Eau de Protection by Etat Libre d’Orange

Eau de Protection is Etat Libre d’Orange at its audacious finest. It is a floral on edge – before climax and the intense emotional charge in preparation of good and exciting news. It is the risqué and sensuality of a woman in provocative attire, and the risqué and sensuality of a man rolling up his dress shirt sleeves. It is a rose of drama; forceful with a presence but not obnoxious.

Eau de Protection is an homage to rose of classicist impression with an assertive lick of skank. The rose construction in Eau de Protection is multifaceted: rich, supple, ruffled, and full. Classical in its non-apologetic lavishness, disturbing like a snag in chiffon silk, and gripping in its structure. This is a complete snapshot of rose. Beyond the red petals, it’s the verdancy of its leaves, the toughness of its green stems, the dirt stuck to the roots, and the protective brutality of its thorns.

Structurally, I am reminded of Jicky (1889) and its rendering of what is otherwise the puritan note of lavender, lending its camphoraceous bite and caramelised tones to warm balsamic facets of vanilla, tonka bean, almond, and reverberant purrs of civet. Eau de Protection employs no such animalic tone, but its surrendering of rose and green into spiced darkness produces a similar rhapsodical effect of the clean meeting the unclean.

Moving into modernist territory, Eau de Protection ensures the cobwebs are swept away and the shadows remain, mimicking the chiaroscuro of popular and clearly structurally defined rose chypres. Exuberance is achieved differently, as spice by the way of ginger and black pepper is built above an accord of rose and geranium, interestingly allowing diverse facets of the rose to be explored.

Eau de Protection by Etat Libre d'Orange © 2016 Liam Sardea

© 2016 Liam Sardea


As the idea of classicism remains classical, it relies on movements in modernism to reignite its fascination. The rose has been done time and time again. Mix it with patchouli: easy. With spices, a no-brainer. Frame it with the techno tones of violet ionones in the same manner as Lancôme’s Trésor. Blur it to the point of imperceptibility as per the classically abstract soft florals of the early twentieth century. Or alternatively, construct a rose scent without using rose at all, Guerlain’s Nahema for instance features a rose unashamedly woody. Rose lends itself to all metamorphoses, and duo perfumers Antoine Lie and Antoine Maisondieu lends rose to rose, moved by its own sense of self. If rose lends itself to all metamorphoses, why not exploit that?

As a rose of dreams, this is a floral of indubitable potency and lushness. On opening, the roses are unapologetic: strength through severity. This is a symphony through multiplicity. It’s not just a rose – it’s every rose: milky, woody, bloody, dangerous. Beyond that, the rose continues to be heightened with maximalist construction. The refreshing spice notes of cumin and black pepper merge with the bracing and clear citrus-like sharpness of ginger, then engulfing themselves in the vinous boozy quality of a round-bodied red wine, and the natural compliment of patchouli’s earthy naturalistic edge. With a rounding of dark cocoa, this earthy hue against the neon red is achieved. Like Rothko’s Untitled (Red): the black exists within the red.

The incense builds the bloody fresh rose, never once predictable or stagnant. The uncomfortable modernist stirring effect of spice and the oxidised note of metallic blood and ink, which meets classical floral leaves all viewers sitting on edge, like continual escalation: a flight that speeds up but never takes off, and a rollercoaster that climbs but never drops. The concentrated energy of fresh stemmed green lifts the dark heart.

“This magic potion, this instrument of transformation, could only be made by the crushing of armfuls of roses. Roses with thorny stems that yield lavish blossoms, lush petals, outrageous, puffed-up fantasies, trembling with the sweat of impatience and desire. Roses, red with blood, a piercing note that leaves the flavor of fire on lips that suck the finger pricked by a thorn. Ableeding rose. A candy rose. A rose that tastes of fresh milk, a talcum powdered baby’s bottom, a wealth of sugared kisses. At Etat Libre d’Orange, the Virgin rarely wanders far from the Whore. Perhaps she is one and the same. Warmed by the fire of this woman, the noses have embraced a fanciful vision. They have created for her a perfume of protection, a refuge on the battlefield of love. Defensive yet transparent, Rossy conceals as it reveals. For her, a caress is demanded, while those around her are struck with awe. The noses have extracted that which is most profound in her, the essence of her. They have distilled her honey and squeezed the juice from her heart.”

Alternative: Rose Poivree by The Different Company

Modernist Rose

Subjective rating : 5/5

Objective rating: 5/5

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3 thoughts on “Eau de Protection by Etat Libre d’Orange

    • It is really a beauty! I love wearing this so much.
      A side note: Luca Turin made mention of “Le Mat” on his blog, and it reminds me very much of this one. Amazing persistence, with a similar racy quality.
      Thanks for reading as always.

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