Friday, 6 June 2014

Persolaise Review: Cédrat Enivrant from Atelier Cologne (Ralf Schwieger; 2014)


So far, I haven't been entirely convinced by Atelier Cologne. The brand's founders are charming (click here for an interview), and their entry into the fragrance world has been marked with a commendable lack of pretentiousness, but I'm not sure their scents achieve their stated intentions. The whole point of an Atelier Cologne creation is, so we're told, to give the wearer lightness, freshness and effervescence in a long-lasting form. Some folks have clearly fallen for this strategy: since it was established a few years ago, the house's wares have popped up in several high-end locations and it has won itself a considerable following. But in my experience, the AC scents which are genuinely bright and bubbly tend not to last too long, and the ones which possess impressive longevity aren't translucent and weightless... which has led me to question the point of the whole enterprise.

The latest entry to the portfolio, Ralf Schwieger's Cédrat Enivrant, has gone some way towards persuading me that perhaps the brand does have something worthwhile to offer. As its name suggests, its focus is the citron fruit (don't get confused by semantics here: that's not 'citron' as in 'French for lemon'; it's the citrus medica, popular in the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent) which bolts out of the bottle like fireworks bright enough to compete with the midday sun. With an admirable refusal to succumb to citrus cliches, it remains sour and tart at all times. There are no overt mandarines or sweet oranges to soften the lip-sucking impact. A suggestion of lime sharpens the texture. A hint of lemon intensifies the yellow colouring. You can picture the finely shaved zest, which is always a praiseworthy sign in such creations.

The second part of the scent's name is equally apt. I'm reliably informed that 'enivrant' means 'intoxicating' and, indeed, the perfume's press notes state that it was partially inspired by a French 75, a cocktail based on gin, champagne and lemon juice. True to its moniker, Cédrat Enivrant is a livewire that's forgotten to take its ADHD medication. It zips across the room like a pinball, radiating precisely the sort of energy that one might associate with bubbles clamouring to reach the top of a slender flute. That said, the scent is evocative not of summer evenings, but of days: its emphasis is on action, not relaxation, which might seem to detract from an association with the clink of glasses. Mind you, I suppose that depends on when Happy Hour starts in your corner of the world.

Inevitably, as the hours pass, the scent's exuberance fades, although the ghost of its presence remains for some considerable time: subtle halos of tangy citrus gleam into view occasionally, trying to cajole the wearer to indulge in another quick spritz. It's this serious attempt to construct a drydown faithful to the perfume's essence which leads me to recommend Cédrat Enivrant as one of the better Atelier Cologne offerings. But ultimately, charming though Schwieger's effort is, it doesn't make me believe that it can stand shoulder to shoulder with the more colourful, more life-embracing, more fleeting citrus-style creations available on the market. The likes of Cologne Bigarade, Eau De Guerlain, Eau De Mandarine Ambrée and Odin's 02 are superior, in my view.

[Review based on a sample of 'cologne absolue' provided by Atelier Cologne in 2014. For more reviews of Cédrat Enivrant, please visit Now Smell This, Olfactoria's Travels and The Candy Perfume Boy.]

Persolaise

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