It’s been six years since global wanderers Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel launched Atelier Cologne somewhere between Paris, Grasse and New York. The character of the brand captures the chic style of Paris, the traditions of French perfumery and the modernity of Manhattan. From the beginning, Atelier Cologne set out to revolutionise eau de cologne, a style of fragrance based on a blend of citrus oils steeped in alcohol and water. Six years on, Atelier Cologne boasts a diverse collection of fragrances that extends much further than the hesperides family of fragrances, which eau de cologne belongs to. The Atelier Cologne fragrances are diluted to a higher concentration around a concept the brand calls “cologne absolue.” Using modern chemistry and the skills of world-renowned perfumers, the Atelier colognes offer the strength and longevity of a concentrated eau de parfum without sacrificing the effervescence and tenderness of a highly diluted eau de cologne.
Atelier Cologne has been consistently adding new fragrances to its register and this year’s newest are five fragrances that make up the Orient Collection. The collection takes inspiration from the orient with exotic notes of tea, incense, tobacco and spices. No only do these new fragrances allow the brand to express new ideas and emotions, it’s also a commercially savvy collection that I sense will help Atelier Cologne build rapport with the lucrative Middle Eastern perfume market where this list of notes will scores high marks. Robertet perfumer Jerome Epinette is the nose behind the Orient Collection. As one of the industry’s quiet stars, his work for brands such as Atelier Cologne and Byredo is a big factor in their successes and the Orient Collection is another example of his fine work. Although the collection is housed in white glass bottles, the fragrances read dark and mysterious. Tobacco Nuit is a remarkably handsome fragrance.
Tobacco Nuit begins with an ember of clementine oil. This citrus note is the only reference to Atelier Cologne’s founding story and on a technical level, it adds light and effervescence before night sets in and the fragrance turns dark. Coriander and cumin build the fragrance up to be spicy and bone dry. Cumin is a challenging note for many people to love and today it is mostly reserved for niche fragrances. Tobacco Nuit offers cumin in all its splendour. It is a spicy note with the connotation of body odour and this vegetal-animal theme is increased with sweet labdanum resin and smoky incense. Turkish tobacco flower is the headlining ingredient. From the heart of the fragrance it dominates with sultry charm. A base of patchouli and cedar dries the tobacco note but still maintains a balanced humidity like a good cigar humidor. Amongst the woody notes, tonka bean is powdery and gourmand with the sensuality of amber. Tobacco Nuit is a diffusive fragrance and I prefer to wear it sparingly. The cologne absolue concentration offers excellent longevity so it will wear for hours before needing to be reapplied.
There is something very erogenous about tobacco. Pair this with cumin and things are well on their way to smelling intimate. I wore Tobacco Nuit to the office last week and the woman taking my morning coffee order immediately latched onto my fragrance. Unable to clearly express how it made her feel, I could tell by the abstract sounds she was making coupled with the few words she was able to communicate, the fragrance was a turn-on. It was a funny conversation rather than a proposition but it reminded me of the carnal power fragrance holds over people. Tobacco Nuit is definitely an extroverted fragrance and it may not be everybody’s love potion but it certainly has a flirtatious quality. On women I picture a cigar-touting Film Noir femme fatale. On men it’s a slightly older, worldly man who oozes confidence. I am by no means that guy but at least I know what fragrance to wear if I want to project one.
Perfumer: Jerome Epinette (Robertet)
Creative Direction: Sylvie Ganter
Release Date: 2016
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woody Oriental
Australian Stockist: Agence de Parfum