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.
L’Artisan Parfumeur has been making niche fragrance since the 1970s. They were the first niche brand, in fact and ever since their inception way back when, L’Artisan Parfumeur has continued to create fascinating fragrances that are often quirky and always beautiful. They are a cult brand who have always managed to inspire passion on perfume lovers across the globe, working at the cutting edge to create perfumes that always bring something new to the table, whether that be an entirely new style or a new perspective on something familiar. In short: L’Artisan Parfumeur rocks and I for one am always interested to see what they’re up to. Which leads me nicely on to some lovely L’Artisan newness!
Histoire d’Orangers is the brand’s latest offering and it has come just in time for summer. Created by Perfumer Marie Salamagne (Jo Malone London Mimosa & Cardamom) and is inspired by her memory of travelling through the Moroccan region of Souss, which sits in the foot hills of the Anti-Atlas. Of her trip, Salamagne says “‘my memory of the sunset on Taroudant walls remains untouched. Suddenly, the valley takes on exceptional shades, a warm light intensifies the colours of the raw land and the atmosphere gets fresher. Each time I think of this majestic landscape, I think of orange tree flower water. A delicate and delicious water, ultra-refreshing and incredibly luminous.” A rather evocative description, no? The scent plays with the contrast between the heat of the sun and the cool of the shade, creating a vibrant and incredibly sunny orange blossom that L’Artisan describes as “exquisite”. My nose is ready for it.
There are so many fragrance launches each year it’s difficult to write about them all. Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you quick and easy to digest reviews o fragrances in a paragraph or two. After all, sometimes all one needs is a few lines to capture the essence of a scent. Speed Sniffs are perfume reviews without all of the faff and tell you whether the subject is something you want to sniff or not. So hurry up and read, because we don’t have much time…
By Kilian like to do things to excess, whether that be creating decadent, cheeky fragrances or posing suggestively with pythons. Whatever the brand does they ensure that they never do it by halves and this is evidence within their vast collection of opulent perfumes. By Kilian creates traditionally French perfumes but in an entirely modern manner. Their latest Boutique Exclusive, the dark and seductive Noir Aphrodisiaque feels completely in tune with their distinct style – it’s excessive, sexy and lots of fun.
Seeing as we spent yesterday talking about perfume and photography, it makes sense that our first fragrance review of the week is one inspired by that very art form. Now, if you’re not familiar with Olfactive Studio you really should familiarise yourself. I think it’s one of the most exciting and well thought-out niche brands out there and where so many try to do something different but do so in a muddled way, Olfactive Studio avoids gimmicks and succeeds in creating a strong narrative in each of their perfumes. So yes, they’re an exciting niche brand that you should really explore!
For their latest scent, Close Up, Olfactive Studio has taken inspiration from a photograph taken by Armenian photographer Suren Manvelyan. The shot is a close up of an eye that questions one’s perceptions. As Olfactive Studio ask, “is it an eye wide open or a miniature world replete with lands and oceans?”. Close Up is inspired by these contrasts and presents in stunning detail, the opposition of warm, fuzzy notes against vibrant fruits. Is it a soft blanket of amber, or is it a bowl of alcohol-soaked cherries? The question persists.
I have a very high level of respect for the Elie Saab fragrances. Unlike lots of fashion brands that head into the market at this late stage in the game, Elie Saab has a very clear olfactory vision that feels inextricably linked to their design aesthetic. What’s more, the brand has worked solely with one perfumer (the incomparable Francis Kurkdjian) to ensure that their scents all carry the same threads, resulting in a beautiful, luminous style that is undeniably Elie Saab.
In Elie Saab’s Essence Collection, Francis Kurkdjian really gets to stretch his legs and create scents that don’t share the style of Le Parfum, Saab’s signature scent. So far they’ve done wonderful things with oud, rose, gardenia, musk and now, for the latest addition to the collection, two materials get to take centre stage: almond and tonka bean. Essence Nº10: Amande Tonka is a delicious oud to two of perfumery’s most delectable notes and guess what? It’s really tasty….
“Almond essence blends with tonka bean to weave a voluptuous and subtle palette of almond nuances.”
New Fume Chat Alert! Coming to you live from The British Library, Nick & Thomas sniff another round of new and interesting things. Our hosts get their noses over ‘Superstitious’, the brand new collaboration between Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle and Alber Elbaz, but also sniff new things from Miller Harris, By Kilian, Amouage, Elie Saab and more!