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.



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.



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:

Fruit molasses or jam. Source:

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.



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.

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.

55 thoughts on “Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme

  1. A well-written review, dearest Kafka. Rose Anonyme is not my favorite in the line (in general, I am not a big fan of rose-patchouli fragrances; I own one — JHAG Lady Vengeance — am happy with just that one, and don’t really want another one). However, there are a lot of fragrances in the line that I do like quite a bit. Not every house or style is for everyone, and it they were, imagine how boring perfume would be!

  2. I haven’t tried Rose Anonyme yet, but I don’t think I’ve understood the fragrances I have sampled from Atelier Cologne (Oolang, Orange, Vanille). I don’t get from them anything especially innovative or beautiful or quality raw materials. I see, though, why many people can enjoy them: they are pleasant and inoffensive.

    • Utterly inoffensive for the most part, though I think Mistral Patchouli is one of the most…. well, never mind that right now. Generally though, yes, Atelier fragrances are utterly inoffensive. Whiter than rice, blander than bland, and with absolutely no luxe feel whatsoever to them. You’re right, there isn’t a sense of really high-quality, raw materials, and none of them are remarkable or distinctive, though I think Orange Sanguine’s opening 15 minutes is spectacular while it lasts.

      I would, quite truly, prefer NOT to wear fragrance than to smell of an Atelier one. It’s almost akin to anti-fragrance in my mind. Or perhaps the generic banality of them (and that revolting clean, fresh, white musk signature) just antagonizes me to a large degree.

      • I revisited Orange Sanguine when I was reviewing Classic Orange, just for the sake of comparison…well, I don’t think any comparison was possible.
        I feel disappointed about this line. In order to be fair, I think I should sample more of them and see if I change my mind (which I doubt).

        • I think Orange Sanguine devolves after the richness of the first 15 minutes, and becomes a very soapy, synthetic white musk citrus. It certainly lacks the richness of a scent filled to the brim with rich essential oils, no matter what Atelier may claim about their percentages. None of it felt luxe or expensive. I tried Von Eusersdorff’s Classic Orange in Jovoy and, you’re right, there is no comparison if you take the fragrance as a whole. The latter is much warmer, smoother, richer and deeper.

          One reason for the problem for you and I, imo, is that Atelier’s goal of creating “cologne-like” scents makes them all very thin, crisp, and light in feel. The other is their signature of a clean freshness. That said, I do think that Rose Anonyme is be a deeper scent with its heavy jammy, syrupy, gooey patchouli roses and that makes it feel different from their usually crisp approach and may be the one scent in the line that you — a massive Rose Lover — may like.

          • There are not many lines that master great raw materials, are they?
            Some brands use good raw materials in a coarse, linear way. Others may have the artistry but are stingy when it comes to materials. That’s why I rarely stray from certain brands when it comes to personal use.
            I will make sure I sniff Rose Anonyme. I can never sniff too many roses 😉


  3. After hearing so much about it I finally got to try this at Sniffa and my immediate first thought was “bathroom cleaner”. So Kafka, you’re not the only one who wasn’t wowed. I’ve tried it again since then and I still think of cleaning the house. It’s not awful but it’s not for me due to the scent association I get from it. I do have two minis of the orange and the vanilla which are just okay. I can see how this is popular it’s just not for me.

    • Heh, “Bathroom cleaner.” Ha! That sounds worse than my floral car wash freshner with jammy fruit-chouli and clean, soapy musk. Well, we can be weirdos together in unappreciating Rose Anonyme. Believe me, there aren’t a lot of us out there.

  4. K – I rather liked this, but it is one of those scents that I would have to wear on few occasions as it’s just too sweet for my tastes. I found that I rather like some of Atelier’s fragrances, especially Silver Iris which was one of my top picks for 2013. You’re just so sweet yourself that you don’t need all that deep, rich, jammy rose to add to it all. 🙂

    • I don’t know about my excessive sweetness, but the Rose Anonyme certainly qualifies! lol I’m glad you’ve found a few from the line to love so much.

    • It’s a hugely popular scent, so if you ever have the chance to try it, you should, especially if you love rose fragrances. After all, I’m in a distinct minority. 🙂

  5. I actually like the Atelier Cologne fragrances, clean, sheer, linear and the white musk does not smell soapy or synthetic or cheap to me. Are they safe scents? Sure, and I like safe scents better than many of the va-va-voom ones which I really could not wear to the office where I spend a good portion of my awake hours. I also like their simple packaging and the fact that the bottles have a screw top! My current favorite of the line is Silver Iris, with Sous le toit de Paris coming in at a close second. I also love and have 30 mLs of Rose Anonyme, Mistral Patchouli, Vetiver Fatal and Vanille Insensee. I am looking forward to trying the newest Cedrat Envirant. As to pricing, the 30 mLs range in price from $60 to $75.

    Regarding Atelier Cologne being carried at Sephora — the range is very limited at this time but I actually welcome its accessibility and I wish that more indie/niche perfume lines would be distributed by Sephora. I remember the outcry when L’Artisan became available at Sephora and I just did not understand what was so bad about that. The reality is that companies do need to think about wider distribution to help the bottom line. Also, Sephora has a wide range of products / brands that continue to be viewed as luxury / high-end (Chanel, Dior, Hermes, just to name a few) and Atelier Cologne is in good company. Would the fact that Amouage’s and Serge Lutens’ availability at perfume discounters like Fragrancenet make you think less of them and start to consider them non-niche?

  6. I like the original 5 of Atelier Cologne’s perfumes and their Silver Iris but other than the latter one I do not wear them myself. They make a perfect everyday office choice for my vSO – and Ilike smelling them on him. Rose Anomyme annoyed me. Not because of the smell – it’s OK, but because of the fake oud that somehow justified a price hike.
    If you were to compare Atelier Cologne’s and Odin’s colognes – which brand you dislike less? 😉

    • Odin and Atelier Colognes lack personality in different ways, imo. I haven’t done full tests on all the Odins to get a full handle on the details of the line, but I’ve tried about 5 Ateliers and was… underwhelmed. For me, they lack distinctiveness in character, and luxuriousness in feel. And the white, soapy, clean, fresh signature is really difficult for me. I don’t like anything that is soapy or with white musks, so I suppose that takes me out of Atelier’s target audience right there.

      They’re perfectly serviceable fragrances that are pleasant enough for the most part, but they don’t seem remotely special or have the personality that niche perfumes are meant to have. They’re like the Anti-Amouage, and that is fine. I can see why they’re so popular. But they aren’t for me.

      • Do you ever wear anything light, cologne-like? Any of Aqua Allegorias or Jo Malone? Is there anything in that genre that you consider special?

        • No. To all the questions above. If I wear cologne, it certainly doesn’t fall into the category of something like an Aqua Allegoria and most definitely nothing like …. *shudder* Jo Malone.

          • You were quick with your NOs, but then you contradicted yourself “If I wear cologne…” – so, you do wear some colognes? Which ones? What is your example of a good cologne, with character?

          • It’s not a contradiction. You asked if I wear anything light, anything like a Jo Malone, or if I find any of those special. No to all of that. I don’t find them special, not even remotely. And I don’t wear that sort of light “fragrance.” I wear something like Karl Lagerfeld’s “cologne” is technically in that category, but it is an oriental 1970s powerhouse that is a masculine twist on Shalimar. Vintage Habit Rouge could also be technically classified as a “cologne,” and even has the word as part of its name, but it too is a rich, opulent scent. That is the sort of “cologne” that I wear and enjoy. My views on something like a Jo Malone, some Jean-Claude Ellena creations, and the Acqua Allegorias should probably be left unstated for the sake of politeness. Bottom line, I consider them scented water.

          • You couldn’t possibly think that my question about “anything light” included only the two brands that I gave as an example in the next sentence, could you? 😉

            I tried to confirm my suspicion that you do not like that genre in principle. But then is it fair for you to pass a judgement on any of the perfumes made in that genre: orientals they are not and nobody promised them to be anything but colognes? You do not have to like all the genres or wear them yourself, but if you denounce the whole genre and do not have in mind any examples of good creations in the genre (as you stated it yourself, those that you mentioned maybe just technically can be put in that category), reviews on any colognes will be tainted by your dislike for the genre, won’t it?

            I’m not trying to tell you what to write in your blog. But since you’re doing that for your readers, now I’m curious: are you trying to persuade your readers not to use any colognes? Do you think that this genre should be completely eliminated?

          • Undina, I make my views very clear in my reviews, as well as my definitional standards. I provide comparative quotes or links from a number of sites, or present the other side of the picture, as I did here. I made a point of saying that everyone likes the scent. I specified how the entire Fragrantica listing had only one single negative review. You may think of Atelier Colognes as “colognes,” but they are not by the standards of a Jo Malone or Acqua Allegoria. If you will note, I have not reviewed the latter brands or types at all. I do not review standard colognes like a Jo Malone because that is going too far for me.

            You are being intentionally disingenuous at trying to equate Atelier Colognes with the traditional genre. It is false equivalency, and you can look up that term if you do not know what it means, but in a nutshell, it is a logical fallacy where there appears to be a logical equivalence between two opposing arguments, when in fact there is none. Atelier Colognes may have the word “cologne” in their name, but they claim to be ultra-concentrated scents with a much touted eau de parfum richness. They vaunt their 18% essential oils and how they are meant to be absolutes, despite having a clean signature. You are comparing them to regular colognes when the company’s stated purpose is to be anything BUT that. I don’t review regular colognes or things like Jean-Claude Ellena’s traditional take on the genre. Atelier claims it is not a regular cologne, but something the equivalent of a complex eau de parfum. I am taking it at their word, and categorizing them as they demand, and not as a Jo Malone.

            Furthermore, my readers can make their own judgments based on my clearly stated preferences for certain things but most of all, by the perspective that I provide from everyone else. It is hardly as though I reviewed Rose Anonyme, just said my piece, and pretended as if it were the main consensus on the scent. I repeatedly noted how my view was very far from that of the majority and provided a link to where people can look up all those overwhelmingly positive reviews. I provide a very explicit context, and the other side as well as where I fit into the overall scheme of things. The fact that you are intentionally overlooking that aspect of ALL my reviews in general seems to imply that you are passing judgment based on your own love for the genre, but without taking into consideration the whole picture.

            I am very glad that you are not telling me what to write or review on my own blog. I shall continue to do as I see fit, and as I wish. You are obviously quite free to take it or leave it based on what you see fit.

  7. I liked Rose Anonyme (as a newbie, I’m still excited to find a rose that doesn’t go sour on me), but I must be anosmic to the musk in this line. RA was a skin scent in less than an hour on me, and gone completely after three hours. Orange Sanguine had that great opening, and then was gone after about 15 minutes. The only ones I really disliked were Mistral Patchouli and Ambre Nue (I have trouble with pepper), but they’re all so fleeting on me that I’d never shell out that kind of money for them. On the other hand, I never had to worry about scrubbing them off!

    • My word, they are really, REALLY fleeting on you! Generally, the Atelier line seems to give people a lot of hours, no doubt due, in part, to that signature accord they use in the base. Perhaps you are anosmic to the white, clean musk. Hm, interesting. Well, as you noted, money saved.

  8. Hi Kafka….As for Atelier…Grand Neroli and.Orange Sanguine are my favorites. However…Rose Anonyme….it is horrible. I have yet to smell any rose fragrance on woman that is remotely sexy…..this perfume like every other rose fragrance…it evokes the image of doiles, yellowed lace, dusty antiques, Victorian architecture and napthalene.

    A rose is indeed beautiful and smells seductive in its native plant formation….but something is always lost in its perfume translation rendering it an almost preserved in formaldedyde note…to me.
    Granny Panty.


    • “Granny Panty.” Fascinating. I’m now utterly intrigued by the fact that every rose smells wonky to you! I’m assuming that applies when the perfume is either on your skin or on someone else’s? Rose scents are tricky for me as well, but I have found a few I love a lot and are really deep, rich roses (Alahine, for example, though that is a super Moroccan spice market as well). It seems you haven’t been blessed with a few exceptions. I’m curious, are roses now your ultimate “No No” note? Does your wife wear any that you don’t mind?

  9. I’d wanted to try this but I think I’ll take a pass after reading this and go in search of more bouyant roses. 🙂 I like Sous Le Toit De Paris, but I like it because it smells like upscale laundry detergent to me (I don’t usually want to smell like laundry detergent, but it reminds me of an amusing afternoon at a chic hotel in New York that ended up with me on a service elevator with 11 male models…).

    • Sous Le Toit De Paris smells like upscale soap on me too, in part, but I lack your happy, amusing associations with it. That elevator ride sounds epic!

  10. Oh dear. Not a fun sniffing experience for you! I did sniff this once, and my response to the SA, was a polite no thank you, as I turned away and wrinkled my nose. There are so many better roses out there!! Thanks for sharing your experience and talented nose!!

  11. Kafka;

    I, like many of those reviewers you mentioned, have enjoyed wearing some of these Atelier Colognes and I do like a few you don’t . . . and have enjoyed Rose Anonyme as well. But disagreements aside, I eagerly await your bold predelictions and straight ahead honesty on what you perceive in these fragrances. I also admire your sharing of alternative views out there before you lower the boom on something. Do not be cowed by crowd! I really enjoy reading the latest Kafkaesque! Thank you for the originality!

  12. Kafka, I second your opinion; both Atelier Cologne and Odin houses are totally boring (except Odin 8, I think). Anyone wants to see what a GOOD cologne should smell like?
    You don’t need to go niche: reach for Mugler Cologne. Or Chanel Pour Monsieur Cologne (vintage). Or even (mentioned above) Guerlain Habit Rouge Eau de Cologne (vintage again).
    Now that’s what I call character. Great stuff, Kafka, as always.

    • Thank you, Bruno. I shall have to keep an eye out for Odin 08.

      I haven’t tried Mugler’s Cologne, but the other two you mention are great. My God, it’s been so very long since I tried vintage Chanel Pour Monsieur. So long. I shall have to remedy that sometime.

  13. I haven’t done much testing of this line, but you sort of confirmed my suspicions about it. I think the line definitely will appeal to a lot of people, but if you’re looking to make a splash I’m not sure you’ll find what you need in Atelier. But honestly, I think most casual wearers of perfumes probably are looking to smell nice but not necessarily stand out, in which case perhaps Rose Anonyme would be a good fit. I have to say, I quite like their Vetiver Fatale. Not full bottle worthy, especially when I have a giant vat of Sycomore (which I think has much more richness and depth) but I think had I not had Sycomore first I probably would have been tempted. Thanks for the honest, and once again, extremely well-written review of this one. I think I’ll give it a pass, especially as rose isn’t my first (or second, third, fourth, etc.) love as far as perfume notes go!

    • I think one has to genuinely love roses for Rose Anonyme, not to mention this type of fruited, purple patchouli. I’m consistent in having enormous difficulties with rose-fruitchouli soliflores that don’t have much else to go along with it, whether it is Puredistance Black, Malle’s Portrait of a Lady, Phaedon’s Rouge Avignon, Ex Idolo’s 33, Guerlain’s numerous takes on it, and every other brand’s version that I’ve tried. If roses aren’t your first or even your fourth love, then I wouldn’t rush out to test Rose Anonyme. On the other hand, if you stumble across it, you should try it to see why everyone else adores it so much. After all, who knows, it may end up as your first rose love.

  14. No, thank you!! I also have great difficulty with scents that “feature” rose as one of the main notes… It almost inevitably turns “pewwwy”, as my son used to say. Who in the hell would intentionally want to smell pewwwy???!! 😉 The quick step into memories of horrid, watery or, worse yet, potent and cloying rose scents women wore when I was a girl- Just the thought of those smells make me feel nauseated!
    For some inexplicable reason, I’ve never even been tempted to sniff anything from the Atelier Cologne line. I don’t even like the appearance of the bottles!

    And, lastly, Kafka, I SO appreciate the great detail with which you review every fragrance. At NO time do your reviews make me think that, even if YOU don’t care for how it develops on YOUR skin, you are preaching to your readers that they should either buy or avoid any scent!! You make no bones about the very obvious fact that YOUR reviews are YOUR opinion of each scent. As a relatively new perfumista, I use your blog, both current and archived, to educate and inform myself on a topic I love. And one constant throughout your blog has been to always include others’ reviews, positive and negative. We fortunately have free will, and the option to either read and enjoy your blog, as I, and countless others do, or simply avoid it!
    Keep ’em coming, Kafka!!!

      • I just don’t understand why a reader might feel that it’s appropriate to be so rude on a public forum… I truly feel that it is a privilege to have free access to your blog. I had checked out some other fragrance blogs, but none compared to yours- when you review a fragrance, you take it from it’s inception ( I particularly love learning the historical background of the company, the creator, even the purpose or intent of the fragrance!) right down through each individual note and stage of evolution on the skin.
        On a personal note, your blog has been such a source of enjoyment for me at what has been a very difficult time in my life, and for that, I am truly grateful. So I will, in turn, thank you for sharing your knowledge and “Kafkapinions” , as I highly value both. 🙂

        • Let’s focus on the positives 🙂 which in my case is having such a kind reader who appreciates the work and detail in the reviews. You’d be surprised how many people find my stuff to be “TOOOOOOOOOO DAMN LONG,” so I’m always incredibly grateful for someone who actually likes all the particulars. No, really, I am. My verboseness, OCD, and total inability to skip the details is one of the things I’m eternally embarrassed about. LOL 😀 In short, thank you not only for reading, not only for seeing the work and effort, but actually appreciating it. After a very long, exhausting few weeks, it means more than you can know. 🙂

          • NEVER be embarrassed, dear Kafka, for having the ability to accurately and intelligently research, review, and then work so hard to present the information to those of us who look forward to each new review!!!
            We are each given specific gifts and abilities, sometimes seen by the bearer as unwelcome, embarrassing, or personality flaws. Yet, oftentimes it is these very qualities that allow the person to shine in their personal and professional lives. Case in point: your obvious intelligence, your great attention to detail, your love of history, your wonderful, descriptive writing ability, and your passion for what you love all combine to form those facets of your personality that make you, and your blog, so AMAZING!!! I say, “celebrate that which makes you YOU!!!!” And I’m sure there are many others who would agree with me!! :-}

  15. Newbie here, to the scent game and to your blog, but wanted to de-lurk to comment that although we will agree to disagree a bit (so far, anyway) on Atelier Cologne, I LOVE your reviews–even the negative ones! They are so detailed and rich with imagery–the length of them is one of those most appealing things (to me, anyway). I agree with you on this scent, though–I actually despise Rose Anonyme–it’s one of the few Atelier Cologne scents that make me gag; it’s almost medicinal, blech; I also can’t stand Vanilla Insensee even though it’s “coldness” is appreciated by vanilla connoseurs–don’t get it. But I really love Orange Sanguine (going so far as to buy the huge bottle!) and I like Vetiver Fatale (although I tend to layer the two, because I noticed recently that if I don’t, the Vetiver Fatale smells vaguely smokey on me, but like faded nicotine, not wood–and nicotine is… not my favorite smell, let’s just say). The other scents are, as you mention, rather pedestrian/one-note but Silver Iris is a new one I quite like and I’ll keep trying others as they come, just in case I hit on another favorite. I can’t wait to read your take on Mistral Patchouli, which I didn’t hate–though it sounds like you did?–but that’s possibly because again, I layered it with the Orange Sanguine. I don’t get the soapy/musk thing with the Orange Sanguine, but my body chemistry is weird (why I’m new to even considering fragrances). Or it could just be I don’t smell it; who knows? Anyway, this has quickly become one of my favorite blogs and I love reading your reviews. I’ve recently become incredibly curious about perfumery, and finding your blog has been (and I suspect, will continue to be) an incredible education! TL;DR–love the blog!

    • Gah, I meant “tobacco,” not nicotine. LOL. Sometimes I forget English is my second language.

      • You may want to try Serge Lutens’ Chergui to decide how you feel about tobacco. The smell of tobacco and that of nicotine can be very different. So, too, are the ways vetiver can be (alternatively earthy, woody, smoky, etc.) You may be struggling with the smokiness of a particular kind of vetiver, but some tobacco fragrances don’t smell like that. They also don’t smell like ashtrays or cigarettes. Sometimes, they smell like fruited, unlit pipe tobacco, sometimes they are like tobacco leaves covered with honey in the sun, and, yes, sometimes, they can turn to an ashtray note. But it all really varies. I would love to see your reaction to the famous Chergui by Serge Lutens. That one may make a convert out of you. lol

        • Ooh I will have to try it! Thanks for your thoughtful response and all your suggestions–keeping a scent journal will be my new project. 🙂 Re Atelier Cologne, I have no idea. I gave my sample of Rose Anonyme to a friend who loved it so much she used it up asap & she keeps the empty sample in her clothing drawer so every time she opens it, she can smell it (apparently it’s still lingering!). But I really can’t stand it. As for the Vanille, I was excited about the idea of a “cold” vanilla, but it was too cold for me. What is really cool is the possibility that as I develop my nose more I’ll be able to tell exactly why I don’t like it, or what it does on my skin. I’ll have to try them again at that point to be able to articulate it. This is a total n00b question–do hormonal fluctuations change how something smells on the skin? I’d imagine so, but is it drastic enough to make someone like something one day and hate it the next time around? That might be why I get “ashtray” from their Vetiver one day, and a smoky sweetness on another. Thanks again for being so responsive and helpful!

          • Hormonal issues definitely impact how a fragrance manifests itself on one’s skin, but I’m not sure about day-to-day changes. I’ve read about long-term changes, especially with regard to sillage and how the skin can eat up perfume more with age/hormones, but I don’t know about day to day. One thing that can make an impact is dryness. Dry sky swallows up perfume more.

            Also, and I know this sounds totally crazy, but perfume can occasionally — just occasionally! — smell completely different on one of my arms than on the other. It’s like different notes come out. I tried a coffee/patchouli/vetiver/woody fragrance which was completely different on my left arm than on my right. Much smokier and drier on one, and it kept on happening every time I tested it, so I essentially had to write a review with 2 versions. Personally, I think it’s some sort of issue relating to the dry skin thing I mentioned up above, or possibly a PH balance as well. Who knows, skin chemistry is a mysterious thing. But I haven’t heard of the changes being as rapid or drastic as a perfume smelling totally different from one day to the next, then back again. Doesn’t mean that it can’t happen though!

          • Apologies, I totally miscommunicated that–I didn’t actually mean one day to the next, more like in the few weeks between wears when hormones may fluctuate. 🙂 Very interesting about one arm vs. the other, and dry skin being a possible factor… Thanks, as always, for your incredibly informative & thoughtful response!

    • First, I’m so glad that you have come out of lurkerdom! Perfume is always more fun when it is shared and talked about. Second, as you have noticed, there is no such thing as TL;DR in my book! *grin* I’m glad you enjoy the reviews. (I enjoy your screen name, btw!)

      It’s interesting to me that you, as someone who generally likes the line, struggles so much with 2 out of 3 of their big favorites. The vanilla one is quite loved, and Rose Anonyme is perhaps their most raved about scent (though it may tie with Orange Sanguine). I wonder what it is the perfume that your skin turns into a medicinal note. There is dryness from the papyrus, yes, and oud can sometimes be medicinal, but it’s a very different sort of oud than the kind that is used here. In fact, one reason most people love the scent so much is that the oud is so “refined” in their eyes and virtually non-existent. Hmm… I’m intrigued now. lol

      I’m glad Orange Sanguine doesn’t turn soapy on you, and also, that you’ve found a few in the line that appeal to you so much. Most of all, though, I’m really glad that you’re so curious about perfumery. I hope I can help you along in your journey and teach you a few things about what you’re smelling. The best way, though, is to really study the note list for a fragrance as you’re sniffing, and jot down your impressions on paper. Keep a scent diary, in a way, with both the note list and your own notes. Slowly, you can start to compare various fragrances in the same sort of genre in order to learn how to be able to single out a particular element, or to identify what a smell may be. And sniffing spices in your pantry, or items at spice stores is a big help as well! You seem to have the right mindset to do all that, so I’m sure you’ll be an expert in no time! 🙂

      Once again, welcome. And I’m truly so happy you decided to come out of lurkerdom.

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