Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme ~ fragrance review

Atelier Cologne, mood board for Rose Anonyme

Perhaps a day will come when I tire of wearing (and writing about) rose perfumes, but that day has apparently not arrived yet. This week I've been sampling Rose Anonyme, a fairly recent release from niche fragrance house Atelier Cologne. Rose Anonyme is personified as "a breathtaking seductress caught in a stolen affair between light and dark," in a narrative about a (female) jewel thief who leaves nothing behind except a rose and the scent of her perfume.

This fragrance was developed by perfumer Jérome Epinette and features top notes of bergamot, ginger and Turkish rose essence; heart notes of Turkish rose absolue, incense and velvet oud accord; and base notes of patchouli, papyrus and benzoin. Rose Anonyme is definitely rose-centered, but nothing else about it was quite what I expected. Not that it's a shocking fragrance in any way: it's actually quite pretty. It's the most feminine Atelier fragrance yet, released in tandem with its masculine companion Vétiver Fatal. I think I'd gotten used to Atelier releasing shared-gender scents, so that surprised me a bit. In addition, the notes I expected to notice most in Rose Anonyme, the ginger and the oud and the patchouli, weren't the ones that made a strong impression on me. 

Rose Anonyme begins on a more gourmand note than I would have anticipated: the benzoin may be listed as a base note, but it appears early and lasts throughout the fragrance's development. This almost vanillic note pairs nicely with the lush rose accord — I'm definitely visualizing a red rose! — for a velvety effect. If I inhale more closely, I detect a sharpish bergamot and some sheer oud and even sheerer spice. The oud and spice keep Ms. Anonyme from acting like too much of a sweetheart, but she never really turns naughty or mysterious, either.

This fragrance had above-average staying power for me: it seemed to warm and waft off my wrists and neck throughout the morning, giving off a bouquet of rose and ambery spice (and still some benzoin), and although it had less sillage in the afternoon, it was still present as a subtle layer close to my skin. It never got as earthy or exotic as I expected; if you're in the market for a dirty rose, you should probably seek out something like The Different Company's Rose Poivrée, or By Kilian Rose Oud, or even some of Jérome Epinette's other creations, like Byredo Rose Noir or Fresh Cannabis Rose. For a patchouli-rose blend, L'Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses would still be my pick, and for a sophisticated rose with light oud and gourmand notes, I'd recommend Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur.

But if I had to do an "if you like this, you'll like that" comparison, I'd say that Rose Anonyme would be a perfect choice for someone (like me) who used to love Bond no. 9's West Side but now finds it just a little too cloying; if West Side slimmed down a bit and picked up on the oud trend, it would recognize Rose Anonyme as a close relation.

I still can't say that I enjoy Atelier Cologne's recent releases as much as the brand's original collection, but Rose Anonyme is nicely done, and I'm always happy to see another good quality rose on the market.

Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme

Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme is available as 30 ml ($75), 100 ($130) and 200 ml ($195) Cologne Absolue ("concentrated at 18%"). A matching soap and candle are also available. For purchasing information, see the listing for Atelier Cologne under Perfume Houses.

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30 Comments

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  1. Lucy says:

    What a lovely review. I received a sample of Rose Anonyme in my birchbox last fall and was really happy with it. Lush and velvety were the words that came to me too. And elegant too – It paired really well with a cold, snowy, Thanksgiving holiday.

    I’m so glad you liked it. It’s odd, but I feel like my thoughts are validated with your good review.

    • Jessica says:

      I never get any good fragrahce samples in my Birchbox! They seem to have decided that I must really, really be a Juicy Couture kind of girl. ;)

      • Lucy says:

        The universe has just slapped me on the wrist for bragging. The Birchbox that came in today’s mail has a sample of Harvey Prince Ageless. Uggghhh!

        I have a whole collection of Juicy too, and I predict more just like it in the future. If you read the reviews you’ll see that we are clearly in the minority when it comes to sweet fruity florals. (At bb, not here. That’s why I love NST so much.). Keep your fingers crossed though. I got Joya Ames Soeurs once and the Rose Anonyme got good reviews so they might do it again.

  2. Joe says:

    You make this sound wonderful, Jessica, but — though I love rose fragrances — I ended up swapping Anonyme away very soon after acquiring it.

    It smelled pleasant enough at first, but then I think it just became another somewhat-syrupy rose with oud accords. When another fragrance buddy mentioned that she couldn’t get the association with Bath & Body Works out of her head, it was all over. I certainly don’t think it’s a bad scent, just very unnecessary in a world flooded with oudy-woody sweet dark roses.

    I’m always happy to try a new rose though. Recently, two of my favorites have been Mohur and the Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert.

    • Lucy says:

      Even though I liked this one overall, it does have a plasticky bit in the middle that is very similar to the one that seems to be in every BBW product ever made. Your friend was right on with that observation. Luckily, the plastic fades.

    • Jessica says:

      I need to try that Guerlain!!

      I don’t think Rose Anonyme is on the same level of quality (and creativity) as Mohur, or FM Portrait of a Lady… but it’s a little more accessible, but in style and in price!

      • Alyssa says:

        You must try the Guerlain. It is wonderful.

        • Jessica says:

          You know, I’m still not quite comfortable in the Guerlain boutique at Bergdorf, and Saks just gives me a big headache. But I’ll have to make a visit to one or the other, just for this!

          • solanace says:

            Do it! I’m craving a FB of rose nacrée more than anything right now.

  3. flannery says:

    Your impressions of this fragrance are very similar to mine, though I may like it overall more than your final judgment on it :) Till now I’ve only had two rose loves, Shiseido’s White Rose and the Different Company’s Rose Poivree, but now Atelier’s Rose Anonyme has given me another and these three are so different one meets a mood/time/place that the others don’t.

    I evidently perceive a lot more of the really lovely oud and spices in Anonyme, but that lush red rose is just as you describe. More, please.

    • Jessica says:

      Now you have a really nice trio of rose favorites! Well done! :)

  4. lucasai says:

    Hi Jessica!
    That’s a lovely review of Rose Anonyme. In fact I must admit that it’s my favourite Atelier Cologne so far and I fell in love with it that I bought that big 200ml for my own. Even if you say it’s the most feminine in the house I perceive it as unisex and something a guy like me can easily wear. I feel kind of sexy wearing few sprays of Rose Anonyme. And it’s longevity is, just as you said, very good. Projection is also fine.

    I reviewed Rose Anonyme on my blog right after it’s release. Mind if I post a link to it so that interested ones can compare our thoughts?

    • Jessica says:

      It definitely lasts longer than some of the earlier Ateliers, like Grand Neroli (which I really liked) or Orange Sanguine. Sure, feel free to post your link here!

      • lucasai says:

        That’s right. Grand Neroli is a gorgeous summer neroli. I wanted to buy a bottle of it but decided not too since it was very fleeting. After an hour it was gone.

        Here comes my review of Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme
        http://wp.me/p2x0R7-5U

    • Merlin says:

      Nice reviews to compare! I don’t find R.A either particularly sweet or pretty. To me its quite sultry – and dusky too. My other favourites from the line – though I only have little decants – are Orange Sanguine and Vanille Insensee, which are both more luminous scents, and somewhat sweeter as well. The oud in R.A. gives it a slight sourness, and perhaps a masculine edge as well.

  5. Sujaan says:

    I enjoyed both yours and Lucas’ reviews. Rose Anonyme took me by surprise. Never having been a rose perfume lover, I almost didn’t even sample it. I’m so glad I did because I love it. I just bought the new 100ml size. I’m getting more compliments on this than I have about any other fragrance lately, but this one definitely changes depending on who’s wearing it. I do wish it had just a tad more darkness on me, it’s slightly too pretty! But I needed a pretty fragrance that I adore, something that won’t offend so this is perfect. I think I could wear it anywhere.

    • lucasai says:

      Sujaan, I’m so happy you liked my review and that you found a friend in Rose Anonyme. It’s such a great scent.

    • Jessica says:

      Well, you know me: I think *everyone* should own a romantic rose fragrance (or two). And the new smaller Atelier sizes are perfect!

  6. I’m so glad to see you reviewing this one, Jessica! I actually was rather bored by the original Ateliers, even though I wore them all periodically, and Rose Anonyme made me like it despite myself. I was in their SoHo store relatively recently and a couple was there testing all the scents, and the man smelled great in Rose Anonyme, I have to say. I agree with you that it’s pretty but it’s a kind of pretty that wears beautifully on a masculine man as well. As if he had a flower in his boutonniere. :-)

    I find myself putting this one on more often than you would think. It’s light and uplifting and always appropriate and makes me happy.

    • Jessica says:

      Feeling happy is always the best result of wearing fragrance!

      You know, I still haven’t visited their NYC shop. I need to go soon.

  7. Annikky says:

    After Robin’s review yesterday I made up my mind to order the sample set from Atelier Cologne web site. All samples of the line for 15$ seemed like a really good deal until the website claimed that shipping would be something like 180$. Am puzzled.

    • Jessica says:

      What?! That can’t be right!

    • amarie121 says:

      Hi Annikky,

      I live in Texas and went to the site out of curiosity, to see how much a sample set would be. I ended up with no shipping charge, and it seemed like such a “deal” compared with your $180 that I bought a sample set!;-). I’m not sure where you live, but it seemed as though there are many price options for shipping. I hope it works out for you!

      • Annikky says:

        I hope it is some sort of a glitch in the system or maybe I did something wrong. I do live in Estonia, of course, so shipping costs are bound to be considerable from outside EU, but I order from US regularly and have never seen anything like this. Enjoy your samples!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I like Rose Anonyme, but not quite enough to buy it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my tastes have shifted away from rose in recent years. Never thought that would happen! I did enjoy my sample, though. It’s like a Middle Eastern rose cologne.

    • Jessica says:

      “Middle Eastern rose cologne” is a good way to describe it! and you’re allowed to have shifting tastes, of course! ;)

  9. nozknoz says:

    Based on enjoying a small sample vial of Rose Anonyme, I’ve ordered a decant to see how well it really wears. It struck me as a softer, daytime version of my favorite rose oud, the By Kilian. At the same time, you are right I agree with you that it isn’t just rose and oud, so I’m looking forward to immersing myself and seeing if I need more.

    I was disappointed in the Guerlain Rose Nacree on first sniff – it did not seem to surpass Kilian’s Rose Oud. Of course, I had high expectations of Guerlain. I should probably try it again now that it’s winter.

    Of course, I also love Amouage Homage Attar but only wear it at home. So far I haven’t been able to justify a bottle.

    • Jessica says:

      It *is* very wearable for anyone who likes sweetish florals. I can’t really enjoy strong ouds on myself, so I’d choose this over many other fragrances — although it’s not as complex/dramatic as it could be, it’s still very nice.

  10. irisfreak says:

    Does this compare (favorably or unfavorably) to any of the Rosine fragrances?

  11. MontrealGirl says:

    I love this perfume. I noticed you had no summary of the nose behind this perfume, Jerome Epinette. The following link gives a bit of a bio for this great nose: http://grasseperfumery.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/un-coup-de-chapeau-a-jerome-epinette-promotion-edmond-roudnitska-2003/

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