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Friday, August 26, 2011

Etat Libre d'Orange Archives 69: fragrance review & draw

The releases by pop-art fragrance phenomenon État Libre d'Orange ever since Like This (fronted by Tilda Swinton) have been lacking, belying the enthusiasm on discovering credible and artful compositions behind rather gimmicky names. Simply put, they are not at all challenging or unique as I've come to expect from the ground-breaking house. Archives 69, named after the address of the brand in Paris (69 rue des Archives) but at the same time deliciously hinting at the racy sexual position through the iconography on the site, doesn't deviate from this disappointing path. It's not that it is not pleasant or wearable (because it certainly is), it is that it is rather contrived given the history: sampling their scents is like blind-foldingly tasting Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

The ad copy, promising "the illusion of sex", certainly makes for a frenzied anticipation among the perfume buying audience: "[...]when she finds you, you will know the end of innocence. With the song of a siren, she lures you with an indecent charm, an almost malevolent delicacy. She sings to the animal in you. She awakens the sleeping lion, she tames the savage beast. She leads you to wondrous and frightening delights, and you may be surprised by the strength of her seduction. She is masculine/feminine, succubus and incubus, and she can be dangerous, but only to those who willingly resist the confines of safety. You will shudder at the urgency of her will, and tremble at your hungry response". Eh, riiiight.

Upon spraying Archives 69 from État Libre d'Orange there is a smidge of that nauseating, sterile note (supposedly a nitrile) that makes crétions Magnifiques so vile for so many. Allied to a musky note, midway between clean and dirty, it soon dissipates (blink and you'll miss it), paving the way for a much smoother, crowd-pleasing warm, spicy woody cluster of notes with overripe fruity nuances, reminiscent of the accord in Like This; plus warm, fuzzy fur. But not that kind of fur! It's more of a piney incense trail on a furry animal that cozed up by the fire, with spicy accents and the hint of dirt in good patchouli. There is a sweetness to its animalic fuzziness, a little bit salty sweet from one angle, more creamy sweet from another. But it never deviates from its mould of oriental spicy.

The composition overall is much too tame to conjure images of depravity and Baudelairian debauchery, but that does not mean that lovers (men or women) of snuggly, warm, skin scents won't like it. On the contrary.
To capture the full effect it's best to spray, since dabbing is akin to putting on sourdine on it; in that regard I agree with what Gaia of the Non Blonde points out. Still, in anycase and any way of wearing it, it's a low-hum fragrance that needs the proximity of intimacy to be best detected, much like other woody muskies such as Gaiac 10 by Le Labo or Escentric 01 (Escentric Molecules).

Notes for Etat Libre d'Orange Archives 69:
Mandarin, pink pepper CO2, pimento leaf, orchid Jungle Essence®and prune Jungle Essence®, incense, camphor, benjoin, patchouli, musk.

A sample out of my personal stash is available for a lucky reader. Please respond to this question to be eligible: Do you equate spicy, woody, snuggly scents with the autumn & holiday season or are you panseasonal? (And do you have a favourite among them?)

Archives 69 by État Libre d'Orange is available in 50ml and 100ml Eau de Parfum. The 100ml bottle is a limited edition in a collectible box. Archives 69 can be purchased from Escentual.com in UK and Henri Bendels and Luckyscent in the USA.


Still from the film Last Tango in Paris, photo of presentation from Elements Showcase NYC exhibition

32 comments:

  1. I don't think I'm panseasonal in my perfume preferences but I can't wear heady white flowers in the middle of the heat wave we are having now. I actually can't find a refreshing enough perfume to wear.
    I do, though, equate spicy, woody, snuggly perfumes with cooler weather and autumn (even winter) fits.

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  2. I from the Pacific Northwest, so I associate spicy, woody scents with all seasons. spring is the best season, everything is fresh and sun is back.

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  3. I gues I would fall in the "panseasonal" category, if only because I hardly wear anything but woody and/or spicy fragrances... I'm wearing Sycomore today, and was relishing Patchouli Homme yesterday...
    Or am I just confused by the autumn-like British Summer?!
    ^_^

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  4. I'm a very much a seasonal person, with only a few scents that are trans-seasonal, for instance the Guerlain classics. My favorite woody/spicy for the autumn/winter is the glorious Habanita.

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  5. dleep17:22

    Even though I wear spicy/heavy scents in the summer I do associate them most with autumn. Some of them bloom wonderfully in the heat.

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  6. I am panseasonal... or at least I was, until I got Jeux de Peau and the thing makes me want to be by a fire in thick woolly things. No other perfume makes me think of that, but the lovely lady at Palais Royal couldn't convince me to wear it in August.

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  7. I wear mine anytime. I like the heavy ones all the time.

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  8. Maureen20:53

    I wear lighter fragances in summer, but I am getting so tired of them...can't wait to break out the Coco!!!!

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  9. gautami21:15

    I do wear citrusy scents in Jan and warm scents in June, or white flowers for summer evenings, but I also like to wear Bois des Isle a lot in late autumn/ early winter.

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  10. I guess I am panseasonal--I like to wear Fille en Aiguilles year round, although it impresses me as a fall-winter scent. In the summer, I tried Muscs Ravageur on a very hot day, and liked it, but I was as bit hesitant to actually wear it in public. Hope I win the draw!

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  11. Thanks for the draw! I'm not sure yet whether I'm panseasonal, since I only started being really interested in perfumes in May. Right now I do equate them with fall/winter (and that's one of the reasons that make me glad that fall is coming!) But maybe next summer that'll change, after I have more experience...? I'd like to not be seasonal, since my favorite scents aren't really considered summery...

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  12. Definitely those scents are comforting for me during the Fall/Winter months and I can't wear them any other time. I love wearing Hypnotic Poison during the cold months and many layers of clothing.

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  13. Thanks for the draw- I tend to be panseasonal, I find myself craving big spicy-woody smells( for instance SL Arabie) in the middle of a hot humid summer day, or wanting only a dab of airy cologne in winter days- it depends mostly on my states of mind

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  14. Anonymous09:14

    I don't find my choices guided THAT much by season. But I do probably wear spicy woods a little more in winter. Is the original Omnia a spicy woods? Its spiciness is sheer enough for all year round. Coco has more to do with my mood than the weather and so does CDG's Quazazate (sp?)

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  15. I usually wear any perfume whatever the season is. As for woody spicy frag for daily basis, I'd pick D&G the One for Men.

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  16. I tend towards the panseasonal since I live in florida. Being a lover of patchouli, it's hard to narrow down a favorite. Xerjoff Richwood is amazing, but unfortunately I'll never have more than my decant. Been wearing Il Profumo Noir Patchouli lately and loving it in the heat!

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  17. Eva H.20:53

    Not necessarily for fall and winter - if the evening´s get cooler in the summer I like to wear the snugglier woody or gourmand scents. In the heat I do prefer something lighter and fresher.
    Then again, we didn´t get much summerheat so far here in Germany... *sigh*

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  18. I associate spicy, woody scents with cooler weather. We don't have much cooler weather in FL, so I wear them whenever I can get away with it, since spicy, woody is my favorite scent family. My favorites are Vol de Nuit and M7. Thanks for the draw.

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  19. Anonymous23:04

    I cannot stand perfumy, aldehydic fragrances like some Chanels in humid, tropical climats but usually do not pay attention to seasons.
    I enjoy CDG White in summer, I also like Donna Karan Signiture
    Cybele

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  20. I have tried a lot of woody scents. Some are very X-Mas-y smelling. I cannot equate all of them with wintry wonderland comfort smells. It depends. Certainly I am Pan-seasonal. I will wear woody scents in the heat of July if the urge hits me. Archives 69 is one of the best scents I have ever had the pleasure to sample. It reminds me of a lovely clovy-orange scent. Not to be restricted to a season. Please enter me in the draw.

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  21. I used to only equate woody spicy scents with autumn and winter, but over the last few years I have discovered that they do different things in different seasons on my skin and now I pay no attention to seasons for scents (though on occasion I like something like Azuree Soleil in Winter to make me think of Summer, so I am still associating, just not saving them for specific seasons).
    I have a hard time picking a single woody or spicy scent because I go through phases, but right now my favorite would probably be Fendi's Theorema or Micallef's Gaiac. Please enter me in the draw...Thanks!

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  22. Panseasonal, for sure! But I always associated spices with the autumn! And some funky aromas, too - roasted peppers, burning pine cones, moist forest soil, apple-grapes-plum jiuce...I am thinking of Strip and Agent Provacteur, Aromatics Elixir, Kelly Caleche edp, Nocturnes de Caron, 24 Fouburgm Cabochard, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, Jolie Madame, Lovely, Le Baiser du Dragon, Eau des Merveilles for the autumn days!

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  23. I'm finding myself becoming more panseasonal - I used to break perfumes into categories, now I just wear what I like, whenever.

    Having said that, though, I find myself turning away from Tribute Attar, which I love in extreme heat, to vintage Ubar, with that nice sandalwood vibe, more and more as the weather begins to cool

    xo

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  24. I am more or less seasonally minded, but not in an obvious way. So, the answer is no. I have just discovered the joy of wearing an Amber perfume (for a record, it was Ambra Mediterranea) on a warm dry Summer evening in high desert. I'm sure a woody spicy one would be just fine as well.

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  25. Thanks for the draw!! Please enter me in.
    I do equate spicy, woody and orientals with the cooler months, but I've been wearing those scents year round. Today I wore Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant. If the mood hits, I'll wear what I feel like, regardless of the season. One exception is Guerlain's Winter Delice, which is reserved for Christmas/holiday time only, I just can't see myself wearing it any other time.

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  26. Spicy, woody and SNUGGLY? No thanks, just spicy and woody. Fabric softeners smell snuggly, which is probably another reason why I'm not using them (after being allergic to them and liking my bed linen stiff like a plank).

    Spicy and woody - yeah, anytime. Not anything anytime, but for example Asja works perfectly well in dry heat as well as in winter, while Opium in summer is too much of a killer. Anything with lots of vetiver is fine for summer, these days I've fallen for Encre Noire... and an emerging favourite for the next week is Roman chamomille, which I call chocolate stardust. Just now I'm wearing Rovo Nero and I'll stick to it.

    (huh, is there a curry fragrance, I wonder? now that would be a spice)

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  27. I associate spicy, warm fragrances with winter even more than autumn, because where I live we barely have an autumn (the weather is too hot until november). However, sometimes in summer I like to wear that kind of scents. I apply a tiny bit and I feel very comfotable.

    One of my favorites is Baume du Doge, which I could wear all year round.

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  28. Anonymous17:22

    Elena.....

    Check your email. I just replied and wanted to make sure that you get it. :)

    I was so thrilled to hear from you. I didn't see the last one, so I am glad you tried again.

    xo

    ~Dawn

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  29. I am VERY influenced by season and weather when I select a fragrance. With 100+ degree days May thru September, there are many perfumes it's just too hot for. My ultimate woody, spicy is Donna Karan Black Cashmere. I wait every year for the first cold weather to wear it, usually late October, early November. I would love to try Archives 69.

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  30. I do wear my scents according to season. Ive been hankering for cooler weathere so i can break out my Woodies and Spicy's !! And , alas - It is now very cool and windy at the end of August here in Northern England. In fact its more like a October/NOvember right now. Good news for me as im now basking in the delightful heady charms of a retro bottle of "Poison". ( Pre reformulation). I do love my heavy scents but just cant use them in the summer heat , too overpowering .

    I prefer the cooling , aquatic fragrances in the Summer , but i quickly tire of them as most of them have NO lasting power! With Winter type frags , at least you get your moneys worth as they tend to last and project better.

    Great blog by the way , i just discovered it last night but i will be checking often! XXX

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  31. I used to be much more hidebound than I am: I would actually move scents in and out of their current rotation depending on the season, the way we here in Canada have winter clothing that gets bundled up and stored away every spring.

    Nowadays I don't necessarily care so much (or maybe I just got too lazy to keep putting everything away and dragging it out again), although I am not good with heat so I just can't bring myself to wear the really warm thick heavy orientals in the summer. Some people have told me that the heat brings out things you don't notice otherwise, but I can't do it. I did buy Jeux de Peau in June and wore it a lot this summer, but that one isn't so heavy on me; I couldn't bring myself to wear Ambre Precieux or vintage Opium on hot days, though. (I did wear Ambre Sultan one day and it was a mistake.)

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  32. Natalia20:18

    my perfume choice mostly depends on my mood, not the weather, but i do crave woody spicy scents more in the winter.

    happily wearing Arabian Wood today :)

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