Atelier Cologne is one of those classy little perfume houses that you stumble across in the better dept stores and perfumeries in London. I say London as currently distribution seems to be with the bigger, known, perfume specialist dept stores such as Selfridges and Liberty etc. It’s the chic choice for minimalist lovers in the same strata as Comme des Garcons or Maison Francis Kurkdjian. You have to be looking for something distinct with as much thought gone into its aesthetic design and presentation, its targeting as well as its contents. This is architectured, modernist cologne for distinct, contemporary, urban dandies whether men or women. And those dandies like to travel. They have a global perspective with a penchant for good taste.
When Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervase created the house of Atelier Cologne in 2009, they started with the raw material: cologne absolue. This was a perfumer’s approach to ‘perfumfying’ splash on cologne. But pricey spritz-on cologne that left an enigmatic trail. That was as concentrated as perfume and as addictive as a new love.
The vibe of the brand is certainly lifestyle and it established itself in New York with a smattering of French artisan feeling that translated, soon enough, to Paris itself. The collection of colognes absolues and absolues originales (more intensity) were citruses that evoked the Med and the Mistral.
The brand has since moved on with metallic based collections as well as Oud based collections which is why we are now at another junction – Oud Saphir. A seemingly faultless blend of a sharp metallic-fruity tinge of bergamot with an huge, dry powdered birchwood feel that’s as compelling as the taste dilemma that it evokes. It’s almost visceral in as much as you can taste its strength, is Oud Saphir. A cross pollination of tinge of metal, with dry wood, amber and supple leather that has been warmed by the sun. This is a strong woman, indeed, or man of distinction (a real big spender).
The oud absolue used is present from the off. It certainly does what it says on the metal bottle. But the balance, and indeed, the beauty of this fragrance is its behemoth roar. Its difference may alienate most but it’s the daring few who will tame the beast.
Oud Saphir is available from Selfridges from 5th May 2015 and is priced £145 (100ml) and £200 (200ml).