New Perfume Review Etat Libre D’Orange Exit the King- Clean and Fresh Chypre

One of the changing of the guards as it relates to perfumery took place from the 1980’s into the 1990’s. It was when the era of burly chypres gave way to clean and fresh fragrances. By the time the century turned the takeover was complete as fresh linen and sea spray dominated the scene. Inspired by a Hollywood photo creative director Etienne de Swardt asks if there isn’t a place where they meet in Etat Libre D’Orange Exit the King.

Etienne de Swardt

M. de Swardt saw a picture of Rock Hudson shaking hands with Michael Jackson while the latter was working on his “Thriller” video. It was a meeting of then and now icons of their time. When M. de Swardt saw this he got the idea to create something which took the same then and now mentality and translate it to fragrance. He asked perfumers Cecile Matton and Ralf Schwieger to interpret his vision. What comes from this is an oddly compelling juxtaposition of fragrance styles.

Cecile Matton

One piece of this was they didn’t go for the clean and fresh of the 90’s. They went for the more recent iteration centered around clean smelling soapy skin. There is a fabulous soap accord at the beginning of this that sets up everything that comes after.

Ralf Schwieger

That soap accord is where Exit the King begins. It seems to be a collection of synthetic musks, aldehydes, and floral fractions; I think. I’ve spent a lot of time smelling it trying to pick it apart that’s my best guess. What it smells like is a lathered-up cotton washcloth with the best bar soap you can find. Microscopic bubbles tickle my skin and nose while I am surrounded by the smell of clean soapy skin. This is a marvel of the perfumer’s art of accord building in getting this right. The clever intent continues as a mixture of baie rose and Timur pepper provide just a bit of green contrast to the soap accord. Think of the soap foam having a faint green tint to it. The remainder of the development will be in deepening that until it is nothing but green. That is accomplished in steps as muguet shades it a few degrees deeper before oakmoss and patchouli complete the transition with the classic chypre base duet. The perfumers allow the lighter musks from the soap accord to replace the traditional animalic versions. This is where the interface of clean and chypre come together. I found this to be a mesmerizing experience where I kept wanting to smell it after it all comes together. Sandalwood provides the final piece, but I hardly notice it.

Exit the King has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I know there are readers who dislike soapy fragrances and might think this is not for them. I would suggest you try it when you have the opportunity. The creative team came up with a way of making the soapiness a virtue rather than a flaw. For those who are fans of this brand this is one of the best perfumes they’ve released because it is so creative. Only M. de Swardt could convince me I wanted a clean and fresh chypre.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Pierre Benard Challenge Day 5- Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques

Art has many reasons for being. One of them is to provoke. There are pieces of art which cause the viewer to confront their beliefs. In every form of art you can name a critical piece which has provocation as one of its aims. Through the emotional response generated it allows for the person to ask themselves where their boundaries lie for the art form. It can also ask you to look more closely at something you would normally avoid.

Etienne de Swardt

If you believe perfume is an art form, then it can’t just be about smelling pretty. It must be about more than that. When Creative Director Etienne de Swardt created his brand Etat Libre d’Orange he decided to give modern perfumery that opportunity.

Antoine Lie

The perfume is called Secretions Magnifiques. M. de Swardt and perfumer Antoine Lie set out to make a perfume few would like. That doesn’t mean this is a poorly made chaotic mess. It is the opposite. Secretions Magnifique is one of the most precisely created perfumes I own. What makes it potentially unlikeable is what it chooses to focus on, bodily fluids. Not just bodily fluids but the ones which do not smell pretty. As all perfume it was meant to mimic something real. It succeeds brilliantly even if you might want to avoid it.

The perfume opens with a mixture of aldehydes, iodine, and seaweed. This is a harsh opening which asks the wearer from the first second to evaluate their idea of perfume. This turns out to represent the salty base which exists at the foundation of all the fluids they want to capture. Combined with some ozonic notes you get the spine-chilling buzz of adrenaline. Copper scents the blood oozing out. A sour milk accord is followed by a stale sperm. It all is regurgitated in a spill of bile. It is as if you have been accosted by your perfume. You ask yourself questions about fragrance you never thought you would ask. Brilliantly over the final stages powdery iris and sandalwood bring you back to where many other perfumes end. This time the journey asked more of you.

Trying Secretions Magnifiques is a ritual for many. There are numerous online videos full of people making faces as they try it for the first time. I was no different. Except I realized I needed to own a bottle because this was perfume which asked me to look beyond smelling good. It asked me to consider the potential of perfume to exist in the same way as any other art form.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre d’Orange 500 Years- Edible Rose

It’s the beginning of February and my desk is awash with this year’s crop of the new spring rose perfumes. As they are most years it is an unremarkable collection of fragrance. I usually end up finding a rose perfume less interested in being innocent to cleanse my palate towards the end of spring. Also to remind me that rose doesn’t have to be this bland. I thought for 2020 I’d change things up by beginning the process with a rose perfume that is exactly what I look for, Etat Libre d’Orange 500 Years.

Etienne de Swardt

One of the mysteries of the way rose is currently being used is that it isn’t being featured in more gourmand style fragrances. The best roses have an inherent sweet depth that is often described as jam-like. My favorite rose perfumes have a gourmand undercurrent even if it only comes from the rose. If there is one gourmand ingredient which perfumers have not been reluctant to use it is chocolate. Taking the rich depth of good cacao with a similarly deep rose is a natural pairing. For 500 Years creative director Etienne de Swardt and perfumer Cecile Matton take this to a joyful extreme.

Cecile Matton

500 Years starts with the keynote Turkish rose in place from the start. In the early going it has that silky velvet quality which bergamot and cardamom breeze over the top of. Saffron begins to find that jamminess while amplifying it. It is like the rose transforms from crushed textural material into rich gooey jelly. Rarely does a textural shift seem so natural as it does here. Mme Matton then layers on the cacao. There is a fattiness to this cacao and it really meshes well with the rose because of it. A tiny smidge of oud is what completes the chocolate rose accord. A dark patchouli helps to accentuate the cacao over the later stages as some leather finishes things.

500 Years has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

While it is still cooler out is the ideal time to be wearing 500 Years. It will be overwhelmed by the pile of new releases on my desk soon enough as the temperature warms up. Until then bite down on this gorgeous gourmand rose.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow- Holiday Corsage

I have a whole section of perfumes I wear over the Holidays. Probably my favorite of all of them is 2010’s Etat Libre d’Orange Like This. I enjoy it because it is the perfume which closely resembles cocooning at home with family and friends. It is a cozy, happy fragrance I will never be without. Earlier this year I heard that the perfumer, Mathilde Bijaoui, was making a new spicy perfume for creative director Etienne de Swardt. At the time it was exclusive to a European department store and I resigned myself to waiting until it was released more widely. It turns out that time is now as I received my sample of Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow just in time for the Holidays.

Etienne de Swardt

Anyone who is a fan of the science fiction series “Dune” by Frank Herbert will recognize the name. In the book “God Emperor of Dune” we are told, “The spice had glowed radiant blue in the dim silver light; and the smell- bitter cinnamon, unmistakable.” If you are of the mind-set to pair your perfume to its name, there is plenty for you to find within Spice Must Flow. Because it has arrived at the beginning of the Season, I’m in a more Holly Jolly Christmas mood about it all.

Mathilde Bijaoui

Spice Must Flow opens on an overdose of cardamom. It provides a zesty green tinted whoosh. Ginger comes along to add even more kinetic energy. Mme Bijaoui adds a tiny bit of warmth as cinnamon wends its way in between the cardamom and ginger. Then an opulent Turkish rose arises. This is that spicy rose I prefer. The previous set of spices finds plenty to harmonize with. The ginger slowly mellows out until it provides a subtle gingerbread accord as if there was some baked a few hours ago. It ends on shiny silvery frankincense atop a fir tree.

Spice Must Flow has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

It might become easy for many to label this Like This 2. It is not that. If Like This is about the joys of being home. Spice Must Flow is the excitement of going to a Holiday party wearing a Turkish rose on your wrist, or lapel. I think I have a new perfume for my holiday shelf.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre d’Orange She Was an Anomaly- Carto Killed the Perfumer?

Technology is slowly encroaching on everything. Even perfume. Givaudan has come up with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a reference for perfumers called Carto. From what I understand it is a giant database of perfume formulas matched with some sense of the style each formula represents. Givaudan perfumers can ask Carto for suggestions and go from there. It seems roughly analagous to Computer-Aided Design (CAD). I have no idea how widespread its use has been at Givaudan but for the first time we have a perfume which admits using it; Etat Libre d’Orange She Was an Anomaly.

Creative director Etienne de Swardt seems to have abdicated his duties to Carto for She Was an Anomaly. Perfumer Daniela Andrier is who will take the AI suggestion and turn it into She Was an Anomaly. When Mme Andrier fed in her input it seems Carto suggested she design a perfume around two overdosed keynotes. My guess is Carto suggested iris and musk as those.

Daniela Andrier

Mme Andrier had to take that suggestion and weave in a few other ingredients. After all iris and musk are not particularly unique even in overdose. One thing which does set them apart is Mme Andrier used the Orpur versions of both. Orpur are the highest quality natural ingredients in the Givaudan library.

She Was an Anomaly opens on tangerine as a juicy citrus to set things up for the iris and musk. Those keynotes arrive next. The iris is a powdery version with the carrot-y quality in abeyance. The musk is a refined version of ambrette. This is the replacement for that carrot-y quality from iris. It provides a solid accord which is kept on the lighter side. It goes very sweet with vanilla and sandalwood in the base. The sweetness adds to the iris and musk to find the overall place She Was an Anomaly remains in for most of the time on my skin.

She Was an Anomaly has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I can’t say I am able to see the artificial influence of Carto without being told it was used. Which means it probably isn’t going to replace the perfumer yet. If there is something I can hypothesize it is Carto will trend towards what it has the most data on. By landing on iris and musk it tells me it will always be suggesting crowd-pleasing best-selling formulae. Without the hand of a perfumer it will probably converge on something nondescript. To keep that from happening it will require the human touch.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Etat Libre d’Orange.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre D’Orange I Am Trash- Or A Fruity Floral

3

There are a few brands which I look forward to what comes next. Etat Libre D’Orange is one of those as owner-creative director Etienne de Swardt has redefined the idea of what a perfume can be. The one perfume which has always stood for that was one of the earliest releases Secretions Magnifique. A masterpiece of perfume because it captures the smells of blood, sweat and other bodily fluids through a set of brilliant accords.

Etienne de Swardt

When I received the press release for the newest release, I Am Trash, I was excited by the name. Also, this from M. de Swardt, “Les Fleurs du Déchet represents a passage to the adulthood of Sécrétions Magnifiques. It is a counter-revolution for Etat Libre d’Orange, still noisy and disruptive, but ultimately functional.”

Daniela Andrier

What could that portend? A perfume of dumpster diving, perhaps? Working with perfumer Daniela Andrier it is not that. What they are using is a unique group of Givaudan materials which they call “upcycling”. This is a process in which the residue of a prior extraction process is re-extracted. I think of it like getting a second cup of tea out of a single tea bag. Three of these upcycled ingredients; apple, rose, and cedar form the core of I Am Trash. What I think I understand about this process is what you are going to extract is most of the heavier molecules from your natural source. That might provide a deeper scent profile. I have spent a lot of time smelling my sample trying to understand more about these upcycled materials without any degree of certainty what I just wrote is true but it is what I think is the case as I wore I Am Trash.

If you’re looking for something along the lines of a perfume which artistically interprets trash this is not it. The trash here is the re-use of the upcycled perfume materials. Despite different scent profiles they still smell like apple, rose, and cedar which makes I Am Trash a fruity floral.

The upcycled apple tilts more toward a tarter version of the ingredient. Despite that the fruity complements of tangerine and strawberry bring a typical juicy fruity top accord to lead into a floral heart. Waiting there is the upcycled rose. This is like the last day of a cut rose in a vase prior to discarding it. It has the floral quality but only the wisps of it.  There is also a greener quality as well. It forms an elegiac counterpoint to the livelier fruity accord. The base is a mixture of the upcycled cedar, sandalwood, and akigalawood. This is where I have the least feel for the difference in the upcycled material because there are so many powerful woody ingredients around it.

I Am Trash has 16-18 hour longevity and average sillage.

I don’t agree with M. de Swardt that I Am Trash represents the adulthood of Secretions Magnifiques. It seems to represent the opposite as a fruity floral comes off as more adolescent. The ingredients are different and provide a different experience, but this is a style of perfume which is overexposed. If you’re a fruity floral fan looking for a new perspective, I Am Trash will provide that.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Etat Libre D’Orange.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre d’Orange Une Amourette Roland Mouret- Sexual Fashion

The best fashion designers, like the best perfume designers, transfer a distinct aesthetic to their creations. Roland Mouret designs fashion in the “drape and shape” style. His women have silhouettes which reveal their bodies. It might drape but it also creates a distinctive shape around the wearer. It is an interesting vision which combines a laid-back casualness with a distinct sexuality. His recent Spring 2018 collection is a good example of this.

Roland Mouret Spring/Summer 2018

M. Mouret has been wanting to expand into fragrance since 2009 and when he met Etenne de Swardt of Etat Libre d’Orange he had found the partner he wanted to work with. Both men finally found the time this year to bring their casual carnality together over fragrance. They also hired one of the best perfumers working to collaborate with, Daniela Andrier. Together they made Une Amourette.

Roland Mouret

M. Mouret designs with an eye to “dressing to undress”. Fashion as come hither. M. de Swardt has worn that kind of sexuality more overtly for Etat Libre d’Orange. Their fusion seems a natural. I was very interested to see how Mme Andrier translated this sexual tension into a sensual fragrance.

Etienne de Swardt

One way is to capture the sense of the energy of a fling which is what “Une Amourette” translates to. Hopefully most reading this have been fortunate enough to have a fling at some point in their life. The moment when the energy is leaping out of your body in an arc to meet that same kineticism in your partner. Once it is released in a rush of physicality there is that delightful moment where you come back to the world only to smell that raw scent of the aftermath. That is what Une Amourette does a really good job of capturing.

Daniela Andrier

In those moments the first thing you might notice is the sweaty bodies which is where Mme Andrier starts. There is a collection of the more obstreperous spices all of which impart a sense of sweaty skin. To contrast this there is a focused green neroli which captures that glow afterward. The neroli was seemingly a late addition as it was said Mme Andrier smeared some neroli sunburn cream over a late mod. That was when the creative team realized it was the missing piece. After hearing that I imagine the opening without the neroli and it would have been very striking but not nearly as good. Iris holds the heart as Mme Andrier turns it into a white flower by adding in indole. If you think of iris as this demure powdery floral; in Une Amourette it is catching its breath covered by a sweat soaked sheet. I love this skanked up iris it is perhaps one of my favorite accords of the year because it drapes and shapes the iris into something sexy. Then Mme Andrier creates a fascinating base accord as she uses a full spectrum patchouli enhanced by the biological fraction of patchouli known as Akigalawood. I have really enjoyed the ways the spicy woody fraction of patchouli has been used but Mme Andrier cleverly uses it here to accentuate the parts which remain as the fraction adds on to the regular patchouli oil. It is all sewn together with a lilting vanilla.

Une Amourette has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Une Amourette is one of the most unabashedly sexual perfumes I have tried in a long time. While I never underestimate Mme Andrier’s abilities this is also the sexiest perfume she has ever made. I have a feeling the energy of the creative directors took her to a different creative space. One final note, at the Spring 2018 show M. Mouret had all his models wear one spritz of Une Amourette before they headed down the runway; at the pulse point where the thighs meet. For this perfume that kind of sexual fashion seems correct.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Etat Libre d’Orange.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre D’Orange You or Someone Like You- Chandler Takes the Reins

1

When you write extensively about any subject it is inevitable that you are asked if you want to be more than an observer. Perhaps the most ubiquitous question I get is some variation of “Do you ever want to make a perfume?” I can honestly say, as of today, my answer is absolutely positively, “No!” I suspect anyone who writes about fragrance is asked this question. In the case of Chandler Burr I know it took many years for that “no” to turn to a “yes”. Over the last year, Mr. Burr did take the position of creative director for the new Etat Libre D’Orange You or Someone Like You.

Chandler Burr

The fragrance is based on Mr. Burr’s 2009 novel of the same name. Working with perfumer Caroline Sabas, they wanted to focus on one of the protagonists. An Englishwoman named Anne who observes her Los Angeles milieu from her aerie in the Hollywood hills. When I interviewed Mr. Burr about the new creation he mentioned he wanted to create “a specific scent, the scent someone like Anne would wear, an Angelino Englishwoman high in the hills in the blue air.” He is also a proponent of describing perfume as belonging to specific descriptive genres. For You or Someone Like You he wanted it to be a combination of “Luminism, Minimalism, and contemporary Romanticism” He is also an ardent believer that in talking about the art of perfume it shouldn’t be reduced to the ingredients and the focus should stay on the overall effect. I am going to honor that by spending the next paragraph describing You or Someone Like You in that spirit. Then I will dishonor that by spending the next paragraph, after that, doing my usual reductionist analysis.

Caroline Sabas

I grew up in South Florida, and while it is not LA, You or Someone Like You captures what I consider the artificial light which infuses both places. Namely most spend too much time in their car moving from one sterile air conditioned space to another. The Luminism in You or Someone Like You is the ever-present sun reflecting off windshields and glass. It is sharp and artificial further separating one from the natural. To hammer this home there are some aspects of that world trying to pierce the glass but the AC keeps it at bay with glossy chilly laminar flows.

To create the sterility of processed cool air Mme Sabas uses mint as a keynote around which is folded some of the fresher green grassy notes as in, perhaps, the hexenal family. It forms that feel of being inside a car stuck in traffic as the smells of someone mowing their lawn come with the filtered air. More of that kind of green vegetal quality comes through but in quieter ways. Even lighter florals are present but these are synthetic expansive versions of the natural essential oils which further enhances this artificiality at the core of You or Someone Like You.

You or Someone Like You has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I think Mr. Burr completely succeeded in making a perfume within the Luminism and Minimalism schools; I found little Romanticism present. Which is probably for the best because I was much more connected to the chill and glass; finding something more expressive would have been less appealing.

Once Mr. Burr got around to saying “yes” he has, with Mme Sabas, created a fragrance true to what he believes perfume can aspire to.

Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle received from Europerfume.

Mark Behnke

Chandler Burr on Creative Directing Etat Libre D’Orange You or Someone Like You

1

At last October’s Sniffapalooza Fall Ball Chandler Burr showed up with a surprise on Sunday. He revealed that he had been working as the creative director on a new fragrance and wanted to share a sneak preview. The new fragrance is Etat Libre D’Orange You or Someone Like You.

The press release for You or Someone Like You gives you an idea of what Mr. Burr was looking for:

“There is an Englishwoman who doesn’t exist. Her name is Anne Rosenbaum, and I created her in my novel “You Or Someone Like You.” She lives, with her movie executive husband, in a house high in the blue air of the Hollywood Hills, just off Mulholland Drive, overlooking Los Angeles above the 101.

I’m fascinated by LA, this strange dream factory that exists in its eternal, relentless present tense, its otherworldly beauty both effortlessly natural and ingeniously artificial. A movie that makes movies. Palm trees, the symbol of LA, aren’t natural there. They were imported, placed in the hills, “but then,” Anne observes to you, “so was I.”

Los Angeles’ smells mesmerize, the astringent mint/green of eucalyptus, wild jasmine vines unselfconsciously climbing the stop signs, catalyzed car exhaust, hot California sun on ocean water (although “You” contains no jasmine or eucalyptus; if you need to know what it’s made of, “You” is not for you).

When Etat Libre d’Orange approached me about creative directing, my perfumer Caroline Sabas and I created not a “perfume” — people in Los Angeles don’t wear perfume – but a specific scent, the scent someone like Anne would wear, an Angelino Englishwoman high in the hills in the blue air.”

I had the chance to get a little more information from Mr. Burr on the perfume he calls “You”. First, I asked the obvious why did he choose now to take on creative direction. He responded, “The moment I started at the New York Times I was frequently asked, "Are you going to creative direct/ create a scent/ collection of scents/ perfume brand?" The Times would have, correctly, forbidden it had I asked, but I had no intention — I was a critic. Frankly I didn’t have any interest. My focus was and is the scent artists. And for years I never wanted to creative direct a perfume. I was while working at the Times getting to know the Etat collection, which I found and find just extraordinary, along with the Comme des Garcons collection the most daring, aesthetics-forward, balls out art-centric scent works in the world. Tilda Swinton's agent called to say Tilda was interested in creative directing a scent, and Etienne was the instant and most natural person to put her in touch with. and I talked on and off about working together somehow. But then I was at the Museum of Arts and Design as a scent art curator, and for obvious ethical reasons it was still off the table that I'd direct a scent.

After I'd left MAD, Etienne called and said he's read my novel You Or Someone Like You, that he liked the title, and proposed we create a scent using the novel's title. That I creative direct it. The concept came instantly. My novel's narrator is a woman named Anne. She's an Englishwoman who long ago married an American guy, now a movie studio exec. They have one son, Sam. She has a Ph.D. in Romantic Literature and is a voracious reader. Anne is extremely private, reserved. She's perceived as a cool customer by most people, and she is with everyone not her husband and son. She lives in the Hollywood Hills — on Macapa Drive, if you want to google map it — above the 101 and overlooking the city. She lives in contemporary Los Angeles. What my (brilliant) perfumer Caroline Sabas has created is the scent Anne would wear.”

Mr. Burr has described fragrances throughout his career as belonging to different schools. When I asked what school, he was aiming for he said, “Luminism, Minimalism, and contemporary Romanticism. I started with exactly this aesthetic mix in mind.”  

This lead me to asking what perfumes inspired “You”, and you, in the process which lead into his long-held belief (one I disagree with) that discussing notes devalues the art, “Of course– Mugler Cologne, Calyx, Jardin sur le Nil are probably the most important. There are others, but their names mention raw materials, and I really–really–am not going to go anywhere near this fucking reductionism of scent works to their materials. It's extraordinarily stupid. You don't give a sense of a new musical work, say something by Max Richter, by saying "It's in D major, 4/4 time, it has among other instruments oboes and violins and violas and flutes, and the notes include D, E, F#, G, A, B♭, and C." That would be idiotic. We say, "It's contemporary Minimalism that draws on Glass and, more, Reich, but Richter is also strongly influenced by the minimalist Romanticism of Satie." If we're going to describe fragrances in a truly intelligent, sophisticated way rather than the reductionist "This building has cement, steel, glass, plastic", it's going to be by using intelligent analogies.”

I finished my interview with a question I am always interested in, how did he know they were finished? “"Finished" is equal to "perfect," which you rarely get to. The mod of "You" that we chose was one that Caroline, our Givaudan evaluator Audrey Barbara, Etienne, and others at Etat loved. My personal favorite was slightly different in one specific way. But we had a long conversation about it, and I trust them, so I decided that we'd go with that one. It doesn't bother me because, I don't know, I guess I just don't think in this case that my perception and taste is perfect and mandatory. Part of it was that Etienne really felt the mod we chose had an Etat aspect to it. He's the creative director of the collection, so that's a pretty compelling reason from my point of view.”

I am looking forward to wearing “You” and should have a review up soon. My thanks to Mr. Burr for taking the time to answer my questions.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre D’Orange Attaquer Le Soleil Marquis de Sade- The Lash of Cistus

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

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.

quentinbiscgh

Quentin Bisch

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.

Mark Behnke