The 300-Year-Old Secret to Smelling Delectable
Finalement, a scent that marries the elegant crispness of cologne and the lasting power of perfume. Atelier Cologne’s innovative blends have oodles of essential oils for an olfactory experience that is the Energizer Bunny of fragrances: fade-proof.
By NANCY MACDONELL
Atelier Cologne produces fragrances based on the traditional citrus-y eau de cologne blend created more than 300 years ago in—you guessed it—Cologne, Germany. The twist is that because of their high concentrations of top-notch essential oils, more than quadruple those of standard formulae, the scents linger on the skin for hours.
The Whole Story
The story of Atelier Cologne is essentially a love match. When Sylvie Ganter met Christophe Cervasel, they realized that one of their shared passions was cologne. Being beauty industry veterans, the couple decided to launch a company that made modern colognes with innovative twists on the traditional citruses—both in their unexpected notes (accompanied by evocative, torn-from-a-novel descriptions written by the pair) and in their ability to linger on the skin. Eight years, five children and 16 (and counting!) Colognes Absolues later, they’ve got fans all over the world—and the once-forgotten category of cologne is completely transformed.
“The most important point during the process of making Cologne Absolue is to make sure we find the perfect ‘couples’ between citrus notes and more powerful ingredients,” says Cervasel. “For example blood orange and jasmine in Orange Sanguine, cedrat and juniper berries in Cédrat Enivrant, and neroli and vanilla in Grand Néroli.” When the blends are perfect—it takes about two years to develop a winning formula—the result is fresh, balanced and subtle. “When you wear a Cologne Absolue, people should be charmed by the scent and not overwhelmed at it can be often the case with a traditional eau de parfum or pure perfume.”
Five Minutes With Atelier Cologne Co-Founder Christophe Cervasel
Q: What experience have you had that’s made the greatest impact on the way you work?
Christophe Cervasel: At my previous company I was creating perfumes for fashion designers like John Galliano and Sonia Rykiel. I really learnt a lot about interpretation—how to express a personality, a brand. And I also learnt a lot about the hidden part of the creation process such as the manufacturing process, the importance of having good relationships with your suppliers. Today we have great partners that supported us at the start and that we can count on for our innovation, quality and growth capacity, which is very important for a true maison de parfum like us.
Q: Fast-forward five years. What are you doing?
CC: We are working in straight partnership with places where scent will become an essential part of the atmosphere: schools, hospitals, hotels, offices will partner with us to create personalize scents that will make people's life easier. We truly believe that our style of perfume, with its high concentration of citrus, can create an ambiance that will favor energy, happiness and serenity. Ask children what their favorite scent is and citrus will always come first!
Q: If you could talk to everyone on the planet for two minutes what would you say?
CC: That we all need to understand that the future of mankind and the future of our planet can be decided now. There is a very nice French movie called The First Day of the Rest of Your Life. This is a song as well by a famous French singer named Etienne Daho. It says something very simple: You can start a new life today, you just need to make the decision and go for it.