mardi 1 juillet 2008

A whiff of scorched leather

It was the first Saturday of June, the first Saturday of the summer sales and above all, the day of the Gay Pride. So Gaia, The Non-Blonde and I had the L’État Libre d’Orange shop pretty much to ourselves. She and I had agreed to meet up there during her stay in Paris. The only people I saw in the Marais streets while waiting for her were two Orthodox Jews and a couple of leather guys who seemed to be playing hooky from the parade.
We settled in front of the long black glass table where the tester vials were displayed (unfortunately, the cute graphics on the testers aren’t reproduced on the actual bottles).
We sniffed seven or eight before giving a couple skin time. We were both pretty interested in Rien.

In French, Rien means “nothing”. Obviously, it isn’t. Though it might not be, as the Éld’O site claims, “absolute charisma” and “pure charm” creating a “sensation of addiction”… As for feeling like “mohair” and smelling “powdery”, also a claim of the ad copy, I’m not so sure either, but that might have been because I tested it in the heat of summer…

Gaia said straightaway that Rien made her think of Robert Piguet’s Bandit. She’s right. But this is Bandit amputated of his green head and floral heart, an oven-baked Bandit. There’s practically nothing left of it but its leather-oak moss skeleton. A dry, nearly scorched leather, without any of the typical Éld’O foody-kiddy notes grafted on. It’s barely softened by the shadow of amber; even the vanilla veers on the caramelized. The rose which replaces the usual citrus top notes of traditional masculine leather scents (like their grand-daddy Knize Ten) is slightly acid and metallic-tinged by its contiguity with iris and the discreet addition of aldehydes. Black pepper, with its gunpowder note, strengthens the scorched feeling, as does the styrax pyrogene (pyrogene means it’s been cooked).

The outcome is the driest leather I’ve ever smelled: burnt and strangely immaterial. A leather smoke. Almost nothing.

Image : Giorgio de Chirico, La Matinée angoissante (1912), courtesy of Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto.

8 commentaires:

  1. I think the sight of Orthodox Jews and leather guys deserved a photograph, a scene I would expect to see more in New York but I 'm glad you also have such contrast and diversity in Paris, it 's really great!

    Great review! I love leather scents specially Tabac Blond (but only the old ones, vintages in their original bottles and the ones from the early 90's too), also Cuir de Russie...The idea of a minimalist leather fragrance stripped off of flowers and other notes is appealing to me, I just can 't wait to test it!


  2. I love leather scents as well: I'm a confirmed Bandit and Cuir de Russie addict. I had to add Rien to my collection. I'm thinking it might layer well, though I'm not the layering type: I think as a rule compositions should be left to do what they do and not be tampered with. Still, this is almost more like a base so it seems worth a shot.

  3. I am extremely jealous about your attendance of Paris pride with a menagerie of followers of different cults (queers, jews, leather boys) and I loved Rien the best of all the fumes at EL. It gets sprayed right on the tip of my brain stem, so I feel I'm about to do something coarse and elemental, but what?!!!

  4. Cait, yes I remembered you loved Rien! And I didn't so much attend the Pride as get caught up in the good-natured crowds continuing the party in the Marais as I was walking through...
    Coarse and elemental? I need to give this more wear, clearly. And find out the what.

  5. This, along with Charogne, are the Etat's that I am most interested in. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that one as well, pretty please?? You've already convinced me to retry No. 18...

  6. Billy, glad to see you here! I haven't tried Charogne this time around. I'm nursing my samples of Vierges et Toreros and Encens et Bubblegum for further testing. But I did regret not having asked for a whiff... The name is tremendously off-putting in French, I must say.

  7. For some reason, I love the name Charogne. I heard it was also street slang for "bitch" in that true? The imagery is sort of repulsive, but everyone seems to think it is probably the most "interesting" or "intriguing" of the lot, and those automatically entice me.

  8. Charogne literally means "carrion", "rotting corpse"... It's not so much "bitch", in fact it's not addressed to women especially: if you say about someone that they're a "charogne", it means they're really bad, rotten to the core stinkers. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. A provocative name for a scent -- but I can see how the sound would be appealing if you didn't know the meaning.