For Etat Libre d’Orange, Antoine Maisondieu has performed a masterful trick. With Etat’s creative director, Etienne de Swardt, he has taken two radically dissimilar concepts and balanced them so that they are perfectly integrated and astonishingly distinct. The first is a fragile, delicate jasmine (stripped of the dirty indolic heaviness that the flower usually leaves behind). The second is a pitch-perfect cigarette.
His perfume is named Jasmin et Cigarette, and it is the quintessential French combination: allure and toxicity, loveliness and poison. I asked Maisondieu how he did it. “It’s simple,” he said with a shrug. “We all know how to do a jasmine: Egyptian and Indian jasmine absolutes, some Hedione” — a molecule that adds light to a perfume — “some benzyl acetate for softness.” He paused. “The cigarette was a bit more complicated.” He used to love unfiltered Chesterfields “in the soft box, which have a slight apricot.” So he used hay essence, tonka bean (a flavoring in tobacco), maté from South America, galbanum (a raw green) and sage. The result is a masterpiece: one hears laughter in a cafe, with the faint sound of music from somewhere else. Chandler Burr of the New York Times gave this scent a rare five stars.
Etat Libre d’Orange is a radically chic perfume house in Paris. By according freedom to the artists, the creators of the perfume, Etat Libre d’Orange recognizes the consumer who refuses to conform, who respects perfume as a tool of seduction. They salute those who want to express their unique individuality by wearing an exceptional and extraordinary fragrance. By placing the rarest of raw ingredients into the hands of passionate and privileged artists, Etat Libre d’Orange eludes the pitfalls of standard scents and anonymous users, and facilitates the meeting of an authentic perfume with its future emissary. When craftsmanship and creativity take precedence over industry and marketing, the world of perfume and its devotees bear witness to a small revolution.
50 ml EDP