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Smell Test: Atelier Cologne Encens Jinhae

This fragrance drew a scattering of polite compliments from a majority of our judges, but it was also criticized for playing it too safe

The Verdict: This fragrance drew a scattering of polite compliments from a majority of our judges — elegant, pleasant, creatively diverse, polished, carefully and well constructed — but it was also criticized for playing it too safe, lacking depth (“the scent tends to collapse in wear”) and worse yet — “another copy” and “it actually hurts my nose.”
“Decent genderless oriental, woody, floral spicy, amber, leather, agarwood. The idea is good, but the scent lacks soul and richness for this kind of family.”
Artistic score: 6 Technical score: 6

“Fresh spices, bold woods and rich leather. Carefully crafted and reassuringly masculine for broad commercial appeal.”
Artistic score: 5 Technical score: 7

“A very nice, pleasant, fresh and distinctive colognelike perfume. It brings a smile with a lovely transparent note. A nice evolution with the woody and incense notes. A negative for me is maybe the feeling of lemon/citronella from the very beginning.”
Artistic score: 6 Technical score: 7

“Pleasant woody floral, smooth and very comfortable, but derivative and a little dull.”
Artistic score: 5 Technical score: 6

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“Wearable and polished but plays too safe.”
Artistic score:6 Technical score: 7

“Another copy. Coco, Narciso: Not to worry, this one actually smells better on tissue paper than on skin. I usually don’t wear tissues.”
Artistic score: 2 Technical score: 1

“So many ingredients, so little time! This fragrance traverses several distinct stages of evolution on the skin, each with its own personality.”
Artistic score: 9 Technical score: 8

“A perfume tailor-made for Katharine Hepburn — elegant, polished and assertive.”
Artistic score: 8 Technical score: 8

“Greasy turpentine black pepper surrounded with a very harsh bathroom-cleanser-type freshness. It actually hurts my nose.”
Artistic score: 1 Technical score: 1

 

ABOUT THE TEST AND JUDGES: This is a blind test, panelists are given vials of unidentified scent to judge impartially. Each of them gives a score ranging from 1 (forgettable) to 10 (unforgettable) and the numbers are computed into a final grade. The judges, led by chairman Michael Edwards, also make critiques, which are unattributed to encourage candor. The most promising scents are picked for judging in an effort to find and showcase excellence. WWD buys the products at retail, like any other consumer. The esteemed judges are: Michael Edwards, author of “Fragrances of the World” and “Perfume Legends”; Paul Austin, chief executive officer of sensory storytelling agency Austin Advisory Group; Jean-Claude Delville, senior perfumer at Drom; Karen Dubin, founder and ceo of Sniffapalooza; Victoria Frolova, fragrance industry analyst and Bois de Jasmin editor; Christophe Laudamiel, master perfumer at DreamAir; Nathalie Pichard, owner of training and evaluation agency Topnotes; Chantal Roos, cocreator of Roos & Roos Co.; Luca Turin, biophysicist and perfume critic for arabia.style.com, and Kevin Verspoor, founder of PerfumeKev LLC.