Selling Sex – Etat Libre d’Orange’s Putain des Palaces
When I started The Candy Perfume Boy, I didn’t really have much of a plan, I simply wanted to talk about perfume. Since my first post way back in July 2011, the way I write and the subjects I write about have evolved. Nowadays I tend to focus more on reviewing new launches, with ancillary series such as Desert Island Sniffs, The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to… and the Scent a Celebrity Series as supporting materials. Series have come and gone (due mainly to my short attention span) but this year I’d like to spend a bit more time looking back, as well as forward, by reviewing some scents that aren’t brand spanking new.
So to start, I want to look at a fragrance that has always been on my mind, but never in my collection, well up until recently, that is. Those of you who have read this blog for a while will know that I’m quite partial to the intriguing olfactory output from rebellious perfume punks, Etat Libre d’Orange. I own about seven or eight of their 32 fragrances, with the latest addition to my collection being the tricksy Putain des Palaces – a perfume I’ve always liked but have been reluctant to buy, for no reason other than the fact that I’m indecisive.
Putain des Palaces was released in 2006 as part of Etat Libre d’Orange’s initial crop of fragrances. Composed by perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer (Hermès’ Eau des Merveilles, Van Clef & Arpels’ Gardénia Pétale & Amouage’s Honour Man) the fragrance, which is roughly translated as “Hotel Whore” (racy, huh?), is described by Etat Libre d’Orange as “the temptress who awaits her prey in the hotel bar, and leads her lucky victim to unimaginable delights…” So yes, Putain des Palaces is a perfume about sex, specifically the transactional variety, and you know what? It does exactly what it sets out to do.
A perfume can be many things – beautiful, thought provoking, pretty, classic, over the top and sumptuous, to name just a new. But what about those fragrances that don’t want to smell good? I am of course referring to the skanks of the perfume world, and by ‘skanks’, I mean those randy animalic scents that smell utterly beastly when compared to their prettier and more mainstream counterparts. These bad boys and bad girls like to get down and dirty and they don’t care what you think – after all, aren’t the best things in life just a tiny bit unsanitary?
For last week’s Escentual column, I proposed to take readers on a guided tour of the dark underbelly of the fragrance world. Down these smelly back streets, one will find a bevy of filthy beauties that lure one on to the side streets with the intention of ensnaring willing victims. So, if you want to revel in the filthier side of life, simply click here to head on over to Escentual to read my take on animalic perfumes. There is but one rule – leave your soap at home!
Of course, this guide serves as a look at of some of Escentual’s finest, and filthiest offerings, and is by no means a comprehensive look at skank in the fragrance industry (I’d have thrown in Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir if I could have – it’s more than just a little bit frisky), so please do feel free to share you filthy faves either in the comments box below or underneath the article on the Escentual blog.
Some perfumes come surrounded by so my hyperbole that it is impossible to approach them with an open mind. The perfume community does have a habit of hyping things up to god-like levels so that when one comes to trying something regarded as the divine ambrosia it’s almost too easy to be completely disappointed.
Still, disappointment isn’t such a bad thing, after all it allows us to reaffirm our tastes and what we do or don’t like. Anyway, sometimes it’s good to stand out from the pack, you might be miffed at the time but individuality is something to be celebrated. But there are times when a whole heap of hype can be substantiated and one fine example would be Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir.
“When the night takes on its own life, the tempo changes. Take a long, languorous breath. Linger till dawn. Keep your head in the stars. You’re suspended in time.”
Absolue Pour le Soir (Absolute for the Evening) is a “more concentrated and sophisticated” version of Kurkdjian’s Cologne Pour le Soir. If I had to sum it up in three words I would choose; “beautiful, filthy beast” because it is a fragrance that has the power to shock due to its strong dichotomy of ugliness and beauty.
This week my good friend Cara and I will be teaming up to create a special fragrant event as part of her Instability-in-Stability project. During the event we will both be discussing our scented memories as teenagers. Thinking about the subject matter I thought it would be apt to review the first fragrance that I fell in love with, the one that started the obsession; Kingdom by Alexander McQueen.
At the tender age of 16 (it feels so long ago now), I wasn’t really fussed about fragrance, I would wear generic ‘boy’ fragrances such as Hugo Boss and Paul Smith and the fragrances I wore were normally gifted to me by relatives. That was, until Kingdom came along…