(image source unknown)
Perfumer Quentin Bisch.
I’m a great fan of Etat Libre d’Orange’s perfumes but I should avoid reading their PR. It has a paradoxical effect on me and the moment I read it inertia gets the better of me and I lose interest. I imagine that it’s intended to come off as provocative and clever–a sort of neo-punk, rakishness–but it reads as school-boyishly self-satisfied and predictable. There is an assumption nested in ELDO’s approach that not taking part in the cheekiness is somehow prudish. I’m not offended by the prurient content but I do find the smugness of assuming that showing a little tits and ass is avant-garde annoying. I mean, if you want to fuck, then let’s fuck. Spare me the dick drawings and pubic hair imagery.
Still, I should know better than letting bad marketing come between me and good perfume. It’s not ELDO’s fault that I waited three years to try la Fin fu Monde. It’s mine.
La Fin du Monde’s contribution to the state of the art is its inventive solution to the Christian Dior reformulation enigma.
Dior have an odd knack for doing terminal reformulations of their contemporary perfumes. Have the regulations on materials changed so much in the past decade that even perfumes composed in 2005 have fallen under the IFRA’s axe? Is it simply cost-cutting at Dior? Miss Dior Chérie and Dior Homme were two of the better and more interesting wide-market releases of the century. They were popular, commercially successful and critically acclaimed. I can understand why they were flanked to death. It’s the nature of large-scale commercial perfumery that success will be followed by endless imitation and soulless brand-cloning. But why also alter the original versions so drastically? It is common knowledge that the current versions of both perfumes are substantially different than the originals and that the fatal reformulations took place not long after the perfumes were first released. The frenetic name changing of the Miss Dior Chérie line and the ludicrous number of flankers created to bolster the Miss Dior and Dior Homme franchises distract attention away from the sad state of the original models.
But there is a solution. A friend recently mentioned that la Fin du Monde reminded him of Dior Homme. Forget ELDO’s list of notes, la Fin du Monde, like Dior Homme, is a sweet, gourmand iris perfume in the vein of the wave of iris-based perfumes that flooded the market in the mid-2000s. Iris was the flavor of the month that blurred the line between niche and mainstream. Add the kettle-corn note from the original Miss Dior Chérie and you have la Fin du Monde. It is the love child of the two original Dior perfumes and an easier option than sniffing through the 36 perfumes (per Fragrantica) in the Dior Homme and Miss Dior lines since 2005.
Between ELDO’s smoke-and-mirrors style of marketing and Dior’s shell-game of compulsive releases it can be hard simply to smell the perfume. La Fin du Monde reminds me that it’s worth taking Etat Libre’s press with a grain of salt. The perfumes are solid, the line is very well curated and at $85 for 50 ml, they are the best bargains in the current market.
Dior est mort. Vive l’Etat Libre d’Orange!