my opinion. It gives off a fresh and clean scent, with floral undertones but not in an overly feminine way. Purple Haze gives a lush outdoorsy smell, almost like you are standing in a forest surrounded by greenery.
Some cannabis parfums can smell like an attempt to mask the natural herb, but this isn’t the case with 19-69. Both scents use the cannabis accord to compliment the parfum’s other ingredients in a wearable way. The cannabis scent is subtle; it is not instantly recognizable or overpowering, so no one would know you are wearing a cannabis parfum unless you told them.
The fragrances along with the sleek, glass packaging give a feeling of luxury. This also reflects in the price point. At $138-$198 per 3.3 fl. ounce bottle, it costs about the same as other luxury brands, like Gucci. I enjoyed the parfums, but not enough that I would purchase a refill.