État Libre d’Orange (Free State of Orange) is a new indie niche line of fragrances that (obviously) goes for shock value, not only with images and names of perfumes (Sécrétions Magnifique, anyone?) but with compositions that boldly include notes that conjure blood, sweat, sperm and saliva (why blood must fit into the rapturous blend of olfactory coitus is beyond my 21st century nose, and no, I haven't tested this). I went to Henri Bendel back in March or so, looking for something totally different and came home with a bottle of Jasmin et Cigarette which was highly recommended by the salesperson who seemed genuinely excited by this new line. I thought I was pleased at the time, but later decided the combination of an ashtray with mangoes was a bit rough to tolerate; nevertheless, if you like tobacco blends, it might be an interesting one to try.
He'd also recommended Encens et Bubblegum which I'm re-sampling today. I remember being pressed for time and smelling it from the atomizer, thinking it smelled like candy-powdery car freshener "Peach" scent. After wearing it for a day (and this one overstays its welcome--that might be good news for people who want scents that last, first and foremost), I've decided I like it enough to consider a decant from Fragrant Fripperies. It's somewhat linear (it doesn't change or develop with time on my skin), and I never got incense from it, but if powdery peach that doesn't smell like baby powder is what this incense is, so be it. At least there's no blood accord. In retrospect, I probably should have bought this one instead, but honestly, neither fragrance would rank in my personal Top 5 favorites anytime soon. Maybe it's their imagery--something doesn't sit well with me. However, they are creative and offbeat blends, using trendy notes such as leather and cocoa, all worth trying if you want something strange and relatively affordable (by today's niche standards, anyway).
État Libre d’Orange Encens et Bubblegum (2006): notes of peach, raspberry, vanilla, lily of the valley, orange blossom, musk, incense. www.etatlibredorange.com