Perfume, in most people’s minds, is synonymous with softness and/or sexiness. Softness is big, plush aldehydes, juicy fruits, and gentle blossoms. Sexiness is throaty roses, sultry leathers, sweaty animalics, and raspy-voiced tobaccos. Perfumes seem to have veered more towards softness than sexiness over the past thirty years, given the presence of the ubiquitous fruity floral for teens and the insistence of florals being the main note of adult fragrances. Older perfumes (Joy, Jolie Madame) fell into the sexiness mold, but still had to claim a label. Then you have the odd intellectual perfume, like Dzing!.
Now, enter Etat Libre d’Orange’s Rien. It doesn’t really claim any human characteristics. It isn’t sweet, sexy, or trying to play a trick on us. So what are we supposed to do with such a fragrance? It’s a distinctive bitter leather that falls somewhere in between oily work gloves and worn-in leather car seats. It has civet in it too, which makes it smell animalic and a little bit like a skin scent. It’s comfortable, like Azuree without the citrus. But I also smell some tobacco in it. And a note of what is listed as incense, but smells a lot like black tea to me. Buried deep under all the leather notes are some aldehydes and rose.
What’s great in and of itself is that Rien manages to have all these notes in it, but still only smells like one thing: worn leather. I don’t really think of worn leather when I wear it though. I only think of a perfume that smells good. I’m the kind of person who likes a perfume that’s something besides a perfume (not to mention I veer towards the femmey scents), but for others, to smell good is all you need.
Perfumer: Antoine Lie
Price Range: Moderate
Recommended Occasion: Any
Release Year: 2006
My Rating : 8.5
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