War of The Oranges – Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine vs. Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

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.

But the unhindered reign of Bigarade Concentrée could be endangered now.

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.

How do the two fare in direct combat? Which one will emerge as the winner? The longstanding favorite or the newcomer? Read on for the Battle of the Oranges! 🙂

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? 🙂

Picture Sources: editionsdeparfms.com, ateliercologne.com, Big Oranges courtesy of Photo8.com, mentalhealthnews.org, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Atelier Cologne, Citrus, Fragrance Reviews, Frederic Malle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to War of The Oranges – Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine vs. Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

  1. Tara says:

    Wow, B I think you’re mind-reader! I’ve been trying to find an orange scent to get me through the depressing Jan/Feb months without resorting to getting back on the Porzac highway. I steered away from Bigarade Concentrée because I understood it had a prominant cumin note, maybe I’ve got that wrong. As for the Atelier, though it does sound lovely I think I’ll try and find something a better cheaper or with better longevity. If you have any other ideas for orange scents please let me know!

    • Olfactoria says:

      What comes to mind is Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermes of course (if you consider grapefruit too Eau de Pamplemousse Rose is lovely, review is on the blog) but there is also L’Eau des Hesperides by Diptyque, Aqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Arancia or an interesting one by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier called Sanguine Muskissime, that may be worth a try.
      I don’t get cumin in Bigarade, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there 😉

      • Tara says:

        Thanks so much for all those lovely suggestions. Excited to do some research now.

        BTW I finally ordered a sample of Une Rose Chypree from Les Senteurs (£5 – gulp!) so impatiently waiting for that!

  2. Victoria says:

    I love Orange Sanguine, which is the juiciest, brightest orange I know. L’Artisan had a mandarin fragrance at one point, which I loved, but Orange Sanguine actually lasts on my skin. Enjoyable review, especially when I am looking at the gray skies outside. I am going to put it on right now!

  3. kjanicki says:

    I love love Bigarade Concentree! I just bought it before Christmas and it is in my top 5 right now. it’s so cheerful on a winter day. I love the way the bitter orange becomes hay. I do know someone however who doesn’t like the smell of oranges – my husband! So I have to wear it when he’s not around. A juicier orange sounds interesting, but I think I’m happy to stay with BC for now.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I remember you love it too!
      Between you and me – my husband doesn’t like the smell of oranges either. But he wants me to stop “bashing” him on the blog, he says I make it sound like the only thing he likes to smell is bacon and Polo Blue, which actually sums it up nicely 😉 Let us hope he doesn’t read the comments or I am in trouble 😉

  4. Lucy says:

    Thank you for the informative review — I know the Sanguine, but not the FM, now I must seek it out.
    For me, the Sanguine is wonderful, but the start is SO strong, it almost is too much crackle in the nose for me, but as you say, time passes and lets it calm down a bit and it’s still got that exciting citrus speediness to it without the blast off aspect. But I know what you mean, sometimes it takes whatever it takes for the winter curled up in a ball and not coming out mood.

  5. deeHowe says:

    For a period in my younger days I wore a grapefruit perfume, and now the idea of either orange or grapefruit turns me off. I really like both my Guerlain colognes, but that’s another story!

    Since I haven’t met a niche orange, I’ll have to come back around to this after I’ve sampled some—my mind may change 🙂

  6. Tarleisio says:

    Oh, liquid sunshine! Or antidepressant, and we all know, whatever it takes to get us all through January, right?

    I’ve never tried the Malle Bigarade, or the Atelier (just shoot me!), so I can’t say…but orange I glad they exist – and others like them! 😉

    For the days when sunshine is needed…I like Antica Farmacista ‘s Vanilla, Bourbon & Mandarine (liquid Creamsicle, and it’s a great pick-me-up with none of the extra calories!), I like Hermès Orange Verte Extrème, I like Aqua Allegoria’s Pamplelune (Am I the only one who loves this one, I wonder?) and Mandarin Basil, I like Dior’s Escale á Portofino, and of course, my dearly beloved Fleurs d’Oranger.

    One I absolutely have to try is Gorilla’s Orange Blossom, which I heard is serious orange+blossom, so that’s going on the birthday list.

    I spent my childhood in southern Florida, can you tell? 😉

    And another thing I have to try before too long…La Via del Profumo’s Bambini…just to ensure I never grow up! 😀

  7. lady jane grey says:

    I love Bigarade – but strangely, I only wear it in summer. All those juicy scents I can wear in summer only (Jo Malone’s Grapefruit…)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I also wore it exclusively in the summer until recently, when I realized how nice it was in the cold. Grapefruit can be a bit too bracing in winter, but the sweetness of oranges make them well suited for cold weather too. The Nikolaus brings them after all 😉

  8. Marina says:

    Tough choice! I just tried Orange Sanguine for the first time the other day, and it’s Gooood.

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  23. I absolutely adore Orange Sanguine. I initially thought that it would be kind of an afterthought this summer, but I find myself reaching for it more and more. It just makes me so happy the minute I smell its initial blast of blood orange. Just effortlessly wearable. My only problem is that it fades after about a hour or two, which I suppose is to be expected for a cologne, but I did have higher hopes for this one. Thankfully, it’s a big bottle 🙂

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  25. Stephanie says:

    I stumbled upon your blog after sniffing this cologne at Sephora over the weekend!

    I have a question that hopefully you can answer: Can you suggest a perfume/cologne with a top note of orange flower?? It was the best smell that I’ve ever experienced, while in Europe – maybe Barcelona – but I haven’t quite found a scent which mimics it.

    Thanks you!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Stephanie,

      There are many lovely orange blossom scents, I’d recommend you take a look in the category Orange Blossom on my blog (in the right sidebar), you’ll find a few reviews to get you started. One of the loveliest is L’Artisan’s Seville a l’aube. Happy sniffing!

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