Cologne is the most venerable fragrance form there is. Ever since Jean Marie Farina translated his alpine walk into perfumed water, cologne has been a part of perfumery. As much for its history as the new ways modern perfumers choose to interpret it. It is one of my favorite genres. It means I am always interested to see how each new perfumer chooses to create their own cologne. Rasei Fort Kolonya is a fun example of an independent perfumer’s perspective on the form.
Rasei Fort is the perfumer behind the Fort & Manle. He is self-taught and sometimes that quality can be nakedly apparent. It also means that sometimes he can go where his vision takes him not knowing, or caring, if he is conforming to the norm. I’ve been impressed with his later releases as it shows the comfort he is finding with making perfume while still retaining that indie mindset.
For Kolonya Mr. Fort says on his Instagram account that it “is a retrospective work of my first olfactive experiences.” It is clear from that statement this is the chance to look back as a stream of consciousness style of fragrance capturing those moments of childhood.
It is only the very first moments when I am reminded of the classic cologne recipe. Mr. Fort uses the traditional citrus opening except it isn’t one kind of citrus it’s a whole basketful. If there’s a citrus note in perfume it is seemingly here. In what will become the trend for Kolonya Mr. Fort adroitly acts as traffic cop keeping everything in its lane. This continues as we move through each layer. The spices come next followed by florals, resins, and woods. It is a fascinating wave of layers which manage to keep from devolving into chaos. The progression from the spice layer of clove, nutmeg, and rosemary uses galbanum as a green escort to the floral layer connecting to geranium and lavender before the other florals take the baton. The fluidity of each exchange makes Kolonya an ever-changing fragrance on my skin.
Kolonya has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Kolonya has the effect of feeling like I’ve sat down with Mr. Fort over coffee and when I asked him about his childhood he didn’t speak. Instead he handed me a bottle and said the story is in there.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.