Total Reviews: 28
I bought a sample of this after reading Claire Vukcevic's article about men's fragrances every beginner should sample. I guess I thought I would like the "smell of singed electrical sockets", and it turns out that I do. It does remind me of the smell of my mixer after a long DJ'ing session... I mean I get the idea behind the name (and Claire's description).
As a newbie to niche perfumery and this level of perfume study, I have a lot left to smell. When I smelled Fat Electrician, and identified the vetiver note therein, I realized that this presentation was unlike any I've tried so far. In the same way that, as a young cook, I had my mind blown the first time my favorite chef de cuisine scraped a vanilla bean into a sauce used on a sautéed monkfish liver, Fat Electrician makes a case for using vetiver without its usual accompaniments.
I love when vetiver is paired with something sweet, in this case, chestnut and vanilla. And, just like that first bite of monkfish liver with vanilla beurre monté, I am intrigued and surprised, and reassured that THIS is what is meant by "the art of perfumery".
I wasn't sure how wearable this would be, thinking that it would be best viewed from a distance. I was wrong. And the proof is in the empty sample bottles in my drawer.
Any perfume lover sold on the idea of a semi-modern vetiver may be justly discombobulated when putting this on for the first time.
You get a burst of sweet spices and then a steamed suet pudding with an ethereal metallic tang, and chestnut purée. There are some red fruits, and then a strange aromatic, sweet and vaguely herbaceous note comes floating over the top. What appears to be metallic begins to take on a sour aromatic vinegary overtone which you suspect is trying to smuggle a homeopathic spirit of vetiver into the profile.
The development stage is very volatile, changing at almost every sniff. What is certain though, this is not a Vetiver in the accepted sense. There may be vetiver in there, but this profile doesn't smell of it; rather, more of a pale, nutty-creamy chestnut purée heaped onto suet pudding in a stainless steel dish, and with a splash of aromatic vinegar.
Yet ironically, this radical construction is based on a traditional model of Vetiver ie: vetiver paired with myrrh and spicy notes, but its the character of the changes which Antoine Maisondieu made to this traditional form that make Fat Electrician radical. He has taken The Vetiver and thrust it into the odd gourmand territory of pale chestnut purée and vinegar. This is the innovative angle which, when latched onto the traditional form justifies the weird ELdO moniker semi-modern vetiver.
In every vetiver worth mentioning (and some that are not,) vetiver's name has had to take pride of place on the label - just as a megalomaniac film star's name must come top of the bill, because, as Luca Turin points out, when there's not enough vetiver in the mix the note gets lost, but when there is enough it takes over.
The problem of vetiver's distinct personality has at last been solved. The challenge has long been how to get enough of it into the mix without letting it dominate and forcing you to call your perfume Vetiver; the name an admission that the perfumer's attempts to bend this recalcitrant yet seductive weed to their will have failed.
In this case a novel and effective way to square the vetiver circle has been found. Instead of the tried and tested anisic route, or the citrus dead end, the lighter aspects of vetiver have been exalted into the head accord by means of a silver olive leaf note - which recalls the aromatic vinegars of pre-modern perfumery. This is a well blended, fairly neutral, comparatively subtle (and its really saying something to describe a penetrating top note as subtle,) sweet vinegar-like accord that washes off a trace of vetiver into its volatile fumes.
The blocking material between the buried vetiver and the exalted thin vinegar / metallic accord is a naturalistic chestnut purée. It has an oily granular-paste texture, and a mild-sweet & bland nut-meat aroma which is mid toned, yet its also opaque and thick enough to smother the vetiver early on, and it is so different from the vinegar accord as to be largely immune to it. The thick splodge of chestnut purée on the vetiver keeps it from rising into the light; a lot of chestnut - almost too much - but not so much as to stop a little vetiver from leaking out into the atmosphere on the volatile vinegar gasses. The vetiver is bowed down, repressed, but it's there none the less - like a Freudian neurosis.
As things settle down, vetiver does, ever so slowly creep out, but it spends the first half of the development in hiding, and then, when it does emerge it's disguised as some kind of baroque courtier done up in whitened face, powdered wig, and plastic comedy glasses. And then, when it really gets going, FE's alter ego starts cracking acerbic one liners right and left - and its then, finally, you come to realise that that old scoundrel vetiver has been capering under your nose for ages, and for much of the time you didn't even know he was there.
The mark of a radical art work in any discipline is the initial confusion it engenders in the mind of the audience. The first time I smelled FE I thought it was boring and a bit weird (ie: Challenging and irritating), and I thought to myself 'who wants to smell like ... chestnut purée?' But later, I re-watched the art critic Robert Hughes talking about Carl Andre's notorious pile of bricks in the Tate Gallery; the howls of indignation provoked by this 'sculpture' and the public money wasted on buying it. But, by virtue of its location in the gallery, it forced people to reconsider the forms that sculpture might now take; after that, sculpture could no longer be just a marble torso nicked from the Parthenon.
Fat Electrician was the pile of bricks in my head, which challenged baffled, confused and annoyed, but which eventually lit up a neural pathway that led to a lightbulb moment.
Besides the technical accomplishment of having re-engineered the vetiver to make of it a balanced two part structure, there is also the achievement of having democratised a dictatorial material which long exerted a stranglehold on any structure a perfumer tried to make it play along with.
But, if it 'means' anything, and whether perfume can or should have any significance beyond smelling good is another story, Fat Electrician is about humour and irony. These people at ELdO are no doubt far too subtle to spell it out, preferring, as they do, to weave their postmodernist word games into clouds of semiological signifiers, enveloping their weird fumes with a tantalising mystique.
Whatever. Let's let Antoine Maisondieu and ELdO have the last word when they declare -
"The Vetiver is dead, long live vetiver!"
31st May, 2016 (last edited: 30th June, 2016)
Oh my goodness.....Fat Electrician is sooooo good. This is vetiver done right!
I love Etat Libre d'Orange's approach, and even the ad copy makes me smile.
If I had to choose one full bottle purchase from ELdO, this would be in the running....It's gorgeous! I never knew how much I appreciated vetiver until I tried this beauty!
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I was going to say something about Fat Electrician but I noticed that rbaker had already said just about all of it. Smoky, dry, woody, nutty, strange, but comfortable - this is pretty swell stuff. The olive wood touch really makes this for me. It's one of those off-kilter and oft-used scents like tomato leaf that makes things less trite for me.
Burnt, burnt, burnt - a deep, smoky-burnt vetiver, one of the smokiest imaginable due to it being paired with an incense note that is achieved by combining a delightful opoponax with myrrh. The opoponax with not the elegant version of Gucci Envy for men, but an earthy deep variety.
This mix is an ingenious creation of what could be experienced as burnt electrical wires in a shortcut. But that is all I get; there is little further change over time.
The sillage is strong, true projection excellent and the longevity is six hours on my skin.
A fairly linear scent, but a great and creatively spicy transformation of a remarkable vetiver concept - a delight. 3.75/5.
As a vetiver lover I have tried all kinds of vetivers, dry, dirty, sweet, bitter, etc. In my opinion Fat Electrician is a dirty vetiver. As a matter of fact all I can smell here is vetiver and myrhh. There is nothing sweet in Fat Electrician. If you are a true vetiver lover this one is definitely for you. Etat Libre d'Orange brought out the true vetiver in Fat Electrician.
An intriguing and thoroughly modern take on vetiver. Smoke, wood and a wisp of ozone.
Woody dry chemical vetiver with synthetical appealing nuances, if you are into weird wood scents, this is for you
One of the most appealing scents I’ve tried from the Etat Libre d’Orange line, Fat Electricial is essentially an elegantly balanced two-part structure of incense and vetiver – superbly ironic, given the name. Though dry and even somewhat astringent in its opening, Fat Electrician slowly reveals a velvet-soft, sweet vanillic grace note that plays up the nutty and earthy facets of its vetiver.
Ironically again, Fat Electrician’s sillage and projection are both relatively understated. After an hour or two’s wear the scent settles into an extended drydown of relatively straightforward warm vetiver. While it’s hardly revolutionary, it is very well-executed, wearable, and attractive. A good vetiver to add to the growing stable that includes Sycomore, Givenchy Vetyver, Encre Noire, Vétiver Extraordinaire, and Etro’s Vetiver.
Etat Libre d'Orange - Fat Electrician
Yes, there are actually people who smell like this; people like fat electricians who sit around and eat more than do any work, and when they do, they sweat a lot and smell like Fat Electrician. The one and only true inspiration for this perfume must have been without a doubt, a smelly fat electrician, being invited in the house of a perfumer who gained instant inspiration for a new perfume by this encounter....
Fat Electrician smells like fresh cotton fabric drenched in fresh sweat together with the warm radiation of a 'fat', fleshy-oily, fresh leathery smell of the warmth of fat electrician's skin; a sort of creamy-nutty, dirty-smoky, and spiced-greeny smell. It opens with salty lemonpeel, 'chestnut', fresh vetiver, pepper and a touch of cinnamon, creating a warm dusty, spiced-smoky and gritty texture. It gets rounder and more 'weighted' due to oppoponax, the clever use of medicinal-resinous myrrh and a smooth woody-earthy note of patchouli. The vetiver grows stronger - giving it a crisp and rawish-rooty green note that reminds me of freshly cut paprika and the flesh of olives - before catching a more dirty animalic smokiness with hints of dark chocolate and coffee, that introduces the salty hay-like touched vanilla-pots.
Fat Electrician keeps a great focus on a smoky, 'weighted' warmth with a counteract of fresh green-juicy notes, resulting in a very potent sour-bitter scentprofile that attracts and turns-off at the same time. A highly original perfume that intrigues from start to finish. Very well done.
I can feel the woody amber with my nose, and there is an acetone, shellac, sour plastic quality that I smell as the volatility of the note pulls it away from me.
And then I don’t really smell anything.
Great name, perplexing olfactory experience. It comes and goes in 5 minutes. A discrete, tidy performance that leaves me in a chin-scratching state.
I feel like I should applaud.
It's all about opoponox
Opposites attract even in perfumes. First time I wore this I thought that this was about balance between vetiver and vanilla. Something to excite you and something to sooth you.
On the second time I didn't notice the vanilla much. I was more thinking about vetiver, or vetivers. It started with some dark vetiver like in Encre noir, but changed gradually to lighter and greener vetiver like in Coeur de Vetiver Sacre.
But even the vetiver made room for the main player here. I didn't recognise it first, because I haven't smelled it in many perfumes. It was like something dusty and sweaty honey. It was smell familiar from Gucci pour homme II. It was opoponax and there was a lot of it. I would guess that Fat electrician is more of a winter fragrance because of it.
Next day all that is left from this perfume is some traces of iso E super on your skin.
In my opinion Fat electrician isn't the best Eldo, but it is very good nevertheless. When many of their best efforts seems to be new interpretations of classic themes, this one is more modern perfume. I could see this one being the most wearable of all Eldos for most younger men.
One of the best atypical vetivers available. The usual sharp rootiness of vetiver enjoys an unlikely but successful yin/yang partnership with a sweetish powdery accord provided by vanilla/myrrh/opoponax (but mainly vanilla). A touch of incense combines with the vetiver to create a metallic 'blown fuse' aroma in keeping with the name. Worth a try for lovers of Hermes' Vetiver Tonka (which is too sweet for me), Serge Lutens' Vetiver Oriental and even those who think they don't like vetiver. Wearable in all weathers. Projection is moderate, longevity excellent (10 hours from 5 sprays). The only ELdO scent I have found worth purchasing.
Pros: Unusual, good sillage and longevity
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Burnt electrical wiring at the start (I kid you not) – this has to be one of the more ingenious manipulations of vetiver. Followed by dry, dry, dry resins with little hints of herbal green. The opoponax-myrrh blend here is top class, and there's an almost eucalyptus like note (the olive leaves?) which merges effortlessly. One of ELDO's stronger offerings – but you've got to have a nose for resins to enjoy it. Sadly, the fun lasts for about 3 hours, after which all that's left is a wooden cupboard.
It smells like yoghurt.....
This is what I call a different take on vetiver. A solid interpretation that is able to emerge in this crowded territory. A fine mixture of opoponax and vetiver laying on a slightly sweet vanilla base and enriched by hints of incense and resinous elements throughout. Easy to wear yet distinctive, simple yet perfectly refined. A nice everyday's fragrance and one of the best releases in the Eldo's range. A valid option if you're looking for a modern masculine but you want to avoid the usual clean-laundered synthetic-citrus loaded with woody maber.
06th July, 2011 (last edited: 27th March, 2012)
Very sharp and pungent vetiver opening. Unlike most vetivers though that accentuate this with citrus notes, I like what ELDO does by complimenting this with vanilla and myrrh accords. After drydown it remains pretty linear vetiver accords with hints of myrrh tickling the nose. A very nice new take on vetiver.
The name, Fat Electrician, and accompanying thumbnail image are a stroke of brilliance: between two generous handfuls of voluptuous, oppoponax-creamy flesh runs a thin streak of vetiver. We're used to the sometimes exhausting smut of Etat Libre d'Orange, but here they offer us a reserved, sweet vetiver bearing similarities to Chanel's noble Sycomore – a comparison both surprising and delicious.
ELDO seems to rely on two strategies in general: eat-my-dust innovation (Sécrétions Magnifique, Jasmin et Cigarette) or shameless imitation (Eloge du Traitre is Yatagan reloaded, Je Suis Un Homme takes a stab at Eau Sauvage). Fat Electrician falls into the second category and is a reprise of Molinard's Habanita, but here done so much more convincingly, making Habanita feel like an inept drag queen. This is tenacious, satisfying, and unusually plausible (from this house) as an everyday scent.
Best vetiver to me. It avoids the one dimensional marine note typical to vetiver in the drydown. In that is is as good as Givenchys Vetyver. But the latter puts to much nuts, milky aldehydes etc in, shifting it to the bold side. The ELdO seems to be light handed, the oppoponax tickles the nose just right. The Fat Electrician rearranges known components of perfumery and achieves a - to me - new effect. I would like it less sweet, though.
A fragrance that has contrasting parts. A ‘fat’ part, and an ‘electric’ part.
The “Fat” part:
Vanilla bean, opoponax and myrrh create this. These base and heart notes lend to a warm vanilla like, semi-gourmand sensual feel. I’m reminded of Givenchy Pi here, but I like FE much more. These notes create a comforting, ‘round’ feel (insert ‘fat’). Very wearable and very likeable
The “Electrician” part:
Vetiver baby! This is the sharper, more rooty aspect of vetiver used. Some say it has a ‘metallic’ (insert ‘electric’) sense to it, but I don’t get that whatsoever. It’s a sharp dry vetiver note to me, and as a vetiver lover, there is nothing off putting about it. I’m also highly, highly reminded of the use of vetiver in The Different Company Sel de Vetiver here. FE has that same, semi salty gauzy accord to it.
The “Fat Electrician” as a whole:
Overall a very wearable, likeable vetiver/vanilla scent. Its Givenchy Pi with a masculine sharper top. The overall feel is very warm and inviting, without being too ‘gooey’ and over vanilla like which I like (and keeps me away from Givenchy Pi). The salty/dry vetiver creates a very interesting pairing and offsets nicely the warmer opoponax & myrrh. It highly reminds me of Sel de Vetiver which I already own and absolutely love. Its so close I question if its worth owning both… but I’ll probably spoil myself and buy FE too, I like it that much.
If you’re a fan of Sel de Vetiver, definitely give this a testing.
19th October, 2010 (last edited: 06th February, 2012)
Really superb, and more wearable than some of ELdO's more outre offerings. Fat Electrician is basically vetiver and sweet myrrh, which is kind of brilliant since it pairs vetiver's dry, earthy masculinity with the (dry, earthy) feminine sweetness of myrrh. Very sexy and interesting, very high quality ingredients. Check the silly sales narrative that goes along with it (something about a sexually ambiguous electrician from New Jersey) for a laugh. Excellent longevity with demure projection. Bravo!
This Fat Electrician is my new best friend. Seriously good stuff, executed perfectly. One moment it's warm and embracing, next it's cool and rough. Try it: he'll be your new best friend too.
I have to hand it to Etat Libre d'Orange - their line represents without question a shining beacon of niche perfumery. The whole raison d'etre for niche perfumery should be to provide an alternative to generic, market-research driven and profit-first designer perfume offerings. It feels like a new house pops up weekly, each sporting fancy bottles, high prices, yet totally uninspired fragrances built upon the same aromachemicals that everyone else is using (I'm looking at you "Boadicea the Victorious"). By contrast ELdO fragrances are original from the ground up, they are reasonably priced, and they are among the most creative compositions one can buy. After releasing its original line Etat Libre hasn't come out with too many new scents. The newest, Fat Electrician, carries on the ELdO banner proudly.
There are countless vetivers fragrances available today. What differentiates all these vetivers is the pungency and specific nature of the vetiver note and what the accompanying notes are. There are many excellent modern vetivers (Sycomore, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Givenchy Vetyver, etc.), but let's face it, if you own one vetiver you need not own the others unless the minutiae of vetiver scents is 'your thing'. Leave it to Etat Libre to make a truly different vetiver scent that is perfectly wearable.
Fat Electrician's initial vetiver blast is pungent and slightly sharp, yet not overly salty (i.e. Goutal or LezNez). Unlike vetivers that brighten the earthiness of the vetiver note with citrus or contrast the vetiver with something like tobacco, ELdO goes the route of creamy vanilla. Quickly after application a distinct opoponax note opens up - the vetiver is the most prominent note, but the sweet, woody opoponax is there. After opoponax comes myrrh, a note that is most prominent in the base. Moving parallel to the development of these woody notes is 'the vanilla'. Slowly but surely a background of smooth vanilla becomes more and more prominent, but it never fully overtakes the vetiver note that remains in the foreground throughout the composition. By the time Fat Electrician has settled into its base one smells a melange of vetiver and myrrh on a bed of vanilla (and the vanilla itself is not thin, but very rich and creamy). Besides being unique, it smells just damn good... the base (which is long lasting) is my favorite part of Fat Electrician.
For people about to sample Fat Electrician allow me to warn you that this fragrance operates on a couple levels. Sampling on your arm you will experience something along the lines of what I've described, along with perhaps your own interpretation of notes. The vanilla and background notes seem quite prominent. However when worn on the body, the vetiver note is primarily what you will smell, with the vanilla and woody notes only becoming distinct after a couple hours. Surprisingly the sillage is less robust then most ELdOs, making FE a good choice for situations that call for a more discrete fragrance choice. Longevity is fantastic - once the base settles it will last on the skin for many hours.
Great for vetiver fans - and also great for people looking for an entree to vetiver fragrances.
This doesn't have quite the nuclear vanilla bomb of Bulgari Black, but to me it's definitely a vanilla-dominant fragrance. A bit of smoke, a bit of incense, and of course a long thread of vetiver.
I'm not a big vanilla fan, but I like this anyway. It's dry enough that the vanilla doesn't come off as cloying or overstated. The dovetailing of the vanilla and the vetiver is quite successful, as is the overall composition.
A distinctive and very wearable take on vetiver.
The next Eldo fragrance has notes of concrete and bumcrack and is named 'Bob the Builder' Yeh , looking forward to that.
The Fat Electrician comes at you as hard as nails and takes no prisoners with its wood/green/ vetiver blast -- it's tremendous. You think 'this won't last' but the molecules used must be really fat and it goes on for hours until gradually softening to a creamy vetiver note. This is like a supercharged Encre Noire. Daft name -- magnificent piece of work.
I am not sure why Vibert says that this is ironic. I am a fat electrician :D, and the combination of opoponax and vetiver reminds me of the smell of that varnish with which the wire of a coil is insulated. All of a sudden I remembered myself opening boxes of PLCs, motors and drives. This is a delicious smell and it has just the right amount of vanillic sweetness (very similar to the one found in Ambre Gris by Balmain) to give it some dimension. As it dries down, the syrupy vanilla vanishes and the incense and vetiver become very dry, which reduces the elegance but increases the seriousness. Perhaps in there you will find the irony. The only problem is that it has no projection or longevity whatsoever.
I'm but a budding perfumista myself, so I can't say how Fat Electrician compares to other vetivers, but I can say it's helped me realize that vetiver is among my absolute favorite notes. I really love the smokiness of the opening and on my skin the myrrh/opoponax and that perfectly subtle, mellow, barely-there vanilla harmonize beautifully and temper the vetiver perfectly. I was deciding between this and Rien and am very glad I spent my money on a bottle of Fat Electrician. Sillage is not quite what I was hoping but longevity is excellent.
UPDATE: A few months on, I have now tried a cornucopia of other vetiver frags, and Fat Electrician still ranks at the top (along with Sycomore, Etro Vetiver and Sel de Vetiver).
13th November, 2009 (last edited: 12th March, 2010)
Etat Libre D'Orange Fat Electrician
The more things I wear from Etat Libre D'Orange the more I realize how much I like the risks the House takes. One of the noses for the House who has regularly seemed to connect with my sensibilities is Antoine Maisondieu. Three of my favorites, Noel au Balcon, Vierges et Toreros and Rossy de Palma, are his compositions. When I heard M. Maisondieu had done a "semi-modern vetiver" for the line I knew the 2009 release Fat Electrician would be interesting, and it is. Fat Electrician has the most in common with Vierges et Toreros of the three scents I mentioned previously. It has a strength around its central note that pushes the envelope. Much like the raw leather accord in Vierges et Toreros the vetiver in Fat Electrician comes off rawer and more unrefined than it does in other scents. I like it because it makes it stand out from those other vetivers that I own. The description that comes in the box claims M. Maisondieu is trying to create a "white, metallic, silver' vibe at the top. I'm not sure I get that, what I get is a raw green, grassy accord with a healthy amount of cigarette. This is carried forward into the heart where the vetiver comes in quite intensely and quite green. The smokiness of the cigarettes combine marvelously with the edgy pungent vetiver. The transition into the base, again, according to the note list is supposed to be a gourmand-like "chestnut creme". I don't get that at all as instead I get a great resinous mix of opoponax and myrrh which really finishes it nicely on me. I think I'm pretty thankful that the gourmand notes don't appear on me as I think I might not like this as well as I do if they were present. Fat Electrician has great longevity and decent sillage. Fat Electrician is different than any of the vetivers I currently own and while I think it is definitely worth a try by any vetiver lover it is not going to be one loved by every one of those vetiver lovers. If you do like your vetiver on the strong side invite a Fat Electrician over you might find him to be more interesting than you might think.