Atelier Cologne, A Brand For People Who Don’t Like Traditional Perfume, Opens A Canadian Boutique

“I’m afraid of perfume,” says Sylvie Ganter, who growing up in France, never felt that opulent, super feminine scents were her thing. So when a salesperson let her sample Hermes Eau D’Orange Verte Cologne, she found her jam. “It was something that felt right, for me and for my age,” she says. For Ganter, citrus brings a feeling of comfort because it’s a familiar scent we’re exposed to frequently unlike tuberose and vetiver. And it’s something she never outgrew.

Today, along with her husband, she runs Atelier Cologne, a fragrance brand that takes the idea of the original cologne created 300 years ago—a perfume based on citrus—but gives them a twist. Citrus is featured in all their scents, but because the ingredient is so volatile and doesn’t last on the skin, they did two things. “One, we boosted the concentration at a pure perfume level,” says Ganter, of the 15% essential oils they use in the scents, sometimes as high as 23%. (Typical eau de colognes use 5%). “But again they’re volatile,” she says. “So then we find raw materials that are less volatile, that are heavier on the skin, to sort of give the illusion that this fragrance stays on the skin for longer.” These include powerful, more popular ingredients like sandalwood, jasmine and vanilla. “The citruses are the tool that enable us to give life to an ingredient that you know.” They’ve even created a Canadian exclusive scent, Citron d’Erable, that uses lemon to cut through a maple syrup accord. “The idea was to take something very sweet and creamy and to turn it into something fresh,” says Ganter.

Though sold in Sephora, the brand is opening their first stand alone store in Canada at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall tomorrow. Inside you’ll find all 37 cologne absolutes (the category they came up with to describe their formula) as well as travel size sprays which can be accessorized with a leather case in a choice of 17 colours. An engraving machine on site provides the ability to personalize it. And of course, two orange trees flank the main entrance, making the whole place smell subtly like an orange grove.