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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat (Apologies to Tweety)

Review by Tom

Well, the old sniffer is back, so I have decided to test the rest of the Etat Libre D’Oranges I got from Patty (Patty doesn't toot her own horn about her decant business and she should). The first one I tested three weeks ago when the package arrived, and suitably scared me:

Secretions Magnifique

Other bloggers have written about this as the smell of sex. Well, not precisely sex per se, more like, ahem, shall we just call it nocturnal emission?

I really don't get that note: I get aquatic. Aquatic to the Nth degree. It's the Human Existence of aquatics. Old, stale seawater evaporating on a hot summer day. The smell of the great Salt Lake, or the funk of seawater under a pier, left over from high tide and becoming more and more funky as it becomes more and more concentrated by the hot sun. Dead shellfish. Acquatic distilled to it's quintessence. It also has the half life or Strontium 90 and is almost impervious to washing. If you have the need for it, by all means go for it. If you don't like aquatics, you will loathe and despise it.

Jasmin et Cigarette

A light, sweet jasmine with a bright hay note, subliminal apricot fruitiness. I get practically no cigarette at all at first; as the scent wears, I get a bit of the "tabac" that I smell in Tabac Blond (but not nearly as opaque, strong or interesting). This is very nice and very easy to wear.

Encens et Bubblegum

Incense and Bubblegum. The name and the listed notes (peach and raspberry- back unclean thing!) should make me loathe and despise this. Somehow it doesn't: the peach and raspberry is never on it's own, it's always mixed with something to take the edge off it, and somehow the fruit notes never get to that gagging instant-headache note that some cheaper peach scents have. I wouldn't personally choose it, but I could understand someone wanting to.


And they swing, they hit, they knock it over the green monster! Swoon-worthy notes of leather, incense, amber, pepper and cumin, this has both the drydown part of l'Air de Rien and leather in Cuir Mauresque. Later it has an interesting, almost burnt smell added in (I think it's the cumin) as well as a strange almost metallic smell. Were this at LuckyScent, my card would do that magical wallet levitation thing it sometimes does.

Vraie Blond

Fizzy sweetness with a salty undertone, like a champagne cocktail served beachside. Nice enough, but has the lasting power of that cocktail on a hot beachside day.

Je Suis un Homme

Bergamot, lemon then.. nothing. Much later a wan leather. Je suis unimpressed.

Putain des Palaces

Powdery roses and violets. The dressing table in the Madam's private quarters. Totally not me, but quite lovely.


Woods and lavender. Those of you (like me) who loved Annick Goutal Eau de Lavande and cannot get it anywhere should be very happy with this. Linear; doesn't do the dance between hot and cold that the SL lavenders do. Which is fine.

Nombril Immense

Wonderful peppery vetiver. Bergamot is in there as well. Their site makes a bit deal about the particular patchouli used and how rare and wonderful it is. It's very nice, but it comes for me well into the drydown and never really manages to muscle its way to the front. The black pepper, vetiver and bergamot are so nicely balanced, however, I don't much mind.


Starts candied, but still reasonable. I looked up the notes on the site and they list orange blossom and marshmallow, with leather, coffee and tobacco. Starts out smelling a bit like a cough syrup made for kids. Adding in the bad-boy bits makes it a lot more interesting.

Eloge du Traitre

Pine, bay, cumin, leather musk. I am liking this one immensly and immediately. But I feel like I may have smelled it somewhere... then it hits me. Yatagan. Less in your face, but unmistakeable. I love Yatagan, I really like this. I own Yatagan. Do I need to own this? Meh. Do you? Have you priced Yatagan?

That's not fair of me, really. This is definately worth a try, and the atelier should be praised for making it.

Actually, the atelier should be praised for all of these (sorry, Coney Island Pier, er I mean Secretions Magnifique I am not counting). They are all interesting, there's pretty much guaranteed that there is going to one or two that you are going to really like. They are actually far better than, and in my opinion not served by their rather adolescent marketing, which for me is just along the lines of a seven year old laughing maniacally and inexplicably at having said the word "poop".

These are available at Bendels in New York.



Blogger Marina said...

I am so envious of your sentence, "Je suis unimpressed". I wish I thought of it first. *bites nails* :-)

And I completely agree with the 7-year-old-and-poop comparison. Such rebels, are the Etat people. So creative, so grown up. *rolls eyes, drags her grumpy, 200 old self off to bed*

10:56 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Brilliant reviews. Although I am not happy that you have interested me in a couple of them, now. I had completely written them off! Darn you!

11:08 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Even though I loathe their advertising, I am sure they are laughing all the way to the bank. I know it has sure made an impression on me. And, not in a good way...

11:13 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Yeah well, if you're 200, then I'm 300.

11:56 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Sorry to have interested you, but that's one reason I provided the link to Patty. You can test them at your lesiure, and then order from Bendels if swayed.

To be honest, I don't think that the advertising or the "Secretions" are doing them justice. There isn't even a fine line here: Lutens has MKK, which I know some people find shocking and unwearable, but a lot find just delicious. Secretions is IMHO unwearable. Unbearable in fact, and not at all representative of the rest of the line which ranges from okay to quite nice. Imagine if Lutens only had the exports and then to be shocking released MKK, but first marinated a dead ferret for about two weeks in it, then handed you the ferret and called it "Aiselle d'Amour" or something. If all you tried was ferret-flavored armpit of love, would you want to try the others? Je ne think so pas...

Sometimes blather in the blogosphere does not transfer to the sales floor. I cannot think that the ladies at Bendels are ponying up for this, unless it's a very different Bendels than I remember.

12:08 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Patty did not have a sample of "blah, blah, blah, I Don't Swallow" saving you from the inevitable snarky review mentioning that I, Tonstant Weader, might. I will however add that if this house insists upon having such provacative names that they might actually have some wearably provacative perfumes to match. There is a middle ground between dead-mobster-under-the-pier and watered down Yatagan.

12:48 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, a seven-year-old laughing gleefully at bowel-related words is exactly the image that came to mind when I first read about this company. Or "booger"! There I said it, ha ha, hee hee. Isn't it side-rippingly funny?

1:21 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'know, I'm not that bothered by their marketing schtick. Leave em to it, if it works. And I'm sure it drags the punters in. Tom, I totally agree with you on SM - it is the über-aquatic - dead penguin with some blood on zinc.

The rest - some were okay. I didn't need to keep hold of any of my samples though...

6:07 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I'm glad I have my samples, I don't require more...

I always applaud originality, even if it's sophomoric.

I love Tom, he is Le Roi de Puerilite[it ain't really a word, folks]. And the man writes gooood copy !

They makin' big bucks-right you are, Kelley !

Thanks, friends, for the early morning laugh...

6:15 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Wonderful reviews--and I, too, am in awe of your Franglais.

My impressions are quite similar to yours--and your description of SM might help explain why it sickens me. I think of it as pink skank (that might be the blood)--but it doesn't really smell like any sexual act that I am familiar with. I do like Rien, Nombril, and JeC--but so far, I haven't been moved to reach for my credit card.

8:01 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

T -- one of our commenters wrote the funniest thing awhile back of trying these in their Paris boutique, and how the very formal, lovely SAs tried to skate through the presentation without dwelling too much on ... you know.

SM. Ugh. Although I like your description. I still say that horrifying metallic note smells like blood and not ... something else.

And *my* cc too keeps trying to claw its way out of my wallet for that Rien! If that scent hadn't been in there, I'd be furious.

OK, off to pop open the Yatagan ...

8:06 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Fab descriptions! I think some of the scents are really well done and the bottles are wonderful - beautifully simple and elegant. JeC is a serious love of mine these days (on my skin the cigarette note really comes out). But SM is one of the only scents that has ever made me feel ill. I get the raw pink feel that Judith does and, you're right - it is aquatic. Ugh. Shakes head to get rid of sampling memory.
Yatagan! *That* is what Eloge reminded me of! How did I not see that immediately? No wonder it was one of my favs.

8:43 AM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think it is a shame that SM colored this whole line. I still get spooge, but it's bloody and aqauatic and just... wrong. I think that's why it makes me sick, some juxtaposition of metallic over something else just send off clanging in my head.

There are many in this line that are quite good, Rien, Nombril, Vraie, Putains. They really should just axe SM and go with the good ones, they may find it an easier go.

9:12 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaah, but I'm sure the (here sensibly censored) winkle appeals to a target market in the gay Marais.

I think the images are more kitsch than prony...

9:21 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

Enjoyed this review, thanks. Apologies to those who have read my previous comment on these but my xbf told me that when he was in their Paris boutique the SM was flying off the shelves and into the honed arms of Marais finest. I was presented with a bottle of Putains which I appreciate but only occasionally wear - am not a big fan of violets. Based on your and others review I think I might like Jasmin, Rien, Nombril and Eloge better. The names are a bit try hard but heh, this isn't the House of Chanel/Dior/Hermes so they don't bother me.

10:04 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice reviews of all of them. I do roll my eyes also at the names. The names make me less interested in the scents, actually.

10:10 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


That's it exactly (you wrote "booger", tee hee!)

11:53 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'm not bothered by it, I just think they don't need it. There are other houses out there that do (winking)

11:54 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Puerilite? Love it!

11:55 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Pink Skank covers it perfectly!

11:56 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I can just imagine the scene at dear old Henri Bendel when some unsuspecting young thing from Scarsdale spritzes this on.

But I guess now that they are owned by The Limited...

11:58 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Good, I am not hallucinating that Yatagan connection. It's a lot less in-your-face than the Caron, though. Not that I mind the in-your-face-ness of Yatagan...

12:01 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


If the idea was to make a splash (as it were), they did. They got our attention. Lucky for them they actually had a couple that we can actually wear.

Unlucky for them that they are at Bendels, the only store in the universe without a website.

12:03 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


If I am reduced to paying to smell like SM, I am going to do it the old fashioned way. :-)

12:06 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I don't know Paris, is the Marais that gay? Is anywhere that gay?!? This one would have even the most jaded "Querelle" wannabe backing warily away..

12:08 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I agree. The names are just eyerolling. Luckily the only one that I like enough to march into Bendels and buy is the one with the least dippy name.

Having written that, I am sure that fate will make me fall in love with "I Don't swallow"

12:10 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Hey, I'm the poster March says sat through the presentation at the boutique, trying to keep a straight face on... I did smell "I don't swallow", which the SA persistently called "I do not swallow" (note the avoidance of the contracted form, thought by the French to be too relâché). It's actually one of the quite nice ones, lily of the valley smeared with suntan oil. I would've considered it but my vintage Diorissimo plays the role of the louche debutante much better. And yes, le Marais is really, really gay. There's a rubber/leather BDSM shop in the same street.

12:38 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Marais is the quintessence of gay, though the north end of streets like Vieille du Temple slowly peter out in their extremes of gayness.

12:46 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Carmen, Lee-

Well there you are. I guess it is that gay. I thought Silverlake had the patent on the outre..

1:02 PM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm truly surprised you liked them as much as you did. ;D The more I think of it, the more I second the opinion of some people that the scents are but unfinished sketches. The only one I truly liked was Putain des Palaces but I tried it again yesterday, and it almost smothered me. The just seem a bit too rough, not polished enough. Perhaps it's the intent - certainly fitting with their marketing. But I enjoyed reading your thoughts!

1:11 PM EST  
Blogger Solander said...

I said Eloge du traitre is a dead ringer for Yatagan first! Just go look in my blog, you will see the words "Eloge du traitre" and "Yatagan" in the same uncomprehensible sentence ;)
You will also see the words "L'air de rien" and "Cuir mauresque" in the same paragraph as "Rien". I did not like Rien and what I'm saying is what it and Cuir mauresque have in common is that they both smell like headshop - a muddy, sweetish, musty jumble of incense and scented soap and spices and marijuana... What Rien and my beloved L'air de rien have in common is nothing apart from the fact that they're both everything but "rien".
Secretions Magnifiques is aquatic, yes, indeed. That might explain my stomach-turning experience. I loathe aquatics, cucumber and melon notes make me sick. But I do think it smells like bodily fluids too, blood and what it's supposed to be.

1:56 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I was shocked that I liked them as much as I did! They are rough, and more than a little unfinished, but on the one that I liked best (Rien) that worked in it's favor. Putain? Not so much..

2:03 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


So you did!

Eloge du Traitre är en dubbelgångare till Carons Yatagan

I assume that means doppelganger? AND you wrote that Rien is like l'Air du Rien and Cuir Mauresque as well? I feel totally validated!

For me Rien has the crazy musk that's in the drydown of l'Air along with that headshoppy (to steal your word) leather in Cuir Mauresque. The weird metallic edge as it dries may be a bit of SM even. It's a big scent, even a little boorish. But I liked it immediately. I'll have to see how it wears on me. I adored l'Air du Rien, but more than a couple times the opening went terribly sour on me, keeping me from buying it. Too bad, because otherwise it's heartbreakingly gorgeous...

Hats off to you!

2:13 PM EST  
Blogger Solander said...

Thank you Tom! And yes, you're right, dubbelgångare means doppelganger.
I guess something in Rien reminded me of L'air de rien, unless it was just the name... But to me, L'air de rien is an adventurous old lady's apartment, full of exotic and odd and musty smells, which is much nicer than a headshop full of tie-dyed sarongs, imho ;)

2:19 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

"adventurous old lady's apartment"

Love that!

3:19 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Solander -- dude -- I wish you would start writing in English!!! I would get soooo much more out of your reviews, although I admit I have attempted to absorb them just by staring reeeally hard.

Tom -- we really need to start smelling nicer scents. I read in-your-face as on-your-face and could *not* make sense it...

3:35 PM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

NOW I insist that Tom, Kelley, Lee, Denyse, and I immediately raid the Marais, for that lovely little boutique with the leather and rubber...sigh.

CC and I ARE the kitten with a whip.

3:37 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I see I am left out...left out, forgotten...on my own blog....oh woe is me! *storms off*


3:40 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

AAAAAAAW... No, Marina, we can raid Hermès for the whips and dog collars... Alas, no Doblis at the Faubourg Saint-Honoré for that added leather touch.

4:56 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I know! Now that I've seen Solanders blog I wish I could understand it (I hate to admit it, but I don't even know what language that is. Swedish? Swiss?)

"On your face?" My dear. I am not touching that one, not considering the subject of this particular review....

5:39 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'm too lazy to wear rubber. Tried it once. All of the baby powder to get in on and wiping the stuff down to get the baby powder off.. oy.

Plus that little fashion adventure was when I was trimmer. I leave it to you yoga hotties. I'll just sit here in tweed.

5:42 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Marina, Carmen-

I vote for raiding Hermes. Vuitton, Chanel and the Palais as well. If you promise to pick stuff up for me, I'll drive the getaway car. If I can drive in New York, Boston and LA, I think I can handle Paris.

I think.

5:45 PM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, Lollipop-

Feel the love !
You're in- I just didn't know if the whips would frighten you, lol...

6:44 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

March!!! Hah! Too funny!!!

And Chaya, when do we go?

8:53 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Svedish. The Sviss speak, uh, Schvitz. Yeah, that's it.

9:42 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I could be wrong but I believe the Swiss speak Swiss-German. At least that's what my Swiss friend Tomas told me.

10:08 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


why did I know you'de be up for that?!?

10:09 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think we should be more scared- she might connect with her inner dominatrix!

10:11 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

*cracks the whip*

10:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*whimpers in delight*

4:37 AM EST  
Blogger Solander said...

March - Thank you! I will start writing a little in English, as a contributing writer to the Aromascope blog, actually. :) But when I started my own blog I thought there were so many perfume blogs in English already, and only one in Swedish. Plus I'm more eloquent in my mother tongue of course (although translating all the perfume notes from English is a bitch and I admit I often cheat...)
Tom - Swedish it is. And tweed is much hotter than rubber anyway. ;)

2:00 PM EST  
Blogger Emotenote said...

Mr. C,

Great post! I totally know that vinyl smell from the pool, suddenly I look forward to some warmer weather. Mr. Emote is really into baseball and keeps buying our girls mits. They grow out of them, never used, and he buys the next size up!? Sign me up for the baseball mit oil scent, it'll save tons of money and time in the long run.

"I must say, I am surprised at the number of folks who seriously like the idea of my manly blend. I thought it would only appeal to the likes of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor."

Have you sniffed Dzing! yet? When I first smelled it I thought it was a joke. Now, though, I kinda dig it. I grew up on motorcycles (from the age of 3) so maybe I'm a little biased that way.

Oh, and give me some of that snow scent also.

11:56 PM EDT  

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