Trend alert: the note du jour for perfume brands at the moment is osmanthus. This humble little flower, which possesses a very complex and unique odour profile, whilst also appearing sunny and pretty to look at, is working its way into many fragrances, both mainstream and niche. But what is it? What does it smell like? Why is it having a moment? And where can you smell it? Well, read on to find out…
Let’s talk about Atelier Cologne. For me they are a brand that very much fits into the category of ‘mainstream niche’, which means they are a niche, exclusive brand that has a sort of mainstream appeal and is on the more accessible side of the luxe fragrance world. You won’t find anything particularly challenging there, but you will find quality and luxury. Juliette Has a Gun is another example of a mainstream niche brand, but we’re not here to talk about them.
What I love about Atelier Cologne is that they are successful in their mission to create enjoyable, long-lasting colognes, and it would be fair to say that they do citrus fragrances better than anyone. Scents like Orange Sanguine (basically a shower of juicy oranges – cover me in it now, please), Bergamot Soleil (the closest you’ll ever get to an Earl Grey scent) and Pomelo Paradis (unf, so good) show just how euphorically beautiful and long-lasting citrus can be.
Their latest fragrance isn’t actually a citrus cologne (well, it kinda is but we’ll get there), instead it’s a sunny floral called Love Osmanthus. Inspired by the story of love in a secret garden, Love Osmanthus shines a spotlight on the unique flower from Asia, playing up its fruity, peach-like aroma into a fragrance that creates the impression of an “exotic garden under the moonlight”. Colour me intrigued….
Love it or loathe it, the power of instagram cannot be denied. The platform has become a massive force in setting the trends of what we do and buy. Sure, there is lots of fakery and over-polished world views, and don’t get me started on the influencer culture, but what I admire about instagram is that it has become a really fantastic way to communicate fragrance.
Translating fragrance into a visual medium can be really effective and can take something so intangible and make it real. Some fragrance brands are really adept at getting the spirit of their scents (not to mention their brand) across, creating entirely unique visuals that are fun and exciting. Here are five fragrance brands that I think are killing it on instagram right now.
I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
I’m a big fan of Atelier Cologne. They are a house with a distinct but varied style and they reall excel at crafting beautiful, long-lasting citrus fragrances that are simply a joy to wear. This is no surprise, after all, Atelier Cologne pioneered the ‘Cologne Absolue’ a highly-concentrated take on the classic Eau de Cologne that seeks to create more intense colognes with increased stamina.
Atelier Cologne is one of those brands that has got their retailing absolutely spot on. If you’ve never made it into their Covent Garden store (or any of their boutiques around the world) then you simply must go. All of their fragrances are presented so openly, with beautiful tableaus showcasing their olfactory inspirations. What’s more, one can personalise fragrances there with customisable leather cases, which are presented in an eye-catching, rainbow fashion on the wall.
Anyway, I could go on about my love for Atelier Cologne and their boutiques until I have bored you all half to death, but I shall spare you today, because today we are going to talk about something else quite lovely from the brand: the deliciously zesty Orange Positano Scented Candle.
The purpose of these olfactory deconstructions (see Iris and Vetiver) is to understand a raw material used in perfumery by dissecting it into its many facets. By experiencing the many nuances, one starts to gain an appreciation for how it is used within a wider composition and how it can be utilised to create interesting and novel effects. Such is the magic of perfumery – where one distinct material can bring so much more to a fragrance than its odour profile, shifting and changing as it tessellates with other notes to create things that are more than the sum of their parts.
Today’s deconstruction is a widely used material: patchouli. I chose patchouli because it’s a material found in so many fragrances, many of which utilise it as a supporting act as opposed to the star that takes top billing. I also picked it because it’s a tricky note to love, due largely to its associations with head shops and hippies, not to mention how abrasive it can be as a smell. But patchouli is so much more than a new age oil, it’s actually a fascinating and multifaceted material that deserves a lot of attention – and today we are going to give it that attention!
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?
The best brands are those that disrupt the industry in some way, big or small. These brands bring a new perspective to a world that, at times, relies on the same formulaic methods of making and marketing scent. Unique voices are always welcome, especially when their olfactory exploits are in tune with the distinctiveness of their vision. Atelier Cologne is one such brand and they’ve always done things a little bit differently – most notably building their vision around an entirely new olfactive style: the Cologne Absolue.
Atelier Cologne was started by Sylvie Ganter & Christophe Cervasel. After meeting in 2006 and falling in love, Ganter and Cervasel realised that they shared a love for the classic Eau de Cologne and set out to create a line of fragrances that boasted the character of this style but with the longevity it often lacked. The result is the Cologne Absolue – Eau de Colognes that wear like Pure Parfums. Atelier Cologne was birthed from this idea and now the brand, which recently sold to L’Oreal, has points of sale all across the world. It’s a modern day success story – one that is a testament to the quality and artistry of the brand’s unique style.
Recently I was invited to experience Atelier Cologne’s new boutique in Covent Garden, London. Having only ever tried a handful of scents from the collection (all of which I had enjoyed) I jumped at the chance to get to know Atelier Cologne a little bit better. What I discovered was a finely curated collection of scents all with an inimitable personality that captures the essence of worldly voyages and timeless romances, all with a free-spirited and care-free disposition. The Covent Garden boutique is a little treasure trove of loveliness and as you will learn through this post, it provides quite the unique perfume shopping experience.
Atelier Cologne, the purveyors of the modern eau de cologne, have launched a brand new collection of five fragrances entitled ‘Collection Orient’. Oriental fragrances, and oriental collections for that matter, are a dime a dozen in the world of perfumery and so often they present nothing more than the same notes in the same dense manner and in the same black and white bottles, but not Atelier Cologne’s Collection Orient. No, this collection is something different altogether. For a start, the bottles are white, hinting at a look at the genre from an entirely new angle, whereas the scents themselves are entirely unexpected and refreshingly unique, subverting one’s ideas of oriental scents rather marvellously.
I haven’t sniffed the entire collection yet (we did give Tobbaco Nuit a good nose in episode one of Fume Chat), but the clear standout from the Collection Orient fragrances I have smelled is Mimosa Indigo. Now, I like me a mimosa, but good ones are hard to find, so it’s always reassuring when a respected brand such as Atelier Cologne gives the note a go. Mimosa Indigo is described as a “velvet and addictive” cologne, taking inspiration from the story of a three am trip home after an evening spent in a New York jazz club whilst wearing the most amazing purple dress, you know, as you do. This is Atelier Cologne shaking up the genre and doing it exceptionally well.
Niche cologne brand, Atelier Cologne, seems to have mastered the world of citrus notes. Often seen as the most perky and revitalising notes in perfumery, citrus notes are as enjoyable as they are temperamental, with the idea of a photorealistic citrus painting that is both long lasting and realistic appearing as somewhat of an elusive enigma. Atelier Cologne proves that this ideal isn’t unobtainable, and they offer a whole host of ‘Cologne Absolues’ (colognes in pure parfum strength) that display dazzling, delicious and decidedly good citrus notes.
Out of all of their offerings, last year’s Cédrat Enivrant really struck me as an idealised cologne. It had everything one expects and hopes for from the genre – freshness, lightness and tartness – with the added bonus of strength and longevity. Cédrat Enivrant is the best example of Atelier Cologne’s penchant for modernising and improving the traditional eau de cologne, and it’s a theme they have continued with the launch of Pomélo Paradis, their latest scent, and the final edition in their Collection Originale.
According to the brand, Pomélo Paradis“marks the inevitable encounter between a man and a woman always destined to be together”. This new “neo-cologne” also marks the brand’s fifth anniversary too, and they’re celebrating with a super-fresh, super-sweet and super-clean taken on the bright, and dazzling citrus tones of pomelo. In the words of Atelier Cologne, Pomélo Paradis “celebrates the elegance of citruses”, and I can’t put it any simpler than that.
“Was he a fool to drive all night just for a chance to see her? Perhaps it was adrenaline and the lack of sleep, but as he pictured moments they had been together, the word destiny stuck in his mind. The coral sunrise burned bright and he drove faster. There was no choice but to see her again.”
Awards Season is set to end this Sunday with the 86th Academy Awards (a.k.a. ‘The Oscars’) and the stars will be out in full force, donning their finest garb having spent hours preening their faces and coiffing their hair. Of course, us mere mortals will simply be watching the ceremony at home in our pyjamas, possibly scoffing on some popcorn in a nod to the wonders of the silver screen. Still, we can live vicariously through the glamour of the winners and losers, can’t we?
Thinking about the Oscars and the upcoming Jasmine Awards (for which I need to pick myself an outfit) led me to ponder over which perfumes are best suited to formal occasions. Most of the time I’m of the belief that one should wear whatever they heck they want when they want, but in situations where dress codes are enforced and one has to be smart, it can be beneficial to pick out a scent that is suitably dapper to match.
For this post I’ve put together some of my favourite ‘smart’ perfumes for black tie or formal occasions. They range from the smart casual to the well-tailored and the dramatic, and between them they serve as a mini-guide to picking that perfect scent for a special occasion. Most are unisex so are suitable regardless of whether you’re a guy or a girl and can be paired with a suit, tux or fancy dress to ensure that you’re looking good and smelling fine.