Emerald Luck


– a review of Atelier Cologne’s ‘Trèfle Pur’ Cologne Absolute.
Most artists and certainly writers are a superstitious bunch. There are omens that must be in place before you can write, certain objects, rituals, things to drink, chew on, do to distract yourself from what you’re actually doing – which is to conjure word rabbits out of thin air where no rabbits were before…

I’m no exception. I have, as you know, the Holey Cardigan of Alexandria – a moot point in July – the ancient band T-shirt that states ‘This Blood’s For You’, the beatified iPod playlist that shuts up that part of my brain that would much rather procrastinate on YouTube …you get the idea. Since I usually write late at night, peppermint iced tea is very important. So are my two notebooks…one large blue journal/notebook/idea book that goes where I go and is used for all my writing projects, and one small brocade notebook I use for my perfume related stuff, where I only write in pencil. The pencils I also bite on while I write.

This past spring, another kind of superstition/omen arrived that has since become an indispensible part of Things That Must Be There So The Writer Can Write. I was, well, lucky enough to receive a sample package from Atelier Cologne, containing samples of five of their colognes along with the postcards used to illustrate them. Four of them arrived intact and were infinitely appreciated this past spring. The postcards were framed and hung on my wall.

The fifth – Trèfle Pur – arrived in a few dozen glass shards in the envelope, and had soaked into the postcard that illustrated it. When I realized from the copy that this was a clover-based cologne, I wondered whether that was supposed to be a bad omen?

What I did realize was this: Trèfle Pur was such a perfect, joyous, happy green I was heartbroken that it had shattered in the mail.

The Green – and green-eyed – Monster, that would be me. Say that magic word – my favorite color, my favorite perfume family – and this Ferdinande the Cow wants nothing more than to sit quietly under the cork oak tree and …smell the green…Green is my instant happy, whether we’re talking plants, clothes or perfumes.

All hope was not lost. I still had that saturated postcard. I never knew why, but I took that still damp postcard and promptly placed it in my journal/notebook and closed it shut before the luck ran out!

Since then, that postcard has remained in the notebook, still fragrant these three months later, perfuming my notebook and anything that went into it. It permeated another postcard that went on to other places, hopefully with a little bit of me and that four-leaf clover luck attached to it.

And every time I have an idea that needs to be written down, the beginning of a review, a musing, a to-do list, poetry I write in cafés while waiting for friends, rewrites of passages from my novel, quotes and poems from other books, dreams, doodles and aspirations…all of them carry that aura…of Trèfle Pur.

I tell myself that it’s lucky, you see. So far, I have yet to see any evidence it may be anything else.

I’ve always been on the prowl for the perfect, the flawless, the epitome of emerald green in a perfume. Not green-floral, not green-chypre, not green-woody, green-oriental, not vetiver nor oakmoss…but just plain, simple, peerless green. In my quest, I’ve come across any number of surpassing perfumed treasures and pleasures. I’ve loved many, and I still do.

Yet none of those green loves were quite so viridian, so fresh, so happy as this one. Technically, Trèfle Pur is a fougère, but this fougère has none of the barber-shop vibe of so many fougères, there are no definite masculine overtones or indeed any overtones at all.

Trefle Pur is verdantly perfect, and perfectly enough. The combination of bitter orange and violet leaves – not a whisper of floral to be detected anywhere – swirl off the skin so softly and sweetly, it’s all I can do to just sit for a Ferdinande moment and…smell the green. The combination of clover absolute with a hint of cardamom and more than a hint of basil, the bouncy, happy, warm drydown of neroli, patchouli and musk all sing their chorus around that luckiest of leaves – clover.

If you could bottle your anticipation and rainbow-tinted hopes for every spring, if you could somehow roll all the rain-soaked meadows and fresh-mowed lawns that steam in the sunshine following a summer thunderstorm into one, if you could capture the joy of nothing more nor less than being alive in the moment, just this moment…it would, in my mind at least, smell like Trèfle Pur. It never cloys and never bores me, and it never fails to make me happy in the moment, whatever that moment happens to throw my way. I can’t think of anything better for a spring day or a hot summer day, and it lasts beautifully for a cologne – I’ve detected it over four hours later, but really, I just needed another excuse to reapply for that one breathing, laughing moment life was just…perfect, I sat still for an instant and…smelled… the emerald green of lucky!

So why did I put that Trefle Pur-soaked postcard in my journal? To paraphrase from the ad copy…

“She had a good feeling about it. That’s the thing about luck, you feel it or you don’t. That moment, she felt it.”

So I did!

The postcard is still in my journal. All I have to do is open it, see the image below – and smell the green, the emerald green of…luck!

Notes: Bitter orange, cardamom, basil, clover absolute, violet leaves, Tunisian neroli, patchouli, moss, musk.

Image of Trèfle Pur postcard from the Atelier Cologne website.
Disclosure: Sample was provided by Atelier for review, but alas, it broke in the mail! Luckily, the lovely Undina saved the day and sent me a small sample!

Atelier Cologne Absolute Trefle Pur is available from the Atelier Cologne website, Aedes, Neiman Marcus, Luckyscent and First in Fragrance.

12 thoughts on “Emerald Luck

  1. Hm… It isn't too immodest to comment first on this post, is it? Well, modesty isn't one of my virtues so I'll comment anyway.

    Tarleisio, it was definitely luck when this sample broke – you got a very nice story out of it, a new ritual (which is very important) and got to try it after all!

    Trèfle Pur is also my favorite in the line. I bought a FB (a small one, but still) of it more than a year ago – soon after Neiman Marcus started to carry Atelier Cologne's creations. I didn't know it was a niche house, I haven't read a word about it before I saw those in a store, tried, liked and bought. My vSO insisted that he liked Bois Blonds more… so I *had* to buy this one as well. We share both.

  2. Lovely words, Sheila! I have been really happy with the entire Atelier Cologne line (I like to think there's some sort of serendipitous link between Aftelier and Atelier that makes me love everything from both of them!). I *think* Sylvie Ganter from Atelier and Mandy know each other, which would make it more plausible!

    I believe that love and luck go hand in hand- if you have true love for something, like writing, or being an artist, luck will find you. Somehow, some way. So mote it be.

  3. I have to say…of all the Ateliers I've tried – all except Vanille Insensée – none of them were less than stellar, and I'd wear (and have worn) each and every one of them happily! But perhaps Trèfle Pur most of all, since green gets no better than this! I see a petit Cologne in my future…

  4. I love how you described all the rituals a writer goes through before she finally settles down and puts either pen to paper or her fingers to the keyboard. I love writing until I actually go to do it…and then I start this routine of what I call “circling the wagons,” which involves pressing a cup of cappucino, and making sure the dishwasher is unloaded (because I can't write, can I, until that task is done?) and finding my favorite pen, and on and on until there is nothing left but to just do it.

    This fragrance sounds charmed indeed. Reading your review, I can't help think of Chanel Bel Respiro, which is a breathy, happy green. I suspect Trefle Pur might be a little deeper or more saturated than beautiful but fleeting Bel Respiro; I'll keep it in mind to check out.

  5. I really enjoyed this post – a great review AND a peek into your process. It's always interesting to go beyond the smell of a perfume, to see the roles fragrances play in everyday lives.

    I put on Trefle Pur before I started reading your post. I also was fortunate enough to get a sample from lovely Undina. It is indeed a “joyous, happy
    green”!

    I love your references to Ferdinand, a childhood favorite.
    I checked out book from the library so many times, along with The Duchess Bakes a Cake, and any Ezra Jack Keats I could get my hands on!

  6. Suzanne…OMG…'circling the wagons'…that describes it perfectly! It seems it's endemic among writers no matter what they write…We're like dogs in a dog basket…can't settle down until we've chased our tails a few times first! 😉

    I've only tried one Chanel Les Exclusifs, and that was 28 La Pausa (the very fleeting, perfect iris), but Bel Respiro does sound lovely! (If fleeting…;) )

    You and me, sweetie…we have a thing for the green…

  7. JoanElaine…isn't it wonderful? Such a happy, stellar shade of, well, green..

    I've loved the story about Ferdinand, too (and the Disney movie is a favorite of my son, the baby billy goat!), ever since I met a very famous and very lovely man who told me the story in the departure lounge at JFK airport in New York. I was nine, all by myself and en route to my grandmother in DK, carrying a plush, purple bull, and so he told me that story and a few more besides on the plane.

    Saying this as a Cow, however, it's taken me a long time to come to terms with that damn bee in the flowers…;)

    My favorite childhood story? Roald Dahl and 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. And another…'Where the Wild Things Are'.

  8. Lovely review of my favourite Atelier (though yet to try Vanilla Insensee). I normally have trouble with the bitterness of greens but Trefle Pur is just perfect in every way. Love the combination of notes, particularly the orange, cardamom and clover – made for each other! A full bottle is on my wish-list, I hope you get one soom too.

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