Archives 69 is the latest fragrance release from those fun-loving perfume rebels at Etat Libre d’Orange and is supposed to represent ‘The Illusion of Sex’. The blurb that came with my sample (including a rather obscene image that I dare not post here, but let’s just say that it makes a play on the number 69) states that Archives 69 is ‘The End of Innocence’.
As mentioned in my review of Tom of Finland, I am somewhat of an Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy, so you can imagine that the news of the release of Archives 69 (named after the location of the ELD’O boutique in Paris) was very exciting to me indeed.
Archives 69 is the first scent by Etat Libre d’Orange that I have found difficulty in linking the scent to the concept, to me it smells strikingly cosy and fuzzy and I certainly don’t detect any of the juxtapositions between light and dark mentioned in the ad copy. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, far from it, It’s just that there seems to be a good degree of discord between the scent, the name and the concept.
Tangerine, Pink Berries CO2, Pepper Leaf, Orchid and Prune JE, Incense, Camphor, Benzoin, Patchouli and Musk.
How Does it Smell?
Well, I’m not entirely sure that Archives 69 screams ‘sex’ but it does smell like warm skin, or more precisely; warm fur.
Archives 69 starts with sour fruit and a prickly, nose-tickling dose of pepper. The musk comes flying out of the bottle in the first spritz and it stays pretty much front and centre for the majority of the development. The musk isn’t particularly dirty but it does feel fuzzy and snug.
The berries are definitely more purple than pink and the sour ripeness of the prune really does give the opening a bit of oomph. This oomph doesn’t last for long and after about 20 minutes Archives 69 really softens into a relatively quiet skin scent.
There is a lactonic undertone that gives the impression of warm milk; sweet and full of minerals. There is something really cosy about this milky aspect, it feels like being covered with a soft blanket.
The CO2 and camphor add a cool, metallic tinge which works really well with the pepper to create something familiar yet slightly alien. The mixture of metallic and lactonic notes doesn’t have the same horrifying effect that’s seen in Sécrétions Magnifiques, instead it creates an interesting juxtaposition between the warm and cold.
What’s really interesting about Archives 69 is that it seems to have a strong texture, like fur. Smelling it I’m reminded of the sweet, slightly funky smell of my cat’s fur.
Smelling it makes me want to push my nose closer to my skin and nuzzle into the warmth.
The patchouli in the base goes a long way to create an animalic funkiness, and it’s good to see a patchouli note that isn’t sanitised or stripped of it’s dirtiness.
As nice as Archives 69 is, it is far from being my favourite in the Etat Libre d’Orange line. It lacks that punchy and almost pop-art-like colourfulness that the other scents inherently possess. That said, it is one of the more interesting of this year’s releases and Etat Libre d’Orange haven’t disappointed in delivering something that is thought provoking yet instantly wearable.
Archives 69 is available in 50ml and 100ml Eau de Parfum. The 100ml EDP is a limited edition and comes in a rather glorious collectible box. Prices range from £74 – £105. Archives 69 can be purchased from Escentual.com and NKD Man in the UK and Henri Bendels in the USA.
This review is based on a sample provided by Escentual.com.
Image 1 w29showroom.blogspot.com
Image 2 Rupert (my cat) taken on my iPhone using the Instagram app