Atelier Cologne Grand Neroli and Orange Sanguine ~ fragrance review

Atelier Cologne packaging

Atelier Cologne, a new niche perfume house based in Paris and New York, recently introduced its range of five fragrances. Atelier's signature concept is the “cologne absolue": fragrances inspired by the historic recipe of the original "Eau de Cologne" — a mixture of citrus and herbal ingredients — but blended in stronger concentrations for a richer and more lasting effect. Each of the fragrances in Atelier's debut collection is centered around a citrus motif, and each is intended to embody a "singular moment" of memory and experience.

My current favorite from Atelier is Grand Néroli, created by perfumer Cécile Krakower. Grand Néroli opens with a radiant burst of neroli and orange blossom (those two lovely, but differently-achieved, products of the same flower). This opening accord is soon pierced by more astringent notes of lemon and petitgrain, for a lively blend that mellows after an hour or so. Grand Néroli's middle phase includes a salty aspect with a very subtle “beachy” feeling, but it never becomes as marine-like as Le Labo Neroli 36. The galbanum seems to extend the citrus notes without turning them too green, and the vanilla and amber are detectable only as a gentle warmth in the base; this is definitely not a gourmand scent. Grand Néroli ends up feeling almost like a "skin scent" for me, if the skin in question were sun-warmed and healthy. It’s the most “feminine” Atelier fragrance, and the company's description alludes to the wedding symbolism of its orange blossom. However, it could also be worn by a man, especially once the initial floral note dissolves.

The promotional text for Orange Sanguine evokes a breakfast gathering on a sunlit terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, and this fragrance is certainly the “brightest” of the five. It was created by perfumer Ralf Schwieger (who won my heart years ago by composing Lipstick Rose for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle), and it’s an uncannily accurate representation of a blood orange: if you closed your eyes and someone waved an Orange Sanguine-permeated blotter in front of you, you’d easily believe that you were smelling an actual piece of fruit. Orange Sanguine’s composition captures the blood orange's sweet pulp, slightly bitter pith, and zesty rind all at once. It turns smoother and very slightly creamy after an hour or so, perhaps due to its notes of jasmine and tonka bean.  However, the lasting finish is still orange-y, a bit more subdued than the opening, with a hint of green tartness. Orange Sanguine is more vivid than orange scents like L'Occitane Ruban d'Orange or L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarine Tout Simplement, for example, and it doesn’t have any intrusive woody or spicy notes to distract from its fruity “hologram” effect (as Perfumes: The Guide would say).

The Atelier Cologne line was produced in collaboration with Mane and Robertet, two suppliers known for their focus on natural materials, and the scents do give the impression of utilizing a high percentage of natural ingredients. A fine attention to detail runs throughout the brand’s presentation, from the hand-applied leather caps and the removable atomizer attachments to the beautifully arranged and photographed still-life vignettes for each scent (credited to set designer Nathalie Cassegrain and photographer David Meredith). It’s not an inexpensive line, but the bottles are large, and the fragrances have above-average staying power for citrus scents. I've just started making the transition to lighter clothing (and fragrances) for spring, and Grand Néroli seems appropriate for this change, while Orange Sanguine feels like a preview of summer.

Atelier Cologne is carried by Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.  Grand Néroli sells for $155 (200 ml) and Orange Sanguine sells for $145 (200 ml).

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29 Comments

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  1. mjr17 says:

    Great reviews, Jessica. I have crush on this line right now: between the high-quality formulas and the lovely print ads & vignettes, Atelier Cologne is whispering sweet nothings to my aesthetic sensibilities. : ) And I recently hosted a split of Trèfle Pur, which was my initial favorite of the group and seemed just so utterly perfect for Spring.

    Interestingly, when I tested Orange Sanguine I learned first hand that yes, this line if chock full of natural materials. I dabbed some on my wrist and plunged my nose in to get a good sniff while it was still wet. And you guessed it, I ended up with delicious smelling Orange Sanguine all over my lips – and really, who can resist tasting it in that moment? Well, I did and I was surprised that it really tasted like blood orange or tangerine + flowers + perfume! I expected to taste chemicals, but it tasted edible, which was rather thrilling, actually!! (I still have not tasted the Trèfle just yet…but I might!) Still, a disclaimer: No I’m not recommending that any taste or ingest this or any perfume.

    I’ve not given Grand Neroli enough air time or skin real estate just yet to adopt it into my wardrobe, but I definitely plan on getting some Orange Sanguine (possibly splitting?) as the weather heats up.

    • Jessica says:

      Mjr17, I’ll believe your comments about the “taste test” without actually doing it myself! I’m no chemist, but these scents either *contain* many natural ingredients or else they *smell* quite natural. (Or perhaps both.)

      And yes, the company’s “aesthetic sensibility” is very well-executed all around. Even the texts are so well-written… not “Prix Eau Faux”-worthy at all! ;)

  2. Julia says:

    Thanks, Jessica! I have several samples of Orange Sanguine from my buddy at NM, and I really like it. It is on my “list” – I will happily split a bottle, too (julia941 at yahoo dot com). I am really enjoying citrus fragrances right now, esp. orange, and this one is great. It does evoke that feeling of breakfast on the terrace (like the postcard it comes with), but it isn’t the sea-salty orange of Eau des Merveilles.
    I also like the Trefle Pur and the Oolong Infini. I have only sniffed those and sprayed a bit from the testers, but I remember really liking the Oolong and I have such a hard time with tea fragrances.

    • mjr17 says:

      Sending you a message right now :)

    • Jessica says:

      Julia, Isn’t that postcard a nice idea?! Apparently Neiman Marcus included samples of Orange Sanguine in their last gift-bag offer; great timing, and a good way to try this fragrance!

  3. Haunani says:

    Jessica, these sound wonderful! Thank you for the excellent reviews. Looked up the rest; I like the sound of Trefle Pur, as well.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Haunani! I also have a sample of Trefle Pur; might review that sometime soon, too…

      • mjr17 says:

        Ohhh, Jessica, please do! Inquiring minds want to know what you think! I just love spraying myself crazy with it and walking out into sun-drenched Spring days all bursting with green shoots of new plants, flowers, grass.

  4. Daisy says:

    Wonderful review Jessica! I could not have described Orange Sanguine any better—yes it is a gorgeous full bodied blood orange!

    I received a sample from the lovely Julia (waving ; Hi Julia!) and it really is quite true and captivating. Really going to need some for summer—M : you are one step ahead of me…I was thinking I would really need to split up a bottle. Sounds like you and Julia and I need to have a talk about a bottle of this in our near future!!

    • If and when you do, please gimme a shout Daisy. :)

      • Haunani says:

        And let me know if you have a small amount needing allocation. ;-)

    • mjr17 says:

      Oh yes :)

      • Jessica says:

        I don’t need any, but just piping up to say, that the removable atomizers make these bottles really easy to splash or split! :)

        • Daisy says:

          well dang! this just gets better and better!! :-)

          • RusticDove says:

            If a split does materialize, and there’s room, I would love to be ‘in’! ;-)

  5. RusticDove says:

    I have really been craving citrus fragrances with the glimpse of Spring weather we’ve had. These sound delightful Jessica – thanks for your reviews!

    • Jessica says:

      Rusticdove, I’m usually more of a rose/carnation/violet person, but I’ve been craving citrus lately, too!

  6. Joe says:

    I was part of MJR’s split of Trefle Pur and enjoy it a lot. It starts very TART and juicy (with a bit of the Calyx fruit salad vibe), then dries down eventually to a nice lightly spicy-woody scent. The drydown is very evocative to me of Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa. I think I may have overapplied Trefle once, thinking of it as a traditional “cologne type”, and it was really persistent and almost a bit much!

    I’ve been having a bit of a love affair with Orange Blossom lately. These both sound very nice, especially Grand Neroli, but I have so many of the type. I love and own Diptyque L’Eau de Tarocco and CdG Energy Series: Grapefruit (which is actually quite orangey), and decants of Escale a Portofino & Varvatos Artisan. And I’m soon getting a decant of the marvelous Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger. I’ve also had my eye on MPG Jardin du Neroli for awhile now and feel like I want a bottle. Thus, the tug of these two Ateliers isn’t that strong on me, but the beauty of orange and orange flower colognes is that there are so many that one is bound to be able to find one or several that speak specifically to you. I think the price of these per mL is actually very good, so they’re ideal for splitting.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi, Joe! I need to re-try the Trefle Pur. And for orange blossom, I really enjoy Jo Malone’s body products, although I prefer neroli for actual EDTs or EDPs on myself. Neroli somehow becomes more “part of me” than orange blossom ever does.

  7. Jill says:

    These both sound lovely. I do like citrus when the weather starts getting warmer. One of my favorite blood orange scents is Tocca Stella, but the Orange Sanguine sounds like quite a different take on it. Thanks for the reviews!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Jill! I like Tocca Stella, too — especially the candle and the body products — and I think this one is even truer to an actual blood orange.

  8. maggiecat says:

    Thanks for the lovely reviews! I’m on a neroli kick ricght now, and having a fun time sampling scents. I’m almost afraid to sample this one..pricey AND hard to find… but in my quest for the Perfect Neroli, I may have to go ahead and order a sample.

    • Joe says:

      maggiecat: Just FYI, I was recently very pleased retesting Czech & Speake Neroli. I wouldn’t mind a bottle of that one or the MPG Jardin du Neroli. The C&S isn’t inexpensive either, but you can get free samples (or at a low price) by writing to them at their website.

    • Jessica says:

      Maggie, There are a few nice nerolis out there! I like Joe’s suggestions. Annick Goutal Neroli is very pretty, too. And I used to have a neroli body mist that I loved… can’t find it anymore. It was from a very small company called Synses.

  9. eckerd says:

    I enjoyed Orange Sanguine but I will need to try a few more times to see if this would be a definate purchase for me. I smelled all the fragrances in the line and thought well of them.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Eckerd, I’ve enjoyed my little sample vial of the Orange Sanguine, too. It’s a promising line!

  10. 50_Roses says:

    I got a couple of sample vials of Orange Sanguine from Lucky Scent and have used one. It lasted perhaps an hour or so on me, after which I could not detect it at all. The scent is lovely (I love the smell of oranges!) but way too fleeting. I have had this problem with other fragrances before. It is probably one of the reasons I favor oriental scents–they seem to last longer than most others. Chypres also have good staying power. Citrus just seems to disappear on me.

  11. breathesgelatin says:

    I got samples of the entire line (sans Orange Sanguine, which I sniffed at Neimans and didn’t seem my cup of tea) from Lucky Scent.. Wearing Grand Neroli today. (It’s my second trial, already having tried Oolang Infini.) It’s so beautiful! Was surprised by the astringence at the beginning, but man, it softens and it is just pretty and it lasts a long time. I am almost thinking it is too feminine for me, though. So far I think I would pick up Oolang over Neroli. Although… the Neroli seems like it would be really easy to pull off when you needed be low key with scent… Not so much the Oolang.

    I hope you all review Oolang and Bois Blond soon!

  12. I love Orange Sanguine- It’s one of the freshest yet still warm orange perfumes I have tried for a while:0

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