Archives 69 opens sweet, and fizzy – with soapy aldehydes up top and a sherbet candy underneath. The soap entwines with some sweet orange, and slowly begins to give way to some pepper spiced fruit.
The fruits start bright and berry-like, playful and immature, before they get dense and a little “stodgy” – bringing to mind the prune-y/date-y fruit of Feminite Du Bois. This sweet, sticky fruit is counterbalanced in weight by a continuing translucent fizz – that no longer smell like the aldehydes – but a spiced floral fruitiness that hovers above the entire composition. The peppered spice also smells like it has a hint of ginger in it? Maybe even cardamom – it’s subtle whatever it is.
An “off” camphorous vibe comes in once the aldehydes fully disappear, its bizarre becuase whilst there is patchouli in the drydown – the camphor doesn’t seem to be coming from this, it’s like its own being. It brings with it a metallic edge, that I pretty much consider Etat Libre D’Orange’s signature. A smidge of smoky incense joins in, heads up top, and quickly becomes a leading player along with the remains of the now, slightly nauseating berry note. As I have already said (I just have to reinforce this becuase the description sounds so heavy) – all these dark notes have a great lightness to them, they are verging on translucent and the fragrance still manages to bring to mind the colour of its label.
The floral that trails through the heart of the fragrance is listed as “orchid”, I have a lot of orchids in the house, and I can’t smell them at all – so, I’m not gonna lie and say I smell orchid specifically, maybe I need to smell some EO.
As it begins to dry down, the subtle patchouli is sweetened by some benzoin, but the most prominent are the musk and the incense. The musk blended with the florals gives Archives 69 a slightly dated, classical feel, but with the fizzy of berries up top adding an extremely modern edge. The incense that starts so metallic, has a bitter resinous facet that is more obvious in the drydown. It’s a big bucket of textures, that somehow, is pulled off very well.
Unfortunately I don’t find it anywhere near as interesting as I hoped it would be (good job I didn’t blind buy this as I planned), but it is still a solid fragrance in the Etat Libre D’Orange lineup and definitely one of the most accessible. A playful fruity floral with a metallic, resinous and camphorous vibe throughout, nice.
Archives 69 50ml Etat Libre D’Orange – £74 Les Senteurs