Cédrat Enivrant by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Moroccan citron, Mexican lime, Macedonian juniper berries, Chinese mint, Egyptian basil, Philippine elemi, Haitian vetiver, Brazilian tonka bean

Comment: Cédrat Enivrant is part of the Collection Originale
Cédrat Enivrant commences, as the name states, with an explosive citrus frenzy.

Unlike most of the recent releases from this house, it's very much a straightforward citrus-aromatic that's juicy, tangy and incredibly invigorating. The herbaceous aspects of the mint and basil perfectly complement the lime, and the juniper imparts a crisp, sweet and slightly woody aroma that adds further depth.

The juniper effortlessly segues into the base notes of vetiver and tonka bean, which are both quite discreet yet substantial. Fortunately, even when the drydown later becomes perceptible, the sparkling array of citruses still continue to persist for some time.

In terms of performance, its projection is initially impressive but, after a couple of hours, becomes a skin scent. As for longevity, for a quality citrus-based fragrance, a heavy application would be naturally expected. However, even when lightly applied, it still softly lingers on the skin for a minimum of six hours.

Overall, it's a natural-smelling and well-blended traditional cologne, with a contemporary twist. It's also good to see Atelier Cologne going back to what it does best. And while Orange Sanguine remains a personal favourite, one enjoys Cédrat Enivrant just a little bit more.


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Blanche Immortelle by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Italian mandarin, Turkish rose, mimosa from Grasse, Indian jasmine sambac, Corsican immortelle, Indonesian patchouli, Haitian vetiver, Australian sandalwood

Comment: Blanche Immortelle is part of the Collection Métal
The opening of Blanche Immortelle is extremely strange, initially smelling akin to cough syrup. The citruses are very sweet but it's the mimosa that may be the underlining problem.

As it develops, the synthetic florals fail to convince. The immortelle is identifiable but its maple syrup properties never really shine through (although there's a mild cumin facet present). And when the woody base notes finally surface, there's a burnt crimson sweetness that resounds until the very end. However, glimmers of sandalwood are discernible from time to time.

With moderate sillage and below average lasting power, Blanche Immortelle is the least favourable offering from the already less than impressive Collection Métal.


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Santal Carmin by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Mexican lime, Indian saffron, New Caledonian sandalwood, Indian guaiac wood, Indian papyrus, Texan cedar, Madagascan vanilla, white musk

Comment: Santal Carmin is part of the Collection Métal
Santal Carmin focuses on sandalwood, using vanilla and other woods to bolster its olfactory profile.

With mild citrus and saffron top notes, the sandalwood reveals itself almost immediately. The guaiac wood also plays a significant role, with the cedar lending a peppery nuance. Overall, it's a buttery rendition of sandalwood, with the vanilla adding a slightly caramelised tone to the proceedings.

Needless to say, it's certainly no substitute for the real thing, but its general performance is very true to that of sandalwood essential oil – providing low projection and average longevity. Actually, if given the choice between Diptyque's Tam Dao and Santal Carmin, one would prefer the latter – largely due to the fact that it's richer, has a stronger sandalwood presence and features a less imposing cedar accord.


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Gold Leather by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: bitter orange from Seville, Jamaican rum, eucalyptus, Indian saffron, plum, Indian davana, leather, oud, Texan cedar, Indian guaiac wood

Comment: Gold Leather is part of the Collection Métal
The complex opening of Gold Leather is both arresting and enthralling, but it's all downhill from there...

The opening is brash, sweet, dark, boozy and spicy, consisting of bitter orange, plum-infused rum, saffron and a hint of eucalyptus. The fruity-floral wine-like properties of the davana supplements this exuberant introduction while, at the same time, acts as a bridge for the woody-leather aspect of the composition.

As the fanfare subsides, a mild leather accord surfaces. Some (probably synthetic) oud quickly follows, but it's noticeably demure and eventually gets lost among the other woods. Actually, one discerns more guaiac wood than oud throughout its development. With a vague nod to Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather, that's pretty much how things remain until the very end – a bland woody drydown, exhibiting traces of saffron, plum and leather.

With decent longevity, development reaches its peak within the first two hours, with sillage that initially bellows but gradually descends to a purr. Overall, it's certainly not a dry masculine leather fragrance by any means but, beyond the top notes, neither is it one with any balls.

An extra star just for the first 15 minutes.


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Silver Iris by Atelier Cologne

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: Italian tangerine, blackcurrant from Burgundy, Chinese pink pepper, violet leaves from Grasse, mimosa from Grasse, iris pallida from Tuscany, Indonesian patchouli, Brazilian tonka bean, white amber

Comment: Silver Iris is part of the Collection Métal
Although Silver Iris opens with a subdued metallic iris note, the name is still very misleading.

The composition is virtually smothered by a syrupy barrage of blackcurrant, violet leaf and amber. The iris never truly comes to the fore, and nor does its elegantly glacial and earthy properties, which one would have naturally expected. Instead, it focuses more on the candied violet aspect, featuring a slightly peppery powderiness.

After several moments, the tooth-aching sweetness slowly recedes, eventually allowing the patchouli to provide some much needed earthiness. But, even by this stage, an acute berry and violet sugariness still persists, with noticeably synthetic undertones. It's only during the soapy drydown, hours later, when the roaring sweetness is well and truly tamed.

With good projection and tenacity, it's nothing more than a dense and powdery fruity-floral. Obviously, for lovers of iris fragrances, one wouldn't recommend it.


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Augusto by Mazzolari

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: bergamot, orange, mint, lavender, geranium, rosewood, sandalwood, ambergris
Augusto is "a tribute to the patron Augusto Mazzolari, who led the company's fortunes for many years".

It's a woody-aromatic, which is devoid of any tonka bean and oakmoss to be considered a true fougère. With a healthy serving of lavender, the mint and citrus accords are noticeably apologetic in the opening. And when the woods reveal themselves, it quickly becomes apparent just how vacant the composition is.

Those very chords, which are crucial to fougères, could have done wonders but, once the lavender dissipates, it transforms into a muddled and slightly sweet woody affair for quite a while. With an old-school sandalwood and ambergris drydown providing a small reprieve, the pseudo-fougère base indicates what could have been, if more thought had been put into its structure.

Remaining close to the skin, with good persistence, Mazzolari is now just another niche house that appears to be churning out too many new fragrances (2014 has seen five new releases, from this house, so far).

An extra star awarded for the somewhat nostalgic drydown alone.


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Nero by Mazzolari

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: bergamot, apple, blackcurrant, pineapple, rose, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, ambergris, musk
With a name partly in reference to the Roman Emperor Nero, Nero is classified as a fruity-aromatic.

Commencing with a tropical fruit blast, it smells no different from many soulless masculine designer scents of this ilk. One also senses a fleeting aquatic nuance, as well as some herbaceous accords. With the florals kept in check, so as not to throw its masculinity into any doubt, the patchouli is somewhat dry in its stature. Sadly, the oriental base fails to enhance the patchouli, with an underhanded serving of Iso E Super that later emerges in full force towards the end.

Considering previous masculine creations, from this house, such as Mazzolari, Lui and Vetiver, Nero isn't even worthy of joining the ranks. But, if the recent output is anything to go by, one can only conclude that Mazzolari has completely lost the plot.


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Elena by Mazzolari

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: lime, orange blossom, osmanthus, amber, vanilla, vetiver, precious woods, musk
Elena opens with a stimulating lime and orange blossom pairing, before shifting to the aroma of a sub-par floral designer offering. It then goes through a cheap floral-aromatic body spray phase, after which the floral remnants are thrown into a synthetic mire of vetiver, scratchy woods and white musk.

Ultimately, the only good things about it are the fleeting top notes and its impressive sillage. While the journey itself was compelling, in its own twisted way, it's still a confused mess.


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Vaniglia by Mazzolari

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: wild orchid, caramel, vanilla
It was only a matter of time before this Italian niche house released a gourmand vanilla. Unfortunately, Vaniglia brings nothing new to the table.

In general, it's a derivative vanilla scent, with underlining caramel and floral accords. Compared to other vanillas, Vaniglia lacks the olfactory authenticity of Maria Candida Gentile's Noir Tropical, the richness and depth of both Farmacia SS. Annunziata's Vaniglia del Madagascar and Profumum's Vanitas, while being marginally superior to Alyssa Ashley's Vanilla and Des Filles à la Vanille's Vanilla Girls (both of which are a lot cheaper).

One was expecting much more from Mazzolari so, naturally, one is quite baffled by the end result. Although it's far from being a failure, the quality isn't high enough to justify the price. With vanilla-centric fragrances being so common, even among niche houses, it's also devoid of any real distinction.

Projection is moderate and longevity is above average.


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Sofia by Mazzolari

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: orange blossom, rose, jasmine, honey, patchouli, woods
Sofia is a soft and pleasant floral offering, with noticeable orange blossom top notes.

However, one can't help but perceive Sofia as nothing more than a citrus-free variant of Fleurs d'Oranger, with a drydown faintly similar to that of Farmacia SS. Annunziata's Fiore di Riso (albeit woodier and thinner). Staying close to the skin, with moderate longevity, it fails to compel and lacks sufficient substance.


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