As a beauty journalist I've attended the launch of hundreds of perfumes and at each and every one, after hearing the story of the scent, the philosophy behind the bottle and the reason why [insert supermodel/actress/singer] so embodies the spirit of the fragrance and is, therefore, the ideal choice as the 'face', I've politely enthused, 'mmm, it's so evocative/pretty/fresh/feminine/mysterious while actually being slightly turned off. I had thought that I must be some sort of perfume peasant, not sophisticated enough to savour the subtleties of perfumery, who thought they all smelled the same - like petal and peel slurry in a bottle.
Until yesterday... I journeyed to Atelier Cologne in Covent Garden and it felt like time travel as I sniffed my way through the boutique. Gold Leather reminded me of running to the front door to see my dad when he came home from work when I was little, the smell of his aftershave and a long commute on his suit collar, Bergamote Soleil instantly transported me to mid-afternoon school holiday laziness in a garden that's had the sun on it all day and Orange Sanguine felt like someone had ripped open a blood orange right under my nose, without the jeopardy of citrus juice in my eye. Atelier Cologne has nailed Cologne but also the art of personalisation and this grey blue pouch is now a permanent resident in my handbag. There is a wall of these cases in the boutique that is so deliciously instagrammable you won't be able to resist taking a picture.
The fragrances are unisex and for the experience alone I highly recommend a visit to the store. I must have stuck my nose in at least 15 scents and didn't get the crippling migraine I would usually associate with such a pursuit.
Whether you hate, love or are indifferent to scent I'd wager you'll find something to call your own on a visit here...