Perfume Reviews

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Reviews of Archives 69 by Etat Libre d'Orange

Total Reviews: 15
Have you ever sniffed a freshly-opened jar of olives packed in olive oil that had a lot of dried Mediterranean herbs in it? Add just a little fruity sweetness to that aroma and that's what Archives 69's first minutes smelled like to me. Such a great opening, it almost made me laugh out loud.

Just a few minutes in, I'm getting some berries, not too sweet, balanced with some truly delicious moldy plums and nearly-rotten citrus. (You know how if you leave citrus sitting out in a bowl it devlops that pale grey mold on it? That's what this smells like to me, and it's wonderful, with a faint whiff of metallic twang.) This stage is so fabulous I want it to last forever.

After about an hour, a little more sweetness develops, but fortunately not at the expense of the overripe plums and citrus, which are still enchanting me. The late stage of resinous patchouli kicked in at about the 90-minute mark, and is so well blended that the overripe fruits sort of float above those heavier elements.

This is a heavenly scent experience, and by far the best ELdO I've encountered. I've liked a few (Fat Electrician, Like This), but never enough to go for a FB. Archives 69 manages to be edgy, avant-garde, and wearable all at once, and is the first ELdO that made me say "I want a full bottle and I want it NOW."
26th April, 2018
Upon wearing Archives 69, I initially thought of it as a regular fruitchouli: ripe sweet plum, rosy fruity pink pepper over a slightly medicinal and earthy patchouli base. However, to my surprise, it doesn't become gooey jammy in texture like many gourmand fruity patchouli does, and it's got a few tricks up its sleeves as well.

Christine Nagel's "rotten fruit" note: an overripe, almost sour mandarine lurks underneath the ripe plum during the opening phase of Archives 69. Its ripened sweetness is a natural extension of the succulent plum, while its sour aftertaste helps to balance the potentially over-the-top fruity sweetness.

Another interesting addition is the camphor. Personally, I don't find it manifests as a distinct element. Rather, it feels like a refreshing breeze blown out of patchouli into the otherwise thick fruity fog. The same goes with the orchid and incense accords. Smell-wise, they feel more like an extension of the fruity notes into floral and woody territories, but texture-wise, they help to maintain a powdery, relatively dry one in order to limit the saccharine sensation.

Besides all of the above, the most interesting part for me, is a prominent balsamic and even slightly cumin-animalic muskiness in the dry down. Combined with the camphor tonality, it actually reminds me of the camphor-cumin pairing of Cadavre Exquis. This combination in Archives 69 is of course a far cry and is extremely diluted and tamed compared to that of Cadavre Exquis, but it still adds an unexpected sensuality to the dominant fruitchouli centerpiece.

Archives 69 has a moderate to soft sillage and a 12h+ longevity on me.

Overall, I still regard Archives 69 primarily as a fruitchouli fragrance, because the sugary plum and the earthy patchouli largely overshadows the other elements on my skin. However, even though these supporting elements only tangentially show themselves, they effectively keep the sweetness at bay. Being usually wary about the syrupy nature of many gourmand fruitchouli, I actually find the slightly powdery texture of Archives 69 much improves its wearability to me. I'd definitely recommend it to those who enjoy fruitchouli combo but would like a few subtle twists embedded within.
25th April, 2018
This is another interesting fragrance from Etat Libre d'Orange. To me, it has a definite indie feel that's attractive and captivating.

It has fruits, and not just any fruits but bright, sweet berries, yet weaves them into a masculine-smelling fragrance, presumably from the use of patchouli. (Update: wearing it a second time, it smells like frankincense is part of the masculine anchoring.)

This house reminds me of 4160 Tuesdays as a house that can experiment with something well off the beaten path and make it a wearable success.
16th April, 2018 (last edited: 25th April, 2018)
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Anomalisa by Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman 2015
The Girlfriends by Gustav Klimt
01st February, 2018
I got an unexpected surprise when sampling this perfume. It transported me back to my grandmother's ultra fem peach bathroom. It makes me think of "Caress" soap, dressing powder and lipstick.

This is not to say that it smells "grandmotherly". It makes me think of a very feminine lady. One who dresses in a pencil skirt and stockings just to do the grocery shopping. She is well dressed no matter the occasion.

I must say this scent hurt my heart a little, but I am happier for it.
05th December, 2016
I love's so odd.

The other reviewers' mention of bruised fruit is apt, and taken to an extreme. Moldy plums, ripened to the point of fermentation. It's quite a novel topnote.

The heart teeters on the edge of too sweet, but the backdrop of resins and animal notes keep it wearable.

Nagel has a portfolio of beloved, yet hard-to-find or discontinued scents. Archives 69 brings to mind Theorema, maybe Ambre Soie, some creaminess of Lalique White, but mostly Mauboussin's namesake scent, and Histoire d'Eau. Some might catch some striking similarities with Chanel's Egoiste. The dry, pink pepper-cedar accord, the fruit, the transparency. This one is more daring than the others, keeping the ELDO mentality, which is a good thing.
17th June, 2015 (last edited: 18th June, 2015)
cacio Show all reviews
United States
Finally another full expression of Nagel's signature rotten citrus. That extremely sweet, sticky, overripe, sickly, almost fermented fume, curiously reminiscent of the olive oil used to cure vegetables. Almost disgusting at first, but intriguing, it makes you go back again and again until you can't help buy buy the perfume.

In the sadly defunct Theorema, a rotten orange gave depth to an oriental gourmand. Here, a rotten mandarin injects interest in a fruity floral modern clean chypre. Without the rotten citrus, it would be a well crafted but uninspired piece. With it, it's a fun ride.

It feels like the intelligent sister of Nagel's nearly contemporaneous Armani Si', a potently sweet, annoying clean fruity-woody floral, which lacks Archives's lusciousness and fun.
16th October, 2014
Deep love for this experimental weird ELDO's concoction. Be patient for the carnal final warmth, the run is long but you won't be disappointed. Key Archives 69's notes: huge-huge pink pepper, tangerine, earth (camphor-patchouli-oakmoss), powdery orchid, frankincense. Around this central licentious accord swirl all the further elements in order to disclose an extremely satisfactory performance with a typical (classically barber-shop-eau de cologne-like) initial ELDO's basic "trademark" re-interpreted in to a modern provocative (either in olfactory hallmarks and marketing messages) inebriating vaguely leathery-camphoraceous-post-industrial experiment. The spicy resinous (almost pharmaceutical-like) fruity-floral main accord produces by soon a sort of weird almost sticky-syrupy steady undertone enriched by a bunch of nuances (vegetal, earthy, acrid, woody, laundry, candied) enhancing the A69's disorienting complexity. Frankly I detect a sort of resinous final woodiness along the dry down while the prune/tangerine/orchid peppery accord is responsible about a sort of deeply fruity, vaguely gassy, berrish and resinous final "chewing gum-candy-like" chypre olfactory basement. The patchouli is sheer under my nose and perfectly combined with the camphoraceous mossy (slightly bitter) earthyness in order to create a more assertive, botanical and austere (wonderfully earthy-rooty-camphoraceous) background to counteract the candied fruity floral spicy dominant intensity. I detect a spicy/resinous heady accord vaguely conjuring me some Paolo Terenzi's (Tiziana Terenzi) olfactory performance (Lillipur-Maremma). A soothing final vanilla amalgamates the opposite earthy/camphoraceous and "candied/resinous" patterns in order to disclose a final more linear, "pacified" and silky (yes almost gourmand) uniformity. Over a couple of hours the sweetness recedes, the resinous vibe holds partially off its effect and a worthful warm-organic-drier-somewhat shadowy (camphor/earth/moss/dry spices) mild sensuality jumps on the stage of your skin. As well as usual for Eldo this fragrance plays the game of contrasts in the body of a complex and well structured olfactory articulation. An interesting fragrance for us and another sexy beast for all the kinky pullulating all around.
07th July, 2014
Finally after some "disappointments" from this brand, I've found the first really good scent among ELd'O line. The opening is already intriguing and captivating: a vanilla/fruity accord with a dense floral heart and a bitter aftertaste, really peculiar, almost like olives, a kind of metallic sour subtle feel which fits just perfectly balancing the "gourmand" lively side. Totally bright, creative and smart, the overall feel is a silky, luscious vibe which effortlessly blends with a camphor-archaic feel, an "ironic" counterpoint play which I find really witty and interesting. And also, above all, totally pleasant to wear. That sort of metallic obscure aftertaste is what intrigues me the most, I can not really "get" it, it smells almost like an elusive dadaist bug which just "floats" below, still perfectly fitting and hiding in the blend. Overall this smells basically like a classic floral/fruity scent, say, a Guerlain, just "detourné" like a situationnist comic strip and decontextualised in this sort of contemporary, industrial-medicinal way. The evolution is equally interesting and quite unpredictable, as it progressively smells more ambery-resinous, still with a bold camphor-medicinal smell and a stronger cumin note. Slight rubbery feel. I miss a bit the incense note but I feel it's there. After a couple hours it becomes sweeter and more delicate, almost a gourmand, still with that genius camphor-cumin counterpart. I must say I really enjoyed wearing this – it's fun, it's bright, it's interesting to follow, and it smells terribly good. The final drydown is really good as well; silky, aromatic, aerial, and quite long-lasting. Perhaps a bit too sweet here and there, but overall, a really good scent, almost great, surely worth a try. Finally an avant-garde work (or at least I consider it that way) which manages to "say" something new still remaning a wearable and enjoyable scent.

08th May, 2014
Boring spicy fruity from Eldo

Etat libre d'Orange seems to be very uneven house. This one s below average attempt. More feminine than unisex. Smells a bit old.

26th July, 2013
Archives 69 succeeds in capturing the schizophrenic hermaphrodite ethos of ELDO. Think of it. What are their bestsellers? Perfumes created with androgynous actresses Rossy De Palma and Tilda Swinton. The bilge note from their infamous Secretions Magnifiques makes a cameo appearance. You can smell Incense et Bubblegum masticating at the altar -- and in fact, the sleeve is bubblegum pink.

Yet this is unmistakably Christine Nagel at work here. There are traces of Si Lolita and Narcisso For Her. Archives 69 wears close to the skin, smelling plasticky and resinous, sickly sweet and musky, and it has powerful longevity. Spray it very lightly, but it is quirky, chic, original and edgy, everything you think of this house.
31st March, 2013
For the first hour or so, l find it hard to identify notes in this one, but l mainly get the sweet juiciness of fruit without the actual fruit, (if that makes any sense!) along with a little pepper. ln the heart it starts to make a lot more sense, when the benzoin & a rather lovely incense note join the mix. The overall impression is an interesting hybrid of freshness & warmth, & l swear l smell ambergris in the base, although it's not listed. The projection is good, & it lasts around five hours before starting to fade.
l can't quite give this one a positive rating as l don't really do "fruity", but l enjoy the drydown, & l think this is a very likeable fragrance, easily unisex.
15th December, 2012
The pink berries and pepper are mostly what I can pick out from this. To me it has a smell reminiscent of the old individually-wrapped Bazooka Joe bubble gum, but not sugared, adolescent, or gimmicky in any way. It's sophisticated, delicious and fun. Longevity is so-so.
21st October, 2012
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It starts of a bit weird and ackward, the tangerine and pepperleaf just aren't blending well enough for me. The ocrhid starts to tie it all together and then once the incense kicks in it's amazing. The drydown is pleasant and all in all a really fun,unusual but wearable fragrance. I think this could be a really nice biitter fougere for some of the male basenoters.
27th September, 2012
Etat Libre D'Orange's main points of strength have always been considered their advertising campaigns and marketing strategies (provocative names, arousing images, trendy concepts) and, during the years, they grew up a consistent amount of loyal followers with their "borderline", love-or-hate approach.

On the other hand I'm realizing that their choice of giving the brand a provocative/controversial identity has often turned into a sort of limit. Many people who have been potentially interested in their juices have been disencouraged by the house misleading/questionable perfume's names and images. I would like to suggest this people to try to avoid the provocation and approach Eldo's fragrances focusing on their juices. If you'll be able to do it, you will discover a bunch of extremely solid compositions that range from the classics-inspired Je Suis Un Homme or Eloge Du Traitre, to the successful modernity of Like This, Fat Electrician, Jasmin & Cigarette and Tom Of Finland via the conceptual/artistic-weirdness of Rien, Charogne and Secretions Magnifique.

That said the new Archive 69 has been commited to perfumer Christine Nagel who previously worked for the likes of Guerlain, Cartier, Dior, Fendi, Armani, Givenchy and many many more....Her latest composition for Eldo strikes as a succesful concoction of resinous notes and frankincense joined by pepper and berries on top, a sophisticated orchid note in the heart and a remarkable camphoraceous vibe throughout. Overall, Archive 69 is an extremely sensual skin fragrance with a multi-facets character that goes from the peppery opening to the warm and comfortable musky/incensey drydown via the endless nuances of the heart where it continuely morphes from flowery to sort of gourmandic.

Probably it won't reply the success of the Fifi Prix des Spécialistes award winning Like This, but it's surely head and shoulders above the average quality available on the market.
15th February, 2012 (last edited: 19th February, 2012)