Emeraude Agar by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Chinese eucalyptus, Vietnamese black pepper, Siberian angelica, Egyptian geranium, Turkish rose, Malaysian agarwood, Indian guaiac wood, Mysore sandalwood

Comment: Emeraude Agar is part of the Collection Métal
While one is now sick and tired of oud fragrances, in general, Emeraude Agar is more of a vibrant woody-green take on this heavily exploited ingredient (natural or otherwise).

Opening with some citrus and a hefty serving of black pepper, the subtle verdant additions of both the angelica and eucalyptus prepares the wearer for the emerging geranium. Overall, the green influence in the composition isn't too striking but more suggestive. Seguing into the geranium, the predictable pairing of rose and oud soon emerges. However, it's at this point that the green accents fade further into the background, as the proceedings becomes woodier and slightly sweeter.

The oud itself isn't that easy to isolate from the other woody accords, but one is able to discern something that verges closer to cedar than oud. Unfortunately, the creamy (and slightly dark) woody drydown is too generic to do any real justice to what went on before.

Compared to other releases from this collection, it's certainly one of the better creations. But, just like Jasmin Angélique, one would have preferred a more intense verdancy and better tenacity. With conservative projection, Emeraude Agar is just another passable Atelier Cologne fragrance that one can easily take or leave.


Share

Camélia Intrépide by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian lemon, Javanese nutmeg, violet leaves from Grasse, Chinese camellia leaves, Turkish rose, Moroccan iris, white leather, amber

Comment: Camélia Intrépide is part of the Collection Métal
Commencing with a piercing fruity-floral blast, the top notes of Camélia Intrépide soon settle to reveal a creamy green core that's almost fig-like but darker.

One doesn't detect any spices but there appears to be tea-like nuances throughout the proceedings. Later on, the floral aspect eventually re-emerges, spearheaded by a waxy (and almost plastic-like) rose component. The addition of a light leather accord also provides a subdued smokiness but, when fused with the amber (which is probably ambroxan or something similar), the synthetic vibe of the composition is accentuated. As a result, a charred and artificial floral sweetness becomes more strident during the drydown.

With moderate sillage and average longevity, if the aroma chemical onslaught of Blanche Immortelle and Silver Iris didn't appeal, Camélia Intrépide won't be any different.


Share

Philtre Ceylan by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Indian spearmint, Guatemalan cardamom, Indian cumin, Sri Lankan green tea, Ceylon tea, Chinese iris, Indian papyrus, Paraguayan guaiac wood

Comment: Philtre Ceylan is part of the Collection Orient
To mark the opening of their Hong Kong store, as well as an expansion into the Asian market, Atelier Cologne has launched yet another collection of fragrances (as if 2015 wasn't productive enough already). Of course, the press release oozes contrived diplomacy instead: "Collection Orient [is] inspired by the region's natural beauty, people and customs, and particularly the most precious raw materials". Hmmm, whatever...

With five new scents, this time housed in white porcelain bottles with gold caps, one dares not dwell over just how overcrowded Atelier Cologne's portfolio has now become. Thankfully, from this cynical cash grab exercise, doubled as a calculated attempt to further tap into the lucrative Asian market, there's at least one respectable effort in the form of Philtre Ceylan.

Even though the tea aroma is more syrupy sweet than bitterly dark, it's still a delightful spicy and green woody-aromatic. One doesn't get much spearmint or cumin, but there are certainly various green and woody accents interweaving throughout. Reminiscent of a sweet and milky cup of cardamom tea, with an additional serving of spices, the iris accentuates the creamy aspect of the composition. As for the sweetness itself, it's not exactly amber or honey based, but more of a hybrid.

Sharing olfactory similarities with Cartier's Declaration, while smelling far more convincing than Jacques Fath's Yang, Philtre Ceylan is well-blended and relatively pleasant to wear. It also leaves this house's earlier tea-based creation, Oolang Infini, firmly in the shade.

Sillage is moderate, with below average lasting power.


Share

Encens Jinhae by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Sicilian lemon, Philippine elemi, Chinese pink pepper, Indian nutmeg, frankincense from Samarkand, cherry blossom from Jinhae, Turkish rose, Indonesian patchouli, New Caledonian sandalwood

Comment: Encens Jinhae is part of the Collection Orient
With every passing year, Atelier Cologne seems intent on using ingredients from even more 'exotic' places than before. Genuine or not, one finds such marketing tactics both contrived and jarring.

With regards to Encens Jinhae, it's a jammy interaction of rose and cherry blossom, with citrus-infused spices and frankincense upon the opening. Resting on a mild foundation of patchouli and sandalwood, the composition doesn't really go anywhere after the woods quickly reveal themselves. Needless to say, while the floral heart is delightfully sweet, with a vague wine sediment astringency, the composition is ultimately generic.

Projection is moderate, remaining detectable for roughly three hours.


Share

Tobacco Nuit by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Italian clementine, Russian coriander, Indian cumin, Turkish tobacco flower, frankincense from Samarkand, Egyptian labdanum, Indonesian patchouli, Brazilian tonka bean, Atlas cedar

Comment: Tobacco Nuit is part of the Collection Orient
Tobacco Nuit is an ambery tobacco offering, which verges closer towards the aroma of unlit black tobacco than the blond variety.

Starting out with some cumin, the composition rests on a granular foundation of dark woods. The frankincense is hardly evident, yet the cedar yields a peppery woodiness. However, as it further evolves, it structurally fails to hold itself together, smelling murkier and less convincing over time.

Based on Atelier Cologne's prolific output, this is obviously a case of an underdeveloped idea hastily composed for financial gain. If it wasn't for the exorbitant price tag, it wouldn't have been viewed as an insult to the general intelligence of consumers.

Sillage is moderate, with decent lasting power.


Share

Poivre Electrique by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Tunisian bitter orange, Chinese pink pepper, Vietnamese black pepper, frankincense from Samarkand, Jamaican pimento leaf, Turkish rose, African myrrh, Virginian cedar, New Caledonia sandalwood

Comment: Poivre Electrique is part of the Collection Orient
Poivre Electrique is a pleasant, albeit watery and restrained, peppery woody-incense affair.

Commencing with a hint of bitter orange, it's more about the pepper and frankincense than the woods, although the cedar is evident throughout its lifespan. Largely linear, it verges extremely close to the derivative masculine designer fragrances of the same ilk. However, as already mentioned, the woods are greatly toned down, but the composition does possess a sweet radiance from the combination of rose and myrrh.

With atrocious staying power of less than an hour, one is unable to recommend it when there's hardly anything to distinguish it from cheaper (and more robust) alternatives.


Share

Mimosa Indigo by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Italian mandarin, Indian saffron, Indian mimosa, lilac, white leather accord, vanilla from Papua New Guinea, New Caledonian sandalwood, musk

Comment: Mimosa Indigo is part of the Collection Orient
If the name is anything to go by, mimosa is supposed to be the star accord. But the brutal truth is that Mimosa Indigo is simply a buttery suede fragrance, with light woody-floral embellishments.

Alongside citrus top notes, the saffron is more acerbic than medicinal. And disregarding the creamy attributes, mainly bolstered by some vanilla and sandalwood, the florals are inconspicuous. Beyond that, the composition gradually becomes muskier over time, while increasingly exhibiting a synthetic astringency (not too dissimilar from scented hand cream).

For such an expensive fragrance, there's nothing captivating or unique about it. Both tenacity and projection are also underwhelming.


Share

Bergamote Soleil by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, bitter orange from Ivory Coast, ambrette seed from Ecuador, Guatemalan cardamom, lavender from Provence, Egyptian jasmine, white amber, Haitian vetiver, Slovenian oakmoss

Comment: Bergamote Soleil is part of the Collection Originale
After three citrus-based winners, could Bergamote Soleil be the fourth? Well, sadly no...

Taking into account Atelier Cologne's somewhat limited palate for citrus-dominant creations, as well as the rate at which new releases are being churned out, there was always the danger that this house would run the risk of repeating itself. After the successful trio of Orange Sanguine, Cédrat Enivrant and Pomélo Paradis, hopes were rather high for Bergamote Soleil. Unfortunately, its arrival has simply confirmed one's initial fears.

Lacking sufficient distinction, Bergamote Soleil comes across as a hybrid of Orange Sanguine, Cédrat Enivrant and Pomélo Paradis – with certain notes taken from each of the three and then thrown together. Of course, the odd new accord has been added to the mix, which the other three don't possess, such as lavender, cardamom and oakmoss. But these aren't enough to mask the severe shortcomings of the composition.

With a faint green spiciness, as well as a woody-green base, its general performance on the skin is no different from its aforementioned siblings. Just as sparkling, effervescent and succulent as the other three, those new to this niche house won't find anything wrong with Bergamote Soleil, but those in the know probably will.


Share

Jasmin Angélique by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: Sicilian lemon, Sichuan pepper, Siberian angelica, Persian galbanum, fig, Egyptian jasmine, Somali frankincense, Brazilian tonka bean, white amber

Comment: Jasmin Angélique is part of the Collection Matières Absolues
Jasmin Angélique starts out with a beautiful and vividly green introduction, which is completely captivating and probably one of the best openings experienced in quite some time.

Somewhat peppery, the angelica fuses its herbaceous properties with the intense verdency of the galbanum to great effect. But what's remarkable is how the astringency of the galbanum has been significantly toned down, without compromising its viridity.

Sandwiched between a shimmering citrus top note and a milky fig-jasmine coupling, the galbanum-led aspect gradually subsides to allow some tonka bean and a touch of frankincense to join the fray. It's also at this stage when the jasmine is given more breathing space.

Resting on a base of amber, a sweet floral ending is inevitable, but subdued peppery and herbaceous nuances are still discernible from time to time. Occasionally, one can also identify the possible inclusion of some cedar but, if this is really the case, the amount employed is thankfully minuscule.

While the name is slightly misleading, due to the heavy influence of galbanum, it does eventually develop into a jasmine and angelica coupling, albeit fleetingly. Personally, one doesn't find such a realisation too concerning, since the composition is still very impressive.

However, one's main issue is with its performance, which could be best described as severely lacking. If it was more tenacious, it would have been rated higher. Still, one has been left quite enchanted nonetheless.


Share

Musc Impérial by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, blackcurrant, Spanish clary sage, Andalusian fig, lavender from Provence, leather, Virginian cedar, Indian ambrette seed

Comment: Musc Impérial is part of the Collection Les Exclusives
Originally commissioned as the signature scent for the Majestic Hotel & Spa, in Barcelona, Musc Impérial is a fresh and sparkling rendition of plant musk.

It's essentially a clean and vibrant musk offering, with a suggestive aquatic freshness. In the opening, the fruits are subdued and accompanied by a creamy fig accord. With a smooth and velvety demeanour, the lavender is almost apologetic with its presence and the leather is ever so slight.

But the star of the show is the ambrette musk, with its slightly sweet and nutty musk properties. With a hint of cedar, towards the drydown, the composition continues to exude a fresh woody-musk creaminess until the very end. Staying close to the skin, it continues to endure for around five hours.

Although one isn't a fan of white musk fragrances, Musc Impérial is still a reasonable effort, albeit conservative and too safe. Maybe if the base had something edgy or animalic, one might have appreciated it more.


Share