Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of The Afternoon of a Faun by Etat Libre d'Orange

Doesn't smell like any of the listed notes in my opinion! I just read the note pyramid they have here on Basenotes, and I honestly don't know what the hell they are talking about. Myrrh, leather, benzoin - I give up, because I don't smell any of that.

Afternoon of a Faun is NOT an oriental, powdery, spicy leather as the notes might suggest. Nope, this one muscles its way into the green chypre category with an overall vibe halfway between a drenched forest and a bowl full of crushed iris roots. It’s described as an aromatic, spicy scent on Fragrantica and as an incense-leather oriental here, but actually, it comes off as a scorched-earth chypre.

It shouldn’t work. But the contrast of wet, bitter green iris and the dry woods is all kinds of addictive.

I love the way it takes me on a ride every time I put it on. It reminds me somewhat of a vintage No. 19 pure parfum I had from the 1950’s which had turned badly – it shares something of that singed woods and burned coffee smell the parfum had. But in contrast, Afternoon of a Faun smells really good to me.

Right away, the strangeness of the immortelle note is apparent. It adds a sticky, savory syrup note, like sugared hay boiled down in whiskey. This has the effect of injecting the chilly green halls of No. 19 with streaks of autumnal warmth. So, for once, you have a damp, mossy chypre that smells….warm, human, sunny almost. It makes this an exceedingly comfortable wear without sacrificing an ounce of its stylish swagger, like a pair of fabulous, wide-cut slacks that are both comfortable and capable of making you look like Marlene Dietrich.

I love, love, love the textures at play in Afternoon of a Faun too. The opening is sort of damp and glazed, like the patina from old wood that you’ve just loving rubbed with oil. The immortelle adds a spicy, vegetal syrupy feel, and orris butter a creamy, rooty smell and texture. It is sweet, but also dry and slightly spicy, like good old wood.

In the dry down, the most amazing transformation in texture takes place – it sheds any sticky or wet feel it may have add, and becomes dry and smoky, like ash smoldering in the grate. At this stage, the immortelle smells like slightly burned coffee, which is a wonderfully dry, aromatic smell that I really enjoy.

In fact, I feel comfortable characterizing this as a dry, smoky iris perfume with a significant green/woody aspect to it. It smells like a real chypre too, even without oakmoss, so hats off to the folks at ELDO for proving that you can still produce a fantastic perfume that smells like the real deal rather than a sad sack imitation of what once was.
30th May, 2015

The perfume-tells-a-story bit isn’t my bag. Why do we try so hard to push narrative onto non-literal experiences? As much as I love to write about perfume, the writing is utterly after the fact of the experience. Just let me smell my perfume and experience the state.

The poem, the music the ballet, the myth. Genug shoin! Afternoon of a Faun perfume doesn’t suggest fauns or any of the notions that a faun represents in mythology. But story aside, it is a brilliant perfume.

There have been a number of strategies to recreate or suggest the chypre accord without the bio-hazard oakmoss. Chanel 31 Rue Cambon bends a floral amber into the shape of a chypre. Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cheri makes patchouli, a common chypre component, a stand-in for rather than a partner to oakmoss. de Nicolai’s Vie de Chateau Intense plays with the hay-like scent of coumarin to create a fougere/chypre hybrid. But Ralf Schwieger does a clever turn with Afternoon of a Faun.

Using immortelle, which I wouldn’t otherwise think to associate with oakmoss, he plays up the sandpapery, dusty feel of oakmoss giving us the tone and the shape of the chypre without explicitly trying to smell like one. The composition has a clear bergamot note, and an ambery benzoin if not cistus labdanum itself, so the rest of the chypre elements are in play. But immortelle, when matched with incense and myrrh implies that state between smokiness and resin that moss creates. Imagine that perfume notes are elements on the periodic table. Schwieger goes directly up one level to find the element that shares the same chemical properties as our element oakmoss and makes a new compound.

Rather then suggesting a chypre (31 Rue Cambon) or using chypre-like elements (treemoss and the new synthetics) Schwieger gives us a parallel universe chypre, and I for one couldn’t be happier. This could easily be a signature scent for someone searching for perfume monogamy.

from scent

27th June, 2013
I don't think this is unisex - it definitely reads feminine to me. In fact, the first reaction I had to it was that it resurrected some of what was lost in recent reformulations of Y Yves Saint Laurent. I love the green orris combined with benzoin. Its also very long lasting being very noticeable even after 12 hours. Overall, a wearable and beautiful scent.
17th January, 2013
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Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Wonderful fresh green fragrance with a twist. 'Green' isn't my cup of tea at all but there is an exquisite sweetness to the heart and base notes, which is difficult to pin down, but is addictive. I can hardly believe the notes listed -- this is not a curry. Big compliment getter. Think of all the 'Jardin' fragrances by Hermes -- then take out the awful chemical overload of them; you will be close to this ' with her belly grey'.
10th January, 2013
I have to buck the trend here,
Nothing new to smell, a classic Chypre, dressed down with a forrest floor accord.
None the less a Masterpiece due to it's flawless execution. Fresh, Verdant and Woody.
09th November, 2012