I am a longtime fan of Bigarade Concentrée by Jean-Claude Ellena for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle released in 2002. It is the most uplifting and happiness-inducing perfume in my collection. It never fails to elicit a smile upon spraying that first burst of bitter oranges on my skin. It is appropriate for any season, cooling and refreshing in the heat and bringing a bit of sunshine to the darkest and dreariest of winter days.
There is a new man in town, one that is hard on Bigarade´s heels for the title of most beloved orange scent in history – that new contender is Atelier Cologne´s Orange Sanguine.
Atelier Cologne is a relatively new brand based in New York who quasi invented a new perfume category – the cologne absolue.
Staying in the cologne genre but extending the life span of the scents by upping the perfume oil concentration considerably from about 1-3% in regular Colognes to up to 20% for the Colognes Absolues, Atelier Cologne gave us interesting and beautifully crafted fragrances that combine the coveted freshness of a cologne with some serious sillage and longevity.
A concept I am totally on board with. My greatest concern with fresh citrus perfumes always was the wear time, but of course that came with the territory. Obviously a fact Atelier Cologne was not prepared to take for granted any longer.
Orange Sanguine was created by Ralf Schwieger and is concentrated at 15%, top notes are blood orange, bitter orange; heart notes: jasmine, geranium; base notes: amber woods, tonka beans, sandalwood; (according to the company website).
That first spray blows you away!
The top notes are so amazingly life like, it is like cutting open a ripe and juicy blood orange, no I take that back, cutting open twenty oranges at once.
There is nothing else to do but enjoy that blast of sunshine. It smells like the olfactory equivalent of a commercial for Florida.
It has to fade eventually as all good things must, but it delights me for a good hour before finally yielding to the softer and more quiet tones of faintly orange-y floral woods that form the base.
EDIT: Feb 24 2011, After two months of bitterly cold winter that elicited the regular use of Orange Sanguine, I want to amend my initial statement a little. I have found Orange Sanguine to have excellent tenacity and staying power, it is really not all about the top notes. As disconcerting it is to say I was wrong, (as obviously this is a very rare occurrence indeed ;)) in the interest of a wonderful perfume, I will say so now: Please invest in Orange Sanguine, if you are looking for a truly uplifting orange scent that stays the day too.
I would spend the rest of the day with a soft and understated scent. I say would, because the temptation to reapply is to high anyway, to experience much of the drydown on its own, this is a fragrance I am glad to reapply frequently during the day, also I have yet to encounter someone offended by the scent of oranges. (But undoubtedly those people exist, I apologize to each and everyone who felt disturbed by my sillage of happiness!)
What about Bigarade Concentrée in direct comparison?
The opening of BC is equally fresh and life-like, only there is more bitterness in evidence, these are bitter oranges after all, not blood oranges. It is less sweet, a bit drier, but still gloriously mood lifting. In the development the two begin to diverge in different directions. The Ellena creation (notes include Bitter Orange, Rose, Hay and Cedar) shows a more complex construction, there is more going on here, the heart and base is more developed and make the perfume more balanced as a whole. Bigarade Concentrée holds its own a lot longer with a lot more presence.
Ultimately I would say that both Atelier Cologne´s Orange Sanguine and Malle´s Bigarade Concentrée have their place in my collection. They are sufficiently different to warrant that place.
If I had to choose I would stay with my old favorite though, not out of sentimentality, but I feel that it is a more complete creation, a rounder more threedimensional perfume than Orange Sanguine, that shines primarily because of those top notes.
The question is whether you want to invest in those top notes alone, for Orange Sanguine does not come exactly cheap at 145$ for 200ml/6.7 fl.oz. There is also a mini size (30ml/1 fl.oz for 50$) available as well as a soap and a candle. (That candle calls my name, maybe I need to invest in the name of investigative journalism, there is a Saturday post for PST to write after all. ;))
For now I will be wearing and enjoying both.
Both have the potential of being clinically relevant in the prevention of depression, what more could you want? :)