Atelier Cologne’s challenge is to take the citrus cologne idea and spin it into several guises–rose, patchouli, iris, vetiver, and even leather. The most successful variations, on the other hand, are the brand’s perfumes that dance around the classical citrus but smell modern and distinctive. Orange Sanguine does the seemingly impossible with its long lasting juicy orange, and now Cédrat Enivrant reinvents the bitter lemon.
Citron, cédrat in French, is a large fruit with tart flesh and sweet, edible peel. It smells like lemon peels crushed with dry Mediterranean herbs and a handful of cherry blossoms. In comparison, the ordinary lemon is downright boring. For Cédrat Enivrant, perfumer Ralf Schwieger took the floral citron and accented it with enough lime and basil to give his fragrance an instant bracing effect. It’s as if you had crushed lemons and limes for a pitcher of lemonade and then took a deep inhale of the messy, oily pile of peels. The initial jolt is enough to wake you up!
Then Cédrat Enivrant calms down to an elegant citrus that, despite its brightness, feels neither sharp nor overly zesty. It’s an etude in yellow and green with plenty of mint and basil thrown in with the citrus zest. The fragrance is rounded out by a generous dose of creamy musk and lightened by spicy accents of pepper and juniper berries. It clings to skin for many hours, and even at the end of the day you smell the bitter white part of the lemon, the waxy peel and a few basil leaves. This sounds simple, but Cédrat Enivrant is unexpectedly addictive.
There is hardly any sweetness and few flowers, so Cédrat Enivrant has a sober feel along the lines of Dior Eau Sauvage, Chanel Eau de Cologne and Thierry Mugler Cologne. It’s cooling and bracing enough to be perfect as a quick refreshment but sufficiently polished to be worn for formal occasions.
Like Orange Sanguine, Cédrat Enivrant is suitable for men and women, but its dryness paired with its bitterness might read as too classically masculine. (If you’re in that camp, try something with a hint of sugar such as Acqua di Parma Arancia di Capri, Roger & Gallet Fleur d’Osmanthus or Jo Malone Orange Blossom).
I, on the other hand, like Cédrat Enivrant for its jaunty, yet suave aura. To wear it is to step into the fantasy world of the French Riviera that exists only in 1960s technicolor films. I might as well be donning oversized sunglasses, a white linen shift dress and driving a convertible along the Corniche. Since I don’t even have a driver’s license, this is a wild fancy, but what’s the use of perfume if not to let one daydream a little.
Atelier Cologne Cédrat Enivrant Cologne Absolue includes notes of Moroccan cedrat, Mexican lime, Calabrian bergamot, mint, basil, juniper berries, tonka bean, vetiver, and elemi. 30ml/$65, 100ml/$105, 200ml/$170. Available at Sephora, Luckyscent, Aedes, Neiman Marcus, and other retailers.