Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Antihéros Review

It’s hard to muster much excitement (or many words) for this straightforward lavender soliflore. In Antihéros’ favour, the lavender is robustly agrestic and fixed down with just enough musks to afford some longevity (lavender is, after all, only a top- to mid- note). Here and there, I catch slight ozonic whiffs and towards the end, the perfume reveals some light, powdery woodsiness.
To my mind, soliflores should extrapolate some aspect of their study and for that reason, I  prefer something like Hermès’ Brin de Réglisse.

House: Etat Libre d’Orange
Nose: Antoine Maisondieu
Release date: 2006
Notes (per Fragrantica): Lavender, cedar, woody notes, musk.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Cologne Review

At thrice the price of Mugler’s Cologne, ELd’O’s proposition is a relatively pricey one. 
A similarly modern take on the classic genre, Alexandra Kosinski's (Givaudan) composition opens with a very orange centric hesperidic accord (fitting!) featuring some 2% neroli oil, surrounded by clean jasmine and sundry green notes. Perceptible almost from the get go are the metallic, freshly-ironed tones of Habanolide - not the most sensual of musks, but apt to connote ‘clean’, and these obviously only gain in prominence as the perfume dries down. For sweetness, there's just a touch of something woody-ambery lurking in the base.
Simple, pleasing and well-made. 

Nose: Alexandra Kosinski
House: Etat Libre d’Orange
Release date: 2014
Notes (per Fragrantica): blood orange, bergamot, green notes, jasmine, orange blossom, musk, leather. 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Vierges et Toreros Review

Vierges et Toreros is an animalic tuberose scent that, like the best of the Etat Libre d’Orange line, is provocatory without the suspicion of trolling. 
In contrast to Malle’s Carnal Flower which focused on the blossom’s creamy, fatty facets with ylang-ylang and plenty of lactones, Lie and Maisondieu’s portrait accents firstly tuberose’s salicylatey side with a pronounced wintergreen note (so bending its steps towards Lutens' Tubereuse Criminelle and recalling tuberose's extract rather than its Headspace), then its dirty, indolic side with Synarome’s famous Animalis base that smells above all of costus replacement. Cutting through costus’ hairy sebaceousness is its fruity green note that is often described as unripe melon but which comes across to me more pear-like. To the white floral component, this is very complementary and so pairs off the toreros with the vierges nicely. 

Noses: Antoine Lie, Antoine Maisondieu
House: Etat Libre d’Orange
Release date: 2007
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom, ylang-ylang, tuberose, leather, costus, patchouli, vetiver.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Remarkable People Review

Another ELd’O, another re-naming: this time Remarkable People (2015), a re-working of the Sephora’s exclusive Joséphine Baker (2010).
The perfume opens with a bright grapefruit note that soon segues into a Javanol-y, tropical sandalwood theme backed up by Mane’s woody-amber Lorenox. There’s a light spiciness throughout, moving from warm cardamom to cinnamon and apparently incorporating another Mane specialty viz. their Curry Tree Jungle Essence. At no point however, does this approach anything put out under the Lutens label. Listed too is a champagne note that had me hoping for something damascone-y like Les Liquides Imaginaires’ excellent Dom Rosa, but no.

Nose: Cécile Matton Polge
House: Etat Libre d’Orange
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): grapefruit, champagne, cardamom, jasmine, curry tree, black pepper, labdanum, sandalwood, Lorenox.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

La Fin du Monde Review

An very unusual but well put together gourmand, La Fin du Monde is built around a sweet orris and musky angelica root/ambrette seed theme. The latter’s vegetal character provides the base for a popcorn accord featuring nutty sesame oil and vetiver as well as some caramel notes. It’s a humorous addition and for all its oddness, is yet complementary.

Nose: Quentin Bisch
House: Etat Libre d’Orange
Release date: 2014
Notes (per Fragrantica): popcorn, carrot seed, cumin, sesame, black pepper, fresia, vetiver, sandalwood, ambrette, iris, styrax, gunpowder.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Don't Get Me Wrong Baby, I Do Review

Speaking of capitulation, it seems ELd’O changed the name of yet another of its fragrances, ditching ‘Don’t get me wrong baby, I don’t swallow’ (2007) in favour of ‘Don’t get me wrong baby, I do’ (2016).
As straightforward a presentation of muguet as one is likely to find, ‘I do’s’ fresh, Hedione brightened Lilial theme is pretty enough but does absolutely nothing for the genre; aqua banalis, to pinch Andy Tauer’s phrase.
Listed are the gourmand notes cacao and marshmallow, of which I smell none. At length, the perfume develops a very washed-out, green-floral muskiness that sits close to the skin.
Given the limitations (already activated or pending) on several key lily-of-the-valley ingredients (incl. Hydroxycitronellal, Lyral/Cyclohexal), I do wonder if the re-naming wasn’t coincident with a complete re-jigging of the perfume. Disappointing in any event.

Nose: Antoine Maisondieu
House: Etat Libre d’Orange
Release date: 2007/2016
Notes (per Fragrantica): jasmine, lily of the valley, orange blossom, amber, patchouli, cacao, marshmallow, musk.   

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Attaquer le Soleil Review

After losing their nerve a few years back and re-naming Philippine Houseboy Fils de Dieu, here's hoping Attaquer le Soleil isn’t a sign ELd’O are now losing their perfume mojo too, for behind the sophomoric branding lies a clutch of genuinely innovative and accomplished fragrances.
Beginning with the name, Attaquer le Soliel derives ultimately from de Sade’s Les Cent Vingt Journées du Sodome (1785), though more recently it was taken for the title of an exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay devoted to the author. That the latter closed in Jan. 2015 makes the only-just-launched perfume seem like something of an afterthought, but perhaps director Etienne de Swardt is of the ‘better late than never’ opinion. 
Regarding the fragrance itself, ELd’O are remaining tight-lipped, the only listed note being cistus which Quentin Bisch is said to have mis à nu. According to ÇaFleureBon, it contains a new quality of cistus oil from Givaudan that is derived from not just the plant’s leaves and twigs, but also its roots and flowers. 
How does it smell, then? Well, very much like labdanum: warm, spicy-balsamic, and woody with some light smokey accents. I note too a Cashmeran-like wet concrete note that adds some richness in the top-mid, but overall Attaquer le Soleil is a very linear fragrance with little evolution. 
For me, this is more of a woody-amber accord than a perfume and those looking for a labdanum fix would do better with Serge Lutens’ Ambre Sultan (Christopher Sheldrake, 2000).

Nose: Quentin Bisch
House: Etat Libre d'Orange
Release date: 2016
Notes (per Fragrantica): labdanum.