Product Review: Etat Libre D’Orange Rien Fragrance

by Gio

etat libre d'orange rien

Name: Rien
Brand: Etat Libre D’Orange
Size: 50ml
Price: €69,00

What I liked:
– complex and mysterious animalic leather scent
– fantastic sillage and staying power
– unisex

What I didn’t like:
– if you like sweet and delicate scents, this is not for you

Have you ever wondered what nothing smells like? With a name like Rien, you’d expect the fragrance to be a sheer, airy and subtle concoction that smells like your skin, but better. Only Rien was created by Etat Libre D’Orange, a brand that claims to be “a land of olfactory liberality, free from every taboo, where insubordination and olfactory eroticism reign supreme”. They believe in giving the perfumer free rein when creating a scent and Antoine Lie took this opportunity to indulge himself and create a fragrance with all those ingredients that, although perfectly safe, are being restricted, causing modern perfumes to smell all the same.

He explained in an interview to Denyse of Grain de Musc that “I found it funny to think that when you’re asked the name of your fragrance, you could answer ‘I’m wearing Nothing’. From there, I thought that if you were asked the question, it had to be because the stuff was a bomb. […] I was tired on all the restrictions on raw materials. You can’t use castoreum, galbanum, oak moss, large quantities of patchouli, or iris because it’s too expensive. So I took all those notes and I tried to rewrite them in a modern way. That was the idea behind Rien: first the joke, then a revenge on what’s being imposed to us, the codes of ‘modern’ perfumery”.

And what better revenge could there be on the codes of modern perfumery than a fragrance that features the main notes of famous classics that made the history of perfume? Rien contains the overwhelming aldehydes of N°5, the patchouli of Miss Dior, the galbanum of Vent Vert and the oakmoss of Coty Chypre. As such, this is not a perfume for the faint of heart. If you’re into delicate floral scents or sweet gourmand concoctions, you’ll probably find Rien unwearable. But love it or hate it, Rien reminds us of what perfumery should be about and for that, it deserves appreciation.

So, what does Rien smell like? In a nutshell, it is an animalic leather scent. Rien opens with a vibrant and strong burst of aldehydes, enriched with earthy accents of galbanum and iris. If you spray on too much, it can easily turn medicinal. As this accord fades, Rien reveals its leathery heart. The spicy, animal leather note is intertwined with dark and bitter oakmoss and patchouli. Every now and then, you can catch a whiff of subtly powdered rose and smoky incense. The incense is blended so well with the other notes that’s hard to detect. It feels like your smelling its last embers burning.

Civet, although not listed in the official notes, is also there, in all its animalic and sharp splendour. Finally, the drydown is an ambery leather accord. Sensual and elegant, it provides the perfect ending to the scent. Rien is dirty, leathery, smoky and dry, but also mysterious and seductive. Once its last whiff left my skin, I felt like I had returned from an adventurous road trip on a motorbike. A trip I couldn’t wait to take again. But if you’re going too, be careful. Rien needs to be used in small doses. It has fantastic sillage. You don’t want to apply too much, it may turn nasty! A little bit will go a long away, and easily last you for the whole day.

Rien by Etat Libre D’Orange is an amimalic, mysterious, smoky and dry leather concoction enriched with woods, amber and flower petals. The scent, which has strong sillage and excellent staying power, is not for the faint of heart.

Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

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