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.
Hold the presses! Before I commence with this review, could someone do me a massive favour and take a short trip down to the underworld and check that the river Styx is still in full, bubbling-hot lava flow? I ask simply because it seems that hell has indeed frozen over and that the impossible has finally happened – Etat Libre d’Orange, also known as the world’s most naughty and rebellious perfume brand, have brought us the most unexpected and out of character perfume – a humble eau de cologne.
Now, you may be thinking that lots of brands bring out eau de colognes and that this isn’t particularly noteworthy a launch, so I should stop making a big old fuss. But one should remember that Etat Libre d’Orange are in fact, the very people that, amongst many other things, bottled the erotic cartoons of infamous Finnish illustrator Tom of Finland, and brought us olfactory interpretations of hotel whores and magnificent bodily secretions. They are not ones to shy away from controversy – in fact, they actively court it and shock factor is an old friend that they simply cannot keep away from. Luckily for us lovers of fragrance, their perfumes mainly deliver the olfactory goods and whilst their names are often gimmicky, the scents themselves rarely are.
With their eau de cologne, which is snappily named ‘Cologne’, FYI (no gimmicks here, thank you), they have created, what they like to call “a nice scent”. This could be, and should be viewed as a massive break from tradition for the Orange Free State, who are famously more prone to naughty than nice, and that would be a fair summation. But as the brand explains, they like to break rules, including their own. So it is with an unassuming cologne that this renegade purveyor of perfumes steps away from their usual modus operandi – a risky move that has resulted in a fragrant outing that really is most unusual for such a rebellious brand.
“You can always expect the unexpected from Etat Libre d’Orange. We break the rules. Sometimes, we even break our own rules. We’ve given you decadent, we’ve given you outrageous, and now we give you nice. We pay allegiance to the concept of a modest cologne. Not an ordinary cologne, not a basic cologne. A proper cologne that achieves the perfection of simplicity.”
Etat Libre d’Orange is easily one of my favourite perfume brands. I adore their punkish, renegade and often rude approach to perfume and unlike so many niche houses their gimmick comes with a ton of substance, meaning that the vast majority of their scents are unique and expertly crafted. Their offerings range from the fascinating yet vile Sécrétions Magnifiques to the heartbreaking beauty of The Afternoon of a Faun, and all that is in between pretty much rocks too.
With their rebellious past in mind, it is interesting to see that their upcoming launch for May 2014 ‘La Cologne‘ (or ‘Cologne‘ as it also seems to be named) is billed as “a nice scent”. Very few details about the scent are known, but one can’t help but wonder whether those punky rebels over at the Orange Free State are turning over a new leaf, one where they wish to accomodate the tastes of all perfume lovers, even those that prefer something a little bit cleaner.
It’s that time of year where we all start to put together our Christmas wish lists for Santa, or as I like to call him – ‘Nigel’. Being the perfume nuts that we are means that beloved family and friends can sometimes struggle to pick fragrances out as gifts for us, after all we’re a selective (read: ‘picky’) bunch by nature and nobody would want us to open up a gift that we would deem as unsuitable on the big day.
To mitigate the chances of a botched perfume purchase at Christmas I supply a perfume wish list to my partner and my father every year. The other members of my family family flatly refuses to buy me any perfume, stating that I have “too much” and it’s “bordering on an obsession”. Who knows what they’re smoking, but I can always rely on my dad and Nigel (if he’s in a good mood) to pick something from my carefully selected list.
So Movember comes to an end and as another week of mo-growing passes my column over at Escentual takes a lot at another important masculine fragrance that represents just one facet of the modern man. This week’s scent is Dior Homme, a scent that many readers will be familiar with and whilst it may seem like an obvious choice, due in part to its high critical acclaim, it is most definitely worthy of the spotlight.
Dior Homme represents the sensitive man of today. It’s a highly stylish fragrance that speaks of well-groomed and sharply dressed young chaps, but it is by no means a vapid fashion scent for the masses. The softness of feminine notes makes Homme a truly interesting and comfortable fragrance amongst a sea of dull aquatics and faux-wood affairs. It is simply remarkable. Do click on the image above to read this week’s column.
In addition to this, for the very final week I’ve taken a look at the more contemporary and more than a little bit unusual ‘Fat Electrician’by Etat Libre d’Orange. This is a John Waters, pencil-thin moustache of a fragrance and is also one of the most intriguing vetivers one can buy. Please click on the image just below the jump to view.
Extra! Extra! Read All About It! The Apopcornalypse is Nigh! That’s right, you heard me – ‘The Apopcornalypse’. The human race has long fantasised and obsessed over the end of days, having written, sung and even created movies about it. Now it’s time for the perfume world to join in and represent their version of the apocalypse through the medium of olfaction.
The punky pop art perfumer lovers over at Etat Libre d’Orange (in collaboration with perfume Quentin Bisch) have created their perfumed version of doomsday – the aptly named ‘La Fin du Monde’ (The End of the World) – centered around the slightly baffling note of popcorn, and for Escentual this week I have put together my thoughts on this judgment day scent.
If that doesn’t convince you to head on over to Escentual (by clicking the image above) then perhaps I should say that they are also giving away 5 x 50ml bottles of La Fin du Monde in a special competition. So hurry up, you’ve got a review to read, a competition to enter and a comment to leave! Let me know your thoughts.
I’m back, finally! After a month of painful wrestling with my dissertation and other nasty bits of uni work I can finally turn my attention back to my first love – perfume. The last month has been both stressful and refreshing – stressful for obvious reasons and refreshing because it felt like a good time to take a blogging break so that now, when all the work has been handed in, I can come back with a fresh mind and renewed enthusiasm.
Despite the absence of blogging during my uni-fest I have managed to stay (relatively) sane. This can be attributed to three things; the constant support of Nigel (my partner), a metric ton of Maltesers and a constant supply of episodes of my new all-time favourite TV programme – RuPaul’s Drag Race. That’s right squirrel friends, all one needs to get oneself through a tough time is a parade of drag queens…
If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching RuPaul’s Drag Race then; a) watch it now (go on) and; b) simply picture the model-filled runway of America’s Next Top Model crossed with the home-made fashions of Project Runway with a generous dollop of drag queen fabulous-ness on top. Now can you see why it is perhaps the absolute greatest thing on earth?
I love RuPaul’s Drag Race so much that I thought I would pay my own scented tribute to the queens that make it so darn sickening (that’s sickening in the good sense of the word FYI) to watch. So without further ado I present to you the latest instalment in the Scent a Celebrity Series, an episode containing perfumes and queens who display the ultimate levels of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent – gentleman, start your engines, and may the best woman, smell!