Atelier Cologne Gold Leather : Perfume Review


Patricia takes Gold Leather to task.

In the first two offerings of their Collection Métal, Silver Iris and Gold Leather, Atelier cologne gives us two fragrances that have many things in common. Both are Absolues, which means they have a higher than usual concentration of perfume oil, 18 percent, giving them a depth and longevity more similar to an Eau de Parfum than a cologne.


Silver Iris and Gold Leather were created by perfumer Jérome Epinette. Both have over-the-top bottle designs in real gold or silver and “handcrafted leather caps.” The 200 ml size of these bottles comes with complimentary engraving. Both fragrances are accompanied by overwrought ad copy promising the wearer of these fragrances the “absolu” man or woman of one’s dreams.

But there the similarity ends. Where Silver Iris, one of my favorite launches from 2013, is all serenity and balance, Gold Leather is rough and top heavy. This is one boozy fragrance. The opening is like being doused with a full bottle of Jamaican rum, which with the plum notes makes the whole thing more than a little cloying. This stage lasts almost an hour, at which point a touch of eucalyptus provides a needed head-clearing note and brings the sweetness back a notch or two.

The dry down, with soft leather notes belatedly added to the mix along with woods and oud, is pleasant enough but seems like an afterthought, though I found it to be much more wearable than the jarring opening. Atelier Cologne has promised us a rich leather cologne but delivered an alcoholic brew with some wan leather notes at the end.

Although the ad copy would have you believe otherwise, Gold Leather is considered unisex, and it’s equally suitable for both men and women.

Atelier Cologne Gold Leather includes notes of bitter orange, Indian saffron, Jamaican rum, plum, davana, eucalyptus, guaiac wood, cedar, leather, and oud. 100 ml/$195. Available at Luckyscent, Aedes, Bergdorf Goodman and directly from



  • Merlin: Sounds a little – indigestible, lol!

    But now I do want to try Silver Iris… January 8, 2014 at 7:51am Reply

    • Patricia: Yes, do give Silver Iris a try. Some find it a bit too sweet, but I thought it was beautifully balanced. January 8, 2014 at 1:28pm Reply

  • Nicola Stephens: Oh thank goodness it isn’t just me. I foolishly bought a decant unsniffed, sampled it, wore it once and put it away. It will serve as a lesson to me! I liked it well enough after an hour or so but I could not get past that heavy alcoholic opening hour. January 8, 2014 at 9:03am Reply

    • Patricia: That’s what I found, too, Nicola. The dry down was nice enough, but not worth going through the boozy opening to get there :). January 8, 2014 at 1:30pm Reply

  • briony: Well that’s a relief – I’ve just bought a full bottle of Silver Iris which I absolutely love and based on that, was desperate to try the leather one. I’ll calm down now. January 8, 2014 at 9:25am Reply

    • Patricia: Like you, I was eagerly anticipating trying Gold Leather. Which only made it more disappointing that it wasn’t better composed. January 8, 2014 at 1:35pm Reply

  • Aisha: This review came at the right time, as I was just about to order a sample. I trust your review — your review a few months ago of Silver Iris was spot on — so I won’t even bother testing this. What a shame. I’ll just stick with Cuir de Russie. 🙂 January 8, 2014 at 9:43am Reply

    • Patricia: And what a lovely one to stick with :). Can’t go wrong with Cuir de Russie! January 8, 2014 at 1:37pm Reply

  • AnnieA: Was irked that only the Silver had turned up at our Sephora but now less so. January 8, 2014 at 9:51am Reply

    • Patricia: I felt the same about LuckyScent, as I had to go to a bit of trouble to acquire my sample of Gold Leather since LuckyScent didn’t carry it.

      I am glad that I have it for reference, though. January 8, 2014 at 1:39pm Reply

  • george: Patricia, what alternatives would you suggest to this fragrance? January 8, 2014 at 9:55am Reply

    • Lucas: To me it’s a little bit like it was Lubin Idole mixed with one other perfume… Perhaps something like Serge Lutens Boxeuses January 8, 2014 at 10:34am Reply

      • Patricia: I find Boxeuses much smoother and more wearable than Gold Leather, but I agree with you that GL has something in common with Lubin Idole. January 8, 2014 at 1:52pm Reply

      • nozknoz: Oh, dear! That does sound indigestible, Lucas. January 8, 2014 at 8:28pm Reply

    • Patricia: I recently tried Tendre Est la Nuit by Majda Bakkali and loved it. Don’t let the name fool you…nothing wimpy about this leather fragrance. It could just as easily be worn by a man or a woman, too. January 8, 2014 at 1:50pm Reply

  • Lucas: In my case both Silver Iris and Gold Leather were total hits of 2013 and I decided I needed to have both in my collection. And so I have those shiny silver and gold flacons now.

    On my skin Gold Leather is boozy too and I really get the leather from it while it seems the note got lost on your skin.
    The opening I get has a lot of candied orange infused rum, I didn’t get a lot of plum but more of an immortelle. And leather I could smell was quite sharp and pungent on me, a little bit chemical like it was already tinted with black dye. Still I love it!

    But I understand Gold Leather can be a little bit too much for some people. Just as Victoria tends to say – you can’t win them all. At least Atelier Cologne Silver Iris was a winner for you 🙂 January 8, 2014 at 10:31am Reply

    • Patricia: Lucas, those bottles must look gorgeous on your bureau or wherever you have placed them!

      Thanks for your take on Gold Leather. I think that it would work better on a man, and I’m glad you got more leather out of it than I did :). January 8, 2014 at 1:55pm Reply

      • Lucas: I love to look at them in a sunny day, when their metallic surfice shines brightly and reflects the sun light 🙂

        I’m happy I found a leather that works for me perfectly. I often have issues finding a leather that suits me. So far only Gold Leather and Cuir Ottoman seemed right. January 8, 2014 at 2:10pm Reply

        • Patricia: Cuir Ottoman is a good one. I like many in the Parfum d’Empire line, especially Azemour, Eau Suave, and Equisitrius. January 8, 2014 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Merlin: Personally I find Havane Vanille a bit too alcohol-ey and though I have Ambre Russe, I find that the vodka (?) note means I wear it a little less frequently. These kinds of notes always attract me in the descriptions but don’t appeal so much in real life:) January 8, 2014 at 11:14am Reply

    • Patricia: I remember trying a gin-and-tonic type of fragrance that I liked for summer. I think that it was called Juniper Sling or some such name.

      Does anyone remember that one? January 8, 2014 at 2:01pm Reply

      • Merlin: A Penhaligon perhaps? I do like the gin and tonic effect of Voyage de Hermes EDT. It more a dry sparkling take on it. I think the alcohol amber types are the ones I find difficult. January 8, 2014 at 6:13pm Reply

        • Patricia: I just received a sample of Voyage de Hermes. Look forward to trying it!

          Yes, Juniper Sling is by Penhaligon. I only had a small sample but remember enjoying it. Not enough to buy a bottle, though. January 8, 2014 at 6:31pm Reply

  • Annikky: Hah, for once I disagree! Not that I adored Gold Leather or even wore it that much (I have a generous sample, no more), but during the cold, damp November evenings it worked very well for me. It really was golden (although I would have welcomed more leather) – warm and spicy and boozy, while Silver Iris didn’t seem silver at all. I know many people love it and I’m sure it’s just me, but I cannot get past the sweetness in SI. In case of Gold Leather I forgive it, as it makes sense for that type of fragrance. However, in addition to my opinions being strictly personal and subjective, I am going by memory at the moment and when I re-sniff, could easily change my mind about both scents 🙂

    Anyway, glad to see Gold Leather reviewed and I do agree it’s not subtle. Then again, neither am I and I can use a generous dose of the Carribean fun now and then. I’ll be curious to see if Gold Leather has found any fans. January 8, 2014 at 12:28pm Reply

    • Lucas: Great comment Annikky!
      For me Silver Iris and Gold Leather are both stunning (but SI a little more stunning) and I have both in my collection.
      Both got very positive reviews from me when I reviewed them on my blog.
      Atelier Cologne quickly became one of my favourite brands, I’m always eagerly awaiting their new compositions. January 8, 2014 at 1:25pm Reply

      • Patricia: Me too, Lucas. They have come out with some great fragrances, and I’m always interested in what they will come up with next. January 8, 2014 at 2:14pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Annikky, Thanks so much for your comments on Gold Leather and Silver Iris. I think that Gold Leather does indeed have its fans, and I hope to hear from more of them!

      I had to laugh out loud at your comment “I do agree it’s not subtle…then again, neither am I.”
      🙂 January 8, 2014 at 2:10pm Reply

  • Kathy: Well here is a fan of Gold Leather and Silver Iris 🙂

    Though the Gold Leather works best on DH, but it is definitely one of his most beautiful leather scents and he has several. I got a decant for him but a fb is on his wishlist.

    I love the Silver Iris though I go back on forth on whether I want a fb of it or Iris Nazarena. January 8, 2014 at 2:59pm Reply

    • Patricia: I must admit to not having tried Iris Nazarena. What is it like? January 8, 2014 at 4:40pm Reply

  • Elisa: I’ve got plenty of leather options so I won’t be adding this one to my sample list. I must admit I kind of like the idea of being doused with a bottle of rum though … 🙂 January 8, 2014 at 3:17pm Reply

  • Patricia: Ha! Then you will love Gold Leather ;). January 8, 2014 at 4:40pm Reply

  • Austenfan: One of my last fragrant purchases last year was the (excellent!) sample set of Atelier Cologne.
    I agree with Annikky in that I find Silver Iris too sweet, and ultimately not very interesting. Because of the different opinions on this leather scent, I tried some last night. While I rather enjoy the opening, it feels oddly imbalanced. I do need to try it another time when I am not already covered in Ormonde Woman as I was last night. The plums and all the rest of it rather escaped my notice. January 9, 2014 at 7:00am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Austenfan, Please let me know what you think of Gold Leather once you have a chance to give it a second try.

      I agree with you that it is not a balanced fragrance. I was never quite sure where they were trying to go with this one. January 9, 2014 at 7:22am Reply

  • Andy: You’ve reminded me how I need to try both Silver Iris and Gold Leather! I really do like Atelier as a line, so it’s a shame to hear this one is a bit of a miss. I’ve read a few other reviews for Gold Leather and none have seemed to rave over this one. I was hoping that their take on leather would be a very inventive one, but I guess I’d better leave my judgements off until I test it. January 9, 2014 at 8:06pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Andy! I would love to get your take on this one (and Silver Iris as well).

      I had hoped that my husband would test GL so that I could smell it on a man, but he took one whiff and begged off. 🙂 January 10, 2014 at 8:38am Reply

  • Canadianpetite: Sephora near me does not carry Gold Leather either so I can only wonder of the scent so I was happy to see your review (don’t think I’ll like the scent). They do carry Silver Iris so I have been enjoying a sample for awhile but the price made my wallet shut tight. Finally, after your positive review (thank you) on SI, I now own a full bottle. January 11, 2014 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Patricia: Hi Canadianpetite, Ooh, I’m jealous as I only own a decant of Silver Iris. However, my birthday is later this month so I’m hopeful that a full bottle of SI will join my collection :). January 12, 2014 at 5:38pm Reply

  • The Perfumed Veil: I didn’t like Silver Iris one bit but am in love with Gold Leather. Thank God Atelier did a higher concentration of perfume because GL lasts all day. I picture dark burgundy leather. It is heavier than gold. Excellent scent. March 2, 2014 at 5:05pm Reply

    • Patricia: Glad to hear that Gold Leather worked for you! March 2, 2014 at 6:47pm Reply

  • Mark: I just finished a sample of GL and each time I wore it I could not get ladies perfume out of my head. I appreciate the scent for what it is but it came off as way too feminine for me. I felt uncomfortable wearing it. March 27, 2014 at 12:11am Reply

  • Patricia: Hi Mark, I could see how the plum notes combined with the rum could come off as a bit sweet. The eucalyptus wasn’t enough to tone it down for me.

    So glad to have another man giving his opinion on this one. March 27, 2014 at 7:04pm Reply

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