Interviews Atelier des Ors: A Red and Golden Iris

Atelier des Ors: A Red and Golden Iris

11/02/16 10:26:09 (3 comments)

by: Sergey Borisov


Jean-Philippe Clermont.

We still have conversations from and new perfumes presented at the Florentine exhibition Pitti Fragranze 2016 to share with you. Here, we would like to give an update on the French perfume house Atelier des Ors, coming from the art director and founder of the house Jean-Philippe Clermont.

SERGEY: What’s the new perfume you are presenting in Florence? The last time we met, at the Esxence exposition in Milan, you were still deciding on the name. So what have you decided?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Yes, we chose the name and you can announce it to your readers, it’s Iris Fauve. In French, “fauve” stands for a category of animals, which are grand, ferocious wild cats, like lions, tigers, panthers, leopards.

But “fauve” also denotes a colour that is golden, yellow, red, brown – very warm … tawny! The fragrance is warm, sweet and enveloping, it’s more like a fragrant shawl or a fur stole you can wrap yourself in. “Fauve” refers to the musky, animalic accord we used for the enveloping, sensuous and lasting effect that pairs with the protagonist, the powdery orris.

SERGEY: I remember you told me about a perfume named "Musk something"… Is that the same perfume?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Ah, yes, I remember! That’s Musc Immortelle! Basically we work on multiple perfume projects, not just one, so Musc Immortelle is another perfume we are going to launch with Harrods exclusively. The olfactive pyramids have some similarities but the two fragrances are different enough to have different names.

And also, Musc Immortelle is an Extrait de Parfum; it has a 25% concentration which is 5% higher than Iris Fauve and our other fragrances in Eau de Parfum concentration.

SERGEY: Musc Immortelle is 100 ml Extrait de Parfum? Is it a limited edition?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Yes, it’s the same size bottle filled with Extrait de Parfum and it will be made exclusively for Harrods. We are a small company, so every perfume we launch is a limited edition. We keep an eye on the feedback about this project and based on that we’ll decide on Musc Immortelle's future.

SERGEY: So, let’s come back to the new Iris Fauve. How would you describe the fragrance?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: The top notes are spicy, with cinnamon and bergamot. Then a woody heart of patchouli, vetiver and a smoky cypriol accent appears, followed by a resinous drydown of cistus labdanum, myrrh and liatrix that brings some sweetness, but not in a gourmand way. It’s more comforting, warm and sweet. Do you remember, we discussed the Greek mythology of Iris?

Morpheus and Iris, Pierre-Narcisse Guerin

Greek legends say that Iris was the Goddess who brings good news from the Gods to Earth. She used a rainbow to come from heaven down to Earth, which is why the rainbow is associated with Iris. Poets used to call rainbows “the shawl of Iris”.

There’s a modern legend that one can find a pot of gold at every end of the rainbow – Atelier des Ors is linked with gold.

SERGEY: How do you classify Iris Fauve? It was powdery woody at the start and right now it took a dry sweet fougere direction with a tonka-like liatrix smell…

JEAN-PHILIPPE: As we have discussed before, we are not too much into classification, we bring with inspirations. Perfume just lives as a child, we create it and then it lives by itself. You better ask Michael Edwards about that, as we trust him, and also we got his permission to use his Fragrance Wheel for our assistants training.

SERGEY: It’s strategically smart to launch a warm comforting fragrance in September, before the cold season, isn’t it?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Honestly speaking, it’s not a marketing thing, it’s just a coincidence. We're launching it now because it’s ready. But yes, it’s a very good timing for the perfume.

SERGEY: So you already launched Rose, Vanilla, Leather, Amber, and gourmand Patchouli fragrances and now Iris and Musc. How do you choose the title material for every next perfume? And who takes the initiative – you or the perfumer?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Good question. When we were about to create our first collection, I brought ideas to our perfumer, and I was very involved in the creation process, expressing the perfume's DNA and everything, before Marie got a carte blanche to create the fragrances.

And now Iris Fauve was born out of Marie Salamagne's initiative, as she loves to work with musks and orris, these are her two favorite raw materials. So it’s more a personal creation of Marie and she’s an amazing master in the musk fragrances. After the great success of our first collection we decided to create more personal perfumes. And I was convinced from the very beginning.


This sweet, soft, fickle and cautious (which can be mistaken for indecisiveness) fragrance in the beginning is built on a large confectionery structure. Standing on a rice paper layout of white-purplish candied violets and red cinnamon rolls, covered with candied citruses and dry freckled iris rhizomes, it stops halfway. It is not soft enough.

It decides to change plans: instead of a candy factory it will become a castle in the air, made from the wood shavings used for the production of nut halva. It takes rustling pine shavings, dry brittle patchouli leaves, crushed fatty nuts, long thread-like roots of vetiver and some wood, a bit like aquilaria, but... it does not continue. Maybe it can become a cake-cloud? Or an Orris mill for processing it into powder? The aroma is so cautious and indecisive, that ... I don't know.

Iris Fauve may seem lazy or reticent, but it is not. I’ve met such a cautious, stealthy and changeable character before. We all have met it in our lives.

”Problems I do not see. Plans I do not know. I will do nothing. I will only be keeping warm, fluffing and gazing into your eyes. I want on your lap. Stroke me. Not this way. Differently. Yet in another way. Let me, I'll do it myself. Here. There. More. More again. Do not stop, keep going. Now here. Feed me. No, this. And this, too. Can I have your cheeseburger. Now stand back and do not touch. Go out there, where I helped you. Clean it there. Come here, I need you. Scratch here, then pat. Give me a hug. Sit, I need your lap. Yes. At last. Rest, large creature. Your master is happy and merciful. No, do not get up! Stroke and scratch. Scratch and stroke. Love me. Continue to love me. Never stop to love me. I'll warm you. While fluffing. And gazing into your eyes”.

Iris Fauve Atelier des Ors

Notes: Bergamot, Cinnamon, Spicy accord, Patchouli, Vetiver, Cypriol, Cistus, Myrrh, Liatrix, Orris, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Musks



Sergey Borisov

Sergey Borisov has been involved in perfumery since the early 90`s when he had his own perfume-devoted program “Close to Body” on Krasnoyarsk radio (1993). As a perfume enthusiast (known as moon_fish), he became famous in Russia for his translation of  Luca Turin's Perfume: Le Guide. He collaborated with GQ, Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Interview, Forbes, Allure, Robb Report, Flacon, Departure, RBC-Style, TSUM-Magazine (2008-2016). His own online columns for,, and (2006-2015) have earned him international recognition and an invitation to be an editor for the Russian edition of “The Little Book of Perfumes” by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez.  In 2013, Sergey joined the Fragrantica team.

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That cat... hahaha! I want one ^_^


I am guessing that this bottle will cost a fortune.

But I love the Orange Kitty at the end!


Unbelievably poetic review!Sensual,almost tangible in its lyrics.Intriguing article.Thanks!


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