Super Scent: Etat Libre d'Orange
Super Scent: Etat Libre d’Orange

Super Scent is back, people. Let us rejoice! If you’ve not encountered the series before, please let me fill you in. Essentially, for each instalment of Super Scent, Persolaise, Basenotes and I (please click the links to view their pieces) pick out our top fragrances from a particular brand. In the case of Persolaise and I, these are our personal favourites, whereas Basenotes offers a round-up of reader favourites using the data found within the fragrance directory. Now that you’re filled in, we can get on with this edition of Super Scent which is all about the most punk-like and pop art perfume brand of them all: the dastardly dirty and downright devilish Etat Libre d’Orange.

Etat Libre d’Orange (The Orange Free State) climaxed onto the scene in 2006 with a collection of 10 fragrances. Founded by Etienne de Swardt, who is described on the brand’s website as a “troublemaker and perfumer” (although he is more of an art director than an actual perfumer) the brand shook up the fragrance industry with fragrances inspired by, amongst many other things; cum, high-class hookers, belly buttons and nothing, and with a battle cry that shouted “perfume is dead, long live perfume”. They are a rebellious purveyor of perfume that doesn’t take itself to seriously, but most importantly they like to challenge our preconceptions of what a fragrance can be. Is it unwearable art or is it a marketable consumable? Eat Libre d’Orange seem to think that perfume can be anything one wants it to be.

This was a tricky one, I’m not going to lie to you. At the time of writing, Etat Libre d’Orange has an extensive catalogue consisting of 32 fragrances and the rules of Super Scent dictate that I must pick a top five. I’ve narrowed down my selection to those scents offered by the Orange Free State that I enjoy the most, but there are many not included here that I love, admire and respect, scents such as; Rien, Charogne, Jasmin et Cigarette, Eau de Protection and Fat Electrician to name but a few. So, without any further moaning about how hard this has been, let’s take a delve into the risqué world of Etat Libre d’Orange with my all-time top five!

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Scenting Leading Ladies
Fragrant Femmes – Scenting Leading Ladies

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

This episode of my Scent a Celebrity Series serves as a slight change of tack from the norm. The series usually takes a famous person (ranging from Björk to The Muppets) and pairs them with a suitable fragrance (or fragrances) that perfectly capture the many facets of their personality. However, in this episode the focus has shifted beyond just humble celebrities to the characters they play.

Everyone loves a leading lady and a superb performance from a wonderful actress can turn a good movie into an extraordinary one. Here you’ll find a selection of some of my favourite actresses in one of their most impressive roles, and for good measure some perfumes that capture the spirit of their performances. These ‘Fragrant Femmes’ will have you glued to your seats and with a bit of luck the perfumes will too.

Restaurant Table
Our table is booked, all you have to do is show up…

Food and I have a very strong and loving relationship. Perhaps too loving in fact, and I’ll be the first to admit that our relationship can be a little unhealthy at times. But at those times when I don’t feel that I should exercise a good degree of self control to keep my weight down I thoroughly enjoy going out for dinner and experimenting with new food.

Our senses of taste and smell are inextricably linked and when going out for dinner it makes sense, and it’s also good fun, to match our fragrance to the style of cuisine we will be devouring. Only the other night I was heading out for dinner with friends and was having a SOTE (Scent of the Evening) dilemma, I asked my Twitter followers for help and they came back with some interesting suggestions based on the type of food (Mexican F.Y.I.) I would be eating, which got me thinking – which fragrances would be best suited for other cuisines?

To explore the relationship between fragrance and food I cordially invite you to dinner, during which I, along with the help of my partner-in-crime and budding-foodie Nigel, will pair some of the most popular cuisines with fragrant counterparts that will leave you complimenting your food and smelling wonderful simultaneously. Get your passports out because we’re going to be touring the restaurants of the world…

Due to my recent mini-hiatus there was no Saturday Poll last week but if you can cast your mind back to the week before you will remember that we focused on a ‘clash of the titans’ question – Guerlain vs Chanel.

Guerlain were the runaway winners, gaining two whole thirds of the vote. The success of Guerlain in the poll seemed to be down to their variety of styles and Chanel appeared to suffer due to their relatively consistent signature, if you love it – great, if you don’t – poor you!

On to this week’s poll…

The Poll

Yesterday I review Madonna’s first perfume ‘Truth or Dare‘ and it got me thinking about celebuscents and what the general perfume-loving population’s opinion of them is. I can probably figure out the answer but my readers have been known to surprise me and of course there is nothing quite like a good discussion involving celebrities…

So, how do you feel about celebuscents? Do you love them? Loathe them? Or do you not give two hoots? Register your vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!

Katie Puckrik

Katie Puckrik Does Indeed ‘Smell’

YouTube frightens me slightly. Maybe I’m just a wimp but despite the wealth of content YouTube has more loons, weirdos (not the good kind) and trolls than any of the other ‘tubes’, including the London Underground, which indeed has its fair share. Other than the odd music video and occasional perfume-related video I really don’t visit it much and I admire those who can put themselves out there, warts and all.

One person who is not afraid of YouTube and actively embraces the medium with as much gusto as one person can conjure is Katie Puckrik of Katie Puckrik Smells. Katie’s YouTube reviews are pithy, fun and are splashed with charismatic wit, which is no surprise as Katie Puckrik is someone with oodles of charisma and she has been a key player in changing the way that perfume is discussed.

As a general rule of thumb I am not a big fan of YouTube perfume reviews, with my tastes lying with the written word rather than the spoken, but I always make sure I watch Katie’s videos because she talks about scent in not only an intelligent way, but because she makes it so much fun. It was for this reason that I jumped at the chance of spending an evening with Katie Puckrik organised by Olfactory Events and Perfume Lovers London.

Tilda & Rossy

The Etat Libre d’Orange Muses

Celebrity fragrances, or ‘celebuscents’ as they are so often called, are the scorn of many a perfumista. The majority are cheap, thoughtless compositions with the sole intent of making a quick buck for a celebrity desperate to cash in on the latest trend. As you can imagine, most of the time the celebrity has very little input in the development of their fragrance, preferring simply to be ‘the face’ rather than ‘the brains’.

There are of course exceptions, and some celebrities do insist on being more involved by playing the role of creative director. Celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and J Lo are widely reported to have been directly involved with the creation of their early fragrances and this involvement shows in the final product. But these celebrities are few and far between.

One brand in particular has taken the idea of the celebuscent to a new level by choosing to partner with unusual celebrities who take on the role of muse and work with the perfumer to create their fragrance. This brand is Etat Libre d’Orange, those funny French olfactory freedom fighters whose compositions feel like a breath of fresh air within the industry.

For their celebuscents Etat Libre d’Orange chose two unexpected, subversive celebrities; Oscar Winning British Actress & Androgynous Style Icon Tilda Swinton and Pedro Almodóvar’s Picasso-esque Muse Rossy de Palma. Two strong, unique women for a strong and unique brand.

Wardrobe

Last weekend, after much nagging from my long-suffering partner, I decided to have a tidy of my perfume collection and samples box. Now, anyone who knows me well will be fully aware that tidying is not really something I do very often, in fact, it is something that I avoid at all costs.

Anyway, during my tidy up, I totalled up the number of perfume bottles in my collection and I was genuinely shocked when I came to the nice round number of 120. “How can I have so much perfume, I never feel like I have enough choice” I thought, “Do I really need so much?” and “Do I feel like I don’t know what to wear because I have too much choice?”

This led me to think in depth about my collection of fragrances, what would I choose if I were to reduce its size considerably?