Etat Libre d'Orange - Tom of Finland
A hard to digest and very turn-off perfume for me - it tries to stand out but fails by lacking structure and a clear vision. Different kind of notes pop up, screaming for attention but they stand alone in a mix that doesnt has enough linear flow to it.
It has a cold anisic-'vodka'(Finlandia?) opening, followed by an almost 'icy' mentholic-peppery spiciness together with green geranium/lavender/cypres-notes and candlewax-aldehydes, with tonka-bean already peeping through. There is safraleine with a hot-herbal tone that later on gets to smell like a mix of roundish wood-notes with a nice tobacco-like side to it, that, to my taste is its best moment. It moves to a thin leathery note with green lemons rubbed in it, which then is drowned in a bath of sweet berry-syrup which makes it somehow smell like 'liquid marzipan in a rusty metal cup' - with a harsh bitter-sour smell reminding of pieces of banana steeped in grapefruit-juice.
This is the point where my nose gets frustrated and only slightly recovers deep in its dryout, when a nice salty vanilla-note is displayed. Strange that it settles down in a big amber kind-of-way and trying to combine it with a suede-leather note that smells more like foldable plastic. There are interesting notes in this perfume but it smells more like a exhibition of smells than actually focus on a stable balance in its blending. Tom can stay in Finland.
Tom of Finland is one of the perfect examples of how the worse (which sadly means, quite a significant part of) niche perfumery works, and how it relates to “mainstream” alleged competitors. On one hand, here we have the witty, creative, avantgarde Tom of Finland, $85 a 50 ml bottle from fancy underground and/or luxury shops; on the other hand, there we have the ultra-boring and generic Essence de Cerruti, $15 a 50 ml bottle, that kind of uninspired cheap stuff which pops out around Christmas in the “gift boxes” section of supermarkets and chainstore perfumeries, straight from there to your uncle Reginald’s shaving shelf. Or to the “bargains” section of Amazon and the likes. Ask any niche connoisseur, they’ll probably rave about Etat Libre’s Tom of Finland and will have barely heard about Essence de Cerruti (and anyway it’s just another Cerruti: boo-ring!). Now, who composed both scents? Antoine Lie, the Dr. Niche and Mr. Mainstream of contemporary perfumery, carbon-copying the same couple of recipes over and over for any paying customer from Zegna to nu_be. Are they similar, Cerruti and Tom? No, not really. They’re nearly identical – on the drydown, they’re hilariously identical. Just blind test them side by side. The same, exact, unoriginal cheap musky leather with some minty/balsamic stuff, saffron and violet and a bone-structure of any woody Oriental designer (Cerruti is slightly heavier on the latter, while Tom leans more on musky leather). Decent per se, perfectly acceptable for Cerruti or fellow unpretentious and inexpensive mainstreamers, plain pathetic for Etat Libre d’Orange. Chapeau to these little French rascals for being so successful in fooling hipsters with this stuff.
07th May, 2014 (last edited: 11th August, 2015)
One of those rare things: a summer scent with both sunny brightness and lingering substance. So often, it's the substance that's missing with the lighter-hued scents. Not here.
Never an admirer of the whole Tom of Finland aesthetic, i could easily just have ignored this altogether. A shame that would have been; the fragrance is just too good and refined. Powdery and sweet but yet sharp and rubbery to start with, the fragrance dries down into a warm, dry suede with just enough of that industrial rubber left to give it weight and a certain urban edginess. Striking, but yet warm and somehow classy. So aside from the rubber, ToF doesn't match its imagery at all. Anyway, spring/summer can come!
Pros: Great modern masculine; wonderful scent for both work and play; warm, sensual drydown; great longevity (on me).
Cons: Much too clean -- but only for those expecting a sweaty musk bomb to match the imagery.
20th February, 2014 (last edited: 23rd February, 2014)
Classy and floral leather opening, classy and intriguing...one of the most sophisticated and delicate of the leathers!
Suede made from saffron and some pine soap
This has been the biggest perfume challenge for me so far.
First of all there is the name. I admit I was at first afraid that this was going to be some super gay or ultra feminine fragrance.
Then there is the smell. It starts so strong that it made me feel really uneasy.
After that it was just some vanilla and dull, suedelike saffron.
This perfume really surprises you when you are in open air. Then you smell lovely pine and soft aldehydes.
We here in Finland have an old habit to wash our carpets with river water and pine soap at summer. We prefer to use this traditional soap, because it's nature friendly. This mäntysuopa smells quite good and this reminds me a bit of it. Except that this smells even better.
I'm seriously considering buying a bottle.
Pros: strong, good value
Cons: challenging opening