Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve & Lune Feline

Today, we’ll look at two fragrances from Atelier des Ors, its upcoming, new Iris Fauve, and one of the fragrances it debuted last year, Lune Feline. The first is a floral woody musk centered on iris; the second is an intensely spiced and rather delectable vanilla oriental with a strong gourmand streak. Both fragrances are eau de parfums that were created by Marie Salamagne under the artistic direction of Jean-Philippe Clermont, Atelier des Ors’ founder. So, let’s get straight to it.

Iris Fauve & Lune Feline. Collage: my own. Original Photos: Atelier des Ors.

Iris Fauve & Lune Feline. Collage: my own. Original Photos: Atelier des Ors.

IRIS FAUVE:

Iris Fauve. Photo: Atelier des Ors. [Photo cropped lightly on sides by me.[

Iris Fauve. Photo: Atelier des Ors. [Photo cropped lightly on sides by me.]

Iris Fauve is an eau de parfum that will be released sometime in November. The press release sent to me describes the scent and its notes as follows:

For this new creation, Marie Salamagne utilises Musk and Iris, her favourite raw materials.

This very personal perfume is inspired by the mythological character Iris, messenger of the gods. The bearer of good news, Iris was cherished by Hera, the wife of Zeus. She also personifies the rainbow, known poetically as “the scarf of Iris”.

Iris Fauve drapes the skin like a soft and reassuring caress. It is a sensual composition. The palette contains smooth as well as powdery elements, with spices and at times a defined animalic presence. A refined fragrance, Iris Fauve is warm and enticing, offering comfort and elegance.

Top: Bergamot, Cinnamon, Iris
Heart: Patchouli, Haitian Vetiver, Cypriol
Base: Myrrh, Cistus [amber resin], Musks, Liatrix

I wanted to take a moment to explain “Liatrix” for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the note. Liatrix is a plant that also goes by the name “deer tongue.” An extraction of its leaves yield a resinous absolute which has a warm, balsamic, and earthy aroma that’s often compared to tobacco mixed with coumarin, hay, honey, and/or tonka. One raw material site, Creating Perfume, even mentioned baklava and raisins.

Source: naturalhdwallpaper.com

Source: naturalhdwallpaper.com

Iris Fauve opens on my skin with plush, fluffy iris infused with layers of sweet, vanillic, tonka-ish, and coumarin aromas from the liatrix. A soft veil of warm spices lies on top, hinting at cinnamon, but it’s such a quiet, gauzy note that its character isn’t strongly defined. The same thing applies to the secondary, supporting notes in the opening stage as well: the tiny vapors of bergamot that curl up briefly at the edges; the sweet, vaguely balsamic, slightly honeyed tobacco-ish note that whispers occasionally in the background next to something faintly powdery; and the dry woody-amber synthetic in the base. Like the bergamot, all these elements stir quietly, discreetly, and hazily, like leaves rustling from a passing breeze. The main landscape is a watercolour tableau that is centered almost entirely on fluffy clouds of floral-scented iris that are shaded with warm spiciness and vanillic sweetness.

Source: desktopwallpaperhd.net

Source: desktopwallpaperhd.net

Iris Fauve shifts in incremental steps but, like those leaves, the changes rustle instead of being anything solidly concrete. Roughly 15 minutes in, the whispers grow louder, suggesting something balsamic, honeyed, vanillic, and dark. Sometimes, they hint at tobacco-ish liatrix; sometimes, they imply either an ambery cistus resin, a spicy, woody patchouli, or warm musks. Everything is engulfed within the iris in such a way that the individual notes are difficult to pull apart. Once again, puffy clouds come to mind, but their edges and hues are slowly changing to take on silver, grey, white, brown, and a thin trim of gold.

Khol de Bahrein. Source: Fragrantica

Khol de Bahrein. Source: Fragrantica

Another thing that came to mind was how much Iris Fauve differed in its treatment of iris, vanilla, and amber from SHL 777‘s Khol de Bahrein. The latter skewed more gourmand; its amber was solid, clear, substantial, and rich; and the iris was paired with an even more substantial, significant element, heliotrope, which lent it both powderiness and a vanilla meringue quality. Khol de Bahrein was also a heavier, richer, stronger scent as a whole. In contrast, Iris Fauve is less ambered, less powdery, less golden, less sweet, and less feminine, significantly less so for each. It is not only drier, but it also has a woody (and synthetic) undertone to the bouquet that Khol de Bahrein lacked. Finally, it’s surprisingly airy, quiet, and discreet on my skin. All the notes, but the iris in particular, feel like cotton wool puffs rather than anything buttery, opulent, deep, or pronounced. There is a sense of restraint at play, not only with regard to the individual notes, but also in terms of how they interact, the fragrance’s balance of notes, its level of sweetness, and its overall feel.

Source: hdwallpapers4desktop.com

Source: hdwallpapers4desktop.com

Iris Fauve turns drier and woodier as it develops. Roughly 30-40 minutes in, the cypriol rises up from the base, followed by a note that smells like a woody-amber synthetic. The musks follow suit at the end of the first hour. The three together cut through the liatrix’s vanillic sweetness and start to change the fragrance’s focus away from a floral oriental or even a predominantly iris-centered floral towards the floral woody musk genre. 90 minutes into Iris Fauve’s development, the transformation is complete; the central bouquet is comprised in equal parts of iris, dry woods, and warm musks, then lesser amounts of vanillic sweetness, abstract spices, spicy patchouli-ish woodiness, and smoky woody-amber.

Midway during the third hour, Iris Fauve changes again. The woody notes not only overshadow the iris on center stage but increasingly, seem to engulf it completely. In other words, the tableau has changed away from iris clouds to focus primarily on the dry, dark, sometimes smoky woods below. The iris is folded within, but it’s a significantly weaker note and no longer the driving force.

Source: hddesktopwallpapers.in

Source: hddesktopwallpapers.in

That is particularly true when I smell my arm up close. There, Iris Fauve is a spicy, half-dry, half-sweet blend of dark woods, patchouli-ish woodiness, ambery resins, musks, and vanillic sweetness, all lightly streaked by a thin, quiet, mostly woody iris. Smoke and powder hover about in equally quiet fashion. Sometimes, the iris seems to fade away entirely. However, when I smell Iris Fauve from afar, the iris is still somewhat present and identifiable. The scent trail wafts an iris-y-ish woody floral musk, even if it’s quickly turning into a hazy, shapeless mass. The other notes are increasingly abstract: dryness, sweetness, powderiness, and smokiness. Occasionally, a streak of synthetic wood-amber raspiness runs under them.

In all candour, none of this does anything for me, but it’s a question of personal tastes. I’m not an iris addict, I’m not keen on the woody elements in Iris Fauve, and I found the arid woody-amber synthetic in the base too rough for my tastes as well. The other notes are too abstract to change the focus or to provide additional layers. After having tried all the Atelier des Ors fragrances, there seems to be a common aesthetic or character: they’re largely streamlined, linear fragrances that highlight two or three notes, while everything else is secondary (at best) and quite abstract, so seamlessly blended and with such a light touch that they’re essentially subsumed within the main bouquet. As I’ve said in the past, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a linear scent if you love the main or central notes. In this case, the nature of the woods is really not my thing, and they take over (on my skin) from the third hour until the start of the drydown.

Photo: Dove Voice via congok.com

Photo: Dove Voice via congok.com

Having said that, I enjoyed the drydown quite a bit. At the start of the 7th hour, Iris Fauve goes back to being a cloud, this time a golden one that is spicy, sweet, vanillic, and patchouli-ish. From behind the haze, glimmers of resins, myrrh-ish woodiness, and something musky peek out, but they’re nebulous and flit about without consistency. A light veil of soft tonka-like powderiness lies atop the cloud, while a distinct whiff of benzoin streaks below it. There is no iris in sight. At times, the bouquet reminds me of a woody (and more synthetic) cousin to Taklamakan, SHL 777’s lovely new oriental where patchouli, dark woody vanilla, cinnamon-heavy benzoin, myrrh, and incense smoke dance amidst a mix of different ambers and resins. Iris Fauve is significantly drier, woodier, less vanillic, and simpler in nature, but there is a resemblance nonetheless.

William Turner, "Sun Setting over a Lake," 1840. Source: Pinterest & unique-canvas.com

William Turner, “Sun Setting over a Lake,” 1840. Source: Pinterest & unique-canvas.com

Iris Fauve doesn’t change dramatically beyond this point. The golden haze is increasingly dominated by a dark, lightly sweetened, spicy vanilla, but I can’t tell where it comes from. My guess would be benzoin. On my skin, the aroma is much closer to benzoin than to the types of cistus (a variety of labdanum amber resin) that I have encountered. I would be extremely surprised if it stemmed solely from the liatrix, but who knows. The notes have blurred together beyond recognition.

By the start of the 11th hour, Iris Fauve is a simple ambery, benzoin-like, resinous vanilla with a slightly tonka-ish powderiness on top. It stays that way until it finally dies away.

Iris Fauve had very good longevity, low projection, and average to low sillage. I had a little atomiser spray and using several squirts equal to 2 good, solid sprays from an actual bottle, the fragrance opened with 3 inches of projection and 4 inches of a soft, gauzy, light scent trail. After 45 minutes, the projection dropped to 2.5 inches, but the sillage remained the same. About an hour and 45 minutes in, the projection was 1 inch at best, while the sillage was close to the skin unless I moved my arm. I was a little surprised, but Atelier des Ors specifically describes the fragrance as “drap[ing] the skin like a soft and reassuring caress.” You may want to keep that in mind. The projection hovered above the skin after 5 hours, but it took Iris Fauve 6.25 hours in total to turn into a skin scent. In total, it lasted just shy of 14 hours, but it took some effort to detect after the 10th hour.

Iris Fauve has not been released yet so there aren’t any reviews for me to share with you. I’ve read passing comments from the Pitti show that were positive, but no specific, detailed scent analysis. On Fragrantica, there are no comments at the time of this post, either, but there are two votes for sillage. They’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, one vote each for “soft” and “enormous.”

Georgia O'Keeffe's "Black Iris." Source: studyblue.com

Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Black Iris.” Source: studyblue.com

Iris Fauve may not be my thing, but I think it is a solid fragrance that is different and is likely to be popular. It isn’t the typical iris or floral woody musk; it mixes several fragrance genres or families, and has accompanying elements to appeal to a variety of tastes. They may not be the main notes, but they add to the overall landscape.

And that landscape isn’t the usual one. This is no cool, Chanel-style iris floral, nor a Dior Homme iris woody musk. On my skin, there was none of the flower’s common rooty smell, nor its occasional dank, stony, crypt-like, or chewed cardboard paper aromas, either. There isn’t the pure butteriness of Masque‘s iris fragrance, L’Attesa; this is darker, sheerer, and drier. Plus, as a whole, the scent is simpler and feels more austere sometimes, comparatively speaking. On the other hand, Iris Fauve’s darkness isn’t the campfire, ashy, birch sort found in Naomi Goodsir‘s Iris Cendré, and its musk isn’t the laundry clean variety that was there, either. This iris is etched with sweetness, spice, powder, and liatrix’s complicated tonalities, then accompanied by dark woods that eventually take over before the scent transitions away from all of those things to turn into ambered orientalism and resinous sweetness. The notes, feel, and overall development are a world apart from Khol de Bahrein, in my opinion, but that would be a closer fit out of any of the other iris fragrances that I’ve mentioned here. My only word of caution is to those people who, like me, are sensitive to dry woody-amber or woody aromachemicals: I would suggest applying a larger dose than your norm in order to bring out the other notes and to thereby minimize the raspy base note. It helped somewhat for me.

In short, if you’re a hardcore iris lover and would enjoy a different take on the note, then you should give Iris Fauve a sniff for yourself.

LUNE FELINE:

Lune Feline. Source: Luckyscent.

Lune Feline. Source: Luckyscent.

Lune Feline (officially spelt with an accent as “Lune Féline”) is an eau de parfum that was released in 2015 as part of Atelier des Ors’ debut collection. The press release described the scent and its notes as follows:

Lune Féline radiates seduction and temptation. Like a magnetic star, it captures everyone’s attention. It is 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.

Top: Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pink Pepper
Heart: Green notes, Cedarwood, Ambregris, Styrax, Precious wood
Base: Tahitian Vanilla [and Orchid], Peru Balsam, Musk

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

Lune Feline opens on my skin with a torrent of spices, hot and gleaming, the flames of red flecked with clean, fresh, green notes, then swaddled in thick layers of bronzed toffee’d amber, caramel vanilla, dark vanilla, and sticky, black resins. Fragrant cinnamon vies with ginger so fiery it might as well be ablaze, but there is also the fruitier spiciness of pink pepper and a truly gorgeous, nutty, green, aromatic, spicy cardamon. Wisps of cedar and dry woods trail in the background next to the merest suggestion of smokiness from the leathery styrax resin. In the base, a note that smells identical to Ambroxan stirs, casting its shadow, smelling musky as well as spicy, warm, and faintly animalic in a leathery, furry sort of way.

It’s an intense, fantastic, delectable, and cozy gourmand bouquet whose vivid, almost red-hot spiciness renders it quite different than the typical vanilla or amber. It feels as though a dragon has cast its scorching breath upon the vanilla, turning it into caramel with almost a boozy Bourbon quality lurking underneath. It’s dark, woody, resinous, treacly, buttery, smoky, dry, and sweet, all at the same time.

Saffron water or broth. Source: Marc Matsumoto at norecipes.com

Saffron water or broth. Source: Marc Matsumoto at norecipes.com

But that’s not what grabs my attention and keeps it. It’s the spices and some strange, alchemical magician’s trick that occurs when they all blend together. The cardamon goes beyond that fantastic green nuttiness to somehow resemble pistachios, while the ambergris/ambroxan, vanilla, ginger, and pink peppercorns unexpectedly combine to turn into something that — for reasons that are totally beyond my comprehension — smell identical to saffron on my skin. I’ve tested Lune Feline four times to be sure and, yep, “saffron” appears each time. I even applied some on a friend who is very familiar with the spice to ask what aroma appeared to their nose, and they said “saffron with golden vanilla.”

Sohan e Qom, or Sohan brittle. Photo & Source: Ahu at Ahu Eats. (Direct to website with easy recipe is embedded within the photo.)

Sohan e Qom, or Sohan brittle. Photo & Source: Ahu at Ahu Eats. (Direct to website with easy recipe is embedded within the photo.)

The cumulative effect when combined with the caramel, vanilla, amber, and the cardamom’s “pistachios” somehow ends up smells identical to a buttery, spiced, toffee’d Middle Eastern dessert, Persian Sohan. There are different variations on Sohan but they’re always fundamentally a saffron and buttery toffee-caramel brittle that come in hard, thin, crunchy layers. They’re typically laced with cardamom, sometimes honey as well, and then encrusted with nuts, usually pistachios. A blog called Ahu Eats has a post with photos and a recipe for Sohan-e-Qom (Sohan from the city of Qom), the exact type that Lune Feline makes me think of each time I wear it, except the fragrance is whoppingly gingered and heavily spiced in a way that the dessert is not. The ginger and the Ambroxan-style “ambergris” play a major role in rendering Lune Feline more than a simple gourmand dessert but they’re not the only elements, as you’ll see shortly.

Persian Soleh Zard, a Saffron rice pudding. Source: Foodival.com

Persian Soleh Zard, a Saffron rice pudding, decorated with pistachios. Source: Foodival.com

By the way, on a completely unrelated side note, if the only Middle Eastern dessert that you’ve ever tried is Turkish-Greek-Lebanese Baklava, and if you love saffron, then you really should check out Persian sweets. If you adore L’Artisan‘s Safran Troublant  perfume, then you’ll love Persian Sholeh Zard, which is exactly what it resembles in scent, or Indian Kheer which is somewhat similar. Both are creamy saffron rice puddings. While I’m making suggestions, I’ll make a few other tangential, food-related ones. If you loved the middle stage of Hiram Green‘s limited-edition fragrance, Voyage, then you should try the Arab or Emirati dessert, Luquimat. It’s basically a type of fried, saffron-cardamom donut hole coated in sweet syrup. Personally, I think the similar Indian dessert, Gulub Jamun, is better, and its saffron, cardamom, vanillic, honeyed sticky sweetness is one of my favourites. If you want a more vanilla-centric, gourmand, caramelized version of Voyage (the perfume), then you should try both Sohan and its ginger, cardamom, ambered scent counterpart, Lune Feline. If you’re a baker or foodie, almost all of these desserts are easy to make, and recipes are widely available on the internet. Go beyond the Baklava, people!

Photo: Carlos Garcia. (Direct website link to his About Me photo page embedded within.)

Photo: Carlos Garcia. (Direct website link to his About Me photo page embedded within.)

Getting back to Lune Feline, Persian Sohan is hardly the whole story. To my surprise, there is a chocolate-like note lurking deep in there as well. Maybe it’s an indirect by-product of the cardamom, or perhaps it’s nothing more than an olfactory trick of the mind stemming from the mix of cardamom, resins, toffee, and caramel ambergris. Either way, it definitely appeared during the first hour each time that I tested Lune Feline, although it was a quiet, muted, and short-lived note. Other elements are clearer and longer lasting. The styrax’s smokiness grows more apparent after 15 minutes, aided by the dark woods and by what I’m convinced is Ambroxan in the base. (I wrote to Atelier des Ors to ask a while back, but I never heard back.) At the same time, the woody notes begin to seep up from the base to lick the corners of the ginger-cardamon-cinnamon-vanilla-amber “Sohan”. I can’t say that any of it smells like real cedar to me, more like a woody-amber synthetic.

Source: Pinterest.

Source: Pinterest.

But none of these things are as significant as Lune Feline’s third major component after the “Sohan” spiced-gourmand dessert blend and the amber: animalic musk. It appears roughly 20-25 minutes into the fragrance’s evolution, and has a vaguely civet-ish quality, but it’s mostly a sort of abstract, golden furriness. The note is a restrained one, carefully checked and calibrated, and none of it is urinous, dirty, dark, or truly, properly animalic in a major way. It’s certainly not the sort of growling animalics that you find in MAAI, Masque’s Montecristo, or even Serge Lutens’ tamer Muscs Koublai Khan. Instead, it’s merely a sotto voce buzz that weaves around and under the other major accords, and it’s most noticeable when I smell my arm up close. From afar, there is only a generalised golden muskiness, the sort you find in the reformulated version of Malle’s Musc Ravageur, except I think this one is even weaker and milder.

Musc Ravageur in the 50 ml bottle. Source: Liberty London.

Musc Ravageur in the 50 ml bottle. Source: Liberty London.

Actually, Lune Feline made me think of Musc Ravageur on a few occasions. The two fragrances do not smell the same, but they have quite a similar vibe in a broad, stylistic sense. Lune Feline basically feels like Musc Ravageur’s significantly spicier, less musky, vanillic cousin. However, there are important differences. The focus and ratio of notes is different in Lune Feline which emphasize the vanilla, spice, amber, and gourmand aspects more than the animalics; I think it’s the reverse in Musc Ravageur. Moreover, the spices here extend beyond ginger to include cardamom, cinnamon, pink peppercorn, and the buttery “saffron”-like recreation. On top of that, each one of those is in significantly higher quantities than the spices in the Malle. Finally, one cannot discount the quiet role of the dark, dry woods, and the smoky resins, neither of which is a factor in the Malle. Yet, even if the two fragrances don’t smell alike, they unquestionably inhabit the same general universe and share some common DNA.

Like all the Atelier des Ors fragrances that I’ve tried, Lune Feline is a rather monolithic, linear scent, perhaps much more so than the others. It really doesn’t change throughout its lifetime on my skin. At all. Only its nuances or undertones vary and, even then, they’re small fluctuations in degree. The cardamom’s whiff of chocolate disappears after the first hour, and the “saffron” vibe after the second, which is when all the spices blur into a haze. Cinnamon and ginger take turns dominating that haze, but everything is so seamlessly blended that it’s not easy to dissect the notes a lot of the time. The degree of smoke, dark woods, and muskiness seems to go up a notch from the 3rd hour to the 6th, but, again, it’s a question of degree and, again, I have to sniff my arm up close to notice their heightened presence. One new event that occurs is the arrival of something vaguely floral during the 6th hour, a suggestion of vanilla orchid flowers but, similar to Marie Salamagne’s construction of Iris Fauve and so many of the Atelier fragrances, it’s a restrained element and usually more of a suggestion than a tangible, solid note. In the middle of the 7th hour, the sense of “saffron” returns, accompanied by an increase in the balsamic, treacly resins, but the vast majority of the scent continues to be buttery, dark vanilla layered with ginger-ish, cinnamon-ish spiciness and then ensconced within a cloud of musky, caramelized, golden amber. In fact, the vanilla and amber are the only real constants from start to finish. Out of the two, the vanilla almost always outshines its partner. In Lune Feline’s final hours, all that’s left is spicy, ambery sweetness with a lingering trace of muskiness underneath.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

All of this may sound great to some of you, but I have to caution that I had quite a different experience the first time I tested Lune Feline, and it was entirely due to the Ambroxan. It’s a major presence in the fragrance from start to finish, and ruined Lune Feline for two Fragrantica posters, so it’s worth taking some time to explain what it is for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the note. Ambroxan (also known as Ambrox or Ambroxide) is an aromachemical intended to replicate certain facets of ambergris, like its salty, marshy, musky, and lightly sweetened, caramel-scented tonalities. In addition, it also has a soft undertone of clean woodiness but, above all else, it is meant to bear a skin-like quality, an aura of almost tactile golden warmth. Unfortunately, for quite a few people, it can also have a “nose-hairs burning,” searing quality or a rasping harshness.

Source: reactivereports.com

Source: reactivereports.com

To me, how Ambroxan smells in a fragrance is highly dependent on its treatment, the other notes, and the quantities used. Sometimes, it can indeed have a “nose-hairs burning” aspect but, at other times, it shares a certain musky, quietly sweet, golden quality with ambergris. The muskiness is not animalic in the way of ambrette or civet, and often has a certain skin-like warmth that can be beautifully velvety at times and really quite enjoyable. However, I find Ambroxan can also be bone-dry. At times, it can manifest a “hot poker,” needle-like sharpness, an abrasively smoky leatheriness, and a strong peppery aspect as well.

D&G Light Blue. Source: Pinterest.

D&G Light Blue. Source: Pinterest.

There are quite a few Ambrox-heavy fragrances with which you may be familiar. Escentric Molecules Escentric 02 is pure Ambroxan. Nothing else. Dior‘s new Sauvage reportedly contains massive amounts of it, and I’ve heard people say that the fragrance is abrasive (and aggressively “needle sharp”) in the drydown. Other Ambroxan-heavy fragrances are: D&G‘s Light Blue, Prada‘s Luna Rossa, Aedes’ Palissandre d’Or, Byredo‘s M Mink, Le Labo‘s Another 13, and Armani‘s Si. The brand, Juliette Has a Gun, seems to use a lot of Ambrox or Ambrox-related materials in its fragrances. To give just two examples: Calamity J. and Not a Perfume (although, technically, the latter contains Cetalox, a similar and closely related material). Finally, I would bet money that Serge Lutens‘ new Bapteme du Feu has a lot of Ambroxan to create its “gun powder” note, in addition to its spicy goldenness.

I’ve noticed a major love/hate polarity in people’s responses to Ambroxan. In fact, the intensity of the “hate” side seems to far surpass negative reactions to ISO E Super, in my opinion, perhaps because people aren’t quite as anosmic. On Basenotes, there are numerous Ambroxan discussion threads (like this one on what it is or smells like) but also more negatively entitled ones like: “Ambroxan can we get it banned as a fragrance ingredient?” On Fragrantica, there is a similar split in reactions. (See e.g., “I can’t stand the smell of Ambroxan!!“)

As I mentioned earlier, how Ambroxan smells and how prominent it is in a composition seems to be impacted not only by the other notes which accompany it, but also by how much of the fragrance one applies. The first time that I tested Lune Feline, I used less than my standard baseline quantity of 2 sprays from a bottle (or their smeared, dabbed equivalent). I applied only a few light spritzes from the little atomiser that I was sent, and that low dosage highlighted the Ambroxan to a very unpleasant degree. The fragrance was a much harsher, drier, smokier, and overtly synthetic mix where the vanilla, spices, and resins were blanketed by the unmistakably hot, scratchy, dry, leathery, and searing aspects of the Ambroxan. However, when I spritzed an amount equal to 2 good, solid sprays from a bottle, it was less evident and problematic; with a 3-spray equivalent, it was mild and practically irrelevant. The scent description that I’ve given you here is for the version of Lune Feline that appeared with a 2-spray and 3-spray equivalent. You should keep the Ambroxan/dosage relationship in mind not only if you try Lune Feline for yourself, but also when you read the reviews on Fragrantica.

I’ll get to those in a minute but, first, I’ll quickly run down the longevity, projection, and sillage numbers when I applied my median, standard baseline amount of a 2-spray amount. With that dosage, Lune Feline opened with 3-4 inches of projection, and about 5 inches of sillage. The numbers dropped very incrementally and slowly after that. Lune Feline turned into a skin scent about 5.25 hours into its development, and it felt close to dying 8.25 hours into its evolution, but it lingered on tenaciously as a thin coating on the skin. In total, it lasted 13 to 13.5 hours both times that I tested it with that dosage. With a 1-spray equivalent, it lasted just under 10.75 hours. With a 3-spray amount, it lasted just under 15 hours.

On Fragrantica, reviews for Lune Feline are mixed. The Ambroxan is one reason why, but not the only reason. Price is another. Let’s start with the scent descriptions. For a large number of people, Lune Feline was either “benzoin, cardamom and cinnamon,” “cardamon, cinnamon & vanilla musk,” musky sweet vanilla, or some variation thereof.

Source: flourarrangements.org

Source: flourarrangements.org

For “Mikenac,” Lune Feline was an enjoyable, comforting “cookie” scent, but he thought the price was too high for him to pursue things further:

I get benzoin, cardamom and cinnamon. Somehow this mix on my skin smells like some kind of confection or cookie, which is interesting. It’s a good gourmandish vanilla based scent that envelops, and I find it to be very comforting. I would not classify this as animalic or dark at all. [¶] It is, however, a bit overpriced in my opinion. If it were price at $175 or less, I might be interested.

For “JoyJoy,” the Ambroxan ruined the scent, although she subsequently edited her review to add that it wasn’t as noticeable in subsequent wearings and that she was enjoying the fragrance. Her amendment is a good example of my point that dosages impact not only how Ambroxan smells but its actual prominence. Her review states, in relevant part:

I think the ambroxan ruins this for me sadly. Ambroxan also ruins Le Labo’s Benjoin imo. I’m not a fan of that synthetic I guess. It tends to take over, at least on my skin. […][¶] Edit: I’m finding myself reaching for my Lune Feline sample a lot lately & I’m not noticing the ambroxan quite as much. Not sure yet if it’s FB worthy but I’m kind of enjoying it.

Cardamom pod. Source: GreenLifestyleMarket.com

Cardamom pod. Source: GreenLifestyleMarket.com

For “Cereza,” Lune Feline was “wonderful” and “sublime” during the first two hours, but things were later ruined by a note that she couldn’t place and whose description points, once again, to Ambroxan:

“Lune Feline” opens wonderful, but within 2 hours there is something so annoying I cannot put my finger on – it’s somehow musty, moldy, but at the same time weirdly dark and oil-like. I do believe that the combination of notes simply does not work for me.

I think the vanilla opening is sublime – elegant and cute + the spiciness of cardamonn and cinnamon is absolutely gorgeous! The first 2 hours in and I was trying to get my hands on information where can I buy this and then the heart/drydown…such a dissapointment!

It did linger for some 12 hours (and a shower by the way!), but it stayed extremely close to skin.

Vanilla Beans via seriouseats.com and shutterstock

Vanilla Beans via seriouseats.com and shutterstock

Other people either couldn’t detect the Ambroxan or simply found Lune Feline to be a beautiful musky vanilla scent:

  • What a beautiful, musky, slightly sweet vanilla.
  • This is a kind of animalic musky vanilla scent.. Strong ambergris.. and i also get the cardamom and the pepper. A warm vanilla scent, something to wear during winter definitely.
  • Gorgeous… It’s on my wish list!!
  • This has one of the most beautiful openings in a fragrance if you like cardamom as I do. A sweet, yet dry spicy opening led by lovely and persistent cardamom. [¶] The vanilla takes over pretty soon but dances with her partners who keep coming in and out of focus – woods, musks and gentle ambergris. The dance goes on for many hours on the skin, and if you spray a scarf, you’ll be able to bask in a sweet/spicy/golden glow for days.

I think Lune Feline is a very enjoyable, delectably cozy scent if one applies enough to keep the Ambroxan in check. It’s a fragrance which should appeal not only to those who love vanillas and gourmands, but also to those who love richly spiced orientals but can’t handle too much sweetness. I have a very low tolerance threshold for sugariness and caramelized vanillas, and I definitely can’t handle saccharine excess, but I never found Lune Feline to be difficult in that regard. The spices, dry woods, subtle smoke, resins, and, yes, even the Ambroxan keep the vanilla’s sweetness in check. In some ways, one might even argue that Lune Feline is not a true, hardcore gourmand but, rather, a semi-gourmand oriental. Either way, I think Marie Salamagne has a deft hand when it comes to balance issues.

In short, you should really try Lune Feline for yourself if you love vanilla gourmands or spicy amber-vanilla orientals.

Disclosure: My samples were kindly provided by Atelier des Ors. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Iris Fauve and Lune Feline are eau de parfums that come in a 100 ml bottle and cost $275, €225, or £225 each. Iris Fauve will be released sometime in November 2016 at all Atelier des Ors retailers, so I’ve added a link to their general “Atelier” page after the direct link for Lune Feline. In the U.S.: retailers are Luckyscent (Lune, Atelier) and OsswaldNYC (Lune, Atelier). Outside the U.S.: retailers include: Harrods (Lune, Atelier); Selfridges (Lune, Atelier); the NL’s ParfuMaria (Lune, Atelier); First in Fragrance (Lune, Atelier); Paris’ Jovoy (Lune, Atelier); France’s Soleil d’Or (Lune, Atelier); Italy’s Sacre Cuore (Lune, Atelier); Rome’s Parenti (Lune, brand page can’t be found); Russia’s CosmoProfi (LuneAtelier); and Australia’s Peony (Lune, Atelier). Hungary’s Neroli has 3 Atelier des Ors fragrances, but Lune Feline is not one of them. For additional retailers in some of those countries as well as other European locations, the UAE, Iran, Turkey, & New Zealand, you can use Atelier des Ors’ Stockist page. Samples: Several of the European sites listed above (like FiF or ParfuMaria) sell samples. Luckyscent has Lune Feline for $6 for a 0.7 ml vial. Surrender to Chance has Lune Feline starting at $6.89 for a 1 ml vial.

12 thoughts on “Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve & Lune Feline

  1. I recently got a sample of Lune Feline from Osswald and I adore it. But then again I’m a gourmand fiend and I don’t react badly to ambroxan. What I love about it is that it’s sweet, but not obnoxiously so – meaning I can wear it in the office and seem neither ultra-girly nor inappropriate for circumstances. The drydown is a bit boring, but it’s definitely on my list of things I would buy if money was no object. Hmm…can they leave the gold flakes out of the bottle and give me a discount? 😉

    • Haha, I know a few people who wish the gold flakes were omitted in favour of a lower price! 🙂 I agree with you, it would be nice if the fragrances were a bit more reasonably priced, especially since several of them are not particularly complex bouquets. Then again, that last part may be a result of how the notes are so seamlessly blended and Marie Salamagne’s restrained aesthetic. It’s the main reason why Lune Feline is so nicely balanced in its sweetness. As you noted, it’s not obnoxiously sweet or a girlie-girlie candy floss scent. It’s a rare gourmand in that way. So many that I’ve tried would put a diabetic in a coma after only one sniff.

  2. I tried Lune Feline a few weeks back in the sample set from Luckyscent, and it reminded me of a pastry that an Indian neighbor of mine makes – milky-sweet dough loaded with warm-spicy cardamom. Delicious! (Both the pastry and the perfume.)

    The sweetness in Lune Feline is just right – like you said, it’s never cloying or sticky, and the cardamom balances it perfectly.

    Unfortunately the Ambroxan torpedoed the whole thing for me. I ordered a spray decant because I didn’t want to go full FB at that price without being *really* sure, and even with full spray amounts I kept getting that harsh, abrasive, steel-file-up-the-nose note. Not all the time; it would come and go almost like a flickering flame, popping up just when I’d almost forgotten and was wallowing in the gorgeousness of the rest of it.

    Oh well… (lots of) money saved.

    Stupid Ambroxan.

    • 🙁 :'( Bloody Ambroxan. A pox on its house. You’re right, it can be exactly like a “steel file up one’s nose” in some instances. I’ve had that with a few fragrances where the quantity of Ambroxan was very high. I’m sorry that playing with Lune Feline’s dosage didn’t help one bit in this instance.

      On the plus side, though, you were so smart in getting a decant to test properly and fully before jumping headlong into a full bottle, and that happily ended up saving you a lot of money.

      Even more of a positive, you also have a fantastic neighbor. I think I’d like to come visit. Drop me an email next time that they’re baking/cooking…. 😉 😛 (And try to find out the specific name of the pastry that you fell for. There are quite a few utterly fantastic Indian pastries, and I need to know which one to start my anticipatory drooling over. Finally, if they’ve never made Gulub Jamun for you, you seriously need to beg them to do so next time around. It’s To.Die.For.) (Sorry, I always get more carried away about food than I do perfume. lol)

  3. I was curious about Lune Feline. I’m glad you reviewed it. Doesn’t seem to be anything I’d like. Ambroxan will ruin it for me too.
    I did however really enjoy your desert section! I love baklava. Years ago I knew a Greek man who insisted that the only “real” baklava was made by Greeks. LOL. He brought me some. Wonderful. I’m going to try some of your suggestions. Thanks. 🙂

    • In my experience, Greeks seem to have a proprietary, almost ferocious protectiveness about Baklava, but the Turks make them seem like angelic, passive babies in comparison. I’ve learnt that it’s best to give EVERY possible attribution for Baklava’s origins, and then just stay the hell out of the discussion. Lol. 😛 I like Baklava, but, imo, I think there are far tastier desserts or pastries that are quite unknown in comparison. If you look up a few that I mentioned, I will be quite chuffed.

      • But you haven’t tasted my mother’s Lebanese baklava?!!!! Lol
        And a quick thumbs down to Ambroxan, thumbs up to Gulub jumun

  4. Hm, of the two scents, I am probably more interested in trying Lune Feline (a more vanillic version of Musc Ravageur? a gourmand Shalimar?) but the price and ambroxan already lessen my expectations. Many thanks for your review!

  5. Thank you for the brief discussion of ambroxan! I suspected that it was the culprit in ruining perfumes for me, and this has confirmed it. The way it smells to me is weird. It reminds me of the way my parents’ would smell like after night shifts at the hospital – something like the sweat of a tired, stressed person mixed with the lingering traces of harsh hospital smells. It’s intensely unpleasant and unsettling to me, not something I want on my skin. But it lasts and lasts, like a chemical aftertaste rather than a drydown.

    And I have to share a white musk anecdote. I dislike them, but my boyfriend actively loathes them. He said they made him remember a quote from North and South (the lovely 2004 BBC miniseries starring Richard Armitage – I don’t think the quote was in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel) “I believe I’ve seen hell and it’s white, it’s snow white”. So we now refer to them as cotton mill musks, because that’s what they feel like to him: a flurry of overheated white fluff dancing in the air above loud machines, about to clog the lungs of anyone wretched enough to be around.

    • I laughed and laughed and LAUGHED reading that quote in the context of white musk. Please tell your boyfriend “thank you” from me, and that I share his feelings to a T. I’m laughing even more as I type this. “I believe I’ve seen hell and it’s white, it’s snow white.” ROFL!!!

      As for the Ambroxan, it’s far, far worse in MFK’s new Grand Soir, imo, and Aedes’ Palissandre d’Or. But your scent description fits Amber Xtreme and Norlimbanol even more, I think. They’re significantly stronger molecules, and often send me reeling. No fun at all. (Puredistance’s new Sheiduna actually made me ill with its Amber Xtreme.) So I emphasize with your feelings. A lot!

  6. I got a decant of Lune Féline based on the notes, they sounded so good. Tried it and I must have the Ambroxan problem – totally bummed.
    It doesnt just feel like steel wool in the nose, it smells like it too – metallic and stomach churning.
    Thinking back, I think Ambroxan or a related molecule is what brough me to your blog – I had tried Guerlain’s Ambre Eternal and it must be full of the stuff. It was unbearable and I wanted to know why. I was rewarded with your wonderful reviews.
    I’m going to give spraying more a shot – it seems counterintuitive and I’m a little nervous!

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