It’s fair to say that I love fragrance, so I’m instantly excited when we launch a new perfume brand – and the latest niche fragrance house to grace the shelves of Escentual is none other than Atkinsons, a premium perfume brand with a 200-year history. And I’ve been lucky enough to try out some of their most iconic scents!
If you’re yet to try Atkinsons, consider this your quick whistle-stop tour of the niche fragrance brand…
Not sure which scent to try? Atkinsons Discovery Set lets you discover their best-selling scents for a fraction of the price. Here’s why we’re excited to try it:
A Quick Glance At Atkinsons’ Fragrances…
• Atkinsons 24 Old Bond Street: Inspired by the very first Atkinsons fragrance, English Cologne, 24 Old Bond Street is rich, warm and spicy overall. But it also has a touch of brightness and smokiness as well. Made for the gent who wants to add a twist of British eccentricity to his cologne, 24 features a unique blend of smoky, oak-casked whiskey and black tea.
• Atkinsons 41 Burlington Arcade: Designed to celebrate Atkinsons’ new flagship store at Burlington Arcade, this is a complex fragrance with a touch of citrus and spice. It opens with transparent floral notes, lifted by a sprinkling of subtle spice and tart zesty tones. Sweet, soft and subtly spicy liquorice takes centre stage in a fiery heart before a woody, ambery and musky dry down encapsulates the spirit of Mayfair.
• Atkinsons 44 Gerrard Street: 44 Gerrard Street honours the location of Atkinsons’ very first store. It’s a tech-driven scent that opens with invigorating eucalyptus, tart lemon and subtly spiced ginger for an instant freshness before a delicate and refined floral heart blossoms. Finally, a seductive and yet cosy base of amber and wood warm on your skin.
• Atkinsons Amber Empire: This is a warm oriental fragrance inspired by an exquisite, highly-decorated Chinese snuff box. A reinvention of Atkinsons’ 1927 Amber Empire, updated for the 21st century, this fragrance centres around some of the most cherished ingredients and perfume notes in Chinese culture – from oolong tea and Chinese magnolia to sandalwood and myrrh.
• Atkinsons British Bouquet: British Bouquet is a truly timeless scent. Designed to be worn like the finest suit of bespoke tailoring, the charming Eau de Toilette has a bright, vibrant citrus tone to start before it descends into an aromatic heart and a warm, smoky amber-leather base.
• Atkinsons Californian Poppy: This perfume somehow feels modern and contemporary, but also trendily vintage. A fun and free-spirited floral perfume, Californian Poppy is the wild child of Atkinsons’ current lineup. Vibrant lemon essence, delicate jasmine petals and a dash of pink pepper create an instantly upbeat tone before the signature poppy accord blossoms alongside a sunny orange flower infusion in the heart as aquatic calone adds a crisp freshness to the scent. A lasting smoky-woody muskiness lingers on your skin as the day wears on.
• Atkinsons Gold Fair In Mayfair: Gold Fair In Mayfair celebrates Atkinsons’ first year back at the historical home of Mayfair. It has an instant but subtle warmth when you first spritz it as aromatic absinthe and just-spiced nutmeg harmonise. A heart of powdery iris, spicy-gourmand cocoa bean and hazy sage is unveiled before a musky, smoky base rounds off this luminous, ambery Eau de Parfum.
• Atkinsons Her Majesty The Oud: Inspired by the effortless elegance of the English rose, Miss Gerturde Bell – a master of espionage who fooled individuals with her lady-like demeanor – Her Majesty opens with a pretty blend of osmanthus flower and sweet red berries. This initial innocence dissipates as a spicy heart of saffron, powdery iris and Turkish warms into a rich base of oud, leather and vanilla.
• Atkinsons His Majesty The Oud: Inspired by the image of King Faisal I racing through Egyptian deserts, His Majesty creates an instantly rich, smoky mood. Opening with a refreshing, subtly smoked lapsang souchong tea note, the fragrance welcomes a touch of warm spice with cloves and cade oil before the musky oud and rugged leather tone bursts onto the scene.
• Atkinsons Love In Idleness: This is the scent of English fairytale gardens, magic and mischief. The love potion in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ inspires the scent, and to me, the fragrance is like parma violets in a bottle! Of course, the star of the show is delicately soft but overtly powdery violet, layered with dainty green leaves, hazy florals and damp moss for an elixir of true love.
• Atkinsons Mint & Tonic: As you might guess from the name, Atkinsons’ Mint & Tonic is crisp G&T on a hot summer’s day, packed with several handfuls of fresh mint that you’ve crushed in the palm of your hand. This fresh, uplifting scent is made for summer; it’s a mix of mint, lime and grapefruit, poured over a heart of ginger, geranium and mandarin, tossed over a base of cedarwood, musk and vetiver – served shaken, not stirred.
• Atkinsons My Fair Lily: Seeking inspiration from the character of Eliza Doolittle in the 1964 musical, ‘My Fair Lady’, My Fair Lily is a very clever fragrance of contrasts yet harmony. Designed to reflect how the charmingly waifish Eliza Doolittle transforms into an aristocratic young belle in the cinematic classic, My Fair Lily Eau de Parfum contrasts fun, playful notes like rhubarb and summer rain with sweet, elegant lily and sensual musk to echo the Doolittle’s character arc.
• Atkinsons Oud Save The King: Oud Save The King celebrates all things British to reflect Crown Prince Mohammed Ali Ibrahim of Egypt’s love of the country – and his American movie star romance. Earl Grey tea opens before iris and a masculine leather suede tone warm on the skin. Finally, the base of sandalwood and oud intensifies this woody-oriental fragrance.
• Atkinsons Oud Save The Queen: Born from the forbidden romance between Crown Prince Mohammed Ali Ibrahim of Egypt and American movie star, Mabel Normand, East meets West in Oud Save The Queen. Citrusy-green Earl Grey begins the love affair before an intoxicating white floral heart blossoms. Finally, rich and musky oud partners with guaiac wood to create a truly beguiling scent.
• Atkinsons Pirates’ Grand Reserve: If you grew up playing pirates, dreaming of setting sail to explore the seven seas, then Pirates’ Grand Reserve is the fragrance for you. It’s a warm, spicy amber scent with a hazy rum accord at its core. It smells just like a sip of smooth rum with nuances of chocolate and vanilla, aged in a splintering oak barrel that’s travelled through a jungle wonderland to be smuggled aboard.
• Atkinsons Robinson Bear: Inspired by Daniel Defoe’s famous novel, ‘Robinson Crusoe’, this is the type of scent to unlock your adventurous side. It’s surprisingly fresh, cool and invigorating as it takes you on an olfactory journey through lavender-like santolina, a chilling sea breeze-style accord and a powdery note of star anise before reaching a hearty-woody heart scattered with just-picked juniper berries. Finally, ambery labdanum and oakmoss warm on the skin, teasing you and inviting you to take an adventure of your own.
• Atkinsons Rose Rhapsody: This Atkinsons perfume is centred around a Turkish rose and exudes luxury. It starts surprisingly bright, fresh and juicy, but it soon blossoms into a powdery, floral romantic heart as Turkish rose petals scatter over jasmine and patchouli. The fragrance has a deeper, darker tone as it’s given an oriental reworking with smoky, woody leather facets.
• Atkinsons Scilly Neroli: Scilly Neroli is a fragrance born of the place where South meets North. It carries the warm, velvety sun-drenched petals of the Mediterranean to the Scilly Isles of the North Atlantic, where cooler winds blow. Scilly Neroli is a scent of opposites; it opens with zesty lemon and green, woody petitgrain, chilled by an aquatic Atlantic spume accord. Citrusy neroli, sweet orange blossom and opulent sambac jasmine greet you before ambergris and patchouli ground the fragrance.
• Atkinsons The Big Bad Cedar: Atkinsons’ brooding and enigmatic fragrance is the scent of literary antihero Heathcliff. It’s the scent that captures the energy of the Scottish Highlands and the ruggedness of the Yorkshire moors. It’s a deep woody fragrance with an aromatic twist, traveling through spices and aromatics to reach a strong, sturdy Virginia Cedarwood heart, against a backdrop of moss-covered cashmeran.
• Atkinsons The Excelsior Bouquet: The Excelsior Bouquet commemorates the first non-stop flight over the Atlantic; it’s the fragrance of modern aviation. The scent smells like cold air on metal, the cosiness of the cockpit, the scent of all-leather aviator jackets. It’s fresh and uplifting at first, warm and exhilarating in the middle, and cosy and leather-heavy in the base.
• Atkinsons The Joss Flower: Another perfume to celebrate Atkinsons’ brand heritage, The Joss Flower is a spicy sprinkling of fresh pink pepper over a heart of rich, floral ylang-ylang, nectarous peach and intoxicatingly white floral gardenia. A dry down of Indonesian patchouli, warm amber and soft sandalwood adds an opulent, sensual tone to round off the fragrance.
• Atkinsons The Other Side Of Oud: The Other Side Of Oud is warm, heavily spiced and seriously sensual; it’s an oriental fragrance driven by oud but also boasts a hot spiciness. It starts with a warm trio of spices before welcoming an unusual heart of oud, geranium and coffee flowers. The fragrance rounds off with a smooth roasted coffee facet, laced with sweet vanilla and subtly smoked incense.
• Atkinsons Tulipe Noire: Atkinsons’ enchanting aroma is a mixture of hot, spicy freshness to begin as warm coriander and sparklingly bergamot unite before a voluptuous white floral heart takes over. Finally, the scent creates a sensual trail as elegant ambrox, creamy sandalwood, warm cedar, and soft musk unfold on your skin.
• Atkinsons White Rose De Alix: White Rose De Alix is a fragrance with a past; originally launched in 1860, White Rose was the signature scent of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia. But the original perfume was revisited in 2018 by expert perfumer Julie Pluchet. Her updated Eau de Toilette is an utterly romantic perfume; it opens with the sweet-citrus tones of raspberry and aquatic lychee before a heart of peony, freesia and jasmine petals blossom- but of course, the white rose takes centre stage here. Finally, earthy patchouli and white musk melt over a cosy base of sweet vanilla and leathery labdanum.
What’s The Story Behind Atkinsons?
Atkinsons was established in London in 1799 (that’s why you’ll sometimes see the brand referred to as ‘Atkinsons 1799’). Brand founder, James Atkinson, was a bit of an eccentric, at least by modern standards! Did you know that he travelled to London from the north of England, with detailed recipes of toiletries and fragrances he had concocted, along with a real-life bear? With such unusual belongings, he was always destined to take London by storm!
The fragrance house and its emblematic bear went on to become the official perfumer to the Royal Court of England, catering to the most aristocratic and exclusive clientele worldwide. Drawing on 200 years of English eccentricity and style, Atkinsons is ushering in a new wave of niche perfumery as the brand ventures into the 21st century. Today, Atkinsons offer four key fragrance collections:
- Contemporary Collection: A modern take on Haute Parfumerie
- Emblematic Collection: Designed to celebrate Atkinsons’ heritage
- Legendary Collection: Tells the tales of history through fragrance
- Oud Collection: Inspired by the fragrance that Atkinsons created for Crown Prince Mohammed Ibrahim
You Will Love This Niche Fragrance Brand If…
If you love fragrances that are a little bit different, have a strong sense of identity and are crafted by English perfume know-how, then you’ll love to explore Atkinsons for yourself.
Are Atkinsons’ Fragrances Unisex?
Here at Escentual, we believe that you should wear whatever fragrance you like, no matter who it’s marketed at. But if you want to know which Atkinsons fragrances are unisex, male or female, to help guide your shopping, they’re as follows:
• Unisex fragrances: 41 Burlington Arcade, 44 Gerrard Street, Amber Empire, British Bouquet, Gold Fair In Mayfair, Love In Idleness, Mint & Tonic, My Fair Lily, Pirates’ Grand Reserve, Robinson Bear, Scilly Neroli, The Big Bad Cedar, The Joss Flower, The Other Side Of Oud, Tulipe Noire.
• Fragrances for men: His Majesty The Oud, Oud Save The King, The Excelsior Bouquet.
• Fragrances for women: Californian Poppy, Her Majesty The Oud, Oud Save The Queen, Rose Rhapsody, White Rose De Alix.
What’s The Longevity Like?
I must say that I was really impressed with the longevity of all of the Atkinsons fragrances I tried. Of course, some scents are of an Eau de Toilette concentration, but even these lasted a really long time for me.
What’s Special About The Bottles?
Atkinsons’ flacons are all uniquely different – but if there’s one thing that ties them together, it’s their heavy, sturdy designs and luxurious boxing. Naturally, each perfume bottle is different depending on its fragrance and inspiration, with the design often tying into the story or scent within – including the clear glass flacon of Pirates’ Grand Reserve, which allows you to see the ambery, rum-like perfume within.
Admittedly, lots of Atkinsons’ perfumes feature transparent glass to allow you to see the tinted fragrance within. However, some are more opulent and luxurious, in particular the fragrances created to honour Atkinsons’ brand heritage. One of my personal favourites has to be the Gold Fair In Mayfair Eau de Parfum bottle; its unique design was inspired by the striking art wall found in the new Maison in Burlington Arcade, providing the flacon with a burnished gold finish.