I was thrilled to receive a package in the mail last week – generous samples from Josie at Osswald, who wanted me to take a test drive of the Atelier des Ors fragrances, which are new for 2015, along with some other things. The Atelier des Ors are not cheap ($295 for 100 ml), but those little bits of gold drifting around in the bottle must cost something, right? The nose behind the fragrance is Marie Salamagne, who seems to be behind a lot of mid-2000s flankers I’ve probably never tried, along with a couple of my favorite Guerlain AAs (including Laurier-Reglisse) and, more recently, some Jo Malones. I’m going to hazard a guess that Ms. Salamagne was a lot more jazzed about Atelier’s briefs than, say, Miss Sixty Rock Muse or Jaguar Fresh Woman. Full disclosure that I tried these samples blind without researching beforehand, because it’s fun, and that if there’s a more explicit list of notes than what I have below, I couldn’t find them.
I asked Josie which I should try first (here’s a running snapshot of snippets of our FB chat) and she named Rose Omeyyade. From Osswald: “An intense and bewitching velvety fragrance inspired by the precious and captivating Damask Rose. Named after the Umayyad dynasty, Rose Omeyyade tells of the grandeur of the lavishly decorated Levant palaces. A resounding ode to sensuality and refinement once captured in orientalist paintings.” It’s a delight. There’s a little bit of peppery-citrus in the opening but overall it’s a linear scent, developing rapidly into a dark, dirty rose, standing in damp earth (musk, civet and patchouli?) I am in general not a big fan of rose fragrances (with the illogical exception of vintage YSL Paris), so I’m not dying for a bottle of this, but the sillage is heady stuff with excellent lasting power, for you Big Bad Rose fans out there.
Next up, Larmes Du Désert “reflects the tradition of perfumes in the Middle East with the use of amber and Incense. An homage to the birthplace of perfumery. Gold, myrrh and Incense confer a divine ascendance to that beautifully crafted and resounding fragrance. A spiritual nectar blending the sensuality of noble amber and magical myrrh with the mysterious spiciness of incense.” Oh My. Does anyone remember that Baccarat Sacred Tears of Thebes thing? Les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes? Patty got ahold of a squidge and I remember thinking how beautiful it was… well, never mind because you can’t have any, and if you could it’s a bazillion dollars an ounce. This thing, on the other hand, comes in a big ol’ 100ml bottle! It’s a frankinmyrrh-spice blend of the sort that (clearly) I can never, ever get enough of, halfway between church and souk. My favorite of the line thus far.
Lune Féline – “a symphony of dark and luxurious notes inspired by the moon. The fragrance opens on vibrant accords of warm spices melting with intense and precious woods at its heart. A dark and animalistic scent based on vanilla pods and sensual orchid warmed with balsamic notes and musky accords, these notes convey a rich, gourmand trail.” This is wonderful. Bit of a head fake in the opening, when it gave a hint of powder, and then WHOMP with the smoke and vanilla. I wouldn’t describe it as gourmand; this is a dry, autumnal plume of woodsy smoke over dark vanilla pods. Smelling it I imagined it as a deep, greyed-out purple, disappearing into black. Really delightful, surpringly so considering the heat. Walking to work I thought, wow, think how great this would be in more appropriate, cooler weather, but I have to say it was pretty fabulous in 93 degrees, thanks to its refreshing lack of any amber-laden sweetness.
So – as I said, I looked all these up after I tried them, and there are a few left in the pile for another day. The last one I decided to sample for this post was an outlier; it’s clearly the most modern of the group, by which I mean no, thanks. It was amusing – I thought, okay, here’s the mass-market fruity one they threw in because someone said they need at least one fragrance in the line that a normal person would wear. It just seemed so out of place! Which it was, because when I googled it, it’s a Micallef – Azure Crystal Woman, which I’m also pretty sure is new. Neroli, bergamot, mandarin, plum, jasmine, monoi, musk, amber, vanilla. And man, is that thing sweet, although I’m sure the fact that I was measuring it against incense and smoke didn’t help. The nicest thing I can say is it does have very good lasting power, and that in general I find Micallef bottle designs charming. It’s not bad— but with $265 to blow on a fragrance, why would anyone pick this one?
In other news:
my daughter (aka “snake snack”) is doing much better, although the recovery from a copperhead bite is apparently going to be slow and tedious;
I’m rocking some wrap dresses for work and thanks for that recommendation, they’re fab;
Finally, in beauty notes, my summer lip these days is sheer coral or shrimp pink – think MAC Sunny Seoul or Flamingo. I yearn to call it universally flattering, since Louise and I are both wearing it. With my cool-mauve lip undertones, the result is a soft nudie-pink lip that’s cheerful and office friendly.