I really wanted to love this one, but sadly it hasn't lived up to my expectations. The notion of a dry, smokey, dusky, balsamic vanilla with warm spices, ambergris, and resins, coupled with a scintillating golden juice and that heady, evocative name, "Lune Féline"...Well, it was titillating to say the least. And there's no doubt that Lune Féline, as with other Atelier des Ors offerings, is high quality stuff. It's exotic (even somewhat tropical), unique, and it is indeed a dry, smokey, dusky, balsamic vanilla with warm spices, amber and resins. But for some reason, it just doesn't wow me. The opening is promising, with styrax, pink pepper, cardamom, salty ambergris, humid balsam, smoke, and a bit of vanillic sweetness, but all of that complexity vanishes during the drydown, which is just a smidge above your friendly neighborhoood woodsy/musky/vanilla base. Traces of the opening remain, but ultimately they're quite fleeting. By the four or five hour mark, it's just a faint skin scent; this one is no beast. Each time I wear it, I find myself liking it more and more, but I highly doubt I'll fork over $275 for something I find merely "pretty" with average performance. If I'd pick any from Atelier des Ors, it'd be Iris Fauve, Rose Omeyyade, or Choeur des Anges. Still, Lune Féline is still unique enough as a drier, smokier, non-gourmand vanilla that it merits a try, if nothing else.
I was kindly given the opportunity by a blogger friend (thank you!) to test a few Atelier des Ors offerings, here are my thoughts on Lune Féline:
The cardamom-dominated opening 30 minutes of Lune Féline on my skin is wonderful! And it makes me want to embark on an olfactory journey to explore more cardamom-prominent perfumes!
The cardamom here is paired with ginger. Together they're spicy and woody as expected, yet also have sparkles of an almost green freshness. This creates a lovely contrast with the thick, doughy vanilla in the base, still dormant at the moment and not yet having revealed its true power.
10 minutes in, something unexpected but thouroughly enticing happens: besides the spicy woody aspect of cardamom, a salty and somewhat meaty nuance rises as well. Maybe it's a combined effect of cinnamon, styrax and ambergris accord, of which I'm not entirely sure, but what I know is that it transfoms the aromatic cardamom into a fleshly, even carnal spice like clove and cinnamon sometimes can be as well. There is also a soft fruity spiciness discreetly gaining momentum, Combined with the fuzzy woody texture of various spices and the soft creaminess of the not-yet-awaken vanilla, Lune Féline smells almost like a delectable saffron-cardamom rice pudding!
If Lune Féline contines as such, I might have found my Arkenstone of cardamom fragrance, but as fate would have it, the giant beast of vanilla awakens and scorches the earth into gooey toffee and burnt cotton candy. The syrupy amber also bursts from underneath like molten lava. The combined effect of these two elements is a boozy plum-like amber-vanilla that I struggle with in general, and is reminiscent of the similar syrupy plum aspect in other boozy vanilla such as Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille or Annick Goutal Nuit et Confidences in broad strokes.
Lune Féline then remains as this gourmand boozy vanilla during its long dry down. The woody yet fleshly spices try to make a comeback but never succeed. Occasionally, when the syrupiness softens a little, the woody, slightly powdery vanilla reminds me of vanilla-scented sunflower seed fairly popular in China, but the caramelised syrupy amber is still very much present until the end.
Lune Féline has a heavy-to-moderate sillage and an excellent longevity of almost 12 hours.
Because my tolerance of boozy ambery vanilla is fairly low, Lune Féline is too intensely sweet for my personal taste. However, the fleshly cardamom opening is very impressive to my nose, and I think it's well worth a sniff for a cardamom fan even if one is not so keen on gourmand boozy vanilla. Additionally, I'd also recommend it to those who enjoy boozy, caramelised amber/vanilla in general but would like a more spicy, cardamom-laden variation.
A daring balmy/resinous (finally drier) amber appointed for us by Atelier Des Ors. A super resinous yummy accord of sweet/peppery spices (cardamom galore) and balsams with an aromatic (vaguely minty) aura, a sort of lingering peppery/incensey twist and a finally sharper/talkier woody "tail". Opening is quite mesmerizing and inebriating. Balsams are almost gourmandish and edible. The aromatic/green vibe is quite exotic and somewhat intellectual. A central accord of styrax, green patterns, frankincense and cardamom is heady and kind of "smokey/tropical". I definitely enjoy the heady chord of amber, cinnamon, frankincense and "aromatics". Balsams hold on seriously captivating and "juicy" till almost the end of the journey (anticipating and heralding the final cedary/dusty white powder). There is an undeniable amberish (slightly tobacco-veined and definitely cardamomish) dominant presence which represents the "feline side of the moon". Fortunately the woody undertone is moderate in strength and well balanced (more than vaguely pencil shavings a la Montana Graphite). I don't get the musk at all. Balsams and dry woods are quite well combined, woods (kind of dry and cedary) balance the resinous vibe while providing a final sharper (kind of poudre, dusty and misty) aromatic atmosphere a la Tauer L'Air du desert Marocain. The fresh green vibe is durable along the development and finally slightly talky. I detect a certain resemblance with radiant resinous ambers a la Diptyque Eau Duelle and So Oud Nur (especially along the top and the central stage). Anyway this juice preserves for itself a tad of more assertive misty "shadow". Lune Feline is not a stand out crack in perfumery (and is not surely a quite articulated and structured masterwork) but we can say it exudes olfactory dignity being a quite intriguing juice for all the lovers of the "animalic spicy amber theme".
Don't get any Cinnamon or Cardamon despite the listed notes.
I do get some Ambergris and Styrax and a smokey animalic vibe.
Eventually Vanilla comes through and believe me it is a welcome relief.
Reminds me just a little of Mancera's Aoud Vanille. It is more complex but ultimately not something I would ever reach for.