L’Orchidee Terrible opens with aldehydes galore – the almost aquatic soapy kind that I think is Aldehyde C11? Or C10… I can’t remember
Then, the most bizarre transition occurs that seems a little displaced but enjoyable to sniff. A sweet honey comes forward which carries with it a translucent, milky chocolate aroma that reminds me of Caramac – those synthetic yellow chocolate bars that taste a little like caramel.
The floral notes are subtle and metallic. An unusual combination of lily of the valley and orchid (although the orchid I am going off both the name and the notes list – I have never smelt a pure orchid material so have no idea how it smells) mingle with the honey and still blaring aldehydes into something that smells like hot metal. At this point if I was to compare L’Orchidee Terrible to any other fragrance – it would be Odeur 71 by Comme Des Garcons. This could easily have a notes list of “dust on a hot light bulb” and “photocopier toner” and “ink in a fountain pen”… it gives off all of these to me, with a pulsating metallic note that also brings to mind the futuristic AB by Blood Concept.
As it ever so slowly begins to settle, a dry, white musk comes forward, perfectly clean and almost clinical. A little hint of jasmine sweetens the fragrance, and maybe a smidge of vanilla. The dryness I assume comes from either a trail of incense or some cedar – I can’t tell – either way it is so distorted by the chemical explosion of the opening it’s identity is shattered in the surreal, futuristic heart of the fragrance.
The thing that stumps me about L’Orchidee Terrible is that I’m not sure whether this was the intention of the perfumer? The marketing makes it seems as though it is meant to be a dated, clean, aldehydic floral – but it comes across as something avant-garde and extremely modern. Was this a mistake? Is there supposed to be this glaring metallic quality that runs throughout it? I’m not sure – of course it’s hard for me to judge this when the packaging shows me a glamorous lady on a pastel pink background… If this were packaged in a sterile test-tube style bottle with a metal plate for a logo, I’d go “Perfect!”. So for now – I’m having to make my mind up on L’Orchidee Terrible on the fragrance alone, minus what surrounds it – in this context, it’s fabulous…
As the aldehydes burn off the honey settles into something extremely translucent and uncomfortably sweet – but so hidden in the distance it is just a sharp element that makes the drydown so much more interesting. The metallic quality, paired with the musky vanilla (and I’ll say incense because I’m sure there’s some in there!), curdles slightly into something that constantly congeals, and then settles on my skin – it’s hugely enjoyable to sniff although I’m sure I’m describing it entirely with words that are putting you off! The orchid is clearly the main player, and a soapy floral almost like a lilac manages to survive the aldehydic opening. A slight earthiness underneath, paired with the musk, brings out an unexpected animal quality – but almost in a Secretions Magnifique style, and to be honest, that is the fragrance that I am most reminded of when smelling L’Orchidee Terrible.
A hugely enjoyable fragrance and one which yet again – I feel like I want a bottle of… God knows when I would wear this, but I can’t help but smile each time I sniff it. Fantastic, obscure and avant-garde; whilst in all honesty it smells a little out of balance to begin with, it manages to smush itself together into something like I have never smelt before and I like it!
L’Orchidee Terrible 60ml EDP Imaginary Authors – $89 www.imaginaryauthors.com