Tom Of Finland – Etat Libre D’Orange

Thanks to my glorious pal Steve over at The Scented Hound, I have a big bag of smelly goodies in front of me and didn’t know where to begin. I thought I’d take it easy and start here… actually jumping ahead of myself, recently reviewed Love by By Kilian was in this mix… anyway, I have tried Tom Of Finland before, but never on skin. So this is an easy place to start :)


Tom Of Finland is a gorgeous leather from the start. It opens with a fizzy aldehyde, similar to that used in Rien. It isn’t soapy, but texturizes the top notes of lemon so that they almost become a bright aura, rather than citric.

The leather is present from the start – a really soft, luxurious suede, fluffy and smooth – similar in style (but much quieter) to the leather used in Cuir Ottoman.
Once the aldehydes settle, up comes a hit of safraleine – an aromachemical that smells like a relatively flat (but nice!) leathery saffron. When I smell the aldehydes and then the safraleine I can’t help but thing of my beloved Comme Des Garcons EDP 2011, and then when I think of this, I detect a muskiness to Tom Of Finland – the similarities become quite uncanny. However, Tom Of Finland is pulled much more into it’s leather territory with the lack of floral notes (I’m not counting the subtle hint of powdery iris in here) and it’s suede note pushed into the foreground.

The suede note becomes plasticky, with an almost vinyl-like feel; Comme Des Garcons Skai is brought to mind – and underneath that is a papery note of old books, similar to that in Desperado by Smell Bent (which is also a leather saffron)… oh man I keep making comparisons, sorry!
The thing is, Tom Of Finland does smell like a mashup of other things, but it does manage to hold its own identity – just.

A slightly “off” amber, and a hint of salty vetiver in the base, along with that white musk from the heart, pull Tom Of Finland into a few moments I find a little off-putting. The leather falls very flat, the saffron turns slightly when it comes in contact with the “gray amber” and salty vetiver. Whilst it actually still smells like a good, synthetic almost avant-garde style dry down, the mashup of ingredients seems to distort the flow, if this makes any sense…
However, it does manage to pull itself back together in the drydown, where the suede remains longer than expected paired with a soft vanilla, vetiver and a hint of smoke. The vetiver/vanilla bringing to mind Fat Electritian by ELdO…

Anyway, I do enjoy most parts of Tom Of Finland – it goes a little off track for me about half an hour into the fragrance where I don’t enjoy it quite so much – I find it quite vegetal. But I’d happily recommend it to someone looking for a light leather. I don’t think it quite fits the image being presented, it needed a whole bunch of birch tar, pump up that plastic note and add a hint of the iodine-like metallic note of Secretions Magnifique in the base and it would have been perfect! Still, a nice safe fragrance :)

Tom Of Finland 50ml Etat Libre D’Orange – £59.50 Escentual

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4 thoughts on “Tom Of Finland – Etat Libre D’Orange

  1. The concept of this fragrance is what made me purchase blindly for the hubby. In fact, it’s one that I really have to be in the mood to want him to wear as there is something about it that grates on me after a while. Agreed, it needs to be a bit rougher than it is.

    • I think it’s a pretty safe blind buy, and there are times when I’d love to wear this, I don’t think I’ll ever have a bottle, but it is a nice example of what it is :)
      I wish the bottle was covered in the artwork, some guy with a big rager under the sprayer – the bottle is far too polite for such a playful brand :’)

  2. lucasai says:

    I like it too! Smells really good.

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