When I get a sample set of a new perfume brand, I play a mental game. Before looking at anything else I try and decide which one I’ll like best by the name. It is not a reliable process. Very rarely is it the name I like best which also corresponds to the pick of the group.
When I received the five-perfume sample set from Atelier Materi, Cuir d’Iris was the one I went to first. It is leather and iris capably executed. Then it was Cacao Porcelana but it wasn’t as gourmand as I was expecting. Peau d’Ambrette was likely to appeal because of the botanical musk and it did. Santal Blond is a lively take on sandalwood. I stared at the final sample Atelier Materi Poivre Pomelo expecting little only to find my favorite of the set.
Atelier Materi was founded in 2019 by Veronique Le Bihan. Like many new brands she was interested in sustainability of the ingredients they used. Being based in Grasse blessed them with a plethora of incredible local ingredients. Mme Le Bihan has achieved much of what she wanted according to the website. Poivre Pomelo is composed by perfumer Marie Hugentobler.
What struck me about Poivre Pomelo is the use of a variant of Szechuan pepper called timut pepper. Timut pepper has a scent profile with the inherent contrast of hot pepper and grapefruit. Mme Hugentobler uses that to create a spiced citrus given life through a sharp green base accord.
It opens with a big blast of grapefruit. It is at the concentration I enjoy because it also allows some of the quirkier nuances some more presence. Because of that as the timut pepper comes forward it has multiple places to interact. In the first moments it is an amplifier for the grapefruit. Soon after the spiciness interjects itself. Because of the time of year I was trying it I found it a weird variant of a clove orange. A pepper grapefruit perhaps? The base accord is composed of vetiver and mate tea. Both of these are known for being sharply green. Many perfumers will try to ameliorate that. Mme Hugentobler pushed it to the forefront. As these lances of green pierce the pepper grapefruit it expands into a fascinating whole.
Poivre Pomelo has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Even though I am a little late in finding Atelier Materi I feel as if Mme Le Bihan has a good idea of what she wants. I look forward to what is next. Maybe the last won’t lead then.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample set I purchased.