Persolaise Review: Mandarine Glaciale from Atelier Cologne (Jerome Epinette; 2015)
I continue to view the output of Atelier Cologne with both interest and suspicion. They insist that their ‘cologne absolues’ are fresh compositions that manage to pull off the fiendish trick of lasting longer than traditional colognes. But the truth is that many of their scents tick the longevity box because they eschew lightness and rely on hard-hitting ingredients to achieve tenacity... which essentially means they end up being like any other eau de parfum. However, sometimes the concept and the execution come together to produce a praiseworthy result, as in the case of Jerome Epinette's Mandarine Glaciale. We’re used to the idea of aldehydes lending a sense of cool, detached elegance to florals and resins (you may have heard of a perfume called No. 5) but I can’t think of many instances where their influence is used on citruses. Here, the faintly saline, flint-like quality of mandarin is attached with great skill to the deep-chill hauteur of candle-wax aldehydes, which, when they segue into the pine-and-incense heart, create a compelling image of a flash of colour placed in an unexpected context, like a flamingo against a snow-covered peak in Switzerland. It’s a startling picture and yes, as the brand would have us believe, it lasts. An enjoyable piece of work which reminds you that although we love lemons and oranges for how they conjure impressions of Mediterranean balminess, there’s also nothing quite like the tingling pleasure of running your tongue across a deep-frozen citrus sorbet.
[Review based on a sample of cologne absolue provided by Atelier Cologne in 2018.]