“Atlas eau de toilette conjures up my grandmother’s Christmas kitchen”

This evocative, cinnamon-rich scent from Laboratory Perfumes develops to a dark musk

Laboratory Perfumes’ Atlas, £65 for 100ml EDT
Laboratory Perfumes’ Atlas, £65 for 100ml EDT

My festive grumpiness traditionally treads a fine line between Alan Partridge and Victor Meldrew. I’ve mellowed over the years, but one Christmas convention still provokes my cantankerousness: TV scent adverts starring Hollywood A-listers. I’ve nothing against the scents themselves – just the adverts, with all their rugged glamour of Johnny Depp digging holes in the desert. I’m not immune to their appeal, though: Dior Homme held me in its heady grip for many years, until, by chance, I picked up an eau de toilette that set me free and spirited me back in time.

Atlas has top notes of cinnamon, orange and raisin
Atlas has top notes of cinnamon, orange and raisin
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Although Atlas (£65 for 100ml EDT) by Laboratory Perfumes claims to evoke the mountains of Morocco, it transports me back to a Somerset childhood. Its top notes of cinnamon, orange and raisin conjure up the olfactory recollection of my grandmother’s Christmas kitchen; the tang of hot apple pie, homemade mincemeat and winter spices. Wearing it throughout the day, I found that the aromas of burnt wood and tobacco develop – the memory of cosy evenings before blazing hearths – while its base notes settle to a dark musk with hints of patchouli and vanilla, as if a fine scented candle was burning as I voraciously tucked into my grandmother’s dessert accompanied by a sizeable dollop of ice cream.

The brand offers five unisex scents, all £65 for 100ml EDT
The brand offers five unisex scents, all £65 for 100ml EDT
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Shoreditch-based Laboratory Perfumes was started by former fashion distributor Aaron Firth in 2011. Its gender-neutral scents – there are five (all £65 for 100ml EDT), including the juniper- and verbena-laden Samphire and citrussy Gorse – are “scientifically formulated to react to the wearer and evolve over the day”. Having bought (and finished) two 100ml bottles, I can back up this claim. The best scents are personal time machines in a bottle. For me, Atlas is a sensory portal to Christmas past and, for such a grinch as myself, a surprisingly sentimental reminder of the value of family at this time of year.

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