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.

Oud/Aoud/Oodh/Agarwood is a ‘dark, resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilara and Gyrinops trees when they become infected with a type of mold.’ [1] The smell of Oud really varies and from my experience it can smell medicinal, animalic and funky like a barnyard or intensely peppery and spiky.

Over the last couple of years there has been a plethora of fragrances released based around oud, a note which has been used in middle eastern perfumery for thousands of years. Oud has very much become the note du jour and it seems that almost every fragrance house has done ‘an oud’.

One house that kicked off the trend is Montale, created by perfumer Pierre Montale and tucked away in a corner of the very upmarket and glamourous Place Vendôme in Paris, Montale focuses on rich oriental fragrances and exotic blends using the famous oud.

This review is of two of Montale’s most well known scents, Black Aoud and White Aoud. These two scents strike an interesting contrast with each other and show the versatility of the oud note.