Look for the bear necessities

Founded in 1799, fragrance brand Atkinsons of London is relaunching after hibernation, says Emma Akbareian

Bears are a much-loved creature of the animal kingdom; think Winnie the Pooh, Yogi and Paddington, for example. Long before popular culture took hold of this creature, there was the Atkinsons bear. Although now largely forgotten, he  pre-dates his furry friends as the famed face of the heritage English fragrance house Atkinsons of London.

This summer, however, he has re-emerged from a rather long hibernation as the brand relaunches on to the perfume scene.

It was in 1799 that this particular grizzly first appeared on the streets of London as the mascot of the brand’s perfume store. In an era where Italian fragrances with their exotic ingredients were all the rage, these quintessentially British scents with locally home-grown materials and, of course, the lure of the big old bear hanging around outside the store, provided a refreshing change. The brand boasts a rather historically important list of famous fans of the fragrances including Napoleon, Lord Nelson and King George IV, who made Atkinsons the official perfumer to the Royal Court of England.

Following a commandeering of the brand’s factories by the army during the war, the company gradually fizzled out of existence until now. Its grand relaunch includes three collections.

The Emblematic Collection is an ode to the classic fragrances of the house and its flagship store on Old Bond Street. With its mix of juniper, rose and black tea, it makes for a warm, oaky scent which can be worn by both men and women.

The Legendary Collection celebrates the brand’s legacy with four heritage scents reimagined for the modern day. Finally, there’s the Home Collection of scented candles, which are designed to evoke the spirit of some of England’s finest spots including the Isle of Wight, Mayfair and Hyde Park.