I have a lot of time for Atelier Cologne. They’re a brand with a very clear direction and whilst they have an absolutely massive range (over 30 fragrances!!), which includes an impressive number of fragrances across many sub-collections, they don’t feel as if they are overdoing it. Whether it’s the glorious never-ending citrus tones of their neo-colognes or the unconventional exoticism of their oriental collection, Atelier Cologne are making beautiful, well-composed fragrances high on the wearability factory. Absolutely nobody can fault them for that!
So we’ve established that Atelier Cologne know how to make perfumes that smell good, but are they actually adding anything new to the world of perfumery? There is so much scent out there and the big question is whether Atelier Cologne are making anything particularly unique. The short answer is ‘yes’ and the perfect example of this is their latest offering, the intriguing, nay, surprising ‘Café Tuberosa‘ – a fragrance that pairs two completely polar opposite materials together: coffee and tuberose. How’s that for new and unique?
Top: Bergamot, Tangerine and Cardamom
Heart: Tuberose, Damascena Rose Absolue and Coffee Espresso Accord
Base: Patchouli, Vanilla and Cacao Absolue
How Does it Smell?
The smell of freshly roasted coffee grounds is Café Tuberosa’s greeting as it flies out of the bottle. The smell is somewhat surprising and photo-realistic, presenting coffee with its full spectrum of odours, including bitterness, sweetness, warmth, milkiness and nuttiness. It’s less Starbucks and more slow-roasted home brew, if you catch my drift, making for a bold opening to a fragrance that makes its mark as intriguing right from the outset. But it’s not just about the coffee, there’s contrast too in the form of a bright, vibrant tangerine note that gives a touch of a chocolate orange vibe. Lovely.
So where does the tuberose come in? We mustn’t forget that this fragrance foregoes tradition by pairing its signature coffee accord with something that really shouldn’t work: tuberose. Well if you’re expecting a big, buxom and bubblegum-esque tuberose note a la Fracas then you’re probably in for disappointment (but let’s face it, that would make for a big, syrupy mess). This tuberose emphasises the greener, fresher facets of the flower, adding a lightness and vibrancy (with just a tiny touch of white floral sweetness) to the coffee that is very welcome indeed.
The base doesn’t quite pack the punch of the opening, instead it offers softness and smoothness in spades. Vanilla and cocoa create this dry bed of grain and warmth. It’s pleasing to me that Café Tuberosa doesn’t take a gleeful trip down the amber route and instead uses the dark, rich tones of chocolate and patchouli, both of which interlock as olfactory facets, to draw down the coffee and tangerine of the opening. It’s these tessellations that make Café Tuberosa a seamless composition as well as a surprising one.
Café Tuberose strikes me as a novel idea executed incredibly well. I mean, who would have thought that tuberose and coffee would go so well together? Not me, that’s for sure! But the truth is that Atelier Cologne have managed to find some common ground between these two materials, clicking them together through the use of patchouli and cocoa, creating a fragrance that is incredibly unusual, undeniably wearable and actually rather beautiful. Café Tuberosa is a grown-up gourmand that says pfft to all of those sickly sweet scents out there that smell the same – it’s in a class of its own and you need to smell it.
Café Tuberosa is available in 30ml, 100ml and 200ml Cologne Absolue.
Sample, notes and quotes via Atelier Cologne. Images are my own.