jeudi 26 avril 2012

The Different Company catches L'Esprit Cologne from Emilie Coppermann



After two stints working with a solo perfumer – first co-founder Jean-Claude Ellena, then when he got hired by Hermès, with Céline Ellena – Luc Gabriel, the CEO of The Different Company, says he decided that wasn’t the way to go, because it limited the brand’s stylistic options. So after Céline left, he sprung for two noses.

 Bertrand Duchaufour did Oud Shamash and Oud for Love for the Collection Excessive (only one was commissioned, but the two proposals pleased Luc Gabriel so much he launched both). And Duchaufour’s ex-colleague at Symrise, Émilie Coppermann who he’d teamed up with on Amarige d’Amour and Christian Lacroix Bazar Femme (the latter with Jean-Claude Ellena), composed the four scents of L’Esprit Cologne.

This new series belongs to a genre I’ve dubbed the faux-de-Cologne because it doesn’t necessarily play on the traditional citrus and aromatic notes. They can be used as refreshing splashes, but are anchored by bases that make them more long-lasting – customers don’t want to pay premium prices for a scent that’s evaporated by the time you shift from bathrobe to shirt. But most of all, they are delicate and transparent enough to be office-friendly in an increasingly fragrance-averse environment… Yet complex enough for a luxury product

With the sweet, boho carrot and her posh cousin iris nestling on a soft leather accord, Sienne d’Orange feels like La Traversée du Bosphore on a health kick (i.e. sans Turkish delight). Orange adds juicy brightness, set off by the green, anisic tones of dill and cardamom (with minty caraway effects). Very lovely indeed for days when rose-flavored Turkish delight feels unreasonable.

After Midnight earned me two spontaneous compliments, including one from the… how do you call a female mailman anyway? (added later: helpful readers have pointed out that you say "letter" or "mail carrier". Problem solved.) With its bergamot, neroli, iris and jasmine bouquet on a light balsamic fond, After Midnight sophisticates the now-classic CK One template. The twist is the musky, top-to-bottom angelica-ambrette axis which gives the scent the palate-clearing limpidity of Chanel N°18 or Thierry Mugler Cologne.  With its green and coumarinic facets, lentiscus ties together the herbaceous angelica and the balsamic base notes. The juice is dyed purple to match the nocturnal name, but the brand swears it doesn’t stain.

Tokyo Bloom is a tribute to Japan’s rainy “fifth season”, expressed through the whiff of green exhaled by gardens after a shower and by cyclamen, a wet floral (though not aquatic) note. A “dandelion accord” adds of touch of vegetal milkiness. The musk, gaiac wood and amber base holds the note for several hours, and dries it up somewhat, though the green-floral-milky effect persists well into the drydown.

Limon de Cordoza (a contraction of Cordoba and Mendoza) is, of the quartet, the one that most overtly sticks to the cologne genre. This time, reading the list of notes, the template could be Françoise Caron’s 1979 Eau d’Orange Verte for Hermès, minus the exotic fruit. Orange, mint, neroli? Check. Patchouli? Check. Moss has been traded for a smoky base of gaiac wood and vetiver. But none of the woody notes seem to stand out on my skin, where the citrus accord dominates throughout the development.

The bottles, with their ziggurat caps that unscrew counterclockwise, can be used in spray or splash and they are refillable. 

If you’d like to sample L’Esprit Cologne, drop a comment saying what interests you about them, and the lucky winner of the draw will get four mini-atomizers.

Illustration: Lemon, by Cy Twombly

38 commentaires:

  1. Great to see Purple juice. After Midnight is the one that stands out to me. There is definitely a dearth of Purple perfume.I can only think of Serge Lutens De Profundis + Sarrasins.And now After Midnight. Marvelous.

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  2. I just adore anything citrus!! Don't you just love Cy Twombly...

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  3. After Midnight and its purpleness intrigues me as well. I like that the L'Esprit Cologne has some longevity, always a consideration for a Scent Eater like myself.

    TaffyJ

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  4. Chris, purple perfume does look pretty spectacular, doesn't it? I suppose brands don't to it much because customers will be afraid to stain their clothes?

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  5. Tomatefarcie, when I went to Twombly's last exhibition (the one he curated at the Fondation Lambert in Avignon, where he picked the photographers of his "imaginary museum"), I kept thinking I "saw" perfumes in it... especially his own photographs.

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  6. TaffyJ, yes, most of these have fairly good longevity, even the citrus.

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  7. I'm mostly tempted by After Midnight but it's not the only interesting one..

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  8. I am on a crusade to discover the next great cologne after Gentiane Blanche. Sienne d'Orange and After Midnight sound like love at first sniff (if the Iris note is done right because sometimes it can go terribly wrong). Iris, Angelica and Carrot, roots of my dreams, I can't wait to try you on! Add some vetiver in the mix and I'm in heaven.

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  9. To me they all sound interesting, especially the fact, that they are light and still have character. That's at least, what they sound like to me. That's not so easy to find. My winter-summer scent wardrobe is not in balance at all, I probably have 10 times more winter than summer scents and I'd like to change that.
    There is currently a phantastic exhibition of Turner, Monet and Twombly Paintings side to side in Stuttgart, Germany. http://staatsgalerie.de/ausstellung_e/tmt/ If

    Cheers
    Safran

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  10. Irina, I know, it's hard to make up one's mind just based on the descriptions. I asked the question to have more things in comments than "I'd like to be in the draw", you know how I am...

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  11. Kostas, those are my two favourites as well. In the more "classic" register I love Chanel's Cologne in the Exclusives, but can't afford more than a large decants...

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  12. Safran, that show would be a good reason to travel to Stuttgart! And I know what you mean about having more "winter" than "summer" scents -- I love ample florals and spices in the heat as well, but there are days when they just won't do...

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  13. These do all sound interesting to me. I like Traversée du Bosphore, so I am interested to see what Sienne l'Orange is like. And After Midnight sounds beautiful. I wonder when we'll be seeing them in the US, though -- I have yet to see Oud Smash, which has been out for ages.

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  14. Jarvis, as I said above, those are my favourites of the line. As for US launch dates, can't say, but I thought the Ouds were already at LS?

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  15. True, they're at Luckyscent, but have not appeared at Barneys (which carries the rest of the line). (By the way, I adore Chanel's Eau de Cologne as well).

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  16. Jarvis, there always seems to be a bit of a distribution problem with niche lines, isn't there? I guess some brands can only manage a staggered roll-out.

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  17. Well first all of them sound amazing and the extra thing being that they have longevity added more interest.Also to see what the new nose brings to TdC is interesting to explore. I'd love to try them all. Thanks for the draw.

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  18. StyleSpy, you are being very cryptic my dear...

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  19. d3m0lici0n, I agree it's always interesting to see what a seasoned perfumer can do outside of the mainstream, when she's entrusted with a collection.

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  20. Hello! Well these sound just lovely, don't they? The Sienne d'Orange sounds the most interesting to me because I wanted to love Traversee du Bosphore, but it was toooooo sweeeeeeet. And I love the idea of an herbal iris and carrot cologne.

    StyleSpy is correct -- the gender-neutral term for "mailman" is "mail carrier."

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  21. Aimée l'Ondée, cripes, I'd completely forgotten I'd asked that question in the English version, and couldn't make head or tails of Amy's answer. My bad.
    Bosphore can indeed be a mouthful, and though I love it feels more comfortable in cooler weather.

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  22. A person who delivers your mail is now usually called a Letter Carrier, a term that encompasses both men and women.

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  23. Anonymous, thanks. That's what comes from having lived half your life in a French-speaking country: it's the commonplace, everyday words that you grope for. In French words are gendered, so you've got "postier" and "postière", though I'm sure that's not the official designation of the job.

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  24. After Midnight and Tokyo Bloom sound very appealing...
    and I like the concept of a cologne with enough personality and persistance to keep me interested for several hours in a row!
    My summer "colognes" are fracas, tubereuse criminelle and Beyond love...But I suppose I need a wider summer perfumes rotation.

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  25. I love citrusy scents and also the traditional colognes (like my grand mother used when travelling).Scents that last from morning to at least noon is what I would usually pick when I buy a full bottle. The Cordoza looks interesting, plus I like the top of the bottles.I wonder how these scents compare to those of Atelier Cologne? (I tried Orange Sanguine and the neroli one from AC).

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  26. Zazie, I gravitate towards tuberose too in the summer, though mine are Carnal Flower (when I want to play it straight), Nuit de Tubéreuse and Vamp à NY.
    This "faux de cologne" trend is yielded a more wide-ranging choice for refreshing yet interesting fragrances, and I hope the weather gets warm enough soon in Paris so I can experience these in proper conditions, but they can definitely hold their own even in cooler weather when one needs something a bit unobtrusive.

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  27. Ingeborg, I haven't really given a test drive to Atelier Cologne so I wouldn't really feel comfortable making a comparison -- these may be a bit more complex.

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  28. I love colognes. I live in a hot, humid climate, so they work well for most of the year. I'm always interested in options to try. The leather, and Bosphore on a diet idea sounds particuarly pleasing to my palette. Purple perfume would not push me away! Thanks for sharing a peek into the direction for TdC's new offerings. Be well.
    --HemlockSillage

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  29. From your description After Midnight sound especially interesting, and I could really use some "office friendly" scents!

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  30. HemlockSillage, I'd definitely see most of these working in hot, humid weather, but holding their own in air conditioning.

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  31. EvaS, clearly there *is* sillage since, as I said, I got two spontaneous compliments for After Midnight, including one about three hours after having applied. But then I tend to drench myself when I'm testing!

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  32. Your two spontaneous compliments you enjoyed do fit very well to our experience, as my wife and I found “After Midnight” the most attractive one of the four when being exposed to them by a very friendly and competent person at the shop Rue Ferdinand Duval, and it is not because of the color which at the same time is spectacular and a bit irritating (weren’t toxic substances sometimes dyed blue ?). Denyse, as you were so kind to shed some light on the perfume structure and the interacting notes, my olfactory appetite was aroused again. Consequently, I would love to stick my nose a bit deeper into a sample to better fathom what faux-de-Cologne may mean.
    I must confess I love some of TDCs perfumes, in particular the surprisingly salty Sel de Vétiver (Celine Ellena), my old comforting buddy Bois d’Iris (JC Ellena), which still can be bought in alu-bottled refills, and the divine Bergamote (JC Ellena). It seems that Pure Virgin (Celine Ellena) is TDCs bestseller. Oud Shamash may be on limited distribution. I couldn’t find a bottle at the KdW in Berlin.
    The move to invite Duchaufour and Coppermann is a great idea. Can we expect more contributions by them? And what is it that is holding the brand together?

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  33. Joey, I missed the beginning of the press conference, so I'm not sure whether Luc Gabriel intends to continue with the two perfumers, each working on a collection, or whether to launch yet another collection with another nose. I do think the idea of a collection per perfumer makes sense: it gives consistency yet flexibility. One of my concerns when it was announced that Bertrand would become in-house perfumer was brand identity: when several brands have the same in-house perfumer, you need a brand owner with very clear stylistic options.

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  34. I would love a citrus with a bit more staying power! Perhaps it is here. It does seem to be a scent people I know see as ok to waer in public, but maybe that is because none of the few I have are very strong.

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  35. Shelly, are you in a fairly scent-averse environment? It's true very few people actually object to citrus, if it's just a matter of preference. It's kind of the default setting, isn't it?

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  36. I'd be really curious to try these because I'm a fan of The Different Company (though I will miss Céline Ellena), and I also like many scents in the cologne genre. I'm most curious about Tokyo and Sienne d'Orange. Thanks for the giveaway offer and for the review. I had no idea this set was being launched.

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    Réponses
    1. Joe, oops, too late, the draw's been drawn and claimed!

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