A talk
to Arnd Heißen

Arnd Heißen always had special ideas

Since the Ingolstadt-born Arnd Heißen started a nearly worldjourney at the age of two, because his father had to travel a lot for business, he has gathered many impressions. In New York, Mexico, Turkey, Latvia, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich… until he settled in Berlin in 2008. He worked with Tim Raue at the Socu Bar and then inspired his guests with extraordinary drinks as a bar manager at the Ritz Carlton until December 2019.

Through the culturally influenced impressions of a variety of flavours and spices, coupled with the constant search for something special,
such as orange blossom water, Arnd wanted to refine his cocktails for a better taste experience. Since orange blossom water was hard to get
and could only be taken from perfumes, his idea to create cocktails that taste like perfume smells also grew. In exchanges with perfumers,
by reading books and further research, he gained a lot of expertise and was able to enrich his idea enormously.


“Drinks have to taste, like perfume smells”


It sounds a bit strange that cocktails have to taste like perfume smells, but the idea isn’t such strange – many perfume ingredients can be found in nature. Arnd makes use of exactly these in his interesting fragranced cocktails. At a perfumery, you rarely ask which fragrances are included. You simply choose the perfume that you like best and with which you can identify. That’s exactly how Arnd imagines choosing you your drink at his place. Usually you know what you’re ordering and what’s in the drink, but in his opinion, the drink menu makes it unnecessarily complicated: he doesn’t want you to know the ingredients, he just wants you to enjoy the drink – he’ll take care of everything else. Similar to a perfumery, but with drinks that suits you. And that’s why there are four bottles on the bar counter you can choose for getting a similar drink.


Perfume bottles next to the drinks menu

At Heimlichtreu, where I meet Arnd, I am warmly welcomed and feel like I am in a cozy living room. From his perfume repertoire (Bal D’Afrique, Creed, Atkinsons …) he explains to me that I can choose a fragrance that I like and then get the right cocktail. However, I had the menu in hand earlier and immediately decided on the drink with the following ingredients: Mandarin_Tonkabean_Bergamot_Vanilla. I’ll explain later why this selection suits me so terrifyingly.

As a perfume lover, I know a lot about the ingredients. But not everyone is familiar with the names on the ingredients list. That’s why I want to make it much easier for you to choose your drink “by nose”. Taste and smell only work together. What you can smell well, tastes good to you. That is the goal Arnd wants to achieve: that you can choose your drink as easily as possible and that it suits you.

Unless you also know a lot about special aromas and know what kind of taste experience awaits you with vetiver when you order a drink à la Arnd Heißen. These questions can be dispensed with if you simply choose a fragrance from his repertoire that appeals to you. How do you’ll explain a fragrance? That is almost impossible. However, you can describe it with a familiar situation and empathise with it.

Cocktails which bring back memories


Imagine n a mild summer’s day, you run across a freshly mown meadow


What smell come to mind when you hear this playing words? Think about a feeling in a situation and ask Arnd if he can mix you a drink with it. Or let yourself be surprised by his assessment of you and try his cocktail made for you. You will be positively amazed.


Show me your perfume and I’ll tell you who you are

Arnd can reflect your character very well by means of a fragrance that you like. Even a few short pieces of information about you by asking specific questions, or even your choice of colours in your style of dress can tell him more than you think. I have to try this out immediately and lead him outside into the fresh air to get an idea of me from a sample of my favourite perfume.

The ingredients are almost the same as those in my drink. What a surprising match: they include vanilla, bergamot and tonka bean. Fits me perfectly – and the assessment of my character is also frighteningly good. No wonder that for a short time I was more preoccupied with my drink than listening to Arnd. I was literally catapulted into a memory that made me happy. I felt lifted up and understood. This might sound strange to you (“It’s just a drink…”), but even I wouldn’t have thought that a cocktail could surprise me like that. So after my brief cocktail blackout, we come to a torrent of words that barely describe what I was just thinking and already I want to try the next drink so that I can describe the feeling that has then arisen.


So I choose Creed Aventus Cologne. It tastes like fresh mint and makes me feel like I’m coming home to a warm, dry place on a rainy day. I admit my imagination is vivid, but a cocktail that can be drunk like a little story is a whole new and interesting basis for conversation and exchange for me. Moreover, the fragrance composition of the perfume reads quite appropriately to my feelings*. A cocktail from Arnd is not just a cocktail, but a taste and emotional experience.

Arnd Heissen’s own bar is in planning

With Eriko, Arnd’s sister in spirit, he has already developed a number of combinations of ingredients that you will soon be able to try out in his own bar. Towards the end of the year the gates to his own realm and to (in the truest sense of the word) completely different dimensions (keyword: psychedelics) open. Let yourself be surprised.

By the way, vetiver is a sweet grass that comes from Asia and is also used as an essential oil for aromatherapies or in perfume 😉


*Duftfamilie: fresh-fruity
 Topnote: black currant, pineapple, green apple, mint, bergamot
 Heartnote: Patchouli, rose and jasmine, birch
 Basicnote: Musk, oakmoss, vanilla