Atelier Cologne’s Jasmin Angélique does a few things right, and then it does quite a few things wrong. It is able to showcase the broad range of jasmine, starting with the squeaky volume of the white flower, fixed with petals made of rubber and positioned to demonstrate indoles cut with the clinical disinfectant hum of lemon. It then moves, ever so slowly, into a jasmine with an inflection of clean thin smoke, touched by the oily green of vetiver and a soft, fuzzy suggestion of fatty-waxy aldehydes.
Angelica fragments this jasmine – pushing a bitter, herbal green and fusing them together. The soft, alert texture of the flower is heightened, shifting into impressions of herbal teas and a raw type of green – a mishmash of root and grass; of galbanum and vetiver’s yellow-green oiliness, tonka bean and tobacco’s hay-like saturation, and angelica flower’s intensity of crunch and stemmy bitterness.
Considered together, Jasmin Angelique has an exhaustingly obnoxious attitude to it – a forward, approaching brash lucidity that diminishes in a wave of heavy spice and smoke. Jasmine and angelica are contemporaneous notes and do not exist as one unified idea. In fact, the angelica excessively pulls out the pallid, off-putting rubbery sweetness of the jasmine that becomes redolent of woods polished with heavy cleaning products.
This Atelier Cologne scent is an excellent sketch for practicing combinations of notes, and whilst I do not doubt that the combination of faceted jasmine flower and bitter green angelica works, the balance is not here in this fragrance. I do (nevertheless) enjoy the concept, in which the bitter green moves the flower quite close to the enjoyable stuffy humidity of tobacco smoke, and rubber approaches leather, but this interplay never appears quite illuminated. Instead, an awkward parallel existence not at once improved by this combination.
Photo by Atelier Cologne
As with all of the Atelier Cologne experiences I have faced, they lack a depth of narrative richness and develop as twee polaroids of postcard-level prettiness. There is no depth to this jasmine, or this fragrance for that matter, and one is left to observe stages of dreary re-modulations of a theme out of balance during all of its stages, too subtle to ever be exciting or worth the attention.
For a shady jasmine that works, ELdO’s Jasmin et Cigarette is imperative – but where Jasmin Angelique has it somewhat right is its green bitterness cut with smoke. That diminishes quite quickly and bitter moves into impressions of leather, and so the only appropriate jasmine to offer is Serge Luten’s Sarrasins – with the whole breath of jasmine, teased and explored with metallic musks and carnation. Green, leather, noir, all rigorously and richly demonstrated.
Simple Waxy Jasmine
Subjective rating: 3/5
Objective rating: 2.5/5