Marquis de Sade is a historical figure who suffers from the titillation aspect of his life having too much influence on his stature. People tend to focus on the sexuality which has been derived from his name. The thing I learned about de Sade when reading his writings is he was a proponent of the freedom to do everything. The term for that was “libertine”. His belief was you become a deeper human being by experiencing as much as you can. This includes facing the things we are not fond of, on an abstract level. If you face what you believe is unpleasant you might find something illuminating within the experiment. Despite the focus on the fetishism M. de Sade’s philosophy is as embraced by extreme sports people who dive off mountains in flight suits as those who explore their sexuality through the dichotomy of pain and pleasure.
Etienne de Swardt
If I was going to tell you that a perfume brand was going to use M. de Sade as an inspiration I would expect many wouldn’t go too far down their list of possibilities before naming Etat Libre D’Orange. Creative Director Etienne de Swardt is known for his brand using sexuality as part of its image. You might think a perfume based on M. de Sade from Etat Libre D’Orange would be all slap and tickle with a sly wink. Instead one should also be reminded that the brand has the ultimate fragrance which asks a perfume lover to face the unpleasant, Secretions Magnifique, and perhaps find the beauty. I know I have probably spent large amounts of time with this specific fragrance. Through that study I have probably learned as much about perfumery as any other. For this new fragrance called Attaquer Le Soleil (Attack The Sun) M. de Swardt tasked one of the most talented young perfumers working today to take on an ingredient they find unpleasant while using it in a fragrance. Perfumer Quentin Bisch took on this brief by choosing to make a perfume based on cistus.
Cistus is the main ingredient of that more commonly known raw material labdanum. Labdanum is the resin that forms on the plant. It has a very green resinous quality often compared to a balsamic nature. M. Bisch has never used the material as a focal point because he disliked it. For Attaquer Le Soleil he decided to not just go for the resin. Givaudan has extracted almost every part of the cistus plant and M. Bisch took these different variations combining them into Attaquer Le Soleil.
This makes Attaquer Le Soleil, in essence, a labdanum soliflore which is supported by the rest of the plant. By having the other sources of cistus, leaves, branches, and flower it has the effect of making it more intense while also making it kinetic in scope. Early on it smells more like a pine tree. It warms into a balsamic simmer that eventually becomes leathery in character. It all converges on the more familiar labdanum by the final hours.
Attaquer Le Soleil has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Much like M. Bisch whether you like Attaquer Le Soleil will come down to how much you like labdanum. Labdanum is an ingredient I like which allowed me to just relax and enjoy Attaquer Le Soleil experiencing the pleasure of a resinous soliflore. If you want to embrace your inner libertine while experiencing labdanum and cistus in all of its glory, then allow M. Bisch to lash you with cistus.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Etat Libre D’Orange.