Atkinsons London 1799

Celebrating 200 years of perfume snobbery

There are a lot of reasons why people wear perfumes and why they choose a certain scent. Colognes or perfumes exude someone’s personality. The moment someone walks in the door, before we even see the person the scent gives off the first impression – “Oh, he smells delish!” “What was that!?” “Did someone spray on air freshener?” “Oh God, that scent is making me dizzy!” “Someone seems to smell fresh.” If you get good remarks, it makes you feel good. But the best comment would be “Someone smells expensive!” – and then you feel a certain air of royalty, as if they owe it to you that you actually give them a whiff of luxury. 

The famous Atkinson bear which has become the brand’s symbol through the years.

Recently, one of the most revered British perfume houses launched its signature collection in the Philippines through a posh tea party in Pangea, City of Dreams, where they gave us an olfactory understanding of what “perfume snobbery” is about. Established in 1799, the perfumes have been worn by British aristocrats like Napoleon the Duke of Wellington, the King of Italy, Queen Margherita di Savoia, the Tsarina of Russia, and the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt among others. A for Atkinsons – the brand with a rich heritage and a very interesting story behind it – was founded by James Atkinson. 

Fashion Decree – Part of The Legendary Collection, the scent is made of Pink Peppercorn, Patchouli, Chinese Magnolia and Iris

Open the site and you’ll be greeted by a quirky playful site that embodies the character of the brand, and well, a bear wearing a suit and red vest. What’s up with the bear? Story goes that in the spring 1799, the young Atkinson set forth on an enterprising venture from Cumberland to London, carrying with him recipes for fine scents and a sizeable quantity of rose-scented bear grease balm. Bear grease balm is a product of bear’s grease that is believed to help with the regrowth of hair for bald men. Atkinson displayed his product beside a “live” bear that, according to the books, was a loyal pet. This stunt drew the crowd’s attention and Atkinson’s shop was soon heralded as “that marvelous perfume shop with the most terrifying bear.” From then on, the bear had become the symbol of the house of Atkinson which, by 1826, officially became perfumer of the British Royal Family by King George IV.

Atkinsons signature icon “The Bear” together with Atkinsons officials (seated from left): Francis Labora, brand manager, Atkinsons’ Scent & Beaute, Inc.; Jan Leong, Regional Director of Perfume Holding Asia; Sam Yen, Brand Development Head, Scent & Beaute, Inc.; Mr. Charlie Jeswani, chairman of Scent & Beaute Inc. with son Ken Jeswani, CEO/President of Scent & Beaute Inc.

The brand was well loved but went into hibernation for a long time. In 2013, it was revived by Perfume Holding. According to Jan Leong, Regional Director of Perfume Holding (Asia-Pacific), when their company acquired Atkinsons, they didn’t know the rich history of the perfume shop until they unearthed some notes and recipes at the old perfumery. Today, those old notes have become the foundation of the 200 years heritage of the brand which is now ushering in a new century of perfume snobbery. Stories say that they have 285 sophisticated perfume recipes in their perfumery, and to meet demands as new shops opened abroad – in Paris, the Americas and Australia – the brand bottled White Rose, English Lavender Royal Briar, The British Bouquet, and The Odd Fellow’s Bouquet, among others. Classic scents but unique and powerful, the brand even exclaims that it is “the very essence of English fragrance.”

The Emblematic Collection

During the event in Pangea, guests were ushered into a new era of Atkinsons as the brand introduced The Emblematic Collection. True to the classic British flair and eccentricity, the collection exudes a personality that is, well, exceedingly English.

The highlight of the fragrance collection is the Eau de Cologne 24 Old Bond Street. Made from a cocktail of juniper, rose and black tea, the scent that made it distinct is the whiff of classic single malt Scotch (yep, so English). The twist comes from the quality of the “Cade oil’s woody, smoky scent, and the full-bodied singularity of

Black Tea and Cedar.” Named after Atkinsons’ former headquarters, the collection, they say, “very much lives up to its fabled address” and is a representation of the house’s “inestimable peerage than any heraldic crest or coat of arms.” The scent makes one feel “tailored” and “classy,” and just like the street, it makes one feel like “Bond,” as in 007, or Harry Hart in the movie Kingsman.

The perfume line will be available in Art of Scent stores in Manila. Do visit the flagship store located at the East Wing, Shangri-la Plaza, Edsa corner Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.

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