Comfort living, Cloon Keen Atelier Sybarite

Cloon Keen Atelier is an artisanal perfume brand from the city of Galway in Ireland. It is a small manufacturer who debuted on the perfume market in 2002. In its offer Cloon Keen Atelier has hand-made candles as well as 5 fragrances. The perfumes are made in a traditional way with use of maceration and by hand so it’s a real craftsmanship, no high technology.

Sybarite is the 5th perfume from this Irish brand and it was introduced in late 2013. Earlier that year the brand launched Lune de Givre. When I saw the name of this perfume I thought that sybarite is some kind of stone, a mineral or something. The (historical) fact is that Sybarite was someone who lived in an ancient Greek city of Sybaris (current southern Italy). There was a stereotype about the nation, that they only seek pleasure and luxury in their life. Does the perfume evoke it?

Cloon Keen Atelier Sybarite opens with a pungent and dry sandalwood accord. It’s really rough, with splinters and all the unfriendly stuff that can be associated with raw wood. Things start to change drastically after 15 minutes when the sandalwood note begins to mellow. During the next 30 minutes you can notice an olfactive and visual difference in this perfume. The wood transforms from rough, to smooth, from unfriendly, to polished, from dry to soft and creamy.

After the transition is completed, the creamy, almost milky scent of sandalwood remains for over 30 minutes before other notes begin to appear. At 1,5 hours mark Sybarite reveals the rose bouquet. It’s not an oriental variation on the flower, it’s more watery, pale and painted in watercolor. But in the background the woody facets is still so strong that for most of the time you might get an impression of smelling the palisander rosewood, a very rare material. When rose becomes more of a rose, there’s a light citric hue of bergamot attached to it.

As the time flies, Sybarite becomes more balmy and smoky thanks to a nice dosage of incense. It’s combined with patchouli to add a little bit more of mineral, earthy quality and depth. On the other hand there’s also a nice amber accord (probably synthetic, but oh well) which warms up the composition, making it very suitable for a wear with a light-knit sweater. A hint of jasmine (sambac I guess) adds some chic and elegance to this scent.

The drydown of the 5th Cloon Keen Atelier fragrance is composed with a use of musk and cedar. The first one adds fluffiness, airiness and volume to the sillage while cedar is the last more substantial accord in this perfume. It has a nice woody finish without sweat and I could actually smell some sweetness there too, something like vanilla with a drop of rum and osmanthus.

All in all Sybarite is a well done perfume. Not the top haute parfumerie for sure but it can be definitely placed higher than on the middle shelf of average offerings. Its sillage is rather small 4-5 inches and it drops rather quickly. It lasts for around 6-8 hours on my skin. I’m not sure if this perfume represents the idea of sacrificing one’s life to seek pleasure and luxury but it definitely is a thing of a comfort living with lots of space and little pleasures.

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26 thoughts on “Comfort living, Cloon Keen Atelier Sybarite

  1. Interesting… sounds like a slow progression and lots of changes along the way.

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Houndie!
      Yes, it doesn’t evolve quickly and transition is also fine.
      Too bad this brand is poorly distributed. I think it’s only available in the UK.

  2. Holly says:

    This one sounds rather nice, but perhaps not a must-sniff. Of course the unavailability is a major factor as well …

    My brain actually auto-corrected the brand to Cool Kleen, which is definitely not sybaritic. 🙂

  3. Ede says:

    wow I love how they do all like before, there isn’t all that rush in this post! Love it!

  4. Mary K says:

    It would be nice to try a few things from this line, but I believe you are right about distribution. I haven’t seen anything where I am (in the US).

  5. hajusuuri says:

    So Lucas…the company mentioned using traditional methods of maceration. I imagine that the maceration applies to their preparation of the natural raw materials.. Is this considered a natural perfume?

    If a sample fell on my lap, I would gladly try it…if not for the sample, I am unlikely to look further.

  6. Undina says:

    When I read “hand-made” it’s not automatically good in my book: my first association is 😉

    I tried one perfume from this brand and though I thought it was pleasant it didn’t send me running for the other samples.

    I’m surprised you didn’t know that word, maybe not the meaning but the word itself – it should be the same in Polish. But maybe it was more Soviet/Russian thing to learn a lot about Ancient Greece and Rome…

    • lucasai says:

      Oh, that’s an association alright, I have no experience so far.

      Which one from Cloon Keen Atelier did you try?

      No, I wasn’t familiar with the word “sybarite” (sybaryta in Polish). “hedonist” (hedonista) is more common world in Poland to describe someone who seeks pleasure in life

      • Undina says:

        I tried Castana and liked it in drydown.

        Those two words, though belonging to the same semantic field, define things from slightly different sides but it’s way beyond the topic of this post/blog (and my abilities to explain it in English 😉 ) that we should probaly stop at that.

  7. rickyrebarco says:

    Wow, this brand sounds amazing. I have in fact been to Galway and love the beautiful northwest of Ireland. I spent a week there a few years ago and want to go back.

    Where is this brand sold? Do have any idea if they sell in the U.S. or should I just go to their website?
    Again, thanks for the introduction to a wonderful artisanal perfumer.

    • lucasai says:

      Lucky you, I’ve been to the UK twice but not Galway.

      CKA has an e-shop and they’re also sold in Les Senteurs, don’t know of any US retailers and don’t know if they can ship there or not…

  8. squishband says:

    I’d been trying to find something to replace Comptoir see Pacifique’s Coeur du Vetyver, which has been discontinued (and I’ve finally run out of).

    I stumbled across this little shop in the back streets of Galway (which is on the west coast of Ireland) and it’s proprietress by accident. She was very helpful and knowledgable and we had a really good conversation about what I might try as alternatives. I thought her offering was good, but none of the four perfumes she had at the time were for me. Not surprising perhaps as I’m very hard to please and will only wear one thing for years on end.

    This Easter when I went back, she said she had something new. I really wasn’t sure at first, a little overpowered for a moment, but then…

    Let me just say that It’s fab. It get’s noticed (which I like), it really lasts and I like the way it develops. I’ve found my new perfume. I’m loving it and so is my fiancee.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you for sharing the story with me and the readers.

      That’s great that after not-perfect start in exploring the brand you have found a perfume that is exactly what you’ve been looking for. I’m sure you’ll cherish the perfume.

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