Category Archives: Etat Libre D’Orange

Vraie Blonde – Etat Libre D’Orange

Hey guys! Well, it’s my birthday today :D And over the last few days I’ve treated myself to some new bottles – a few which I’ve reviewed already, and something in particular I am stupidly excited about and will have to write about soon.
I got recommended Vraie Blonde by a nose I really admire in the YouTube fragrance community, Freddie at Fumerie Hillaire. I found a great deal for this on Amazon so snatched up a bottle blind… thankfully, I realllllllllly like it.

Vraie Blonde

Vraie Blonde starts with a great aldehyde chain up top, not soapy, but very sparkly. A lot of reviewers comment that this opening smells of champagne, I kind of get that – but there’s too much underneath for it to be so accurate. Instead, it is a slightly peachy, softly fruity, sparkling opening with a subtle hint of resins underneath… mainly a quiet bitterness of myrrh… if anything, it reminds me of a less aggressive, more fruity La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens at this point… mixed with maybe, Noontide Petals? There are some soft white florals in the background, adding a creaminess to it. It smells very luxurious.

The sparkly opening, the hint of peach, the bitter and lactonic accords underneath (including a light sweetness of cocoa), at times smells slightly like vomit. Ok so I totally just made your face drop compared to the opening… but I don’t always get this, and when I do, it’s not quite the sour, sharp, acidic vomit, but I’m not the only one who gets this association. In fact, Vraie Blonde is quite infamous for this slightly vomit-like note. Don’t be put off, seriously, it’s a long shot to even begin to blend the gorgeous opening into an idea of vomit, but it can happen. Still… the opening begins to settle quickly, and totally diverts from this (if you get it of course), and the result is pretty gorgeous!

There’s a hint of pepper, the peach still going strong, clean rose running throughout and a cream-like lactone making Vraie Blonde drape over your skin in a plush, suede-like layer. It’s not loud, but it lasts, sitting relatively close to the skin but I constantly catch little throws of it all day when wearing it. I get hints of cherry and smoke? Tobacco? Little nuances to the various bits and pieces going on in the base.
Under the peachy rose, a sweet resinous base mingles with some patchouli and the tiniest bit of cocoa… it’s cosy, comfortable and familiar, nothing jarring, sharp… just really, really easy to wear. If it sounds like your thing, I can’t recommend it enough, I’m thoroughly loving wearing Vraie Blonde!

Vraie Blonde 50ml EDP Etat Libre D’Orange £59.50

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La Fin Du Monde – Etat Libre D’Orange

So La Fin Du Monde is the much anticipated release from house Etat Libre D’Orange. I was super excited about this release, until I read the notes list, describing LFdM as “a popcorn opening softening down to pale woods”. It sounded dull as shit, but the popcorn opening did intrigue me. I was hoping for a new Jeux De Peau gourmand deliciousness, whether it fitted “The End Of The World” name or not.
SO. I was lucky enough to win a full bottle of this fragrance and it couldn’t have come at a better time. How does it smell…

La Fin Du Monde

La Fin Du Monde starts with a semi sweet, translucent note of caramel, undercut with a subtle, sweet vegetal accord (that all together reminds me of the pumpkin/immortelle of Etat Libre D’Orange’s Like This). I get a hint of immortelle in fact, that quickly gives in to a rooty iris. The opening to me, is absolutely nothing like popcorn. There’s no sickly sweet caramel, no wheat, corn, or cereal smells whatsoever… nothing buttery or edible, just a slight sweetness.

The iris reminds me a little of that used in Honore Des Pres Love Les Carottes… paired here with “carrot seed” – it definitely gives off that slightly carroty smell, with a hint of metallics, just a touch of powder… not full on rooty, not full on floral… a soft iris that’s ridiculously easy to wear.

The overall feel at this point is a slightly golden hue of translucent and sweet iris. I can’t say I get any cumin, or pepper for that matter… the listed “gunpowder”? A non existent novelty note. Is it nice? It is nice, but nothing more. I got others to try this today, and everyone said “yeh it’s nice”… it’s totally harmless. This kind of minimalistic, translucent fragrance worked a little better in Tilda’s Like This (which I found pretty boring too), because of the slightly more interesting texture and that sweet/spiciness of the immortelle… although the overall effect is near identical… which is bizarre considering they are from different perfumers. It feels very “ELdO”, if you know what I mean? And it fits into the line nicely, although unnecessary IMO. I totally think they should have gone all out with this one and released a massive powerhouse like Rien. They needed it. What they didn’t need was another excuse for people to say “A nice fragrance that doesn’t fit the name” but that’s unfortunately what they’ve done.

Ok so it sounds like I hate this. I don’t, I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot because it is so easy to. Whilst it’s super soft, translucent and almost “not there”, it has a half decent throw for a fair few hours, radiating in a soft, synthetic caramel sweetness atop iris and pale woods. But it is definitely not an earth shattering release, and not a standout, instead it is “nice”…

This video was posted on CaFleureBon recently. I have to admit, despite the ridiculous attempt to push a narrative behind the fragrance and talk about how “popcorn is the olfactory note of escapism, the cumin and pepper is the ignition…” etc… it got me SLIGHTLY more excited to try it. However watching it back it just makes me laugh… La Fin Du Monde is a sweetened iris and little else. Still, I’ll wear it regularly and I DO appreciate my bottle, having dealt with a big family loss recently the generosity couldn’t have come at a better time… but hey, you guys read this because I’m honest right?! I recommend it, if you’re not on the hunt for something revolutionary… it could quite easily become a comfort scent, I’m just not sure whether that was the aim or not.

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Etat Libre D’Orange – Don’t Get Me Wrong Baby (I Don’t Swallow) & Encens et Bubblegum

Don't Get Me Wrong Baby I Don't Swallow

Don’t Get Me Wrong Baby I Don’t Swallow opens with a high-pitched, vinyl-like layer of screechy aldehydes, enhanced with a bizarre soapy/starchy smell that gradually unfolds into a lily of the valley. I like lily of the valley, I can’t say it’s too delicious here though, a little bit plastic-y and flat – it throws off a pretty pungent hair-spray vibe.

The lily of the valley is paired with a lilac, jasmine and orange blossom – and whilst that sounds like a rich bouquet, it’s all flattened into a waxy texture that glues to your skin like a bad suntan lotion. A hint of a metallic note (expected with ELdO) joins in the heart leading to the drydown.
At the bottom of the fragrance sits a smidge of patchouli, maybe an amber/vanilla?, and that waxy, synthetic floral accord. A marshmallow note (also found in Divin Enfant and more successfully in Love By Kilian) joins in, that’s neither appetizing, or accurate – instead it adds a slightly fluffy texture to the already light (yet sticky) fragrance.

Sounds pretty bad ‘ey? Actually, it’s ok. It’s a very generic, cheap laugh of a fragrance that I’d happily wear from time to time. Not a standout in the line, nor do I recommend it – yet it manages to be a better clean floral than most others out there.

Encens Et Bubblegum

Encens Et Bubblegum starts with an unexpected hit of pink pepper, a heated spice with maybe a touch of ginger and a semi-realistic bubblegum note. It’s not actually as sweet as you’d expect, and the pepper definitely makes it more “perfume-y” rather than gourmand. The bubblegum has a stale, papery texture with a strong waxy, peach note that reminds me strongly of Crayon by Demeter (a fragrance I can’tbelieveI wore a lot when I was 18). The pepper burns off quickly and the wax-crayon vibe just gets stronger as the bubblegum accord disappears.

There is a slightly fruity smell going on in here, the peach I already mentioned along with a cheap strawberry/raspberry smell that again, isn’t sweet or edible. The waxy texture I’m guessing could be lily of the valley after smelling it’s use in DGMWB(IDS). There’s also a touch of jasmine and magnolia I think – something adding a pretty grim floral touch.

What pierces through everything is the metallic note that just about holds an incense accord. It’s definitely not an incense I’m used to in a fragrance, the ELdO signature instead bridges the gap between the “bubblegum” and the “incense”. The fragrance dry down remains pretty linear, the wax crayon accord pairing with the fruity/floral gross-ness, overlaid with a metallic intensity.
Unfortunately, I don’t love it like I wanted to, but still – an interesting fragrance in the Etat Libre D’Orange lineup.

Encens et Bubblegum 50ml & Don’t Get Me Wrong Baby I Don’t Swallow 50ml Etat Libre D’Orange – £52.50

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The Afternoon Of A Faun – Etat Libre D’Orange

The Afternoon Of A Faun opens with one of the best turkish delight (loukoum) accords I’ve smelt. A rich turkish rose, powdery iris and a hit of bergamot. In all these loukoum fragrances they add a huge dose of almonds and/or cherries – neither of which I associate with the sweet (that’s more nougat to me)… rose, powder and citrus… perfect!

There’s a spiciness in the opening too, a slightly spicy and fruity black and pink pepper along with a subtle immortelle underneath. This spice works perfectly with the loukhum accord but due to the higher presence of florals rather than foody ingredients (and not much sweetness) – it stays away from being gourmand and is instead: mouthwateringly fragrant.

A frankincense and myrrh begin to join in, slightly bitter, resinous smoky – all that lovely stuff, that just makes that turkish rose better and better. The iris keeps providing a lovely and lighthanded dose of powder throughout – completely rounding out any sharp edges and making The Afternoon Of A Faun both light, and super smooth on my skin. The immortelle never takes over, but is detectable throughout – dry rather than syrupy, with the spice subtle – similar to it’s use in Like This but just a little more potent. The “fuzzy” texture most closely resembles Archives 69 in the Etat Libre D’Orange lineup, and I find a fair few similarities between the fragrances – but this is undoubtably easier to wear (and nicer!). They both have a subtle metallic incense, a “pink berry” aroma that here seems to be a sideline of the rose, and a peppery spice. There’s a lot of textures going on and a list of florals that whilst is pretty straightforward to read (rose, jasmine, iris) it is somehow presented quite abstract.

The turkish delight accord breaks down a little becoming less familiar and less gourmand but the rose note staying true to the opening. However, as the bitter resins gain in strength, that familiar metallic note of the house signature, and a subtle leather note intermingle with the more delicate powder of spicy florals, the whole thing gets a little more “perfumey” and less edible. The drydown is light but rich, an unusual combination of spice, bitterness, resins and iris powder – the memory of pale pink florals and fruit just about in view.

The Afternoon Of A Faun seems to get a lot of stick, I’ve read hardly anything about it and none of it has been positive – well, I really enjoy it. Thankfully a very generous reader sent me a 10ml miniature of this so I’m very grateful… so thank you! (you know who you are) :)
Definitely a great release from the line, in beautiful packaging, and a name that I absolutely love. I’m growing to really really like this one and consider it a must sniff for any ELdO fan. Recommended :)

The Afternoon Of A Faun 100ml EDP Etat Libre D’Orange – 119 Euros

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Archives 69 – Etat Libre D’Orange

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

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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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Like This (Tilda Swinton) – Etat Libre D’Orange

A bright neroli and citrus fruits open Like This, with a delicate hand though, the subtlety is instantly noticeable. Before no time at all, the citrus fruits are mellowed as a “pumpkin flesh” accord fills up the top. I can’t quite say it smells exactly like pumpkin to me, but it brings to mind warm sweet vegetal substance, orange in hue just like intended – slightly buttery and dense, it could be pumpkin, it could be sweet potato, it could be butternut squash – whatever it is, it is lovely and comforting.

The sweet fleshy notes of pumpkin give off flashes of honey, and a little bit of ginger spice comes in. The ginger is thankfully nice and tame, it doesn’t hit the back of your throat but adds more auburn warmth to Like This. The sweet warmth carries on as immortelle joins quickly after. It adds a little spice (it’s famous curry note) but falls far more on the maple syrup side, with the ginger replacing it’s usual overpowering spiciness. The “pumpkin”, delicate ginger and sweet immortelle completely replace the citrus of the opening, and from here on are the main players in the heart of Like This. It’s cosy, warm, quiet and close to the skin. Sweet, but not too sweet, spicy, but not too spicy – it’s pretty much the “juuuuuust right” of the Bear’s porridge… of fragrance…

Like This is pretty much a whisper of sillage – which is actually very pretty. To everyone else, I think it would pretty much smell like a delicate sweet spice – gourmand, but not overtly foody. Some floral notes (rose) add a little “perfumey” quality to it, and a powdery heliotrope is only just present – amongst the dusty texture of the ginger, it’s almost unidentifiable.
In the base, clean musk comes in, which helps anchor it into your skin making Like This smell very human and to me, a little “furry”…
Apparently there is vetiver in here too but it’s very tame, just adding the slightest earthy edge (maybe dragging the pumpkin accord through the fragrance for a little longer).

Ok so that sounds like a pretty positive review, I didn’t quite mean it like that… Like This is a nice fragrance. I know it is considered an absolute masterpiece by many – I don’t quite get that… at all. It’s nice – but I wouldn’t choose to wear it. For me, it’s a very simplistic fragrance, nothing in it is a challenge, it’s very “pretty” and easy to like, and also very quiet and unobtrusive. All qualities which will appeal to many, just not myself. It is impressive that such challenging notes have been tamed to a point where they are so easily accessible – maybe that is part of the Like This appeal. Unfortunately it begins to smell very generic after an hour or so on my skin…

That’s pretty much my expression during the drydown.
Poor Tildzzzzz.
Anyway… Pleasant.

Like This 50ml Etat Libre D’Orange – £74 Les Senteurs

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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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