Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini : Perfume Review

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Andy looks for the scent of tea in a bottle.

If I were to write the story of Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini, it would begin on a cool autumn afternoon. I dab the perfume on my wrist, and set off on a quiet wooded trail to catch some relaxation under a cathedral of falling leaves. I let the scent settle in, and immediately I envision misty blue mornings and steam rising out of warm teacups.

oolang-infini1

Fast forward several months, and I’m still thinking about Oolang Infini, a fragrance from the Atelier Cologne collection, in spite of the fact that my sample has since been reduced to mere drops. As a tea lover-turned perfume fan, I’ve just started my search for perfumes that evoke tea, but I’m glad to discover Oolang Infini. I’ve neglected the ideas of oolong suggested in the name; for me, Oolang Infini conjures a perfect cup of Earl Grey—a beverage that brings citrus and black tea into perfect harmony.

A few months ago, when I reviewed a boxed set of teas from Le Palais des Thés, I sampled their Blue of London, a unique Earl Grey tea that brings complex and exquisite Yunnan black tea together with a particularly delicate Calabrian bergamot essence. The result is a lighter, fresher, but far more complex tasting Earl Grey, and it’s exactly what I think of when I wear Oolang Infini. The tea and perfume don’t really smell the same, but their balance of a subtle and nuanced citrus over a dry woodsy base is similar.

Oolang Infini is light and gauzy, staying close to the skin, and it rises forth gently, like the steam from a cup of tea. It smells dry and crisp, like woods delicately dried over a fire, but the citrus and orange blossom give it sparkle. Oolang Infini is both easy to wear and unisex, and equally suited for any season. It smells just as wearable now, in late spring, as it did in autumn.

For such a delicate fragrance, Oolang Infini has great lasting power, continuing from morning to early afternoon on my skin. In a few words, this fragrance is refreshing, comforting, and sophisticated, evoking everything I feel when drinking a perfect cup of Earl Grey, and then some.

oolang-infini

Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini lists notes of Sicilian bergamot, Tunisian neroli, freesia, oolong tea, jasmine petals, blond leather, Balkan tobacco flower, Indian guaiac wood, and musk. Available at Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Luckyscent, ateliercologne.com. 1oz/$60, 3.3oz/$95, 6.7oz/$155

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46 Comments

  • Vasilisa: Thank you for this review, Andy! I have recently discovered Oolang Infini, and I am steadily using up my sample. It is the first “clean” / “antiperfume” I have ever liked, perhaps because it does not smell clean, but pure, focused only on the essential. Its subtle, cloudy mineral veil of crushed autumn leaves is truly extraordinary. June 19, 2013 at 8:54am Reply

    • Andy: Oolang Infini is a great discovery, isn’t it? I agree, while It smells clean and pure, it isn’t a sanitized sort if scent, which is one of the major reasons I like it. Also, this perfume evokes crushed autumn leaves for me too! Do you have any other favorites from the Atelier line? June 19, 2013 at 10:09am Reply

      • Vasilisa: I actually received a sampler pack of their entire line yesterday! It is very affordable and very elegantly packaged. So far I have sampled only couple of them, but , I have been very impressed by the dirty tangy vanilla in Vanille Insensee. The transparent violet ambery leathery Sous le Toit de Paris’ (website/Lafayette exclusive) is also extraordinary. June 20, 2013 at 4:36am Reply

        • Andy: Thanks for mentioning that sample pack. You are right, it’s incredibly affordable, I have no idea why I haven’t ordered one yet. Especially considering that I’m currently a bit fascinated by the Atelier line. I also liked Vanille Insensee quite a lot, and Sous le Toit Paris sounds really interesting to me now that you describe it. June 20, 2013 at 1:37pm Reply

          • Vasilisa: Welcome, I think summer is the perfect season to smell though their line of colognes.Now after smelling Sous le Toit de Paris more thoroughly, I noted it has similar delicious waxy treatment of violets as in Ralf Schwienger’s Lipstick Rose, but in more androgynous and less retro form. June 21, 2013 at 7:23am Reply

            • Andy: That definitely sounds intriguing. I’m looking forward to trying that one! June 21, 2013 at 12:43pm Reply

  • Lucas: Unfortunately Oolang Infini is one of my least favourite fragrance in Atelier Cologne range. It’s better than Vetiver Fatal to me and worse than Trefle Pur, so, now it turns it’s my 2nd least favourite AC.
    But I love all the others! June 19, 2013 at 9:13am Reply

    • Andy: I haven’t tried the whole Atelier line yet, so I can’t say where Oolang Infini will rank for me after I’ve smelled all the others. I know a lot of people love Orange Sanguine, but on my skin it just didn’t work. It started out great, and then fizzled out and turned flat for me, unfortunately. Anyway, thanks for your input on Vetiver Fatal and Trefle Pur too, I’m curious to see how I feel about them once I get the chance. June 19, 2013 at 2:47pm Reply

      • Daisy: Regretfully, Trefle Pur reminded me of Irish Spring. Once I made the connection, it became impossible for me to shake it 🙁 June 20, 2013 at 7:58pm Reply

        • Andy: Those associations are so hard to shake off, and I’m especially susceptible to those sorts of influences. Luckily, there are so many perfumes out there, it is not so tragic if some don’t work with our psyche. June 21, 2013 at 12:45pm Reply

  • breathesgelatin: This is one of my favorites from Atelier Cologne, doesn’t seem to get as much love as the others, but I’d love to have a small bottle eventually. June 19, 2013 at 11:37am Reply

    • Andy: I would love a small bottle of this too. I love the fact that Atelier offers everything in the little 30mL “travel size” bottles. Even for a perfume I love, I hate having a really large bottle, for fear that it will turn or that I’ll grow tired of it. June 19, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

  • solanace: This line is growing on me (right now I’m in love with their Vanille insensée), gotta try this one. June 19, 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

    • Andy: I love Atelier’s entire aesthetic. I’m an especially big fan of the photos and little vignettes they write up for each perfume, because I feel as if those extend my ability to get a sense of each scent before I smell it. And Vanille Insensée is a favorite of mine as well. Are there any others from the line you like in particular? June 19, 2013 at 2:52pm Reply

      • Solanace: Hi Andy,

        I adore Rose Anonyme and Orange Sanguine. I find their aesthetics pretty alluring, too. June 20, 2013 at 5:11am Reply

        • Andy: Unfortunately, Orange Sanguine didn’t work on me (which is really a shame). It turned flat and weird on my skin, and it was the very first time I’ve had that happen. I was at Sephora then, so before I left the mall I spritzed on some Mandarine Basilic, as if to console myself with a citrus I could wear. Anyway, I’ve read a lot of good things about Rose Anonyme, so I need to try it soon. June 20, 2013 at 1:42pm Reply

  • leathermountain: I recommend a visit to the gorgeous Atelier Cologne Boutique in Soho. Your photo with the typewriter beautifully captures a slice of the place’s aesthetic. I visited recently and Jarred took me through each fragrance in the line. He is attentive, thoughtful, forthcoming, and a skilled conversationalist. This was an exceptionally engaging and satisfying perfume-retail experience.

    Jarred mentioned that part of AC’s mission is to create long-lasting scents that are inspired by the tradition of (ordinarily short-lived) cologne. I’d love to know how they do it!

    I was craving a tea scent as well, and I had high hopes for Oolong Infini. I smelled it later and was disappointed by a kind of flat sweetness. I shall try it for real now, spurred by your review. Thank you for the nudge. June 19, 2013 at 12:36pm Reply

    • Andy: Thank you for the recommendation, It’s great to hear about the wonderful retail experience you had, and I hope to experience the same sometime I’m in New York. If this photo from Atelier Cologne really does capture their brand’s aesthetic for you, then I am sure the in-store experience must be beautiful.

      From what I’ve tested, what really seems to make the Atelier “colognes” last is the fact that they pair citrusy top notes with woods and leather and other base notes. So the top notes provide the refreshing lift of a cologne, but the lasting power of a more grounded perfume. I hope you enjoy Oolang Infini when you test it again! June 19, 2013 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Solanace: Thank’s for the tip, I’ll definitely go terem. June 20, 2013 at 5:14am Reply

      • Solanace: Go there, sorry. (I hate this automatic corrector!) June 20, 2013 at 5:16am Reply

  • Evelyn: It just so happens I have an appointment in downtown Manhattan tomorrow. I have marked the address of Atelier Cologne and cannot wait to get there. Serendipity is a beautiful thing, as was this captivating review. June 19, 2013 at 1:07pm Reply

    • Andy: Thank you for your kind words, Evelyn. I hope you enjoy your Atelier Cologne experience tomorrow. Their shop is one of many in Manhattan that I would love to explore. June 19, 2013 at 4:06pm Reply

      • Evelyn: The Atelier Cologne boutique on Elizabeth Street in New York was a delightful experience. Store manager Ross could not have been more friendly or helpful. I purchased the Collection Voyage and left with a generous number of samples as well.

        I have shopped at one of New York’s best-know small fragrance shops and the experience was … haughty and intimidating. Complete opposite at Atelier Cologne, where Ross was warm, welcoming and informative.

        Ross said ordering directly from the store is slightly more economical than ordering from the website so if anyone is interested this might be worth looking into.

        If you are in New York, stop by. You will love it. June 21, 2013 at 2:30pm Reply

        • Andy: Thank you for letting me know about your recent in store experience with Atelier Cologne. I can see that this is one store I will have to make a point to visit. June 21, 2013 at 4:43pm Reply

  • iodine: I’ve recently bought Atelier Cologne discovery set and I’m testing their offerings- unfortunately I like a very few of them (for one, it’s love and I’ve bought the 30 ml bottle- Mistral Patchouli), and Oolang Infini is a big disappointment for me.. 🙁 As you say, it doesn’t smell like oolong tea at all, and while I find its opening pleasant and (not oolong) tea- realistic, I think that the development is rather banal and “synthetic”- a feature common with most of the fragrances of that line.
    I would love a true Oolong fragrance! June 19, 2013 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Andy: I would love a true oolong fragrance too! In my vision of an oolong perfume, it would include a subtle, floral stone fruit accord of the mysterious, indistinguishably soft variety that I find in my favorite oolongs. I think of it as a veil of misty blossoms and tender fruits laid over a base of vetiver, woods, and stone (because something in the darker oolongs always reminds me of stone). I would love to hear how you would envision this sort of fantasy fragrance.

      Anyway, even if Oolang Infini was a dissapointment for you, I’m glad to hear you found an Atelier that you like–I’m eager to try Mistral Patchouli! June 19, 2013 at 4:17pm Reply

  • Donna: Sounds absolutely beautiful! June 19, 2013 at 1:27pm Reply

    • Andy: I really like Oolang Infini, and while it’s not anything particularly unique, it is a nice, easy to wear perfume. I think what really made me enjoy it so much was how it evoked Earl Grey tea when I first smelled it! June 19, 2013 at 4:19pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I must have tried this a while ago, when I tried 4 of their first offerings. The only one I seem to remember is the Orange Sanguine. Clearly if this one smells like Blue of London I need to try it again.

    Wouldn’t a true Oolong scent be great? The smell always reminds me of nuts and chestnuts and lots of other things.

    I’ve found another Earl Grey tea in Brussels, even more floral and soft than Blue of London. It is called Sweet Golden Grey and is stunning. It shares the Yunnan base, but the quality of the Yunnan is better and the aroma more floral and tropical than Blue of London.

    Thank you for another great review. June 19, 2013 at 4:27pm Reply

    • Andy: That Sweet Golden Grey sounds incredible. I am trying to imagine it right now—the slight “tropical” vibe sounds especially interesting. And while Oolang Infini does not smell quite the same as Blue of London, it’s what my mind kept retuning to as I smelled this perfume and tasted the tea in the past few months. June 20, 2013 at 12:09am Reply

  • annemariec: I will retrieve my sample of OI and give it another try, as I found it unimpressive when I tried it, and dismissed it. Your review and some of the comments make me realise there could be something that I’ve missed.

    Atelier’s claim to make colognes last a long time is not always supported by my own experience. Many of them, especially Orange Sanguine and even Mistral Patchouli, collapse and die in less than an hour. It’s just not in the nature of citrus notes to last very long. Not surprisingly, Vanille Insensee is the exception – it has all day longevity on me. It is my favourite from the whole line and I suspect a favourite of a lot of other people who love light, non-foodie vanillas. I have been sampling Vetiver Fatal and found it seems to last quite well too, and I like its plummy note.

    Anyway, thanks for the review! June 19, 2013 at 7:26pm Reply

    • Andy: You know, shortly after I first sampled this, I began to dismiss Oolang Infini because I thought it wasn’t particularly unique. However, having given it some time, I now find it lovely again. Since “tea” perfumes never seem to smell like the real thing, even something that just evokes tea is a great find for me. June 20, 2013 at 12:13am Reply

  • Cynthia: Andy, I was just going to post to Victoria to compliment the great writing in the review, when I saw in the comments that you were the writer. Your first paragraph is pure heaven. I’m looking forward to more reviews. June 19, 2013 at 10:28pm Reply

    • Andy: Thank you so much for your kindness, Cynthia. I appreciate your feedback. Victoria serves as a wonderful editor, and I assure you that it is with her kind assistance I have been able to start writing some perfume reviews, which is a new endeavor for me. I’m excited to write more! June 20, 2013 at 12:18am Reply

  • Jillie: Earl Grey was my first introduction to tea that wasn’t “builder’s” many, many years ago, and I have always loved trying different blends. It would be rather lovely as a perfume – there are plenty of fragrances with bergamot notes, but I guess not so many that smell of tea as well.

    Andy, have you tried L’Artisan’s The pour un Ete? It’s delightful in the heat of the summer, and smells like a calming jasmine tea – no indoles, just a slightly lemony white flower greenness. June 20, 2013 at 4:49am Reply

    • Andy: Earl Grey was one of my first “real” teas as well. Perhaps that’s why it holds such a special place for me. I have tried Thé Pour un Été and love it. It reminds me of fresh sambac jasmine, a scent that reminds me of summer, so I can imagine how nice it would be in the heat. June 20, 2013 at 7:05am Reply

  • Ariadne: Hi Andy,
    I love how you express yourself as a tea lover turned perfume fan!
    I am a Lapsang Souchong drinker. What perfume corresponds to that? One of Laurie’s at SSS creations came close and of the Bulgari Au The’s I gravitate to the Rouge.
    Love your writing too! June 20, 2013 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Andy: I love to drink Lapsang Souchong too. I haven’t found it in a perfume yet, but I’ve heard that Annick Goutal’s discontinued Eau de Fier was evocative of the tea for many. In the Bulgari collection, I gravitate towards Thé Rouge as well. June 21, 2013 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Daisy: Wonderful review, Andy! Oolong infini was one of my favorite daytime scents to wear last summer. I have been craving it again lately so this post is very timely! Thank you! June 20, 2013 at 8:00pm Reply

    • Andy: You’re welcome, Daisy. I can completely imagine how Oolang Infini would make a great everyday sort of scent–not too complex or demanding in any way. June 21, 2013 at 12:50pm Reply

  • maggiecat: I absolutely love this scent and am on my second decant. Somehow it goes beyond a “tea” scent for me and becomes something quite gracefully more. Thanks for the lovely review. June 20, 2013 at 10:50pm Reply

    • Andy: Oolang Infini definitely goes beyond tea. There are certain accents, such as the orange blossom note, that elevate this from smelling too closely to the real thing, and more like a perfume that simply hints at the suggestion of tea–woods to suggest the dry leaf, citrus and light floral touches to suggest steam and refreshment. June 21, 2013 at 12:53pm Reply

  • Joanna: I just scored a sample of Oolang Infini, and I’m still in the process of forming an opinion about it. But right away I find it pleasant and subdued; a your-skin-but-better scent. It didn’t scream “tea” to me at all at first, but I’m starting to notice its tea-like qualities in the drydown; to me, it’s very much akin to L’Artisan’s The Pour un Ete . Obviously, further investigation is required. 🙂

    I recently purchased the tea scented candle from Dipytque – a blind buy – and I’m sort of disappointed by how very un-tea-like it smells (at least, to this tea drinker anyway). It’s more spicy than anything, when what I was really hoping for was more of a Keemun-esque black tea fragrance. Bummer.

    Love that accompanying photo of the typewriter, by the way! Beautifully styled. June 20, 2013 at 11:00pm Reply

    • Andy: In a sense, though my impressions of Oolang Infini and Thé Pour un Été were completely different, I can see where you might find a similarity–refreshing citrus (they both share bergamot) and florals, even though the floral in Oolang Infini is just a light touch. Really, they both are probably about equally as versatile too. June 21, 2013 at 12:56pm Reply

  • sunmisun: Very late to the party here… but I just tried my sample of Oolong Infini, and as beautiful as it is I can’t help but think – I love the way this smells on me, but I think I would love it on my husband even more. So then I came back to read this review again – and only this time around noticed that the reviewer was in fact not Victoria, but you, a man! This is really a beguiling scent – I love that its clean and fresh without being soapy and I think it would be perfect on a man that doesn’t want an in-your-face scent (I can’t tolerate too strong of scents). I agree that it’s more of an Earl Grey than an Oolong, but as a longtime lover of Earl Grey that is certainly nothing to complain about. After reading the rest of the comments I’m excited to try my sample of Vanille Insensee as well! October 6, 2014 at 2:40pm Reply

    • Andy: Oolang Infini definitely skews toward the masculine end with its crisp woods, so I can see why you might find it suitable for your husband. I haven’t revisited my sample in a while, but it’s still one of my favorites from the Atelier Cologne lineup. Even with their many new launches, I think Oolang Infini stands out among their lineup. October 6, 2014 at 4:39pm Reply

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