Foolish and Plummy Fatal- Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée & Vetiver Fatal

Imagine this; yours sincerely has just been baking Spekulatius from old wooden cookie molds ad nauseam, and that smell of spices and loads of butter and sugar would be enough for even the most ardent sugar addicts. With my brains thus exchanged for cookie-batter, I reached for my Atelier Cologne samples , and choose of all things; Vanille Insensée (Foolish Vanilla), the moment it went on the skin I realized that it was perhaps somewhat foolish to add more sweetness to my sugar-overloaded senses, when what I needed was something tart, fresh… But, hohoho, what happens is that this vanilla although sweet, is really not tooth-achy or syrupy, but grown-up and bright.DSC02535kopi

The opening of Vanille Insensée is about the blend of the citrusy-colognial notes with the vanilla lurking just underneath. It’s a fresh without stealing the soul from the vanilla pods. It doesn’t stick to your skin like a sticky toffee pudding, but floats just above it.

The citrus is exchanged for vetiver and again, it balances the sweetness of the vanilla beautifully, giving the vanilla a green and dry aspect that I enjoy. As it becomes ever more woody, it feels like opening the vintage wooden spice cupboard at your grandmother’s, taking in the smell of aged wood as much as the vanilla pod which must have been left open at this particular occasion. Towards the end musk and amber fluffiness is added but still manages to feel cuddly without being cloying.

Vanille Insensée is a non-cloying vanilla and would work great for anyone who likes to have their cookie and bake eat it, not wear it.

vfThe next one I reached for was Vetiver Fatal. A great companion for Vanille Insensée as it were, with its vetiver note in common. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to layering but I’ve enjoyed wearing these two alone, as well as side by side over the last few days.

I like vetiver a lot, only, due to my skin often eating up sweet notes, leaving a lot of vetiver fragrances too sour, I am mostly left with admiring from afar. So when I first dabbed Vetiver Fatal, I was surprised when after about ten minutes of fresh cologne style vetiver, the fragrance suddenly started turning sweet and plummy. This is a truly gorgeous combination, which almost could remind me of a very distant, and younger, male relative of Therese (Parfum de). I keep thinking that I smell mint, but I guess it would be the violet leaf which with its metallic green tinge and in combination with the vetiver creates this effect. Vetiver fatale is nicely poised between the cool; hesperidic, metallic, verdant- and the warm; plummy, woody. It’s a fruity vetiver fragrance, but thanks to the juiciness of the plum and its velvety seriousness, this perfume too stays grown-up and never verges into Sugar-plum-fairy land.

alina cojocaru: sugar plumfairy. photo bill cooper

alina cojocaru: sugar plumfairy. photo bill cooper


Don’t forget the draw– you have until tomorrow Sunday to enter.

Disclaimer; the samples were sent to me by Atelier Cologne.

In a mixture of lack of time and the fact that the Atelier makes such wonderful art design for their fragrances- some of the images I just want to dive right into- I have used their illustrations as well as my own spekulatius pic.

14 thoughts on “Foolish and Plummy Fatal- Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée & Vetiver Fatal

  1. I love your descriptions, Asali. Especially the ones for Vanilla Insensée (“It’s a fresh without stealing the soul from the vanilla pods. It doesn’t stick to your skin like a sticky toffee pudding, but floats just above it.”)

    That’s funny what you say about your skin and vetiver fragrances, as vetiver is a note that is problematic for me, too, and can get very sour, usually when it’s paired with a strong cedar note. However, when vetiver is “right” on me (and I’m not sure what accounts for why some vetivers really work for me and other don’t), it’s really, really good. So I enjoyed your description of the vetiver scent, too. A distant male relative to Le Parfum de Therese sounds quite dishy. 😉

    Happy baking (or end of baking). Your cookies look good!

    • Thank you dear Suzanne. I remember that about the vetiver, actually. Of course it’s no where near as ‘special’ as Parfum de Therese. I am reminded of having to choose a wine at a wine bar once, where the bartender said; ‘I know, you want deep and complicated’. I had to laugh at the fact that I was unsure if he was describing the character of the wine or… So if PdT is like deep and complicated aged red wine, then perhaps Vetiver Fatal is more of a cold white on a summers day. Perhaps all they have in common is the combination of vetiver and plum, but that is so very characteristic, and just gorgeous.

  2. Those Spekulatius look spectacular!

    I’m not a fan of vetiver but I must give Vetiver Fatale a try as you make it sound so appealing and it’s a favourite of Birgit’s.

    • I didn’t know it was a favourite of Birgit’s, but I can see that. Give it a go, but as not a vetiver fan I suppose it will be hard to persuade you 😉
      And thanks, you know, I would never have been baking had it not been for those molds, such fun…

  3. Great review, Asali! I received a collection of Atelier Cologne samples a few days ago and now I’m going through them one by one. Funny, the one I tried today was Vetiver Fatale. I don’t usually wear vetiver fragrances so I was a little apprehensive… Well, I ended up liking this a lot!
    To be honest, all the ACs I’ve tried so far, I feel so comfortable wearing. 🙂

    • Thank you Magpie. Yes, this vetiver is quite smooth and very unisex I think. Actually so far in my testing, I feel that the traditionally masculine notes are tweaked to be more feminine and vice versa, I like that, I think it’s a great concept for wearable fragrances. Do you have a favourite yet?
      I think you must also be enjoying the design/ art work of AC? I absolutely adore it.

      • I’m completely in love with each of of their postcards. The presentation of the samples was beautiful as well.
        A favourite? Just one? 😀 Among the ones I’ve tried so far, Rendez vous and Oolang Infini are my favourites. 🙂

  4. For some reason that Vanille Incensee just doesn’t work for me – it turns my stomach.
    But the vetiver sounds very promising…

    • What a shame, but then – you love and own a LOT of vanilla fragrances, perhaps it’s good that you don’t feel the need to add another one 🙂
      Try the vetiver, I guess you should like it actually. I can’t see why not; the vetiver used is beautiful, and so is the plum note. It’s quite straight forward, but very nice to wear.

  5. I am a huge vanilla lover, but like Ines, the Atelier didn’t work for me – too dark and treacly or something – though it’s a while since I tried it. And vetiver isn’t either, though I have a friend who loves the note! Always trying to squirrel away samples for her whenever I come across a new scent I think she might enjoy.

    I sense you have more ‘robust’ taste in perfumes generally than me – like Kafka, say – though so does Ines, to be fair. So it is more surprising when we agree on something rather than t’other way around!

    I always enjoy your writing regardless – some delicious cookie imagery to snack on!

    • Perhaps this one goes on the vanilla for non-vanilla-lovers list then. It seems to please those of us who prefer a dryer, less foody vanilla. I thought this was a great vanilla, and the vetiver too, since normally I can’t wear vetiver frags.
      Robust taste… Yes, maybe I do 🙂 . Perhaps it’s also a way of writing. I try to describe everything, also things that are not so much my style, without it colouring my descriptions too much. Many things can still be appreciated either for how well made they are, or perhaps just for how well they achieve what they set out to do. If I think something truly bland and boring, I don’t see why I should spend time writing about it, perhaps unless it’s something I’m hugely disappointed about. I’m glad you can enjoy it anyway, and I yours.

  6. I’ll join in Ines and Vanessa in “not my thing” with Vanille Insensée. Surprisingly (I like most Atelier’s perfumes and I do not mind and even like some vanilla perfumes) this one makes me nauseous. Vetiver Fatale I rather like but I get tired of it sometimes (it happens to me with Hermes’ Vetiver Tonka as well – even though I like and wear it from time to time).

    I love Atelier Cologne’s postcards! (and would love to “help” you with some of those cookies 😉 )

    • I’m surprised, I found it so easy to like. It’s always interesting how nothing is ever straight forward with fragrance. Basically all the Hermesences would tire me, if they lasted long enough on my skin, that is 😉
      Ha, I’m sorry that postage is so outrageous here, or there would be cookies going to you and other perfumistas at this moment.

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