I had started a few other posts, none of them seeming to want to finish themselves, when a small parcel from Atelier Cologne arrived, containing samples of their new line ‘Collection Azur’. Atelier Cologne has so far stood out by being a great entry-level niche brand, with accessible fragrances of great quality and beautiful design, perfumes with interesting twists on familiar themes, as well as already having a few fragrances asserting themselves as perfumista loves and stables. I expected these to be in the same vein, perhaps fresh summer colognes with a niche and Atelier thumbprint.
Of all of these fresh and summery looking fragrances, the only one that seemed to not be too opposed to the very showery Copenhagen ‘spring’ with the odd occasional silver-lining, was Figuier Ardent (Fiery Fig). Fig, for me tends to be too green and fresh, and even if I do like fig fragrances, I do not love Philisykos, Premier Figue, Figue Amere etc. So imagine my surprise, when the first sniff was pure and utter delight.
Figuier Ardent doesn’t smell like the usual top note suspects of citrus and/or pepper, pink or otherwise. It smells straight off like Mediterranean green figs and fresh little fir buds. Something akin to really juicy greenness, with a sap like quality, and fluorescent green as only those first buds can be. Right underneath is a comforting fresh milkiness, not too sweet, mild rather, but invigorating and a little salty- somewhere between fig milk and fresh soft moss.
I’m unsure about when I was last so enthralled by top notes straight out of the sample vial. I went to instantly look up the notes, and it ‘clicked’- whatever gives the fir buds-like scent, those are not in the notes, but perhaps only in my imagination[i], this is however a fig-iris fragrance[ii]. If you like those two notes, well, chances are you’ll love this. I feel like there are all different layers of the fig as well as of the iris, each bouncing beautifully off each other, green to green, white to white, softness and edge in perfect measure.
There are supporting roles too, of bergamot to the fig, or cardamom to the milkiness, and even a little anise which in this combination reminds me just the slightest of the dreamlike quality in lends to Après L’Ondée. However to me none of these are very discernible but, like the perfect supporting actor, there to add layers to the leads. Only very late in the development, do I detect sweet powder zooming in and out between the basenotes. At this stage the cedar becomes ever more prominent, and even if I normally have a problem with some aspects of cedar notes turning a little rancid and too oily to/on me, here it makes perfect sense and gives a mossy feel, and is, again, a great platform for the smoothness of the iris powder and milky fig to stand out from.
Figuier Ardent, is a parfum concentration, so it has a lot of character and tenacity, but stays relatively close to the skin.
If, like me, for a while you’ve been sighing for an iris fragrance paired with something new and exciting, or indeed a fig fragrance with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, well here it is, and whereas it might not exactly be fiery, it certainly is one of the most unique and delightful fragrances that Atelier Cologne has produced thus far. Spring will smell great this year, come rain or come shine.
The feat by me, and the stunning tableau by Atelier Cologne.
[i] Having sniffed Figuier Ardent, and looked up the notes, I took out the Atelier design postcard from its envelope, to discover that although fir or spruce might not be in the pyramid, it’s on the gorgeous tambleau depicted on there. Perhaps I’m not all that crazy then.
[ii] My second thought was; why has no one done this combo before, because what perfumer Ralf Schwieger does with his two protagonists smells like perfect ‘twosomeness’. Well, somebody did have the idea before. Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Figue-Iris from 2000, but it seemed to play more to the green in the fig, and the light floralsy in the iris violet, before turning into Meterorites. Nice, but this one goes the whole way.