Juxtapositions: Etat Libre D’Orange – Fat Electrician & S-Perfume – S-ex

I have a lot of samples I really want to review, but I actually don’t like, and am worried I won’t have enough to say about them. So, this is my piss poor attempt to group them together :) I actually think I could have got away with this one a bit sneaky without mentioning… but anyway:

My micro-theme of juxtapositions, joins these two fragrances together. Basically, the themes of both of these fragrances shouldn’t really go – but they do… (to some people at least).
I don’t want to go into detail about their personalities just yet or I will have nothing to write about and my plan will have failed before it’s even started. So I’ll just start :)…

I love Etat Libre D’Orange, but I’ve said before with a murmured slur that I actually don’t like that many of their fragrances (considering how big their line is). But I do love the brand, the marketing etc etc. I really don’t want to be one of those people who say “their fragrances don’t match the marketing”, but at times, this is undeniable.

Anyway – Fat Electrician… I love the name let me start with that, and I reallllllyyyyyy wanted to love the fragrance. I want a bottle, I want people to ask what I’m wearing and say “Oh it’s Fat Electrician” :’)
I knew all along this was a vetiver, and my experience with vetiver before my blog was minimal, actually no, it was non-existent. I have since tried some fantastic vetiver’s… but I haven’t bought one yet, none have caught me enough – but I have a much greater understanding of it.
So I read that this is supposed to be a vetiver to capture the hearts of even those who don’t like the note, so even though I probably should have tried this a little earlier on, I thought “It’s never too late” :)

Fat Electrician is quiet, I can literally pour half my sample over my arm and I have to lift my arm up to smell it. But, that’s not really an issue of mine, I have found that with most vetivers.

Ok, so it opens with an instantly recognizable vetiver note, slightly salty, a bit skanky (I find vetiver to have quite a nasty odour if used correctly if that makes sense – I like it grubby!), green and rooty and pleasant in that muted way that makes vetiver so recognizable. However, in perfect balance with it, actually maybe even swaying in the favour of, is vanilla. A creamy, smooth vanilla that isn’t sickly sweet, and instead has the bizarrely repulsive “eggy” quality that I constantly seem to pick up in vanilla’s (mostly in Mona Di Orio’s eggfest Vanille). It’s a very interesting combination and somehow it all kind of works… for about five minutes.

After the five minutes, the metallic edge of the vetiver (and ELdO’s metallic signature), and the sheer blandness of the not-quite-sweet-not-quite-anything vanilla, all distorts into a sharp, yet lactonic tea-leaf sort of smell. It’s interesting but obviously simple. It is the matter of balance that makes Fat Electrician interesting, constantly wondering whether the fragrance will fall on the vanilla side or the vetiver side… to be honest, I don’t care what side it falls on, it’s uncomfortable for me either way.

Oh and if it couldn’t get much worse, there’s a nice blob of myrrh in the base, the breathy kind. The myrrh and vanilla with the metallic edge, create a similar sensation to Jasmin et Cigarette’s unappetizing “bad breath” stench that remains muted, unsettling and a little too close for comfort.

An interesting fragrance, but it doesn’t work for me I’m afraid.

I should love S-ex I really should, it is everything that I should hunt for in a fragrance – a juxtaposing combination, an attempt at an artistic name, and an avant-garde feel, all wrapped up in a bottle that looks like medical equipment and a brand name to match.

I was going to just write this review without explaining the juxtaposition beforehand, but I will. The reason I will is because without my knowledge of this prior to me testing this fragrance, I’d have had no clue that there was much unique about this.
So, S-ex is meant to be an almost animalic leather, overlaid with contrasting notes of aquatic Calone. If that makes sense you’ll understand why it shouldn’t really work…

S-ex opens with a real musky note laid over a true to life plastic accord. It is the type of plastic accord that I desperately craved in Comme Des Garcons’ Skai, only it is toned down here, and is blended with a whole bunch of other notes to make it not so important and exciting.

You know what, I have to take back my words a little bit, I did dismiss this the first few times I tried it, but I’m kind of understanding it now. So, if you’re familiar with “Calone”, it is basically an aroma-chemical that has an aquatic/melon type of vibe, you can smell it in numerous designer fragrances along with some niches who focus on the note, such as Humiecki & Graef’s Skarb (at least I think that’s what it is). Calone is really prominent here, but just like the marketing promises (and I’m really getting for the first time), underneath this is – dare I say – a fecal leathery musk. It is like a perfect poop wrapped in cling film (the plastic accord is still going strong).

I also get some notes not listed – a metallic accord (not that they have any need to list that), and berries? Like, red berries, which give it a futuristic jammy note.
As it wears, this jammy plastic note comes forward, and the melon notes of the Calone die down – as does the fecal musk. It becomes a lot cleaner relatively quickly, and instead it becomes a recognizable, almost cheap smelling aquatic fragrance, plasticky undertones smother some subtle red berries and clean white musk. If you didn’t know what this fragrance was, and sniffed it at this point (half an hour later?) it wouldn’t be something you would have thought an avant-garde niche creation.

To be honest, I was just captivated by the first ten minutes and I thought I’d embarrassed myself and was quickly falling in love with this! But no, the drydown has let me down, but the first half hour is great fun, if you’re in with the joke – if you’re not it’s a pretty unappetizing and nondescript fragrance.
The leather actually keeps popping out which is nice, it is a complete contrast to everything else going on but it does work. S-ex doesn’t ever blend into a seamless fragrance, little shards jut out here and there of leather, musk, plastic, fruit, melon; All together however, it creates a fragrance fuzz not too dissimilar in feel to Comme Des Garcons’ Odeur 72 for example.

Definitely worth a sniff, and a very interesting fragrance if you explore it in-depth (as I have just learnt). But I’d still pick 100% Love over this any day.

And may I say, that post turned out much larger than expected :’) I enjoyed that!

Etat Libre D’Orange Fat Electrician 50ml – £52.50 Les Senteurs
S-Perfume S-ex 50ml EDT – $110 Luckyscent

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2 thoughts on “Juxtapositions: Etat Libre D’Orange – Fat Electrician & S-Perfume – S-ex

  1. I know the frustration in wanting to love a fragrance, only to be let down. I’m with you, the ELdO fragrance line is fun, witty and to me underwhelming. As for the S-ex..always concerning when I read “fecal”, but many times surprised that something of that sort works for me!

    • I wouldn’t get put off by the word fecal, literally sniffing this whilst writing the review was the first time I detected any kind of animalic notes or leather in S-ex. It’s mainly a highly synthetic musky/floral/fruity aquatic, wedged somewhere between unusual and dull.
      As for ELdO, they do have their absolute stunners – Rien, Sec Mag, Vierges et Toreros and Putain, the others I struggle with… OH and Charogne is pretty great :)
      I want Encens et Bubblegum though, last time I tried it the bubblegum iust vanished and the hugely metallic incense came forward, hopefully I’ll get better results on next wearing :)

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