Second Sunday Samples: Parfums de Marly Meliora and Athalia

With the flood of new brands appearing every year now, it is almost impossible to even be aware of them – leave alone smell their offerings. Some brands make it to the perfume blogosphere, others stay under the radar.

I learned about Parfums de Marly not too long ago: during my visit to the Nordstrom’s flagship store in Seattle in summer of 2016 I saw this brand for the first time and even got some samples from the overly enthusiastic SA (with whom we chatted about our favorite Tom Ford’s perfumes).

After I acknowledged this brand existence, I realized that I must have seen it before in a couple of male-dominating perfume split/swap FB groups. But since other than Creed/Tom Ford/Amouage (with occasional Roja Dove and Xerjoff) rotation, the rest of what gets mentioned there are mostly designer perfumes, I think I was glazing over Parfums de Marly because their bottles reminded me of Ferrari perfumes, for which I didn’t care at all.

 

Parfums de Marly and Ferrari Perfumes

 

Of course, if you look closely, it is obvious that the quality of Parfum de Marly’s bottles is much higher. The same, I assume, goes for perfumes, though I still haven’t tried a single perfume from Ferrari.

Don’t get confused by the year on the bottles: according to Fragrantica, Parfums de Marly was created in 2009. 1743 was the year Guillaume Coustou created Chevaux de Marly (The Marley Horses), which became an inspiration for the creators of the brand. The positive side is that Parfums de Marley doesn’t claim any historical connections or secretly held through generations formulas. It’s a fantasy, a tale, a recreation of something that, even if existed, was probably completely different from what any of us can imagine.

Through its original concept, Parfums de Marly rekindles the spirit of fragrances from the splendour of the XVIIIth Century, when the finest perfumes were created for King Louis XV as a tribute of the prestigious horse races he so fervently admired.

Meliora

Two and Half Sea Stars

Created by Nathalie Lorson in 2013, Meliora opens with a believable black currant note. Does it have promised raspberry? Probably. Or some other berry that gives Meliora its sweetness and smothers tartness of black currant after the first 30 minutes. Rose, Lily, Ylang-Ylang, Vanilla, Wood and Musk are probably there since the scent is more complex than just two notes that I can smell but for me these are just a list. After black currant settles down, not much is happening with Meliora: it is surprisingly linear for the price level brand positions their perfumes. Of course, if you happen to like exactly what you smell, it might be not the worst trait.

I think I would have liked Meliora more if I haven’t found already black currant perfume that works for me better – Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince. Also, I read somebody mentioning that Meliora reminded them another perfume by the same nose – Lalique Amethyst. I couldn’t check it since my sample went AWOL but I do not remember it being that black currant-y.

 

Parfums de Marly Samples

 

Athalia

Three and Half Sea Stars

Athalia was created by Alexandra Kosinski in 2016. Notes (from the brand’s site) include orange blossom, iris, amber and musk. Sometimes I wonder how brands decide what notes to mention. I have no doubts that this perfume uses aroma chemicals. But usually when you read descriptions of those, each one often sounds like a finished perfume’s description, even if it mimics specific note. So why not to use a more nuanced description? I realize that whether you like the scent is the most important part. And I rather like Athalia. But somehow $290 for 75 ml for 4 ingredients seems not right. Luckyscent thought so as well, so their list sounds more traditional: Incense, rose, bitter orange, iris, suede, orange blossom, cashmeran, amber, vanilla, vetiver.

I liked Athalia even before Luckyscent’s attempt to save graces (both the story they tell and the perfume description are much more detailed than what brand provides on their own site), but I was puzzled by the promise of orange blossom: I can’t smell it in this perfume at all. It isn’t my favorite scent but I thought that I knew it well – at least how it’s usually represented in perfumery, be that natural or artificial ingredient. In general, it’s not surprising when some notes are not recognizable on their own in perfume (especially by my nose) but it’s a little unexpected when it’s one of four officially mentioned aromas in that perfume.

Since I liked Athalia, I’ll probably try to wear it once or twice from what is left in the sample – just to make sure that I do not need it in my collection.

 

Parfums De Marly

 

Parfums de Marly’s creations remind me of Mugler’s perfumes: loud, persistent and clearly not natural (which isn’t an issue for me). I like their masculine line much more (eventually, I’ll write about some of those), but if you were to try just one perfume from the feminine collection of this brand, I think Athalia is a good choice.

 

Images: my own

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17 thoughts on “Second Sunday Samples: Parfums de Marly Meliora and Athalia

  1. There’s a Parfums de Marly boutique in downtown NYC within spitting distance from the Kilian boutique. It hosted a Sniffapalooza event when it first opened in 2016. I scored a good number of samples but have yet to try one due to inertia rather than having anything against the brand.

    • Judging by the lack of responses, I you and I weren’t the only ones neglecting the brand :)
      I think their masculine line is more interesting than their feminine one. I was even considering one of them for myself.

  2. I have tried a couple of the Marly scents and liked them. Meliora and Athalia were both on my “try” list so I was very happy to see your reviews. I will definitely give Meliora a try since I like black currant notes and Enchanted Forest was a bit too tart for my taste. Athalia will definitely be sampled as well. Thanks so much for the great reviews!!

  3. I tried a few of their masculine scents at Nordstroms and didn’t like them at all, so I have been ignoring the brand. If I happen to see a tester I would try some of their feminine scents but can’t muster the motivation to buy samples.

    • I was looking at a sample set (5 spray samples for $20 at Bloomingdales) but I’d have to pay tax and shipping… So, probably not even there – and from a decanter site it would have been even more expensive. So I’ll wait until I see them at a store again to test more.

  4. I’m not much into Parfums de Marly. Of course I’m aware of their existence but the few I tried didn’t impress me much so I decided not to try to explore further on my own.
    I also don’t like the design of the bottle they’re using.

    • I rather like masculine bottles but not sure about their feminine line though. I wouldn’t have pursued any of these on my own but for half the price I will probably get one more for my vSO. Maybe :)

  5. I see what you mean – the similarity with the Ferrari bottles (by the way, there are some good Ferrari fragrances out there). I also don’t have a problem with Muglerish synthetics when done well.

    • Since I haven’t tried any of Ferrari fragrances, I do not have any opinion of them other than I’m not keen on the idea itself. From a car manufacturer I could probably tolerate an air freshener. But I think I have one sample from that brand, so I might give it a try – just out of curiosity.

  6. I have a real downer on opaque perfume bottles as you know, and these also strike me as a little fussy, staid and at the same time, veering to blingy. But I do like the sound of Athalia from the notes and your description, and would certainly try it if it crossed my path.

    • I was thinking about the fact that those were opaque and that this alone might turn you off.
      BTW, you were standing right next to me when I was taking that last picture in the post.

  7. Ha! to the Ferrari bottle-alike. I’m sure that was not what they intended. I knew about the rave for Herod, but the sweet tobacco fragrance has IMO seen better versions go before it. Back to Black for one. I’ve tried a few of their perfumes, but nothing that was either exceptional or new, but then, I’m a tough customer these days ;-)

    • Thank you for validating my bottle observations! :)

      I liked their Darley very much but I have an even better lavender – Krigler Liber Gustav. And Kiki is probably next in line. So I decided not to get it… but I might change my mind later. And I’m curious to try more of their masculine perfumes but I don’t want to pay for that.

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