Gentle fighter, Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin

Cologne is a very specific object in the perfumery world. Sheer, light and citrusy. It is meant to instantly refresh and invigorate you, give a shot of positive energy and awake your senses.Normally having around 3-5% of perfume oils diluted in the alcohol it’s not meant to last all day. It’s the impression of here and now. Atelier Cologne, maison de parfum established in 2010, has returned to the roots of perfumery and found the inspiration in cologne, elevating it to a new level – by combining classic citrus notes in the top with other precious materials from around the world. All concentrated at around 20%. It just couldn’t go wrong, could it? I don’t think so…

In May I had a priviledge to present to you the third composition in Collection Metal, which was Blanche Immortelle. Today I’m happy to tell you about the 4th fragrance in this line. It’s very exciting! Santal Carmin opens on my skin with a juicy aroma of limette from Mexico. It gives a sweet juiciness with a lot of endorphins and the warmth of the sun. During the next couple of minutes the bright and splashy aroma grows bigger creating some really nice sillage around the wearer. Then, after 15 or so minutes the sweet & juicy flavor of limette becomes more sour, tangy and aromatic when bergamot joins the composition of the new Atelier Cologne scent.

Green bergamot rind adds a specific aroma that is slightly acidic and fizzy. You can easily imagine sparkling bubbles in the glass of lemonade while smelling the opening of Santal Carmin. At the 45 minutes mark you can observe how the leading, titular accord of sandalwood starts to appear on your skin. After wearing this Cologne Absolue for a few times I noticed that the sandalwood is not compact in this composition but has two, if not three different natures that reveal gradually.

At first, when you smell it after those 45 minutes of juicy goodness, the sandalwood note in Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin seems to be distant and dry. There is something rugged about it, it feels like it was full of splinters that could hurt your hand when you want to feel the wood structure. This feeling lasts for 1 hour, maybe a little longer before the accord starts to shift. After the bit harsh phase of sandalwood chord has passed you get to discover the second nature of this perfume material. It all starts by heating up the blend, making it more passionate and fierce. Saffron makes the temperature rising and the combination of it and sandalwood results in something a little bit smoky at first. This impression is quite fleeting on me.

When the smokiness subsides you can smell the entwining notes of intensive saffron and solid sandalwood. These two essences are a really good match. Together they feel warm, a little bit spicy and there is this very beautiful and elegant richness to this marriage of notes. After some time guaiac wood (from India) appears among the other notes. It makes Santal Carmin a tad heavier on woodsy elements and it provides some more heaviness, density and a bit of darkness to the perfume structure. It’s not spectacularly heavy but it is substantial and proportions are really good.

Almost two hours later, close to the finish of the 4th hour of having this perfume on skin the sandalwood matter becomes much lighter, both in terms of the weight and shade. The musky molecules introduce a valuable dose of creaminess that feels fluffy and soft. When it blends with the santal note the wood seems to immediately become smoother, shiny and polished. The combined aromas of musk and sandalwood result in a tasteful feeling of posh and good taste.

Continuing the journey through the “woods” with Santal Carmin, Atelier Cologne prepared a little woody shift in this stage. What is it you might ask? It’s the powderness. At some point, later in the perfume development, the combo of musk + sandalwood smells pretty powdery though it’s bit hard for me to describe the kind of powderness. It’s definitely not talcy or irisy. Additionally, there’s something buttery about this stage as well. Later on I could smell a bit drier (again) aroma of cedarwood but it didn’t manage to break through the creamy cocoon of musky sandalwood. Vanilla however was able to mark its presence by adding a gentle sweetness.

There is also a little bit of papyrus in this Cologne Absolue but to be honest I didn’t smell it. Maybe it blended in with the drier notes such as cedarwood. The composition is a work of Jerome Epinette. Just like with all their creations, Atelier Cologne founders – Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel want to tell a story. Santal Carmin story is complementary to the one of Blanche Immortelle.

He had a spark from an early age, with a sharp intuition and limitless curiosity. One day they would call him a revolutionary. The moment had come to fight for his dreams and bring his ideas to the world. Possibly a new are would begin.

Normally I like to read an ad-copy like this but I usually don’t pay much attention to it. Perfume is what I care about the most, not the poetic language someone used to create a background story for the fragrance. But this story really caught my attention. I started wondering why and then I realized it – to some extend this is a story about me. I might not be a revolutionary and I doubt I had a spark but I certainly am a dreamer and I’m going to fight for my dreams.

Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin is a perfume that has the power of solid and substantial perfumery materials but at the same time this is a very gentle fragrance composition. Those red boxing gloves seen on the visual are not to punch someone in their face, they are more like a metaphor of fighting for your dreams and aspirations. This scent adds courage and self-confidence to those in need.

With 18% of fragrance oils concentration (the same percentage as for Blanche Immortelle) this perfume is able to last for all day long (my shortest result was 10 hours, longest – 14) however its structure is a bit different from Blanche Immortelle. Santal Carmin is a bit more quiet and reserved. It also prefers to stay closer to the skin. It’s a contemplative kind of thing. This perfume will be available by the end of July in gold covered bottles of 100 and 200ml. 30ml will be possible to get only in a coffret with a huge bottle. Soap and candle will be also produced.

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13 thoughts on “Gentle fighter, Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin

  1. jillie says:

    I love Atelier’s approach! Whilst I don’t think that I would choose this particular fragrance (probably too sandalwoody for me), I admire their concepts. As you know, Silver Iris was love at first sniff for me.

    • lucasai says:

      I know, me too! Hard to say if this would be too much of a sandalwood for you or not but it’s beautiful perfume on the whole.

      I’m proud that Silver Iris was such a winner for you, not to mention that now you have it!

  2. I like those quiet contemplative perfumes. Nice review. I know how much you love your Atelier Colognes!

    • lucasai says:

      I like those contemplative creations as well. They are great when you want to calm down, sip some tea, read a book. I love my Atelier Colognes, true, but I wouldn’t recommend them if they weren’t good 🙂

  3. rickyrebarco says:

    This sounds really lovely and well worth trying, Lucas. I have found myself liking the newer L’Ateliers more and more. I got a decant of L’Atelier Cedrat, which is quite nice- very fresh and long lasting. The Santal Carmin sounds even better. I like the image of fighting for one’s dreams as well. I normally wouldn’t associate any sort of battle with sandalwood. I don’t know of any weapons made out of sandalwood, but these perfume stories are all pretty metaphorical.

    • lucasai says:

      Glad you think so. I think that they are getting better and better. Also more complex. Cedrat Enivrant lasts really long for a citrus scent. You should try Santal Carmin as well. The fighting is metaphorical for sure and sandalwood maybe is not a perfect weapon (only a wooden club comes to my mind) but it was more about like be solid with your dreams

  4. rickyrebarco says:

    Woops- it’s Atelier. Sorry! I think I get Atelier somehow confused with L’Artisan.

  5. Undina says:

    As much as I liked most of Atelier’s initial colognes, Collection Metal seems to be a total miss for me: I don’t mind wearing Silver Iris (though I can’t say I love it) but three other are rather unpleasant on my skin. I’m upset though with 30 ml bottles not being offered separately the “dislike” is better than “nice, should get a small bottle to wear from time to time.”

    • lucasai says:

      That’s too bad that you don’t like this collection from AC, but at least you like the others. Can’t love them all, even I have 2-3 that are not good on me. I know from the very source that they are working on making a coffret of mini metal bottles

  6. hajusuuri says:

    Dearest Lucas, with the generous 1st place prize of the Santal Carmin Ecrin Absolu, I now have a full set of the Collection Metal series! I wore Santal Carmin yesterday and today and whoa, I did NOT get the citrus blast! Strange! Instead, I got a good dose of woods, saffron and vanilla and what a potent combination – love it. Since I never get sick of wearing any Atelier Colognes for days in a row*, I will wear Santal Carmin again tomorrow to see what I get.

    * For my last two summer vacations, I brought Sous le toit de Paris (last year) and Cedrat Enivrant (this year) as my main perfume. The little 30 mL travel sprays, which I always call baguettes, are compact, easy to tuck away amongst my toiletries and very durable. I accidentally left my Cedrat Enivrant baguette in my tote bag when I was walking all over NYC this past Sunday, dropped the tote here and there and it also got trampled on at the theatre and it escaped unscathed!

    • lucasai says:

      Hi sweetie! I’m happy that the prize has reached you well and that you found the time to unbox it and wear it twice. How cool is that now you have them all from Collection Metal (which I didn’t know, I was only aware of you having Silver Iris).
      My nim didn’t get the citrus opening as well. It’s a balsam for my ears to hear that you love it. What lovely scents you picked for your vacation! Those petit flacons are really cute and it now ale i seems they are really durable

  7. […] Round One (and I bet, all rounds thereafter). Lucas over at Chemist in the Bottle wrote a review of Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin, and described the bright red boxing gloves in the ad visual as a metaphor of fighting for his […]

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