Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme

Rose Anonyme via the Atelier website.

Rose Anonyme via the Atelier website.

There are some houses that simply leave you cold, generating an apathetic indifference at best, and a raging dislike the rest of the time. Atelier Cologne is one of those for me, a brand that I find whiter than rice a good portion of the time with perfectly serviceable fragrances that are burdened by an incredibly mundane, safe, pedestrian character. For me, they never stand out except, on occasion, in the absolute worst way possible. (A future review for Mistral Patchouli will make that very clear.) A few Atelier scents (like Orange Sanguine) have brief moments that are utterly gorgeous, but all of them inevitably devolve into an incredibly boring, linear singularity marked by a signature accord that drives me insane. Rose Anonyme is one of the most beloved in the line, and it is one of the better Atelier fragrances that I’ve tried. The scale is wholly relative, however, and “better” for Atelier Cologne means very little in my view in an absolute sense.

Atelier Cologne was started in 2010 by founders and romantic partners, Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel. It is the first fragrance house entirely dedicated to fragrances in the classic cologne formulation. As many perfumistas know, eau de cologne is typically the mildest, weakest form of fragrance, so the creators decided to take it one step beyond. They created a whole new formulation of perfumery called the Cologne Absolue which seeks to amplify the freshness of a cologne with the longevity of an eau de parfum through the use of a much higher percentage of essential oils. Instead of using the usual 5%-7% levels, Atelier injects between 12% to 18% fragrance oils in their creations, while still maintaining a certain freshness. In my opinion, they achieve the latter through what seems to be a signature base accord of soapy, clean, fresh white musk. It is a signature that I’ve found in all their scents, and one which perpetually gives me a headache. More importantly, it smells bloody cheap.

Rose Anonyme, 30 ml bottle via Amazon.

Rose Anonyme, 30 ml bottle via Amazon.

Rose Anonyme was created by Jérome Epinette, and released in 2012. It is an eau de cologne absolue that contains 18% concentrated perfume oils, a level which is akin to that of some eau de parfums. Atelier Cologne describes the scent quite simply: 

Rose Anonyme, a breathtaking seductress caught in a stolen affair between light and dark, Turkish Rose Absolute sparkles and intrigues beneath notes of spicy Ginger, enwrapped in sultry veil of Velvet Oud, Indonesian Patchouli, mystic Papyrus and Somalian Incense.

Atelier says that the full list of notes is:

Calabrian bergamot, Chinese ginger, Turkish rose essence, Turkish rose absolue, Somali incense, velvet oud accord, Indonesian patchouli, Indian papyrus, benzoin from Laos.

Source: nature.desktopnexus.com

Source: nature.desktopnexus.com

Rose Anonyme opens on my skin with a rose turned jammy and concentrated with the vile, dreaded, purple fruit-chouli. It is syrupy, excessively sweet, and smells strongly of grapes and fruit molasses. The duo are infused with a brief pop of crisp bergamot and, more importantly a whole lot of an arid, acrid papyrus. The latter smells both like ancient parchment paper and something wholly aroma-chemical in nature. Moments later, a soft, emasculated “oud” arrives, followed by the lightest whisper of candied ginger. Deep in the base, there are traces of a soapy tonality.

The whole thing is oddly acrid, jammy, syrupy, soft, intense, and candied, all at once. There are definite resemblances at this point to Tom Ford‘s Noir de Noir in the richness of the blood-red rose infused with a grapey darkness, purple patchouli, and the merest flicker of muffled oud. However, the Tom Ford fragrance feels infinitely more luxurious, rich, deep, and smooth. It has no jangly rough edges, or notes of aroma-chemical aridity. It is also not cloying sweet, as the purple patchouli is much better calibrated. Later, as Rose Anonyme develops, it loses that kinship even more, as Noir de Noir takes on a powdered, violet quality that makes the fragrance resemble Turkish Delight.

Papyrus plant via wikicommons.

Papyrus plant via wikicommons.

In a number of perfumes, the attempt to create a “papyrus” impression is done through the use of something called Cypriol, an essential oil (or, sometimes, a synthetic) derived from the roots of the Cyperus scariosus plant. The latter is known in English as cypriol and in Hindi as Nagarmotha, and it is a member of the papyrus family. (You can read more about it on The Perfume Shrine‘s analysis of cypriol.) The only reason why I’m bringing it up here is many fragrances that claim to have “oud” really don’t. Andy Tauer argues that the vast majority just use a drop of “oudh” in a cypriol base. On his blog, he once wrote:

Often, “oudh” is used as a tag allowing brands to charge more because somehow everybody seems to think that perfume lovers are willing to pay extra for a fragrance with oudh notes. This does not make sense as there is not much oudh in anything. Yet, consumers pay the extra$$$ and are told that they get the exclusive fragrance with this expensive ingredient. This is wrong.

Apart from a drop or two, the rest of the “oudh” is bases, often with cypriol, in varying qualities, far away from the “real thing”. The real thing does not find its way into perfumes that you buy in your perfumery.

Atelier Cologne has the honesty to admit that Rose Anonyme only contains a “velvet oud accord,” but given the inclusion of “papyrus” and the way that particular note smells on my skin, I’d bet the whole thing is one laboratory-driven concoction. You definitely smell “papyrus” in Rose Anonyme, but if you’re expecting a significant oud aroma — let alone a genuine one — you’ll be sorely disappointed. On my skin, Rose Anonyme is merely fluctuating degrees of jammy rose infused with purple fruit-chouli and synthetic, acrid “papyrus.” And I cannot tell you how sick to death I am of fragrances that are essentially rose-patchouli soliflores.

Source: dultmeier.com

Source: dultmeier.com

The things that comes to mind repeatedly in the opening hour of Rose Anonyme are candy and soap. The richest, gooey-est, chewy, almost grapey candy sitting side by site with a bar of floral soap, close enough for the candy to pick up its small traces. The two are wrapped in a dry, acrid-smelling paper that almost has a grassy whisper to it. Something about the scent gives me a headache, though I’m not sure if it’s from the cloying sweetness or the cheap white musk that I find in so many Atelier scents. It is a synthetic cleanness that is always soapy at its core and, in this particular case, smells like really strong, sweetened, car freshener aerosol. If you’ve ever gone to a car wash and gotten the “rose” spray option for the inside of your vehicle, you’ll know a bit of what I mean.

Fruit molasses or jam. Source: Shutterstock.com

Fruit molasses or jam. Source: Shutterstock.com

The sweetness is intense, though I blame some of that on my skin. It always amplifies base notes, including anything sweet, and purple patchouli in particular. That said, I’ve noticed that the more you apply of Rose Anonyme, the worse it gets. With 2 sprays from my tiny atomizer or the equivalent of one good spray from a bottle, the sweetness is far too excessive for my personal tastes, but not so much as to make me want to scrub off the perfume. With 3 tiny sprays, however, amounting to 2 sprays from a proper bottle, the perfume is utterly unbearable. And there is no escape from it either, because Rose Anonyme initialy wafts a good 4-5 inches (regardless of quantity) in a dense cloud of rose jamminess.

Thirty minutes in, Rose Anonyme is a syrupy rose patchouli scent, with a subtle note of biting dryness and aridity, and the merest suggestion of some eunuch, emasculated “oud.” Unfortunately for me, it is now also trumpeting that Atelier signature of clean, fresh musk which always gives me a headache. Ignoring my personal sensitivity to white musk, I always find the note to have such an incredibly cheap feel. Any number of generic, mainstream, $50 floral scents in Sephora have it, perhaps because it is a way to comply with the modern mania for “freshness” at little to no cost to the manufacturer.

Speaking of Sephora, Atelier Cologne is now carried there, which says something. And the line has increased its prices so that the small 1 oz bottle now costs $75. Atelier may pretend to be “niche,” but it really is not. Plus, Rose Anonyme has a wholly generic, pedestrian profile that imitates a million other boring rose-patchouli-white musk scents also carried at Sephora. The degree of my boredom knows no bounds.

Source: hqwallbase.com

Source: hqwallbase.com

Rose Anonyme is an extremely linear scent. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if you like the notes in question, but, in this case, I don’t. The main changes in the perfume are one of degree. The sillage drops after 90 minutes, and the perfume feels softer, more pillowy, though it is still diabetically sweet. It is a candied rose-fruitchouli scent with a miniscule drop of bergamot atop a dry papyrus base that feels peppered and a bit acrid. The whole thing is nestled in a cocoon of fresh cleanness. None of it smells opulent, luxe, rich or special to me. The blasted concoction turns into a skin scent after 4 hours, and continues on its singular path with all the determination of a red bulldozer. I’m so utterly bored, I contemplate making a list of how many scents out there might have been a model for Atelier to copy, but there are too many choices.

The one saving grace to this endless stream of banality is Rose Anonyme’s final drydown. In its last two hours, it turns into a genuinely pretty blend of a soft, dusty rose-patchouli dusted with chocolate powder. It’s lovely, and I wish it had been the dominant heart of the annoying scent. All in all, Rose Anonyme lasted 12.5 hours with 3 small sprays from the atomizer, and 10.25 with 2 smaller ones. I gave it two full, proper, focused tests, but I’ve also worn it a few times prior just casually for myself. (Only to scrub it off after 2 hours. That syrupy sweetness is revoltingly excessive on my skin.)

My feelings about Rose Anonyme are very, very far from the common consensus on the fragrance. It seems to tie with Orange Sanguine as many people’s favorite from the line. I concede fully that skin chemistry, amplification of the purple patchouli, my dislike of the note and of white musk, and my leeriness of rose scents are all to blame. However, I refuse to change my stance on Rose Anonyme’s utterly generic, common profile. And I point to Fragrantica where the (admittedly very positive) discussion of Rose Anonyme brings up a plethora of comparable fragrances. First and foremost, Juliet Has A Gun‘s Midnight Oud. Other names that come up are Tom Ford’s Noir de Noir, Montale Red Aoud, Thierry Mugler‘s Angel La Rose, Thierry Mugler‘s Amen line, Sisley Lune or de Soir, New York Oud, and several others.

Yet, Fragrantica commentators seem to overwhelmingly adore the softness and sweetness of Rose Anonyme. Even those who note the perfume’s linearity, its soapy quality, or the “synthetic” “metallic musk, love it. The one wholly negative review comes from “Sherapop,” who had great difficulty with the papyrus element:

Atelier Cologne ROSE ANONYME “cologne absolue” (isn’t that an oxymoron?) opens with a striking resemblance to Thierry Mugler Jardin d’Etoiles entry ANGEL LA ROSE. The first word out of my mouth was actually: patchouli. Then the rose swept in and I felt as though I really was wearing the Mugler flanker for a couple of minutes.

ROSE ANONYME continues to develop, however. What I perceive next is the emergence of a very strong and dominant papyrus note. Because focal papyrus is rare in my experience of perfumes, I have a very strong memory of it, and it appears most markedly of all in Jessica Simpson FANCY NIGHTS. I’d thought that the reason why I did not take to that perfume was because it was a vat-produced Parlux juice. Now, after sniffing ROSE ANONYME, I think that it must be the papyrus which makes me less than enthused about that perfume, too.

It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what exactly it was that I was smelling, but once I did, the connection to FANCY NIGHTS seemed unmistakeable.

One negative review, and that’s it. So, I’m clearly in the minority, and that’s fine. I find Atelier’s stuff dull as soapy dishwater, but Rose Anonyme is obviously everyone else’s rose candy.

If you like Juliet Has A Gun fragrances or are looking for a very jammy, lush, slightly clean rose scent, then you may want to give Rose Anonyme a try. It has an extremely emasculated (read, virtually non-existent) oud accord, but Atelier compensates by providing instead quite a bit of dry papyrus. It’s not enough to counter the diabolical intensity of the fruit-chouli, but that seems to be what makes the rose note so “velvety” in most people’s eyes. The perfume is definitely unisex (men seem to adore it), and has good longevity. However, I’d be extremely careful with the quantity that you apply if you want to wear Rose Anonyme to work. Also, if you have any issues with clean white musks, you may want to test the perfume first. However, if you’re not a lover of rose-fruitchouli or syrupy sweetness, then you can join me in the pariah’s corner and we can yawn ourselves to sleep.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Rose Anonyme is a concentrated cologne that comes in 3 sizes: 1 oz/30 ml for $75, 3.3 oz/100 ml for $130; and a giant 6.7 oz/200 ml for $195. You can buy Rose Anonyme directly from the Atelier Cologne website. In terms of freebies, if you buy the massive 6.7 oz bottle, the company says it will give you: “a travel spray refilled with the Cologne Absolue of your choice in its leather pouch engraved with your name or initials.” The travel spray is, in fact, the 30 ml/1 oz bottle. The company also sells various Gift and Travel Sets, such as a refillable 1 oz/30 ml travel size in a box with soap, postcards, leather pouch, etc. starting at $95 for Rose Anonyme, or a travel box of 7 travel minis that are each 7.5 ml for prices starting at $95. The company sells samples (in a set of all their 11 perfumes in small vials for $20), a $3 sample of Rose Anonyme, candles, and more. I can’t find shipping information or costs. As a side note, Atelier has a few shops: at least one in Paris, and also one in New York. In the U.S.: You can find Rose Anonyme at SephoraLuckyscentBeautyBarNeiman MarcusBirchbox, and Bergdorf Goodman (which also carries soap and candle forms). Outside the U.S.: In Canada, you can find it on Sephora.Canada at prices starting at CAD$80 for the small 1 oz bottle, CAD$135 for the large 3.3 oz bottle, and CAD$205 for the massive 6.7 oz bottle. In France, you can find Orange Sanguine at Sephora.Fr for €60,50 for the small 1 oz/30 ml bottle and €100 for the 3.3 oz/100 ml bottle. Other Sephoras may also carry it, though I didn’t see it on some like Sephora Mexico or Singapore. You can use the International Sephora site to look up the branch near you, from Greece to Spain. In France, Les Galleries also carries the Atelier line. In the UK, you can find Rose Anonyme at Selfridges where prices start at £100 for the 100 ml/3.3 oz size bottle. Liberty London and Les Senteurs only have the giant 200 ml size, but the latter sells samples. In the Netherlands, the Atelier line is carried at Skin Cosmetics, in Germany at First in Fragrance or Essenza Nobile. For all other countries, you can use the Store Vendor locator on the Atelier website to find retailers near you. Atelier Cologne fragrances are sold by vendors from Etiket in Canada to those in Tokyo, Shanghai, Poland, Italy, Russia, Romania and more. However, I couldn’t find any sites in Australia or the Middle East listed on the company website. Samples: a number of the vendors listed above have samples for sale. Surrender to Chance sells vials starting at $3 for 1 ml.
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Perfume Review – Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine: Liquid Orange

Liquid sunshine. Summer citrus in a bottle. A holographic, 3D jewel of orange. A kaleidoscopic burst of every glorious citrus fruit you can imagine, taken from its stem to its green leaves to the very tree itself, bottled in its purest essence. That’s Orange Sanguine, a concentrated eau de cologne from Atelier Cologne and a glorious, affordable scent that will give you whiplash from disbelief at its utterly spectacular opening.

Source: wallpapermi.com

Source: wallpapermi.com

Atelier Cologne is an interesting perfume house. Started in 2010 by founders and romantic partners, Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel, Atelier is the first fragrance house entirely dedicated to fragrances in the classic cologne formulation. As many perfumistas know, eau de cologne is typically the mildest, weakest form of fragrance, so the creators decided to take it one step beyond. They created a whole new formulation of perfumery called the Cologne Absolue. As the Atelier website explains:

[c]ombining innovative constructions and extremely high concentrations, Cologne Absolue is a cologne of character exalting the magical freshness of cologne coupled with the lasting power of eau de parfum.

In an interesting (and rather sweet) Vanity Fair article on the couple, how they fell in love, and their unique perfume creation, Ms. Ganter explains:

the “cologne absolute” … marries the richness of an eau de parfum with the airy freshness of a citrus cologne.

The secret, Ganter will tell you, is about using a precise concentration of essential oils—each cologne absolute contains a range from 12 to 20 percent—and extracting the best ingredients from around the globe to preserve their intensity and beauty. “We blend familiar notes of vanilla, amber, rose … [but] with fresh citruses, to give them a new and unexpected personality,” Ganter says of her growing scent portfolio, which includes such hits as the bestselling Bois Blonds, a warm blend of Tunisian neroli, Haitian vetiver, and woods; and Orange Sanguine, a sparkling whiff of blood orange, jasmine, and tonka beans, which won a FiFi award (the Oscars of fragrance) last year. [Font emphasis added to the names.]

In 2012, the French FiFi awards gave Orange Sanguine their Experts Award for a fragrance sold in less than 100 stores. It’s quite an achievement for a house that had opened just two years before.

Orange Sanguine Atelier CologneOrange Sanguine was created by perfumer, Ralf Schweiger, who is perhaps best known for his Lipstick Rose for Frederic Malle. (It is an atrocious scent, in my opinion. One of the very few perfumes I had to actually scrub off — and I can put up with a lot!) But Orange Sanguine is a very different matter, indeed. In an interview with CaFleureBon, Mr. Schweiger talked about his inspiration and goal behind the fragrance which is centered more on blood oranges than on the regular variety:

What was your inspiration for Orange Sanguine?

RS: Blood oranges are my favorite citrus fruit! LOVE them! They have this tart green spiciness and their gorgeous bloody color is amazing, not a uniform red when you cut them but this red marble effect… I prefer their taste to regular oranges, especially squeezed for juice.

What does Orange Sanguine conjure up for you?

RS: It is quite literal, my idea of what a blood orange scent should smell like: slightly tart but a little sweet as well, green and a little scratchy… as I described earlier, I have in mind a cut orange with this gorgeous color and pattern to it…

Can you describe the key ingredients of Orange Sanguine and their properties/specificities?

RS: Orange Sanguine is more of a concept and not so ingredient driven. I prefer a combination of bitter orange peel oil amongst others and a choice of specific ingredients to present the sensation of full-bodied tartness. The ingredients used to give the heart and base notes were chosen to help prolongate the freshness over time.

What sets Orange Sanguine apart?

RS: It is an accord made only of orange-type citrus oils without bergamot with its distinct floral character; it is not a classic cologne structure but uses modern style perfumery notes.

Orange Sanguine as an eau de cologne absolue contains 15% concentrated perfume oils (which puts it at the level of some eau de parfums) and contains the following notes:

Top notes : blood orange from Italy, bitter orange from Spain, red mandarin from Italy

Heart notes : jasmine from Egypt, geranium from South Africa, black pepper from Madagascar

Base notes : tonka bean from Brazil, sandalwood from Indonesia, cedarwood from Texas

Blood Orange via Fragrantica

The very first time I tried Orange Sanguine, I was so stunned that I actually said “Oh My God” out loud. I wrote it in my notes, alongside “WOW! Liquid gold! Sunshine in a bottle!” Orange Sanguine opens with a positive canon-ball explosion of orange that is so zesty, fresh, tart, sour, sweet, zingy, and multi-faceted that you can get whiplash from sniffing your arm. Instead of being unctuously thick, gooey or syrupy, the scent is so fresh and aromatic that it’s almost more like concentrated citruses. But it’s never anything as completely banal as orange pulp. You truly smell the bitter, almost spicy blood orange at its core, along with tart notes that feel like tangerines, the bitterness of the twigs and stem, the greenness that feels like the leaves from the tree, and the pulpy meat of the fruit inside. There is a sharply pungent smell of concentrated citrus oil that feels as if you just took a knife and sliced through the rind of the fruit, squirting its oils in the air.

Source: Shutterstock.com

Source: Shutterstock.com

If you took 15 oranges, rendered them into pulpy juice and tossed in a cup of the grated rinds, you still wouldn’t have this smell. You really wouldn’t. Perhaps if you took a 100 citruses — of every possible variety — condensed into the purest concentrated nectar, then you might have the base. But, again, that alone still would not be enough to encapsulate Orange Sanguine. The slightly bitter woodiness of the twigs and stems, the aromatic fragrances of fresh, waxy green leaves, and the perfect balance between sweet and sour, tart and tangy would also have follow. Orange Sanguine manages all that, and more. As the moments pass, even further layers seem to be added. I could detect notes that smelled much like sour, tart white grapefruit and — in a throwback to my old home in Montecito which had tons of the trees — even the fragrant, tangy kumquats that I used to eat by the bucketful. Then, 15 minutes in, the geranium appears, adding even further to the visual of green leaves nestling a glowing, ruby and orange gold compilation of fruit. The geranium adds a light piquancy and spicy bitterness that feels much more like the fuzzy green of the leaves than just the aroma of the flower.

Source: uuhy.com

Source: uuhy.com

The whole thing is so photo-realistic, it feels like a hologram. A dazzling display of citruses that are so fresh, it simultaneously feels as though they’re hanging straight off the tree and warmed by the sun but, also, as if they’ve been chilled in the fridge, dappled with condensation. Cool and crisp, Orange Sanguine never feels leaden, thick, syrupy or heavy. It’s almost bewildering how Ralf Schweiger made something that feels so concentrated be so incredibly airy and almost aquatic in nature. Honestly, I can’t say it enough: Orange Sanguine’s opening is truly a masterpiece, an olfactory achievement of breathtaking magnitude in those early moments.

Source: Dreamstime.com Royalty Free stock photos

Source: Dreamstime.com Royalty Free stock photos

I tried Orange Sanguine three times and, on one of those occasions, the glorious opening shifted into something a little rockier. On my second test, in order to assess longevity issues, I put on a larger dose — the dabbed equivalent of two medium-to-large sprays. And, less than 20 minutes in Orange Sanguine’s development, I got a blast of soap that was so extreme, I felt as if I’d been doused in suds. I’m not a fan of soapiness, and this was a huge amount! Perhaps even worse was a similar large blast of something so synthetic that it burned my nose. I was not happy in the slightest, especially as the synthetic note lasted for over an hour, and the soapiness even longer still. In fact, the perfume turned into something very much like geranium soap over an amorphous, slightly synthetic, generalized “woody” base. It wasn’t sandalwood in any distinct form; instead, it was just some sort of vague creamy, beige base.

However, on my first and third test, I used much less of the fragrance and had a slightly different outcome. There was no synthetic burst or burning of the nose. Soapiness was still an issue, however, on each occasion starting between the 20 to 30 minute marks. It wasn’t as hugely overwhelming as that one time and, though I absolutely despise “soapy, clean” fragrances, it was significantly more manageable. Still, there is no doubt that Orange Sanguine’s glorious opening does eventually turn in every instance into something very reminiscent of the most expensive, luxury French soaps. It’s geranium-citrus soap to my nose with, sadly, much of that photo-realistic, concentrated citrus nectar fading from its spectacular, dizzying heights and turning into something much more amorphous, vague and generalized. There is also a creamy base to the notes that starts to become more apparent with time. It’s never anything distinct like jasmine, vanilla or sandalwood, but, rather, something just can only be (poorly) described as “creamy.” The edges of the perfume have become softer, the scent feels richer and fuller, though it’s still an airy fragrance in terms of weight.

Pink geranium and its leaf. Source: alajnabiya.blogspot.com

Pink geranium and its leaf. Source: alajnabiya.blogspot.com

Orange Sanguine continues as geranium-citrus soap for several hours. The base feels like some sort of vague impression of gauzy beigeness. Eventually, during its final stage, the perfume turns into some abstract notion of orange muskiness, and that’s about it. There really isn’t a whole lot to the perfume.

Some people have talked about how Orange Sanguine is an orange fragrance mired in a wonderful, creamy sandalwood base. Others think that the base is ambered. I don’t think so — for either note. I truly don’t. At best, perhaps you can say that Orange Sanguine has “sandalwood” in its most synthetic, abstract, amorphous, artificial form. But, honestly, to my nose, there is no sandalwood, even in a synthetic form. And the same goes for the amber or any vanilla note. Whatever the synthetic base, the impression to me is just of vague, indefinite, indistinct, creamy, beige… something. In its very final moments, Orange Sanguine is simply some abstract orange muskiness. In fairness, it’s not supposed to be much more than an orange fragrance from start to finish — the interview with the perfumer, Ralf Schweiger, underscores that point. Nonetheless, Orange Sanguine isn’t a complicated, morphing, heavily nuanced scent beyond the citruses (geranium and soap).

There is massive, gushing, overwhelming love for Orange Sanguine — by men and women alike — but there are some minor dissenters, too. In a nutshell, the few complaints on sites like Fragrantica, MakeupAlley, or Luckyscent can be summed up as follows: 1) it’s an orange bomb; 2) it’s overly sweet (with one person finding it too bitter); and 3) it’s synthetic (someone on Luckyscent wrote: “smells more like my orange-glo spray cleaners after 20-mins. Too synthetic.”). On Fragrantica, those people who noted the soapy aspect or the synthetic element in the first hour didn’t seem particularly bothered by it. On Luckyscent, the issue of sweetness seemed to be a far greater problem, while on MakeupAlley, there were some minor comments about both soapiness and longevity.

Source: Twitter.

Source: Twitter.

Honestly, I think all of those points are valid and worth consideration. Orange Sanguine is not a fragrance for those who prefer their orange notes mixed with a variety of different elements; it is an orange bomb and it is largely linear. It also has soapiness — a great deal of it, in fact, if you spray on a large quantity — and that will be a deal-breaker for some, while others may adore the “clean” aspect that the soap imparts. Orange Sanguine may also be far too sweet for some, while too bitter for those who don’t like blood oranges (this was actually raised as an issue by one or two people who seem to hate that variety of orange). And, it does have a synthetic aspect that becomes more noticeable if you spray on a lot of it.

It’s also a fragrance that may have problematic longevity for a number of people. I’ve read a number of comments about how Orange Sanguine only lasts a short time (between 3-5 hours). On me, with my voracious, perfume-consuming skin, I was actually surprised to get between 6 and 7.5 hours, consistently, depending on quantity and amount. I know one blogger who initially thought Orange Sanguine’s longevity to be its only defect but who subsequently noted that the perfume did, in fact, stay on for a surprising length of time.

Yet, despite all those issues, I found myself fascinated by Orange Sanguine and it is a fragrance that I would wholeheartedly recommend for a test sniff at the very least. For one thing, that opening is truly stunning. If ever you’ve struggled to get out of bed on a Monday morning, I think Orange Sanguine would be the answer. For another thing, my God, is it affordable for niche perfumery! The perfume comes in three sizes: from the very practical 1 oz/30 ml, to a large 3.3 oz/100 ml, to a super-sized, monstrously huge 6.7 oz/200 ml bottle. The prices are, respectively: $60, $95 or $155; €39 for the 30 ml small; or €90 or £75.00 for the large 100 ml. (Orange Sanguine is also widely available and is even sold at Sephora!) If you have longevity issues, you can buy the gigantic 200 ml bottle for $155 or £95.00 which comes to very little per ounce and can therefore splash away with reckless abandon. (In U.S. currency, the 6.7 oz bottle breaks down to approximately $23 an ounce, while the 3.3 oz bottle ends up being $47 an ounce — both are better deals, per ounce, than the $60 bottle which is 1 oz/30 ml.) Plus, if you order the large 6.7 oz bottle from the Atelier website, they will throw in the 1 oz/30 ml “travel” bottle for free, along with a leather pouch engraved with your initials. Granted, I know few people could possibly go through a 6.7 oz bottle of any perfume, but Orange Sanguine does engender incredible passion in some. In fact, one of my best friends in Denmark has worn Orange Sanguine obsessively every day for months and can’t stop raving about it. He had contemplated buying Frederic Malle‘s Bigarade Concentrée, but opted instead for Orange Sanguine. It has now become his signature scent, and I have no doubt that he could easily finish one of the mammoth bottles in a year or two.

All of that brings me to a few other points. Yesterday, I reviewed another well-known orange-citrus fragrance: Malle’s Bigarade Concentrée. It was a scent which engendered incredible apathy; I didn’t even find it interesting enough to hate it — despite reeking of cumin-inspired stale sweat and armpits on me, and despite having utterly atrocious sillage (with barely better longevity). But I want to explicitly state that the two perfumes have nothing in common beyond the use of an orange note. They are fundamentally different, with the Malle being a drier, orange-woody-cumin fragrance and Orange Sanguine being a photo-realistic citrus with geranium and soap. Also, whatever my problems with Orange Sanguine’s synthetic element and soapiness, I still would take it over the Malle — any day, hands down. In fact, it is a testament to Orange Sanguine that I actually pondered the extent to which I hate soapy scents, if I could get over it, and if the low cost would make it worth considering a bottle. The opening is really that fantastic!

Lastly, Orange Sanguine is an incredibly easy, uncomplicated, versatile fragrance that both men and women could wear. It’s also one of those things that would work well for the office as well, as its sillage is far from monstrous. In fact, I found the fragrance to drop in projection after the first hour and it stayed just an inch or two above the skin. It certainly won’t be something that perfume-phobes should object to; as one person on Fragrantica wrote, “[i]t’s the sort of thing that causes people who profess to dislike perfume to perk up and say, ‘Something smells good!'”

In short, if you like citrus scents or are looking for something fresh, zingy and zesty for summer, then you should give Orange Sanguine a sniff. Perhaps it will be too much for you, due to some of the problems I’ve noted, but it is a perfume that is truly worth exploring. And, if you fall in love with it, I have no doubt Orange Sanguine will become a summer mainstay. What an opening. What a truly spectacular opening!

DETAILS:
Orange Sanguine full lineCost & Availability: Orange Sanguine is a concentrated cologne that comes in 3 sizes: 1 oz/30 ml, 3.3 oz/100 ml; and a giant 6.7 oz/200 ml. You can find it sold at a number of places, starting with the Atelier Cologne website where the prices are, respectively, $60, $95 and $155 depending on bottle size. In terms of freebies, if you buy the massive 6.7 oz bottle, the company says it will give you: “a travel spray refilled with the Cologne Absolue of your choice in its leather pouch engraved with your name or initials.” The travel spray is, in fact, the 30 ml/1 oz bottle! The company also sells various Gift and Travel Sets that you may want to check out, such as a refillable 1 oz/30 ml travel size in a box with soap, postcards, leather pouch, etc. starting at $80, or a travel box of 7 travel minis that are each 7.5 ml for prices starting at $95. The company sells samples (in a set of all their 11 perfumes in small vials for $15), candles and more. I can’t find shipping information or costs. As a side note, Atelier has a few shops: at least one in Paris, and also one in New York. Other Vendors: You can also find Orange Sanguine at SephoraLuckyscentNeiman MarcusBeautyBarBirchbox, and Bergdorf Goodman (which also carries soap and candle forms). Outside the U.S.: In Canada, you can find it on Sephora.Canada at prices starting at CAD$70 for the small 1 oz bottle, CAD$100 for the large 3.3 oz bottle, and CAD$165 for the massive 6.7 oz bottle. In France, you can find Orange Sanguine at Sephora.Fr for €39 for the small 1 oz/30 ml bottle and €90 for the 3.3 oz/100 ml bottle. Other Sephoras may also carry it, though I didn’t see it on some like Sephora Mexico or Singapore. You can use the International Sephora site to look up the branch near you, from Greece to Spain. In the UK, you can find Atelier perfumes at Selfridges or Les Senteurs where prices start at £75.00 for the 100 ml/3.3 oz size bottle. Both carry the soaps and candles, but Les Senteurs also sells samples. In addition, I’ve read that Atelier is carried at Liberty London and Fortnum & Mason, but I don’t see Atelier Colognes listed on either of their websites. For all other countries, you can use the Store Vendor locator on the Atelier company website to find retailers near you. Atelier Colognes is sold by vendors from Etiket in Canada and Skin Cosmetics in the Netherlands, to Italy, Russia and Romania. However, I couldn’t find any vendors in Australia or the Middle East listed via the company website. For samples: you can turn to a number of the vendors listed above, or you can order from Surrender to Chance which is where I obtained my vial at prices starting at $3 for 1 ml.