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.
Opulent iris butter as thick as cream turned ashen from cinders dropped by smoked woods; grey floral suede and leather wrapped up in vapours of pink and red, first from carnation, and later from roses; the flanks of an animal heated from an afternoon ride, its golden muskiness pulsating softly through its heartbeat to cling to your cool hands as you stroke fur that is as smooth as satin and infinitely creamy — these are parts of the tableau painted by New Sibet, the latest fragrance from Slumberhouse and it’s quite a departure from the brand’s usual style. Gone is the rugged aesthetic of old created from dense, forceful, practically opaque bases imbued with sweetness, spices, or brooding darkness.
Instead of nature-based landscapes slashed with colour and loaded with weight, this is a coolly elegant, sophisticated scent, soft and vaporous, worn with sleek city suits, furs, or cashmere, and constructed in a fashion that is often as much about tactile texture as it is about scent. Often, even more so, because it’s frequently an impressionistic scent where its elements are sensed almost on a subconscious, intuitive, and subliminal level rather than an actual one, its notes a suggestion that pass on the breeze — there and, yet, not there at the same time. It is scent that is often rendered through a filter, notes tinted in sepia hues like an old photograph, and it’s all done in a way that is extremely artistic and sensory.
People often search for affordable facsimiles or “dupes” of famous fragrances. In the case of Frederic Malle‘s Musc Ravageur, one name that comes up is Meharees from the Italian brand, L’Erbolario Lodi. It’s been called the “Musc Ravageur killer” for a fraction of the price, and it’s also mentioned in the context of Hermès‘ Ambre Narguilé as well. A more expensive niche name that comes up in relation to Musc Ravageur is Le Labo‘s Labdanum 18. I love both Musc Ravageur and a bargain, so I bought Meharees blindly, persuaded by the rave reviews and by the company’s description of camel rides through the Sahara and legendary oases filled with undulating date trees. I thought I’d review it in conjunction with Le Labo’s Labdanum 18 to show how they compare to the Malle.
Musc Ravageur is my favorite fragrance from Frederic Malle, and also the only one which drew me in from the very first time I sniffed it, perhaps because it is the spiciest, most oriental scent in his line-up. Yet, I’m not sure Monsieur Malle would approve of my reasons for loving the fragrance because it has little to do with “ravaging” musk, and everything to do with gingerbread. To be precise, gingerbread flecked lightly with vanilla and a gentle, furry musk, then festively festooned in a haze of lightly ambered, golden sweetness. It’s delicious, cozy comfort, but far from a “ravaging” torrent of “turbulent” sensuality. I don’t mind one whit.
Musc Ravageur is an eau de parfum created by Maurice Roucel and released in 2000. The Malle website describes it as:
A sensual perfume, powerful yet perfectly controlled, dramatic and mysterious. Composed by Maurice Roucel as an “act of seduction and generosity”, Musc Ravageur is an uncompromising Oriental, which trumps current fads. Its explosive departure of bergamot, tangerine and cinnamon is set against a backdrop of vanilla, musk and amber. A sexy, turbulent perfume, in one word: ravageur.
According to that description, the notes in Musc Ravageur are:
Bergamot, tangerine, cinnamon, vanilla, musk, and amber.