Atelier des Ors


Image stolen from Atelier twitter.

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 Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 7.46.43 PMnamed 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.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 7.47.12 PMNext 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.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 7.47.49 PMLune 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.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 7.48.21 PMSo – 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.


  • Ann says:

    Hi, dear — I’m late as usual (but I have a really good excuse now as school starts next week here). SO, SO happy to hear your baby girl is on the mend and doing much better. Will keep the prayers and good thoughts going up for her (and you).

  • Dina C. says:

    I’m glad to read these reviews today. They all sound intriguing and pretty, though the Micallef is not my taste. I was *very* curious to see what you’d say about the. Larmes du Desert with its frankincense and myrrh, as compared to those notes in Eau D’Italie’s Baume Du Doge — a hilarious and scathing review you did long ago! Glad this one was a winner.

    I love your lipstick choice. My lips are very similar. Maybe you remember years ago bonding over our mutual appreciation of NARS lip lacquer in “hotwire”? This summer I’m wearing a Laura Mercier lip parfait cream in Raspberry Ripple.

    Just bought a Karen Kane faux wrap dress in forest green in the Nordies anniv. sale, so I’m totally in tune with your clothing choices, too!

  • Tena says:

    “Resin Whore” and “Snake Snack” made me laugh out loud – thank goodness my office door was closed 🙂 I am glad to hear that your daughter is on the road to recovery .
    Re: dresses – they are all I wear this time of year – I alternate between wrap and simple shifts – cool and easy to move in.
    Try Pink Plaid the next time you are in a MAC store – perfect nudish pink on me. I second Russian Red – great shade.

    • March says:

      Will do on the Pink Plaid! Lipstick is the only makeup I waste money on as a treat. And I’m glad I made you laugh.

  • Andrea DeVeto says:

    Love “Sunny Seoul”. And I’ve been coveting a wrap dress for a couple of years. Just need someplace to wear it, I guess.

    • March says:

      It’s hot here in the summer, and I prefer a dress to almost anything else. Left shorts behind quite a few years ago…

  • Tiara says:

    “a symphony of dark and luxurious notes inspired by the moon”….wait, what?! Lune Féline does sound lovely but I’m so confused over that phrase. Thoroughly enjoyed the snippets of conversation along with the mini-reviews. I’ve tried lots of the Micallefs over the years and only a few have been yuk so I’ll at last sample this one and Lune Féline as well.

    • March says:

      I know, I know…. I think I’ve developed such a tolerance for perfume marketing folderol I don’t even notice it.

  • poodle says:

    So happy to hear your daughter is doing better.
    These are tempting until I got to the price. Ouch. I think I’m going to be on a perfume spending freeze again for a while. Other things are popping up that I need to divert funds towards. They do sound good though…

    • March says:

      I hear you. I don’t have a ton of money to splash out on fragrance, since I have stupid expenses like, oh, rent and electricity… also I’ve been (gasp!) wearing the stuff I already own!

  • cinnamon says:

    Glad to hear your daughter is getting better. Only place the AdOs can be found here is Harrods. Ah, well. Will look out for sample availability. By the way, my lips sound similar to yours. Any red lippies you recommend?

    • March says:

      Harrods. Sigh. I love Harrods. Red lips? I could go on forever. And I have, if you search red lips on the Posse… I’ll see if I can find the link. My general advice is try before buy; and (like everything else) since we pull lip colors in the blue direction, I can wear warmer reds, and some blue-reds look straight up fuchsia on me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it ain’t red. I probably wear MAC Russian Red more than any, love the color and it stays. I also own and love Rouge Dior 752 and NARS Jungle Red. If you’ve access to MAC they’ve got fabulous reds (in varying finishes). Ruby Woo and RiRi Woo and MAC Red, Ladybug…. can’t remember the deal with MAC overseas though. They’re great value here but maybe not even accessible where you are.

      • cinnamon says:

        Found your red lippie post. Great stuff. We do have MAC here. I’ve been chicken about Russian Red, though. Will have to give it a go.

  • Donna says:

    Ooh now I have some new fragrance to get out and try! Sounds lovely.

  • Ellen says:

    Thanks to your amazing review, I would like to try all of them, but particularly Larmes Du Desert and Lune Feline. Where and when will we be able to get samples, if at all? I love smoke and incense, and myrrh, and, and, and….. Well, you get the picture. Wonderful review.

    • March says:

      Thanks, it was so much fun to try these (which isn’t always the case!) I know Osswald will sell a limited number of samples (they’re not in the sample business). I didn’t check, but Patty may have them over at Surrender to Chance as well.

    • Joey says:

      Hi Ellen – we sell samples at Osswald, actually! You can email me at josie (at) osswaldnyc(dot) com. =)

      Larmes du Desert is my favorite of the five!