Sixth edition of weekly column: “He says, she says”! He: Jakub and She: Aleksandra of Persefume — two people, two genders, two opinions, both valuable, both sincere. Sometimes similar, sometimes contrasting — we test without checking each other’s impressions. Choose what fits you better. Write your own part in comments.
This time we cover the latest 2015 launches from two French niche brands, though with slightly different image (but with “Orange” in the name, we have realised it just before publishing!): Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger and État Libre d’Orange.

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Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger Eau de Madeleine (2015)
Notes: citrus, incense, rose, leather, sandalwood, vanilla, musk

He — First of all, have to say I really admire Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger. Its founder, Virginie Roux is nice, hard working, very down to earth woman and all products are as close to the nature as possible. Neroli, lavender (oh, I still need to get some Au Pays lavender body products for my mom who just adores this note) and other ingredients come straight from Provence.
The latest, limited edition perfume from Les Inedites line is quite a departure from the classic, rather safe and almost single note style. Dedicated to Virginie’s grandmother, Eau de Madleine is very personal, just beautiful incense gently mixed with florals, leather and comforting vanilla. Nothing too gothic, or religious – just calm, safe, nostalgic effect. Housed in lovely black bottle and highly recommended – get it before it is gone!

She — The eight, limited perfume in Les Inedites collection, very different from the other seven (each was dedicated to one note mentioned in a name). Eau de Madaleine does not refer to any of the classic perfume ingredients although it is oriented very much towards traditional perfumery. The head is full of fresh herbs and citruses, quickly giving space to a rather messy mix of leather and incense. The composition is quite sweet, as the inside of a purse where several powdery sweets were crushed. The incense itself – which appears to be the main theme of the composition – reminds me of Messe de Minuit, but it lacks the characteristic, Roman chill of underground chapel. It is an incense weathered and scorched by the sun.

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Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger Neroli Oud (2015)
Notes: Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Jasmin, Rose, Candied Fruits, Balsamic and gourmand accords, Oud

He — Have to admit that I was but surprised to see Neroli Oud at Esxence 2015. What, even this brand jumped oud bandwagon? But no worries, it was good decision as agarwood does not dominate this still neroli-centred fragrance and just enhances the whole structure with deep, woody undertones. Very warm, seductive – though I still prefer Neroli Eau de Parfum Intense for its lush and bold effect. Long-lasting and solid offering, well-thought.

She — The mix of oud and neroli seemed a breakneck idea to me, still the creators saved their faces, but not in a way I expected – I would rather bet they will emphasise the most carnal aspect of neroli, which can be sniffed at its best in orange blossom, and marry it with the sensual facet of oud. Yet the neroli sounds as usual: mainly green and flowery, with a slight acetate edge (it is jasmin in the notes) which does not fit here. The oud notes – spoiled wood, some smokiness – give way to neroli chirp, but then slowly gain advantage, letting neroli to round the composition in a very strange way.

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Etat Libre d’Orange True Lust (Rayon Violet de ses Yeux) (2015)
Notes: Rum JE, ginger JE, rose absolute, violet, coconut JE, osmanthus absolute, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang ylang, tangerine, rice powder, amber, leather, animal notes, sandalwood

HeEtienne de Swardt’s Etat Libre d’Orange gained strong position in the perfume sector with lot of new offerings and wide distribution. I still remember brand’s conceptual and very surprising beginnings and unfortunately, current launches are rather on the safe side. I understand it completely from the business perspective, but hope that the brand will continue to bring some more unique scents in the manner of Les Secretions Magnifiques, or La Fin du Monde.
True Lust is an example of new brand concept: remixes. It combines Putain des Palaces and Dangerous Complicity and well, it truly smells like both of them together. Rather feminine, full of powdery violets and roses with hint of leathery accords. It feels elegant, yet quite distant – I do not feel lust there, just solid work. Come on, ELdO – you can do much better, waiting to be mesmerized again!

She — Mixture of Putain des Palaces and Dangerous Complicity resulting in a quite classic, violet effect, but with a high volume, similar to this in purple-black monster of John Galliano. Powdery and usually dry violet manages to mature into a full fruit, not very juicy still pretty, with a thin, velvet skin. The scent goes well with long lashes and keeping your head high.

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Etat Libre d’Orange Remarkable People (2015)
Notes: Grapefruit, champagne accord, cardamom, jasmine, curry JE, black pepper, labdanum, sandalwood, lorenox

He – Remarkable people: vision of great parties full of elegant people, champagne, oh – I am totally in (as always)! However, in the reality I do not feel champagne that much (for that I am always go for bubbly Les Liquides Imaginaires Dom Rosa), but what I smell is sweet, syrupy and bit synthetic pineapple with hint of curry and other spices. It turns out to be variation of ex-Sephora exclusive: Josephine Baker scent. So, another wearable remix, hopefully while waiting for something truly spectacular.

She – It is the only real debut by ELdO this year (True Lust is a mix, and Marquis de Sade is just Fils de Dieu repacked). It smells like pineapple, full stop. I like being a pineapple very much, nothing more is needed here.

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Fils de Dieu (du Riz et Argumes) (2012)
Notes: Lime, ginger, coriander leaves, coconut JE, rice, shiso, bergamot, vetiver, castoreum, musk, amber, leather

He – I haven’t properly tested Fils de Dieu before, so we are adding it here as extra bonus, especially that during Esxence 2015 the brand introduced it as Marquis de Sade – just for fun and to see how the name can change fragrance’s perception. Yes, finally Fils de Dieu sounds more niche and challenging, almost like an perfumer’s experiment, not a fully wearable perfume. It is exotic, steamy, evoking rice pudding effect and aromatic Thai cuisine. Interesting, bit dull at the end. Not something I would wear on daily basis, but I truly appreciate the effort!

She – I haven’t reviewed this yet, so now’s the time. There’s a heady note of something baked – bread, nuts… it’s a little earthy and smothering, pyrazine-like. How is it done that this strange accord melts into mouth-watering, greenish waves of shiso and cardamom – I do not know, what I know is the steamy, little sultry rice note is the link. The whole reminds me of Far-East cuisine, hot in heat, cleansing, full of exotic combinations. Nothing in common with Marquis de Sade though!

Pictures: brands’ press materials. Samples received from both brands during Esxence 2015 event.

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Jakub (left) and Aleksandra (right)—photo edit by Jakub Grabarczyk Photo+Retouch
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