Etat Libre d’Orchestra

You could argue that I´m too much of a prissy, naive American to appreciate the truly liberated sophistication of the Etat Libre d’Orange fragrances. Another potential viewpoint might be that browsing their line is like watching my four-year-old son run around naked, waving his tiny pecker at me. It´s endearing while also being irritating and childish.

The line has 11 scents available right now with a couple more on the way (if they aren´t at Bendel already), and they range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Here´s a random sampling, with descriptions clipped directly from Patty´s decant store:

Sécrétions Magnifique (magnificent secretions): iris, cocoa, sandalwood, opoponax – given the traffic this has gotten, I was expecting something horrific. However, I didn´t get the Money Shot (aka what Patty called the Cum Accord). It was more of a Blood Accord. The blood smell, combined with a twist of sweet breast milk, is what makes it so intense – the metallic edge of the scent seems less like sperm to me than a mouthful of blood. The whole effect is a giant DANGER DANGER DANGER warning sign flashing on the side of some stretch of deserted highway late at night. The fragrance equivalent of a car wreck. Frankly, it wasn´t any more horrifying than…

Encens et Bubblegum (incense and bubblegum): peach, raspberry, vanilla, lily of the valley, orange blossom musk, incense — if bubblegum could crawl out of your darkest nightmare, blow itself up and smother you, you´d be getting close to this. One of the worst fragrance assaults I have ever endured. This would be a fine place to note that most of the Etats lasted 24 – 36 hours on me, easily, through daily hot baths. Consider yourself warned.

Nombril Immense (large belly button): patchouli, balsam of Peru, vetiver, black pepper, sweet myrrh, bergamot, carrot seed, ambrette seed. I picked this early on to try, because how can I resist that name? Melding balsam to an extremely condensed bergamot-rich classical cologne, it dries down to a very pretty, mildly peppery balsam with a touch of myrrh.

Putain Des Palaces (hotel whore): Rose absolute, violet, leather, lily of the valley, tangerine, ginger, rice powder, amber, animal notes. My notes say: “Rochas Femme (new version) over the wet spot on the bed.” I could rework that into six more sentences, but why?

Rien (nothing): incense, rose, leather, iris, rock rose, oakmoss, styrax pyrogene, patchouli, amber, cumin, black pepper, aldehydes. The top notes remind me vaguely of Cumming, by Alan Cumming – there’s a lot going on at once, and it has that same earthy darkness, but sharper – closer to Le Labo´s Cistus. It´s strong, with a note in there that registers as almost mentholated. Just about the time I was ready to move on, the drydown bloomed – a blend of spices and incense that floored me so much I went back the next day and reapplied, just to make sure I had the right sample, because I didn´t see it coming at me like a freight train from Heaven when I put it on. It reminds me a bit of CdG Palisander, only spicier and with amazing lasting power — sillage after 48 hours! My winner in the line, by a landslide.

Jasmin et Cigarette (jasmine and cigarette): jasmine absolute, tobacco, hay, apricot, tonka bean, turmeric, cedar, amber, musk. Really, it´s lovely, but all I get is jasmine absolute. I like jasmine absolute very much, but I already own three more-or-less soliflores, and I´m not interested in another.

(anti-hero): lavender, musk, wood. A traditional men´s cologne, mostly lavender with a woody, musky base. Look — I can be brief.

Vraie Blonde (true blonde): aldehydes, Champagne, rose, white pepper, myrrh, patchouli, suede. This opens with a flurry of bubbles – aldehydes, champagne, and the nose-tickle of pepper – and for the first five minutes it vaulted to the top of my list of favorites. The rose and myrrh begin to emerge, the aldehydes fade a bit, and it becomes almost creamy. Then the damn thing collapses in on itself like a soufflé. I stood there and stared at the wreckage and tried to figure out what was wrong. In the space of 90 seconds it goes both dramatically flat and sweet. Vraie Blonde would be a textbook example of my inability, for better or worse, to separate my personal preferences from my reviews of fragrances. If you like creamy, rosy scents that don´t smell plastic, maybe you´d like this, and the blonde does smell expensive. But it is too syrupy sweet for me.

Je Suis un Homme (I am a man): bergamot, orange bigarade, lemon, myrtle, cinnamon, clove, cognac accord, leather, patchouli, animal notes. Sometimes when you mix all the colors of the rainbow you get: brown. A muddy, sullen mess of a fragrance.

Eloge du Traitre (praise of a traitor): pine, laurel, mugwort, clove, geranium, jasmine, patchouli, leather, musk. I admit it: I have a soft spot for aggressive herbal scents (Diptyque Elide and L’Eau Trois spring to mind here.) Do I think this scent is genius, or even that innovative? No. But if you like the dark, somewhat astringent smell when you stick your head into the bushes, or wandering the herb section of the plant nursery, you’d probably like this.

Divin’enfant(Divine Child): orange blossom, rose, amber, musk, leather and tobacco. Weird. I get none of the OB, which I’m counting as a blessing, because I think I’ve read some complaints about a sweet mess. The Big Cheese sniffed this and literally recoiled. I get a murky leather that is reminiscent of Miller Harris Rien with less hogpen.

What I know about constructing a fragrance could be written on the inside of a matchbook, and there would still be room for the bartender’s phone number, but several of the Etats smell so … random to me, like the perfumers grabbed the beakers blindfolded and threw them together. Second, I can´t help wondering whether I liked a few of these simply because some of the others were so off-putting. It´s an interesting marketing concept to ponder, isn´t it, releasing a line of scents with few stinkers so the others are a welcome relief? I´m not a perfumer, but I´m willing to wager that creating the Money Shot smell isn´t all that difficult, in comparison to capturing other smells. Bubblegum or Cum, I´m skeptical of this line´s intentions – a position that isn´t helped much by the name of their upcoming fragrance, Don´t Get Me Wrong Baby, I Don´t Swallow.

Regarding the ELO image (for you young’uns, that’s a 70s band): my decision was guided by the following quote about the band’s Greatest Hits CD, from

“Despite covering all the bases, the … main flaw is the fact that it doesn’t hold up well over time. The material made its mark in yesteryear but fails to translate with the timelessness of other oldies acts, and on the particularly outdated selections, make for a pretty painful listens.” In 40 years, which of the niche brands we´re drooling over will have become timeless? Is Etat going to be the Beatles … or ELO? Is there a new-ish niche line out there that you think is early Beatles?

  • judith says:

    Well, I’m too late for the perfume discussion (although I loved the brilliant article), but I just wanted to say (re:Elle) that I had a big-time crush on Keith, too. Figgers.

    • March says:

      Judith — crying in my beer over here, late at night — wishing I were sitting here with a set of Les Exclusifs instead of the Etats. Praying for Patty’s shipment to make it out of Indianapolis via dogsled…

  • sarah says:

    Am glad you have spoken up about these awful scents. I was so put off by the bubblegum thing and the revolting blood and milk smell that I considered giving up perfume altogether. I thing you are spot on with the notion that they might have stuck the revolting ones in there just to make you weep with gratitude for the less than disgusting ones. I haven’t given Rien or Putain a decent try… will go back to them later much. S

    • March says:

      Sarah — please, don’t run away forever! Come over and I have lots of pretty, pretty things to smell that will erase the painful memories.:x

  • Style Spy says:

    I just keep asking, “Why??” Why do they think I want to smell like those things? Why might they think I want to simply *smell* them at all, let alone smell *like* them? Why would anyone combine bubblegum and incense? Why bring bellybuttons into it? Why? I just don’t get it.

    (And I have to take friendly issue with calling their marketing “French.” The French are very frank about sexuality, but they are rarely crass and almost never interested in the shock value of it. These guys strike me as much more American in their sensibilities. They’re like Beavis & Butthead go to Givaudan.)

    • trinity says:

      My scentiments (LOL) exactly. I’m glad there is someone besides me who feels this way about perfume. Spot-on with the Beavis & Butthead comment! I’ll take fruity-floral over body secretions any day of the week.

    • March says:

      Well … I thought the Big Belly Button was kind of a funny name. Wouldn’t that be a kick? But it still feels like a name they picked out of a hat. Somehow the entire affair makes me long even more for Les Exclusifs.

      • trinity says:

        Ah, yes, the Exclusifs, now those I DO want to try. After all, aren’t these the scents that the great Lucia Turin declared we would throw out all our other scents for? Not a chance, Lucia, although I have no doubt there will be one or two I will purchase full bottles of. That’s the great thing about perfume, you can have many loves at the same time. And when you run out of space on your boudoir, then you happily take over hubby’s side of the dresser as well!

  • Robin says:

    If this line still exists in 40 years, I’ll eat my hat. But that is not particularly meant as a jab at ELdO — guessing that will be true of that vast majority of niche lines.

    And must sing back at you since you’ve given me an ELO ear worm today:

    In the year 2525, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, they will find…

    • Maria B. says:

      Oh, my goodness, THAT was ELO??? Oh, no! I now have an earworm!

      • March says:

        That is NOT ELO… I don’t think so, anyway. And ha ha! Robin, you can’t infect me with an earworm, because I’ve had this stuck in my head all day (sing along with meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…)

        And you, and your sweet desire,
        You took me, higher and higher
        It’s a livin’ thing,
        It’s a terrible thing to lose
        It’s a given thing
        What a terrible thing to lose.

        >:p Auugh! Please, make it STOP!!!

      • pitbull friend says:

        Actually, no, the song was by the duo Zager & Evans. If you care to see all the lyrics, or the singers, you can go here:
        http:// frodisman. com/ 2525. html
        I put the spaces in so that it wouldn’t get eaten by the spam filter. Some of us just can’t resist Googling these kinds of things. Ellen

  • Christine says:

    Goodness, I’ve wanted to try these based on the names alone, which while obnoxious, are pretty genius for garnishing a new brand a wee bit of attention. But, it seems like they just aren’t worth my time or my money at this point, even for the set of samples.

    Bah, ho hum. And I find the ELO comparison hilarious.

    • March says:

      Christine — weeeelll … Ina and Marina and Victoria liked various ones. I think the most favored are Jasmin and PdeP, with maybe a nod in the direction of Rien.

  • Maria B. says:

    Another hysterically funny and on-point review. (I fear what’s coming later this week.) I’m glad to learn that there’s a Wet Spot note in Putain des Palaces. I wouldn’t want to think that name had been wasted on something completely unrelated. b-( The line’s approach reminds me of preadolescent boy talk.

    If the persistence of the scents is so remarkable, other perfumers may have something to learn from the Orange State, after all–though I pray they don’t sacrifice one molecule of beauty to emulate it.

    Andy Tauer came to my mind immediately when you asked what new perfumer might become a classic like the Beatles. The man is a sensory poet genius. It’s exciting to be there at the beginning of his productivity. Naturally, the Serge Lutens name will also endure.

    I haven’t even the faintest recollection of ELO, BTW.

    • March says:

      Maria — how does one say The Wet Spot in French? I wonder if it loses something in the translation … maybe the French don’t have wet spots? They’ve figured out some urbane way around it…:-?

      • Maria B. says:

        The online dictionary I consulted is willing to translate “wet dream” but not “wet spot.” Literally, it would be something like “point mouille” (acute accent on last e). But I imagine the French might romanticize the phenomenon into something like “humidite erotique” (acute accent on last e of first word and on first e of second word). (It drives me crazy not to know how to render the proper punctuation in this system!) L’eau du lit de Venus? (Add any darn accent you feel like adding.) :d

        • pitbull friend says:

          Never fear, March & Maria! I have an inquiry in to my Alsatian friend (a man, not a dog). I told him that, since we already have men on here, he can’t be the mascot, but he could still have the gratitude of many terrific-smelling women. I mean, who WOULDN’T go for that?
          P.S. Maria, do you know how to say it in Spanish?
          P.P.S. Is the sweet doglet letting you sleep yet?

        • March says:

          Maria and Ellen — now, who says we aren’t over here solving problems of major importance over here on the Blog? The Grand Question: do the French acknowledge the wet spot, and/or is there a name for it?

          Maria, I choked on my pudding reading your suggestions. I’m all in favor of humidite erotique =d>

          PS In Spanish it’s punto mojado, IMO, but *again* this leaves aside the important philosophical question: do the Spanish have the concept of a wet spot?:-? Or is there something particularly English-language about the concept?

          So glad to hear we will have this conundrum solved from the French perspective, but … can an Alsatian truly be said to speak for the French? I ask you.

        • Maria B. says:

          I have no idea what other Spanish-speaking people would do with something like the Wet Spot, but, as to what Cubans would call it, I can assure you that it would be a down-home sort of joke, probably involving points of Cuban geography or edibles, especially fruit. I grew up in a household that out-Puritaned the Puritans, so I cannot give you the definitive answer of what it is *actually* called, but using Cuban principles, I would call it “batido de papaya”–i.e., a papaya shake. In western Cuba, “papaya” is a euphemism for female parts. And as to the shaking, well, I need say no more.

          I will be interested to learn if the French have a concept for the Wet Spot.

          As to Norbu, he is such a great dog!! Everyone is sleeping peacefully at night. I think the thyroid meds made him hyper. I’m taking him to a vet tomorrow to investigate the matter. He came to us with the name of Niner, doubtlessly named by a fan of the SF Forty-niners (U.S. football). We renamed him after Lama Norbu, our favorite character in *Little Buddha.*

          • pitbull friend says:

            Oh, Maria, I LOVE that! I don’t care whether it’s what they really say! And Norbu — nice name.

            OK, here’s the reply from my French friend (do NOT doubt his French credentials, March — do not even think to imply that there is a speck of Germanity about him):

            “…the altogether literal but I think, in the context of biological evidence of fun times on the sheets, accurate translation of ‘wet spot’ is ‘la tache mouillee’. I think however that, in conversation, two giggling partners noticing that they left a ‘wet spot’ might just refer to leaving ‘une tache’ on the sheets in the flow of conversation — idiom to idiom, if you will.”

            So — look for the next ELDO some time soon — La Tache Mouillee!

          • March says:

            That is *such* a great name… thanks for the tip! I just love it when we can find common ground with the French, especially in the bedroom… if Etat uses the name, you should ask for royalties.

  • tmp00 says:

    I got the set of these from Patty (in the large size- cough*idiot*cough). SM smelled like a dead mobster washed up under the Santa Monica pier and lasted longer than “Cats” did on broadwaay. I’m almost afraid to try the rest. :((

    • March says:

      Tom — well, now the curiosity is killing me. Which do you think is grosser — HE or SM? And how does that weigh in with S-Perfume Lust? (Actually, Lust probably smells like Eau de Monsieur next to those two.)/:)

      • tmp00 says:

        Well, they are neck and neck, but in different ways. I’ll of course regale you on Marina’s blog, but suffice it to say SM is not my cup of tea.

  • Patty says:

    Wait, wait! Are we *dissing* ELO? Telephone Line isn’t a classic. Okay, we are not friends anymore. 🙂

    I think the Etats were a great science experiment, which often is my whole point of perfume sniffage, when I want a break from the regular, so trying them was fun, and I do like a couple in there quite well, but I do have to think about whether that’s in comparison to some of the others that I like them. Nope, pretty sure I like them. Classics or great? Nope, not, but they’ve been fun to screw around with.

    • March says:

      P — they still play ELO on the radio all the time here (along with BTO and ELP) and that horrible sound you hear is me, singing along:x

      Like I said to Trinity above … I wanted *more.* I wanted them to actually live up to their crazy-ass names. I wanted to smell the Cum/Blood Secretions and realize, to my shame and shock, that I *had* to wear it, which is kinda/sorta how I feel about some of my other little filthies (MKK, Yatagan, etc.) You’re right, though — it was wonderful to be smelling something really, REALLY different, and nobody’s yapping about lasting power with these, are they?!? 😉

  • pitbull friend says:

    Oh, March, what a great simile with ELO! I think they had an important role to play in popularizing some synth music — they weren’t as experimental & interesting as, let’s say, Emerson Lake & Palmer, but were much more accessible. But I agree they didn’t age well. I just put on Guerlain Insolence for the first time & it’s way too orange blossomy for me. And now that I have some ELO songs grafted onto this sensory experience, I really want to go home & back to bed!

    Hard choice on the “new Beatles” comparison, but what about Parfumerie Generale? Like the Beatles in their early days, they are groundbreaking but enjoyable to the masses. Not all of their stuff is “out there” — Harmatan Noir isn’t the first desert wind scent, Hyperessence Matale isn’t the first tea, etc. — but everything is very well crafted and refreshing. Coze may be my favorite of the line & does break new ground with hemp oil.

    Does L’Artisan qualify as niche for this purpose? Nobody has done it so well, so consistently, for so long, have they?

    BTW, haven’t tried all the ELDO samples yet, but Nombril Immense is quite nice!

    • March says:

      Wow — ELO grafted onto Insolence … I feel a migraine coming on. The Insolence improves dramatically, though, after the first 45 minutes.

      Nombril was my second favorite after Rien.

      PG — they could be with us. I’m wondering whether Serge and L’Artisan are grandfathered in at this point.:-?

  • trinity says:

    Hiya March
    I am as interested as the next person in new scents, and I applaud perfumers that try to find something new in the market that is overflowing with things that smell just like everything else already out there. BUT, shock just for shock value sake is a major turn-off for me. And that is just what this collection sounds like. I will NOT be sampling any of these, nor do I even want to. Scents that smell like cum, mold, blood, etc. are just plain disgusting. I am not a prude buy any means, but I truely can’t understand why anyone would even want to try these things, based on the descriptions I’ve read here and on other fragrance boards. They sound like a horrible mess to me.

    • March says:

      Well — here, let me display one of the Many Sides of March the Maleficent and say how *insanely* grateful I was not to be smelling something fruity-floral, something new from Macy’s (Versace Bright Crystal, anyone?) There I was cooling my heels in the orthodontist’s office this a.m., being assaulted by the magazine smell strip of that new Escada thing … okay, I don’t want to smell like cum and nursing mom either, but it was interesting! I wasn’t sitting there yawning. Rien is actually really beautiful. I guess I wanted MORE — I wanted them to live up to their absurd, balls-out approach and give me something I had to have.

  • dinazad says:

    The thing is, you were SO not intellectual, with it, deep-thinking, if you didn’t value ELO and Bachmann Turner Overdrive over the Beatles and the Stones (which were for the mentally simple, proletarian guys and gals who didn’t know you had to wear a black turtleneck sweater and a BIG silver pendant, preferably a peace or ankh sign, and a pessimistic outlook on life to be chic. No perfume. Just joss sticks.) I don’t think a true ELO lover would have mustered the uber-childisch levity to come up with the Etat Libre scent names….

    • March says:

      I know … I was more into K.C. and the Sunshine Band (I bet I can still sing EVERY SINGLE SONG off that album). Maybe you’re right — an ELO lover would have named them something more pretentious. The first time I saw the movie Spinal Tap it made me think of all of those prog-rock arena/electronica bands… now, having said that, I dated a guy who turned me on to ELP (my first concert!!), and I ran around from 1981-85 doing the punk/goth thing, so let me make clear I do my smirking as a member of the team, more or less.

  • Marina says:

    “If bubblegum could crawl out of your darkest nightmare, blow itself up and smother you, you’d be getting close to this.” -Haaaahaha!!:d
    Love your snark, March.
    …Gosh, I can’t wait to get my teeth into these ones…>:)

    • March says:

      Marina — I predict that you will loathe Bubblegum with a passion, along with Enfant, and will like Putains, Jasmin and Rien (and maybe Traitor)

      Let’s see how close I am.

  • sybil says:

    March…ELO seems like a pefect comparison to these jokers. I’ve tried some Etats, but I’m so put off by most of them (w/ the possible exception of JetC) that I can’t stand to try anymore. As for modern classics, I’ve not got the olfactory scope to judge. I know what I like but that’s about all…

    • March says:

      Sybil — I dunno, everyone but me (I think) got a lot more from JetC. And I wish I’d like Hotel Whore better, that’s such a great name. I guess you’ve joined me in the American Rube corner, haven’t you?

      • sybil says:

        Yeah…these did make me feel like a rube. I mean, come on…what is wrong that I couldn’t appreciate Hotel Slut (and I wanted to, belive me!)? I’ve never smelled Rochas Femme, but PdeP was something over the wet spot. Maybe it’s the leather? To get an undisputed rube award, I’ll come right out and say I’m having a hard time finding a leather that I like, and that likes me back…

        • March says:

          I think leather can be a really difficult note — if it comes across wrong, it just smells unpleasant. But I’ll wager you’ll find one you love. Have you tried Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, I wonder? It’s a sensual, almost floral leather…

  • Elle says:

    SO glad you pointed out the near toxic lasting power of these scents. It’s almost as if I’ve been branded w/ the scents. And any place I’ve innocently set the samples down appears to be pretty much permanently scented w/ them and scents anything I lay down on that area w/ them. Frankly, since I like to change out scents at least twice a day, I’m always somewhat distressed if anything lasts over 4 hours tops, so this was not a bonus imo. OK, tail swishing over lasting power aside, I really do love several of them, but when they go wrong, they *really* go wrong. Divine Enfent is one of the few scents in my entire life that has made me feel almost physically ill.
    I think Andy Tauer’s scents and the Les Nez line might be considered early Stones – sorry, not much of a Beatles fan, but at eight I decided I wanted to be Mrs. Keith Richards (don’t really care for Mick) and still love him, despite the rather unfortunate (OK, out and out terrifying) aging of his face. Oh, and although not exactly new, the OJ and Divine scents also seem like classics to me, as do a couple of Yosh’s scents.

    • March says:

      Elle — Fragrant Twin! The lasting power on these, I thought would drive me out of my mind. Like you, I view the exit of one scent as an invitation to put on something else. SM, Bubblegum and Rien really hung on there for a couple of days. Yeah, I think it was you complaining about how horrifying the OB was in Enfant?

      The Stones! Now there’s a band whose sound has stood the test of time. Good suggestions.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Thanks to Patty for providing these !

    I’m relegating these to ‘perfume museum ‘ status.
    While I enjoyed sniffing them, none compels me to wear them.
    A good olfactory exercise, no more.

    • March says:

      Chaya — I have to say that, Skanque Queene though you may be, these do not strike me as “you,” with the possible exception of PdeP :-” which I mean as a compliment.

  • Lee says:

    :-” Oh, and you’re to blame for me now humming Mr Blue Sky. :-w

  • Lee says:

    I’ve now given each and every one of these a thorough sniffing. I’ve disliked many of them and find most of them a muddle. A few I’ve found bordering on the nausea inducing, though not, I’m happy to report, SM – which I found far less startling than I thought I would.

    A lot of them have what seem to be nose-stinger aldehydes – that astringent zing that feels like it’s stripping the cilia from my nasal passages… And they could be used in chemical warfare, they’re that strong (I’ve got minor abrasions today on the back of my hand where I got over vigorous with the crubbing – and still I could smell them).

    There were a couple I found inoffensive – Eloges, Jasmin (I do pick up on a dirty ashtray), some I find sludgy – Rien, Je Suis (though the patchouli dry-down hints at the emptiness of Borneo, funnily enough), one or two I find suffocating – Vraie Blonde, Encens. The one that comes closest to being likeable is Putains, but only cos it has playdoh friendliness, like a prostitue who’d rather have a game of scrabble than get down and dirty – my kind of lady…

    My 1ml of each will be more than enough forever. I’m just wondering how they’ll be disposed of when I’m dead, and what might happen if they fell into the wrong hands…

    • March says:

      Lee — their lasting power really is extraordinary. I don’t think that’s going to be an area of complaint. I’ve had them resting on a plastic wrapper thing while I sniffed them, and I have to say I’m grateful.

      The Rien I would definitely wear. The others, not so much.

  • dinazad says:

    :d That was fun to read, thanks! Obviously, these aren’t scents to buy unsniffed. And even as a decadent European I find the names a bit embarassing, rather like the German version of carnival which is clogging up German-speaking TV righ now: grown, even elderly men of good standing in funny hats, taking their humour very, very seriously. Gaaaaah!!!! (should and German carnival-lover be reading this: sorry, didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I just don’t have that serious fun gene…..).
    A Beatle? For me, Andy Tauer comes pretty close to being Beethoven. Oh, OK: Anton Dvorak. Or Johann Strauss. Would Lutens qualify as Beethoven?

    • March says:

      You decadent Europeans! Let’s paint everyone with a really, really broad brush … I suppose I should admit that what got my back up about these early on was perusing another comment section elsewhere, and a commenter saying, essentially, isn’t that just like you prudish Americans to fail to see the humor etc. To which I would like to respond maturely and sophisticatedly here by (insert your favorite obscene gesture.):-?

      Fine, fine. Throw your decadent European composer dudes in my face (I kid! I kid!) I think Lutens is Beethoven and Andy is … Mozart?

      • dinazad says:

        Humour? Wellll…… I admit at a certain age (4?) one does think saying dirty words is tremendously funny. That’s when you can say some scatological world over and over again and fall over laughing over and over again….. but I could think of funnier things once I got past that age…. 😉

      • Tigs says:

        It’s ridiculous, but I went “off” these scents without even trying them after that comment, too, March. There was a similar comment on Bois de Jasmin once, can’t remember which review it’s attached to, but it had something to do with French literature, and Evan (whoever and whereever he is, bless him) just wrote a devastating reply. It was the highlight of my week.

        Weird, I was going to nominate Andy too.

  • carmencanada says:

    March, I am *so* with you on this one… Let’s just set aside the discussion on the marketing tactics of the brand (which is actually what I like the best about it — so damnably, cheekily French), the juices also struck me as being something of a non-event. Drafts, is how I put it politely. A few are lovely, even seductive at the outset (PdP, J et C, and the new “Don’t get me wrong”) but like you wrote, they tend to collapse quickly into a synthetic mess. You put your finger on it: among the unpleasant ones, the better ones may seem more frequentable. What I’m wondering is if the briefs (or the little stories you can read on the website) preceded the compositions, or if they just slapped on faux-provocative names on the scents… Anyway, nothing in there will make me part with my nonexistent dough, which is a pity. I would’ve loved to reply archly (I’ve never replied anything *archly*) “What’s my perfume? Why, Putain des Palaces!” and watch some man’s face light up!

    • March says:

      Carmen — I was sort of looking forward to that too… of course, I would have pronounced it wrong./:) Didn’t you visit their boutique? How was that?

      • carmencanada says:

        March, I did go to their shop. The SA was lovely, charming, endlessly patient as my friend and I sniffed, sampled, chatted and didn’t buy a thing. You sit down in front of the table and sniff the scent strips while consulting the catalogue, which reprises the contents of the website. A comfortable and leisurely experience… Too bad the scents aren’t up to scratch… The boutique has a vaguely SM-y feeling about it (or maybe that was just my imagination?). It’s going to be expanded and partenered with a bookshop featuring the line of Taschen books (a very successful German publisher who has a line of visual erotica books).

        • March says:

          I am trying (and failing) to imagine the process whereby a sales associate dispassionately explains Secretions to you. While you smell it.

          The problem with me is, I have trouble maintaining my poker face. It’s incredibly rude, but there I’ll be, my face all scrunched up into Mr. Yuck in front of some poor employee. The lesser version of that I just looked pained, like I need a restroom. Both of them infuriate my girls, who lecture me.

          • carmencanada says:

            Well, guess what? We weren’t quite sadistic enough to put the young lady (and our own noses) through that. It was embarrassing enough to hear her pronounce daintily “Don’t get me wrong baby, I do not swallow” (rather that “I don’t swallow”), which my friend Karin (LisaCarol on POL) and I agreed that we would henceforth call “Don’t get me wrong”, if only for practical reasons! Mind you, the SA just rattles off the notes, she doesn’t supply the story. That’s to be read in the catalogue. It all reminds me of the sex-toy shop opened by Sonia Rykiel a few years ago. Those lovely, chic young women used to selling cashmere knits and stylish velours tracksuits, explaining the use of geisha balls et al… I somehow always found myself sparing them the necessity of getting into details. And bought cashmeres.

          • March says:

            Carmen, we all take our pleasures in various odd ways, and your contribution of these stories, along with Ellen and Maria’s thoughts on “the wet spot” have provided me with much hilarity. I think it was very gracious of you not to look puzzled and ask for a demonstration…