Much of my childhood was spent in the sunshine in South Florida; the nights left their impression, too. As soon as I could stay up as late as I wanted that meant I was awake after midnight most nights. There is a stillness to that time of day even in an urban area. In the tropics there are also the scent of the many night-blooming flowers which are indigenous. Jasmine is the most common. When I smell a really deep jasmine it makes me think of the post-midnight hours. This is how I experienced The Harmonist Moon Glory.
The Harmonist is the brand founded by Lola Tillyaeva in 2015 based on Feng Shui principles of Yin and Yang. Each perfume carries the energy of one or the other. The inaugural collection was 10 perfumes with which Ms. Tillyaeva collaborated with perfumer Guillaume Flavigny. I somehow missed out on these entirely. Thankfully I am getting a new opportunity to get acquainted with the brand through this first release in the “Prequel Collection”; two new releases for 2020 the first of which is Moon Glory.
Moon Glory is meant to be the Yin member of the Prequel Collection. It is intended to capture the energy of a full moon shining upon a tropical garden at twilight. It is that scented demarcation of day to night as the night-blooming flowers provide the sensation. M. Flavigny uses jasmine with the unusual “queen of the night” flower to create a fulsome dusky floral accord at the center of Moon Glory.
That jasmine is what greets you from the start. This is not the transparent airy jasmine analogs. This is deeply narcotic full-spectrum jasmine. M. Flavigny then adds a syrupy complement with lychee. It is as if the sweet blooms float on a similar flow of lychee. This repeats itself as queen of the night appears providing a lighter harmonic of sweet floral which is deepened by honey. It is the opposite of the top accord where jasmine is carried by the lychee, in the heart the honey carries the queen of the night. M. Flavigny buttresses the tropicality with precise amounts of ylang-ylang and passionflower. This pulls together into a deeply satisfying floral accord. M. Flavigny rests it on a base of sweet sandalwood and warm Peru balsam.
Moon Glory has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I know many want their spring florals to be more delicate, not me. Moon Glory is the kind of depth I prefer in a floral perfume without becoming overwhelming. I think it could easily be worn in place of the typical spring style perfumes. Maybe you just need to embrace the flowers which come out at night.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle provided by The Harmonist.
I met Sylvie Ganter in the spring of 2010 at Bergdorf Goodman as she presented the original five fragrances which make up the Atelier Cologne Collection Originale. Mme Ganter wanted to revolutionize cologne by taking it places cologne had never gone before. Along with her husband, Christophe Cervasel, they have made Atelier Cologne the leader in transforming the way we view cologne. All Atelier Colognes are called Cologne Absolue by upping the perfume oil in their fragrances they produce. They took the architecture that was cologne and made it recognizably cologne but also pushed the boundaries of what that design could bear. Over the last five years it has been a distinct delight to observe where Atelier Cologne would choose to go. Five years after their beginning they have chosen to return to the Collection Originale and release a new one, Pomelo Paradis.
Ralf Schwieger, Christophe Cervasel, and Sylvie Ganter (l. to r.)
Pomelo Paradis was composed by perfumer Ralf Schwieger. Hr Schwieger was responsible for what is perhaps now considered the flagship of the brand Orange Sanguine. It was this perfume which displayed all of the, now realized, potential of Cologne Absolue. Hr Schwieger has been an integral part of the process as all of the Atelier Cologne fragrances, since the originals, have been signed by him or Jerome Epinette. I think it is this consistency of creative direction and perfumer which has made Atelier Cologne one of the best new brands of the last five years.
Pomelo Paradis returns Atelier Cologne back to its citrus roots. Many are going to smell Pomelo Paradis and exclaim grapefruit and they will be right but they will also be wrong. Almost all of the more common citrus fruits are hybrids. It is a trait common to the family and it is why you can have so many different varieties of limes or lemons. Nature is its own experimentalist creating new varieties based upon what pollen can combine. Scientists now believe all citrus fruit came from four basic fruits, citron, mandarin, papeda, and pomelo. Grapefruit comes from the natural hybridization of pomelo and mandarin. It then occurred to me that Atelier Cologne is also a hybrid of its own as pure parfum and cologne have formed Cologne Absolue.
Hr. Schwieger chooses to re-create nature’s work in the top notes of Pomelo Paradis by taking pomelo and mandarin and combining them to create a grapefruit accord. This is an important distinction as Hr. Schwieger could have just chosen to take grapefruit and start this perfume with that. By combining pomelo and mandarin it creates a nuanced grapefruit accord that would not have been easily achievable otherwise. Together the two pieces give a grapefruit with real heft without being overwhelming. A very judicious use of blackcurrant bud by Hr. Schwieger tunes the grapefruit accord further. Grapefruit has a bit of a sulfurous quality. The blackcurrant bud adds that in while also adding some green sturdiness. The heart is why Ateleier Cologne has succeeded, in this re-imagining of cologne, as a floral bouquet of rose and orange blossom cut by mint take this very traditional opening and move it off in a new direction. Mint has to be used very carefully. Hr. Schwieger knows how to keep it as a participant without overwhelming. The mint in Pomelo Paradis is like a sprig of mint added to your morning grapefruit as it adds contrast but in small quantity. This all settles down onto a traditional bed of vetiver and amber.
Pomelo Paradis has 8-10 hour longevity and above average sillage.
Pomelo Paradis is a delightful circling back to the very roots of Atelier Cologne and is also an equally delightful hybrid of all that the brand stands for. As much as I have been enjoying wearing Pomelo Paradis I know it will be right at the front of my summer rotation. Pomelo Paradis is everything that Atelier Cologne does right and that is almost everything.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Atelier Cologne.