Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Rien by Etat Libre d'Orange

Total Reviews: 31
Aldehydes and leather with incense is how it starts. Big and bold, the leather is a little animalic, at the edge of being offensive. Developing into the heart, something sweet emerges, I suppose it's the styrax. Further, the fragrance becomes a creamy leather accompanied by the flowers and goes like this for a very long time.

It is not for everyone, that's for sure, but I like it. Not usually a fan of animalic perfumes, and this one kind of walks that line; but it is more than that, the carnal leather mixed with the flowers are addictive, making you lust for it. It might seem daring and repulsive, but you can't take your mind out of it. If you don't like it at first, give it a chance, it might surprise you.
05th September, 2015
Phenomenal sillsge and projection. I get animalic, incense, patchouli and oakmoss and it stays on your skin forever. Well I could still sense the smell after a shower. It the kind of scent 2 sprays would go all day long and many compliments. Quality, powerful stuff.
16th August, 2014
Outstanding. I am surprised how much I like this - crave it even. It is a complex smell. The first blast is chewy, reminding me of biting into something inedible, but I can't pinpoint what. It is slightly musty, like fruit about to turn, maybe the bloom on a mulberry, although I stress that the smell itself is not fruity at all. It quickly blooms into an almost blowsy, embarrassing urinal cake accord, which oddly enough is quite attractive (yes, I realize that this is weird, but truly, this part is not repulsive). I suppose this would be the civet? The opening feels like it is classically-made, belonging to the eighties, maybe.

Then, I get rubber, heat, leather, engine oil. But a well-oiled flow of it, not a jagged sequence of events. It dries down to a comfortable leather accord, more rounded and fuller than Cabochard, but vaguely reminiscent of it. It is not as butch as the description would lead you to believe. It is very sexy in a "I don't care what you think of me, bitch" way. Oh, and it is not as strong on me as on other reviewers - on me, it softens to a skin scent, and melds with my own chemistry/body odors.

06th May, 2014
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You're alone in the desert, wearing an expensive leather jacket and burning incense in a campfire. At times, from a long-forgotten oil well somewhere in the middle of the desert, you get a slight fascinating whiff of crude petroleum.

This is Rien. An absolute masterpiece of modern perfumery, cleverly blended and always surprising everytime you wear it.
OUTSTANDING LONGEVITY (once I sprayed my wrist and after over 24 hours I could still smell it) and incredible sillage: the only "problem" with Rien is that everyone won't be able to help smelling you.

05th January, 2014
Solid and thick in sillage and duration..retro style as I like...leather and hints of smokiness and incense..really great!
31st December, 2013
Rien is certainly one of the most challenging fragrances that I own, being extremely strong and extremely polarizing, yet it's so delicious and uniquely distinctive that I can't stop myself from wearing it, being fond, as I am, of "force of nature" fragrances.

The opening is all black pepper and a dense, suffocating blast of aldehydic mayhem which lasts for a hour on me before it even starts to soften. It's after this that the leather begins to peek-out in earnest, and all the while an incense reminiscent of Nag Champa pushes-forth from the base.

This is not a fragrance for the meek or feint-of-heart. Overdosage (three sprays pushes the limit) is extraordinarily unpleasant, and this juice should be applied with extreme caution. One spritz is enough for the office; it will genuinely last all day; two if I'm heading somewhere ritzy. I would never, ever invite Rien out for dinner or to travel with me on an airplane, yet despite my reservations about it's potential for antisocial behaviour, I cannot imagine life without it.

January 2017 - Got a new 100mL bottle of Rien for Christmas and yes, there has been a reformulation. The overall impression is the same, the power hasn't changed all that much, but there is some weight missing at the bottom now. Given Rien's almost nuclear power, this is not necessarily a bad thing! It's still moutwatering and distinctive.
03rd March, 2013 (last edited: 02nd January, 2017)
This is how I like my fragrances - strong, bold, way out of the box! With my usual hard finger on the trigger I made the mistake of over-applying this one...GREAT, but even I, who wear 12 sprays of A*men had to realise - less is more! This isn't "Nothing", it should be re-named to "Too Much" lol!

I am useless at analysing the notes, but I do get the aldehydes, ink and leather mentioned.

Love it!
08th December, 2012
Strange, mysterious, evocative ... Imagine riding a motorcycle to organic chem lab (running late) wearing a black leather jacket usually kept in a cedar chest? Wear it to New York City.
26th November, 2012 (last edited: 27th February, 2016)
Excellent! At heart a leather scent, but there are many other things going on. There are florals and a little bit of spices and rubbery feeling to it, but everything is so well blended that distinct notes do not pop up. It is a dry scent which smells masculine to me, but women may find the urge to chase after you.

24th November, 2012
This has a dark, bitter, astringent & almost harsh opening of dry leather & ash, & it certainly does strike me as a "don't mess with me" fragrance! After a few moments, hints of pepper & civet begin to peep through, & it steadily becomes more skanky & smoky. l get an impression of the aftermath of a wild fetish party in a smoky basement club. Twenty minutes in, the edges soften, & l get powder, incense & a wonderfully animalic leather beneath. The projection is good, & it hums along nicely for a good six-seven hours before fading.
The opening is indeed a rough ride, but l love the drydown of this one. Like the lovechild of Habanita & Bal a Versailles, it combines the smoky incense & the animalic powder that l adore from each. Fantastic! lt may take a couple more wearing before l decide that this is for me, but there may well be a bottle, or at least a decant, of this in my future.
22nd November, 2012
Well, to begin with, this fragrance called Rien ( which of course means "nothing" in french) is as far from nothing as it's possible to get. Firstly, because it should be used sparingly to avoid the wrath of the fragrance sensitive. Secondly, because next to Mitsouko and Chanel's Cuir de Russie, this is one of the most beautiful scents I have ever worn. At the moment I have only a sample bottle, but I forsee a full-sized bottle in my future!
01st November, 2012
...extreme, intense, addictive, absolutely gorgeous!
09th October, 2012
Ralph Show all reviews
United Kingdom
An absolutely glorious monster of a fragrance: bold, austere, intimidating and bewitching.

01st September, 2012 (last edited: 12th September, 2012)
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Medicine cabinet in musty mansion, naphthalene balls roll across the floor, in the distance someone cranks up Sisters of Mercy, a door creaks open… welcome, oh terrible dark lord.
Alternatively, the banks of an Indian river, the smoke of pyres, ash-smeared sadhus with matted hair light their chillums…
My oh my, this is some head trip. Dry, bitter, smoky, the storax there right from the start, an impression of some fruit on the turn at the opening, but then a glove of antique leather slips over the entire thing. It has the duality of potent drugs – will it cure or will it harm?
If my somewhat headlong descriptions make it sound otherwise, apologies, for this is a model of balance. Where other incense/resin/leather frags try too hard to prove some butch point, this one just is. Not everyone's taste for sure, but to me it felt like a second skin and somehow thoroughly now.
30th May, 2012
Fantastic stuff!!
It moves somewhere between the elegant and understated seduction of Antaeus and the incensed skanky side of Yatagan.
after a full wearing with it, I was completely amazed by its warm , cozy and slightly sweet floral dry-down. I was so mesmerized by its skanky aura of incense.
It was an excellent and eternal dry down!
14th March, 2012
Thanks to my learned friend Alfarom i've tested this wonderful incensey and rosey leather scent in the vein of Pure Aoud by Kilian (they share notes as cistus labdanum, balsams-may be rose, berries and aoud not listed in killian- animalic notes and others). Very, very vintage in its link of aldehydes, rose-iris and patchouli. The sensation is like inhaling the odour of an old  wardrobe with furs inside. Leaning over the womanly side in my opinion. The animalism of the scent is sheer (civet? May  be just the cistus labdanum) as well as its sinister appeal in reminiscence of the old Paris in its old buildings' interiors. The first introdution of the smell is under clothes of floral and smoky leather, vanilla, corrupted fruits and medicinal aoud. The not listed aoud is minimal but present, in my opinion, although is possible that the medicinal trait is produced by aldehydes in the first moment of the evolution. Anyway the first sensation is a bit laundry and detergent and this old-bathroom vibe is boasted by the presence of iris in the blend, before a smoky creaminess takes off. I detect the presence of blackcurrant that imprints that sort of mellow fruits smell that pushes up the leathery and vintage vibe. As well as Foetidus underlined i don't get a notable note of incense,  while the smoke is prominent over the floral leather. Possibly the real protagonist of the leathery-smoky feel is the complex element of the ambery cistus labdanum, a very articulated, ambery and smoky animalic kind of smell. May be the incense, in connection with aldehydes, black pepper and cumin, produces a touch of gas that recedes with time. The cumin is notable here as well is notable in a fragrance this one reminds a bit to, i mean the ghosty Serge Noir Lutens. Obviously in the general vintage and dark atmosphere could not be assent another protagonist, a patchouli that is floral and leathery and endly woodsy because of the presence of a rounding oakmoss. Another wonderful dark and vintage concoction.
24th November, 2011 (last edited: 29th November, 2011)
Rien is a leather, yes, but what constitutes a leather note in perfumery is often vague. ‘Floral’ and ‘woody’ are broad categories as well. Yet we make distinctions in florals (by species: jasmine, tuberose, lily; descriptively: bright, orchestral, indolic) and woods (by tree: sandlewood, cedar, birch; qualitatively: grassy, earthy, milky.) Even a genre as vague as ‘green’ lets us specify by ingredient (galbanum, neroli, vetiver) and by attribute (fruity, resinous, bitter.) For leathers, we might point to the ingredients of rectified birch tar or isoquinolones, but in general we’re usually just loosely descriptive, often to the point of obscurity. Smokey, tarry, rubbery, ‘like the inside of a purse,’ suede-like. Suede-like? We might as well say carpet-like. Evocative, yes, but this terminology doesn’t give us a lot of analytical range.

What are the actual differences in the leather characteristics of Knize Ten, Cuir de Russie, Carillon pour un Ange, Azurée, Habit Rouge? I have no answers, but am curious.

But Rien is a bit different. It uses a combination of ingredients that each gives a slightly different angle on the qualities of dryness, dustiness, inkiness, metal, bitterness. It suggests the scent of a thick leather motorcycle jacket. Incense, cistus, cumin, styrax, aldehydes. Find the wrong angle on any of these components and Rien could have been a muddle if not a mess. As it turns out, though, (and here I fall prey to dim descriptions of the leather genre) Rien is a gorgeous, sharp, harsh leather. Distinctive, striking, beautiful? Utterly. Pretty, cozy, something Sephora has trained its customers to like? Not by a long shot.

Etat Libre d’Orange doesn’t target the mainstream perfume buyer, and thus avoids the sort of fragrance that a good few might like and an even larger number won’t actually mind. For the complaints, valid or not, leveled against niche perfumery (pretension, dilettante exclusivity, smugness) Rien is a beautiful example of the effectiveness of a well-curated line and risk-taking. In addition, it is no more expensive than many designer releases.

Rien is a terrific perfume, and perhaps more importantly, an example of a creative, successful strategy by a niche house.
16th July, 2011
Rien opens with the bitterest leather note I have ever smelled (not unlike the insect repellent leather in the opening of Knize Ten) and vanilla cast in a startling green, medicinal striplight. I adore the union of these unfamiliar aspects of old familiar materials, even though it is initially shocking to my nose. There's enough black pepper here to make me sneeze too. Gorgeous, and as sniffable as a weird old leather jacket filled with the scent of mothballs and its owner's perfume.

After a few minutes a dark, dry incense seeps into the background. Pot-pourri rose plays on top, and the civet adds its animalic notes to the score (I find this civet quite well-behaved, not at all repulsive, and certainly less outrageous than the loud, unsettling notes in the opening).

I find the drydown disappointingly boring by comparison to the start: woody floral (the floral notes are gorgeous - iris and jasmine in sheer pink chiffon) with incense and pepper staying strong and a creamier vanilla coming in late and sitting in the back. Nice, but nothing remarkable.

Worth wearing for the wonderful, bitter beginning. And if you enjoy burying your nose in other people's leather jackets. I see this being my "don't mess with me" fragrance - you wouldn't want to get on its ugly side :)

11th May, 2011
Civet is one of the most wayward components of a so called "leather accord". Unlike castoreum that is sweet and milder, civet is completely urinous, overpowering, almost impossible to be used undiluted. In Rien I can see the civet behave within a general floral incense background and eventually contribute its treasured animalic properties to the whole composition. A lady's vintage leather jacket still wrapped in its torn nylon bag hanging in the basement's closet, full of dust and the smell of naphthalene all around. To my nose this is nothing but a twisted approach to the Knize ten or even Gomma theme, a nice leather scent minus the powder and the sweetness of those two. Not "easy" to understand it, but I like it.
07th April, 2011
March 2011

I think a better name for "Rien" could have been "Tout" as this scent is loud, rich and very straight forward. The opening is harshing and crude with a consistent dose of aldehyde, leather (civet) and a completely desweetened rose. Almost disturbing but I like it. After a few minutes everything is joined by frankincense and the scent stays in the same mood for hours turning in the end into an extremely dry woody/leathery base. For a few aspects Rien reminded me of Knize Ten or even Bandit but it's way more uncomfortable. It's like they have tried to layer the two perfumes I mentioned with a cacophonic result. Don't get me wrong, Rien smells good but kind of unbalanced. Amazing sillage and good lasting power. Not bad but could have been a lot better.

June 2011

After several more wearings I'm addicted. Now Rien doesn't smell so rich as I used to perceived it in the past, I get it as a straight forward, uncompromising, kind of unsettling and positively crude dry leather. It's like a stilyzed dadaist portrait of Bandit after a steady diet of dryness.
30th March, 2011 (last edited: 04th March, 2012)
Rien is truly something, not least of all in terms of persistence, where it has a lifespan in the same league as what I consider to be the benchmark of ineradicability, Bernard Chant's mighty Azurée. Yet there is so little fanfare about Rien, its character is so inert and every inhalation felt as the endeavour to raise its mineral weight, that its mute potency comes as a welcome surprise.

The head notes are a blend of peppery incense and dried rose, propelled on a surge of aldehydes. The effect is initially perplexing: where aldehydes typically provide a satin sheen to technicolour fruits and florals, in Rien there is so little colour that one's left pondering an unremittingly grey, ashen splendour. It has the texture of densely-packed fine powder and threatens at times to turn arid. While the readily-distinguished notes are the incense and rose, there is an overall effect of leather, strikingly unnatural – this never belonged to an animal? – but one which doesn't feel counterfeit either. It smells like the hide of an undiscovered quadruped wandering around on the Moon. There is, in fact, something of the Cosmos about Rien, with its texture suggestive of an interstellar cloud, its deathly serenity composed in shades of charcoal grey, and the unsettling prospect of it going on forever. They're really on to something with that name, and Rien is surely the best of the Etat line thus far.
03rd February, 2011
I love this, it really is like a second skin. The scent appears to appreciate your skin as you appreciate wearing it - like a strange cat sitting on your lap. I got a sample of Vrae Blonde at the same time, a lovely fragrance, but it didn't become a part of me in the same way.
Rien smells of suede and hot rubber with no sweetness but no sourness either; I find some leathers sour. It is not, to my nose, animalic. I find one has to wear it boldly; too little and it smells as if you've recently been smoking pot. But if you put on enough it is definitely a perfume, complex and well-integrated.
16th May, 2010
As you already know, rien means nothing.
One sunny day a mother took her soon to the ZOO. When they were in front of the area with the elephants in it, he asked her:” Mammy, mammy, what’s that between the elephant’s back legs?” She was a bit embarrassed:” Well, I mean… ummmm… that’s nothing.” An old man, who stood beside them, overheard that and then said to her: “Sorry, madam, but if THAT is nothing to you then you are pretty pampered”.
I haven’t found it in any dictionary, so this is just an unofficial allegation and please accept it with the huge dose of suspicion: there are two kinds of nothing - “meh” kind of nothing and, on the other side, “nothing” which doesn’t ask are you ready or not, before delivers to you a lot of aldehydes, “nothing” that hits you straight to the head with the strong leather note, “nothing” that brings you the pleasant breath of the past, “nothing” that I proudly wear and I truly love.

29th October, 2009
bbBD Show all reviews
United States
Etat Libre seems to have more leather fragrances than any other house, and each occupies a different niche by presenting leather differently. Rien is the forceful, incense/rubber/smoky side of leather. Sure, there are hints of rose and iris if you pay careful attention - and even a touch of vanilla towards the base. However the general thrust of Rien is that is a very dry, bold and smoky leather.

Unlike some fragrances that are loaded with strong notes (i.e. the new "Complex" by Boadicea), Rien doesn't become a mess or overbearing. In fact just the opposite: the strong leather notes present a unique and uncompromising leather that is totally wearable and enjoyable. Sillage and longevity are off the charts with Rien. It doesn't F-around.

A very high recommendation, but be warned Rien isn't for those who don't already have a healthy appreciation for dark, smoky leather fragrances.
20th August, 2009
Animalic leather? Not really. 'Mineralic aldehyde and woods' would be a more appropriate summary of Rien WITH a brooding animalic undertone made by my current pal and ex-enemy, Civet. As for sweetness, there is barely a hint of it here.

Rien starts off with a burst of very intense aldehydes and a dry airy mineralic/metallic incense accord. (The one you can detect in L'ombre Fauve in minute amounts) It then 'calms down' to leathery peppery woods and patchouli. (What I smell as "wood" is probably the leather) Altogether, my favorite from ELDO.

14th March, 2009 (last edited: 29th July, 2009)
Leather, ashtray and cigarretes with a bit of smokey incense feeling. It starts rather strong and harsh but settles down into something very tame and pretty. I´d say it´s a very masculine fragrance during the top and middle phase but the dry down could be worn by a female. It reminded me of Bvlgari Black but without the vanilla and more cigarettes tossed in. A very interesting fragrance that won´t bore someone fast.
17th February, 2009
Best of the ELdO bunch, this bittersweet animalic leather has an interesting herbal/spicy twist to it. Quite original, smells weird and slightly offputting. The smoky, burnt styrax note is wonderful. The scent lingers on skin forever and ever.

Dark, brooding and provocative, this is not your everyday fragrance for sure.
13th September, 2008
Rien was a big surprise: the name led to expect something mild, but it turned out to be a mixture of Bandit & Comme des Garcons Synthetic Series (Garage, Skai, Tar). To my nose it has that same leather jacket saturated with decades' worth of thick cigarette smoke vibe as Bandit. VERY long-lasting scent.
08th January, 2008
moon_fish Show all reviews
Russian Federation
It is must-try for all leather fans. It`s not a mainstream leather - very dark, dense, incense-like.
As my friend used to tell: All the brigdes were burned down.
19th June, 2007 (last edited: 20th March, 2012)
what a fab fragrance!!!!.
Its dark, incisive yet cold: iced smoky woody leather in a wet cold cave with smelly musky stones.
Incense,iris give the down to eath vibe and the leather + cistus wppears dark smoky dirty, the adhelydes comfort the piece with a fresh icy twist...
14th March, 2007