I have received my share of questions about what, or whether, to wear in the summer. More than any other time of year a poor choice can turn fragrance from a welcome companion into a frenemy. My best answer is to point to a style of fragrance known as Mediterranean. It is designed to mimic a summer day in a coastal town somewhere on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. They are among my favorite warm weather perfumes because they remind me of holidays at the beach even when that is far away. Because it is seen as a slighter type of fragrance it is not often the place where the luxury brands are interested in being. Atelier des Ors Blanc Polychrome makes a case for why that should be different.
Over the past 18 months it seems like creative director Jean-Philippe Clermont has been interested in upping the level of some of the most popular fragrance styles. Last year’s Riviera Collection did this for aquatics. Working again with perfumer Marie Salamagne they don’t necessarily re-interpret what a Mediterranean perfume is. It is like getting a burger made with Kobe beef and Wyke cheddar. The basic cheeseburger is good this is luxurious. Blanc Polychrome is that type of Mediterranean.
It opens with a gorgeously photorealistic lemon. It is joined straightaway by the grapefruit tinted green of rhubarb. For a few sparse moments, this opening is nose puckering tart. Then an ingredient typical to the style, fig leaves, adds a diffusing effect through the creamy green scent of it. This is what I am trying to describe as being luxurious. The lemon feels very real, but the rhubarb and fig leaves give it a sophisticated veneer. Jasmine and lavender come next in a bit more quantity than you might usually encounter while also keeping it light. There is a purr of indoles with the jasmine while the lavender adds a powdery shine to its floral partner. The next piece is a velvety moss which is an ideal way of imagining lounging underneath a lemon tree on a vast greensward. The base is Ambroxan and white musks. It could have ruined the entire perfume by becoming its typical strident screechy selves. Mme Salamagne uses a judicious amount such that it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of what she has built.
Blanc Polychrome has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I liked the idea of luxing up a Mediterranean. Turns out I enjoyed it even more in execution. If you want a luxurious Mediterranean, Blanc Polychrome is your perfume.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.