British niche perfumer Atkinsons revisits one of its most audacious fragrances in its 90-year history. Here is the remarkable story behind the fragrance.
Insider scent: Tulipe Noire (Black Tulip)
Launch date: May 1929
A symbol: Black tulip is a symbol for justice and tolerance in the U.K. But it is also a symbol for the most perfect and divine love between two people. The original fragrance was a tribute to French author, Alexandre Dumas’ compelling novel ‘La Tulipe Noire’.
An extraordinary tale: The novel’s main character, Cornelius Van Baerle, is a young, passionate tulip-lover whose highest ambition in life is to cultivate a black tulip, an idea thought impossible at the time. After years of research and meticulous study, he succeeds. However, just as he is about to enjoy his success, a bitter rival falsely accuses him of high treason. Cornelius is condemned to life prison.
It is in prison that he meets the jailer’s beautiful daughter, Rosa, with whom he falls in love. In a desperate bid to preserve the precious black tulip, the young man bestows its bulbs to Rosa, who, true to her word, keeps the black tulip’s heritage alive by growing the magnificent flower in secret.
Scent style: an alluring woody-floral with a sense of mystery
Notes: bergamot, coridander, tuberose, jasmine, ambrox, musk, cedar, sandalwood
A fresh blend: notes of spicy, warm coriander and sparkling, fresh bergamot intertwine with a voluptuous white floral heart to dazzling effect.
Backstory: James Atkinson opened his soap and perfumes shop in 1799 in London. He became the personal perfumer of the Royal Court of England in 1826. The perfumer was soon blending exquisite scents for the most aristocratic and exclusive clientele throughout Europe.
Emblem: the bear
A new generation: Atkinsons is creating scents for a new generation with an English eccentricity, style and whimsy. You’ll notice there is a sense of humour to the ad images and instore displays. It’s a witty sophistication.
Landmark: In 1832, the company built a spectacular flagship store at 24 Old Bond Street that boasts Carillon that chimes the hour to this day. The gilded building is now celebrated with its own cologne.
The bottle: the flacon is designed faithfully along the signature lines of the house’s original fragrance bottle. It’s engraved, gilded and stamped. The glass flask is an authoritative icon of neo-traidtional design
Atkinsons Tulipe Noire eau de parfum, 100 ml, (at Holt Renfrew)