In many ways, the success of boutique cologne maker Thomas Clipper is a uniquely British one: founded by a couple of young upstarts – Matt Brown and Antonio Weiss – taking on the industry juggernauts with a product that might make the world just a little better, and willed into existence by a combination of hard work and a cash injection from strangers on Kickstarter. It’s enough to bring a tear to your eye.
The business first came to life in 2014 and has since blossomed into a range of handmade eau de toilettes, bathroom essentials for all your shaving and grooming needs, as well as a line of luxury leather accessories in which to transport it all.
Like many independent businesses battling the corporate anonymity of the big brands, Thomas Clipper is all about experience over convenience, quality over quantity, and putting an emphasis on the humans behind their products as much as the products themselves – craft being the imperative word.
They’re also sustainable. The brand doesn’t make a big song and dance about it, but it has made a conscious effort to look after the environment, from using vegan-friendly 100% organic alcohol in its perfumes to consciously choosing vegetable-tanned leather over synthetic alternative because the waste story is better. It’s a small thing, but it matters.
As for the fragrances themselves, each of Thomas Clipper’s small-batch fragrances is developed in Grasse, France’s fragrance capital, and handmade in the UK.
It first created a buzz with its UNITE range of colognes. Inspired by the British Isles, a trio of scents named City, Coast, and Country were designed to be blended together by the user to create a unique cocktail of aromas on the skin. In a world where the fragrance market isn’t exactly known for its fun (no, Lynx doesn’t count), UNITE gave Thomas Clipper its own voice.
Now, it’s back with a new grown-up fragrance called Atlantic just in time for the summer sun.
Thomas Clipper Atlantic
The trouble with certain summer scents is they are simply too lightweight to tell their story over any length of time – like a cool breeze on a hot day, they seem to disappear all too quickly. Not so with Atlantic.
Atlantic balances the brightness of orange blossom and lemon with just a little sprinkling of musky cinnamon and most importantly the almost balsamic spice of elemi, which gives this fragrance a sustained length.
There’s a saltiness and somewhat brininess to my nose as well, a lick of coastal grass perhaps, but checking the notes this appears to be either my imagination or me willing the Atlantic name to be referenced in the fragrance composition.
But that’s perhaps the joy of this fragrance. It’s not an obvious one-note summer scent. It has more going on than just a spritz of citrus to accompany your evening gin and tonic.
On the backend, you do catch a touch of Tonka bean – that sweet custardy scent – plus robust cedarwood and a lick of something earthy, which I find out is patchouli, a member of the mint family that smells distinctly of wet soil.
It’s a carefully considered scent from a very charming independent brand.
£90; 50ml bottle of Atlantic premium cologne. For more information, see thomasclipper.com