Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Twitter Page

Hello Dear Readers,

I offer another way to follow my blog and posts!  Find me on Twitter here.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Etat Libre D'Orange: Sample Pack Review, Part 3 of 3

The final batch from my Etat Libre D’Orange sample pack, garnered from Lucky Scent when they originally launched the line. It does not include the one scent that attracted so much attention --Secretions Magnifique – nor the newer offerings Sex Pistols and Noel au Balcon.

Antihéros – Antihéros offers perhaps the most verdant, unending fields of lavender grounded by some woods and musk. Remove the fancy description. This is what you want to scent your pillow and your bedroom, and maybe your partner when desiring calm, peace, tranquility.

Divin’ Enfant – The opening offers the same vein of marshmallow and orange blossom delicacy and innocence as By Kilian’s Love. However, rather than remaining somewhere between “innocence and not,” Divin’ Enfant develops, without apology, into a tantalizing, sexy leather and coffee accord. Mais non? You do not find leather and coffee sexy? Give this one a try and you will know exactly what I mean.

Putain de Palaces – Unabashedly feminine, lushly floral, delicately spicy and … loud, Putain de Palaces shouts from the rooftops, “Look! Look at me!!!” A gorgeous study on sweet flowers (rose, violet, lily of the valley) underscored by ginger, this fragrance reminds me of a woman wearing too many frills who needs to learn the art of subtlety. Nonetheless, it beats ninety-five percent of mass marketed fragrances today. For those who love lush, powdery, sweet florals, Putain de Palaces deserves a sniff.

Rossy de Palma – Rossy de Palma offers a bewitching study on rose in a less than classical sense. True to its namesake, it is beautiful in a strange, odd sort of way. I visualize scarlet, fully bloomed roses underscored by chocolate with a dash of peppery spices – a perfect choice for Valentine’s Day. Spray some at the nape of your neck, in your hair, and in your clothing; it wafts from the skin fairly quickly.

Je Suis Un Homme – A scent that apologizes to no one for being exactly what it was designed to be: a classic cologne providing masculine qualities. After bergamot and citrus make their quick entrance and subsequent departure, birch wood and cognac linger, offering a divinely smoky quality. The latter notes prompt me to offer a glowing recommendation for Je Suis Un Homme; the former notes suggest a simple nod to classic bergamot-inspired cologne. If my husband were to wear this, I would nuzzle him incessantly.

Eloge du Traitor – This offering introduced me to an entirely new scent category. At first sniff, it was so familiar and yet so odd. With pine, bay leaf and artemisia headlining, to describe Eloge du Traitor as herbaceous would be a gross understatement. Simultaneously bitter and sweet, with a dense quality, Eloge du Traitor prompts me to pack some trail mix and my camera to set off for a mysterious daytime adventure into the lush Coconino National Forest. I will retire at a cozy log cabin that is scented with this interesting gem.

My overall impression of this line: interesting and unique fragrances with a provocative, slightly risky shtick. The scents offer an impressive experience of every olfactory category. I would have dismissed Etat Libre D’Orange as juvenile based upon their appearance alone, but in doing so would have missed out. I may purchase Divin’ Enfant and Vraie Blonde.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Etat Libre d’Orange: Sample Pack Review, Part 2 of 3

Vierges et Toreros – The marketing metaphor is compelling enough: heady tuberose, the”virgin” in a bull fight arena against the animal, resinous notes of leather, costus, and patchouli, or the “torero.” The torero appears to win to the bystander, but to the nose tuberose is ultimately victorious in a passionate battle. On my skin it initially fares more like faint tuberose painfully losing with leather and pepper victorious. The leather note smells slightly of rubber. Tuberose when paired with other olfactory categories tends to disappear on my skin – one of the reasons I sadly cannot wear Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. However, when tuberose is paired with other floral notes -- as in Frederic Malle Carnal Flower – it lasts for days on me. Based upon my experience, my first impression verdict on Vierges et Toreros? Too much torero and not enough virgin, metaphorically speaking, of course. However, after giving it about fifteen to twenty minutes to develop, I stand corrected. That small, creamy, white flower has some punch. The leather mutes tuberose’s typically heady quality and renders the scent downright alluring.

Nombrile Immense – Not my mother’s bottle of patchouli oil from her bell-bottom wearing, rebellious hippy days. Oh no. This is premiere quality, quiet, reverent patchouli for practicing yoga and meditating. The added notes of vetiver, opoponax and absolute ambrette seeds render this patchouli-based scent absolutely wearable yet casual and introspective. Vetiver literally takes over during the course of development and although categorized as unisex by Lucky Scent, Nombrile Immense could very well constitute a small decant purchase for my husband.

Delicious Closet Queen – Directly opposing on every level the type of fragrance I like to wear, Delicious Closet Queen is so repugnant to my nose that it is very quickly giving me a headache. However, I can imagine that some would quite like this blend of piquant violet leaf, tangy geranium and masculine cedar with strawberry, leather and tonka bean. I can understand its name, for it is a study in contrast; however, the name belies its sophistication. The fact that this scent frankly disagrees with my chemistry is unfortunate. Do not let that deter you from trying. I will be curious to hear what you think.

Charogne – I really wanted to like this, if only to temper Charogne’s ridiculous marketing message. Who wants to wear a fragrance of death? In this case, lily is the lightweight in an unfair battle against the metaphorical “beast” of animalic leather. To be direct, this smells like floral tar on my skin. Although slightly sweet, it is still tar. I would not be caught dead wearing this one.

These four do not stand out as my favorites from Etat Libre d’Orange. Regardless, I am detecting a theme. The marketing of these fragrances – their name, the vignettes that underscore their name on the packaging, and the animation depicting each scent – cheapens their outstanding composition. The marketing team probably wanted to present an original idea, perhaps a modern design, to attract customers. However, a sophisticated, classic theme fits them much better.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Etat Libre d’Orange: Sample Pack Review, Part 1 of 3

My re-entry into obsessing about perfume begins. All it took was finding a sample pack of Etat Libre d’Orange scents that I had ordered from Lucky Scent when they added the line to their inventory. These scents added decadence to my chore-filled weekend; I enjoyed said chores with intermittent inhales of the fragrances on my wrist and hands. Each transported me to a different place and time. In no particular order, I offer my newfound foray into description.

Jasmin et Cigarette – So far, my favorite although I have not yet tried Like This or Don’t Get Me Wrong Baby – both appealing to my sensibilities. If Jasmin et Cigarette’s olfactory stages were arranged on a tabletop, here is that tabletop’s description: a freshly opened pack of non-filter cigarettes front and center, a bouquet of creamy, freshly-picked jasmine blossoms just north of the pack of cigarettes, one lush, just-bitten apricot to the right and scattered tonka bean seeds to the left. Grouped together, the lovely scent offers endless material for the nose. I cannot stop sniffing.

Vraie Blonde – Sparkling, opalescent and pretty, undeniably yellow and youthful, Vraie Blonde is aldehydes just the way I like them: fun. I picture my daughter, faintly smelling of candied fruit, chasing butterflies and picking dandelions as she giggles, her blonde hair blowing in the wind. The promise of suede and curvaceous sexiness eludes me at first. This fragrance spells innocence – far from what the marketing team wants you to believe. In this case, marketers grab your attention and exit stage left. But wait. Just wait. They come back. And they bring the “x” in sexy. After all those flighty aldehydes waft off, what remains is indeed curvaceous, spicy, and sultry (due to soft myrrh, quiet patchouli and luxurious suede) – not my daughter’s perfume but mine, all mine.

Rien – Not a fragrance I would normally wear, but I do find it fascinating. A true study in contrast. Could be categorized as a skin scent but so much more than that – spicy, heady, intoxicating, with a haughty, religious edge; like spotting a dark, brooding, attractive man in church. You want to flirt, desperately, but timing is off. The resinous incense and labdanum negate the sex appeal for me, but maybe that is due to my Catholic Mass attending, sexually frustrated youth. What is left reminds me of a crackling fire, an off-the-shoulder sweater and a hot spiced tea on a cold winter day.

Encens et Bubblegum – Where were you when I was twelve? On the verge of adolescence yet still enthusiastically cuddling puppies and playing hopscotch, this adorable mixture of raspberries, peaches and lily of the valley with vanilla, incense and musk to ground it is so playful and sweet I just want to hug it! Although the marketing language mentions darkness, all I see (and smell) is cuteness and sunshine.

The Etat Libre d'Orange scents are available at Henri Bendel and  They range in price from $80-99 for 50ml.  I recommend luckyscent for samples of each!