A Name Is A Name Is A Name – Review: Etat Libre d’Orange Putain des Palaces

I have so often said how little I like the approach of Etat Libre d’Orange, that I sound like a schoolmarmish prude, so I will shut up about the name of this perfume and not even translate it, in case I get cranky again and start ranting. Let us just look at the perfume.

My quest for violet-rose scents has been successful on several occasions already: I love Sonoma Scent Studio Lieu de Reves and To Dream, Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose has turned my head and there is the Grande Dame of  rose-violets: Guerlain Aprés L’Ondée.

Putain des Palaces was created in 2006 by Natalie Feisthauer and includes notes of rose absolute, violet, leather, lily of the valley, mandarin, ginger, rice powder, amber and animalic notes.

If I didn’t know this was by EldO, I would not guess it at all. Putain des Palaces is a very elegant and refined composition centering on the classic lipstick accord of powdery rose and shy violet, bolstered by a soft leather note and a cloud of rice powder furthering the cosmetic scent association.

I find nothing in this perfume that corresponds with its name and accompanying artwork, it is perfectly tame (although I would not use that word for it if it weren’t for the presentation that suggest something a lot wilder).

Putain des Palaces has outstanding sillage and tenacity and I have to conclude that nothing about it bothers me but the name. I just wish the leather note would been a bit more pronounced, which would have made it stand out more as a unique creation. As it is, it doesn’t compel me to seek it out, since I am happy with the perfumes in this genre I already have.

Putain des Palaces doesn’t add anything new or particularly interesting to eclipse those “Lipstick” fragrances I already know and love, but I can appreciate its beauty and had it been the first rose-violet perfume I had tried, things might well be different.

Unfortunate name or not.

Image source: luckyscent.com, myvintagevogue.com
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This entry was posted in Etat Libre d'Orange, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Heliotrope, Iris, Powdery, Rose, Vanilla, Violet and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to A Name Is A Name Is A Name – Review: Etat Libre d’Orange Putain des Palaces

  1. Sandra says:

    I too never wanted to seek out perfumes from this house as I was shocked by the marketing (yes, I know, the American prude here). Having said that, a sample of Putain des Palaces came my way and I just had to have it! In all honesty i actually find the name entertaining now and when someone asks what I am wearing I smile and tell them. I find this perfume very different to Lipstick Rose and Apres L’Ondee and am happy to have it in my collection.

  2. chris says:

    Even though the marketing can be a bit puerile, There are many scents in the ELdO range that are well worth investigating.
    Have you ever tried – Rossy de Palma’ s eau de projection, Tom of Finland or Rien ?.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The only EldO I really liked so far is Like This (Tilda Swinton), it is beautiful, and lacks the usual EldO visual treatment. I just never get around to trying the others, there are so many perfumes whose names don’t put me off and Secretions Magnifiques did the rest… ;) Although I’m sure there are many good ones in the line.

  3. Alexandra says:

    It’s been a while since I tried this scent, but I do still remember an odd plastic note that really put me off. In fact, as I have yet to find a perfume in the EdLO line that really captures my attention; for me EdLO is more about image than scent, which is wrong on many levels. I do hope they prove me wrong at some point though, and having just read Chris’ comment I do remember quite liking Rossy de Palma (and the imagery is perfectly decent too!).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Tara complained about plastic too, if I remember correctly, fortunately it is not very pronounced on me, but I know what you mean.
      The new Fils de Dieu sounds quite nice, I must say, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to smell it, when I come across it , I will though.

  4. masha7 says:

    Ha! We reviewed the same one on the same day- I got some really carnal notes from it, but I was wearing it in tropical heat, outside, so I probably smelled a little carnal myself! I did really like PdP, though, just like you did!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I just scooted over to PST – love your mini-reviews!
      It is not carnal on me at all, am I missing something? Not that I am complaining… :)

      • masha7 says:

        I thought the whiff of skank was coming from the perfume, I hope it wasn’t me! (Jumps in shower….)

        • Tara says:

          Definitely not you Marla! Perecptions on this one obviously vary as B seems to get all the prettiness and none ofthe skank that a lot of people at the Perfume Lovers London meetup said they got. I think Katie described it as “shower day plus 2″. I got more of a blast of curry spice than skank in the opening but maybe some people percieve that as skank. That rice powder, rose and violet is positively gorgeous though.

          • Olfactoria says:

            Must be my “magic skin”! ;)
            I’m glad I don’t get the sweaty parts…

          • masha7 says:

            Now we’ve got a “skank factor” discussion rolling on PST, too! So we’ll all have to spray some people on the street (or sand dune in my case), sniff them and rank the skank, and do some serious research. I want graphs and charts!

          • Olfactoria says:

            Graphs and charts – where is Undina? She is the expert in that area.

    • It’s not just you! I find the musk in this HIGHLY skanky (in a very good way), in fact the dirty musky drydown is my favorite part, the top notes are a little too sweet for me.

      Birgit, another rose-violet you might want to try, if you haven’t already, is Une Rose Vermeille…

  5. andreawilko says:

    These are on my must try list but which to choose???? So far the most appealing is Jasmin et Cigarettes probably because I can guess what it smells like. :-)

    • chris says:

      anrdrea
      Try these ones – Archives 69 – Tom of Finland (never mind the name, great unisex saffron suede scent) – Vraie Blonde – Rossy de Palma – Rien (great leather – a sort of crude mishmash of Bandit/Knize 10).
      Also, if you go to Escentual website you can get a sample pack of all 26 ELdO scents and with this you will receive a voucher code that will give you £24.95 off any full bottle purchase from the ELdO range.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’ll add Like This to the list of perfumes Chris suggested.

  6. lady jane grey says:

    Here, another one put off by the parfum names/marketing of ELd’O. So much so that the only scent I tried so far was Like this – Tilda can’t make it wrong, she’s my hero.

  7. Nina says:

    This is lovely, but I found the dry down, at least on me, a little boring and vanilla. Maybe I need to try it a third time. Just wasn’t that special. But my favorites from ELdO are Jasmin et Cigarette (full bottle, plz) and Vrai Blonde.

  8. hemlocksillage says:

    Oh, I’m so glad others are put off by ELdO’s marketing. I should try this, but haven’t, mostly due to the name. I will second Chris’ recommendation for Archives 69. I was given a sample, loved it, and purchased a full bottle. It is not a big sillage scent, which is nice. It is more of a warm aura, that I forget about, then smell something nice, and sniff my wrist, and realize it’s Archives.

    I just haven’t figured out what to tell others I’m wearing if asked. Knowing me, I’ll brazen it out, and say thanks for asking, just tell them the title, and smile sweetly :D Be well.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I feel so prissy when I say I’m put off by EldO’s branding, but I just can’t find it funny or in the least appealing.
      Archives sounds very nice indeed.
      Be well too, hemlocksillage!

      • masha7 says:

        It’s very junior high school humour so it didn’t appeal to me, either- but I’m glad that this week I finally got past the names and PR and tried the ‘fumes. It’s a good line.

        • Olfactoria says:

          If you say so, I’m sure I will like a few too, we are scent sisters after all!
          I’m having trouble posting a comment on blogger blogs today, which is why I could comment on your PST post, sorry!

  9. This is my next purchase lined up from ELdO
    Contrastingly, I love ELdO’s marketing, it’s playful, crude, an a breath of fresh air in the all too serious industry.
    Putain des Palaces is a fantastic refined fragrance just as you said and the violets are the perfect blend of powdery, fragrant, and not too “parma violets” as to be overwhelmingly sweet.
    Have you tried “Geste” by Humiecki and Graef? I think you’d reall enjoy it :D It’s a beautiful violet, cashmere fragrance.

  10. Dionne says:

    I haven’t tried any out of the ELd’O lineup yet. Like you, the marketing is not my style, which has moved this brand further down the list. Like This sounds interesting but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is sad that so many are put off by the brand image, but I guess just as many people find Chanel staid and old-fashioned, for example… (just to be clear, I don’t). :)

  11. This one is very well done but I fail to feel particularly enthusiastic about it, I think it smells slightly flat on my skin, which is a shame because on paper and other people it smells like hot, sweaty bodies covered in perfume.

  12. deeHowe says:

    Depending on my mood, I don’t terribly mind the marketing angle. I don’t love it, but it hasn’t put me off trying the scents. It’s also helped to teach me how suggestible i am, and it’s hard to separate the fragrance from the marketing images and text that accompany!

    I liked this fragrance a lot, *almost* enough to snag a FB when Carol was liquidating her boutique (over at WAFT), but since I already had Citizen Queen in my collection, I resisted the urge. Not that they’re identical in any way, only that I have only rarely the occasion or desire to wear the rose/violet combo :)

    However, i am glad that you overcame your revulsion to give PdP a try! ;)

  13. bloodyfrida says:

    I’m not sure if my original post posted, so B, feel free to delete! I reviewed this a while back in my blog which the help of my husband; we concur that it smells like me – so even though I think about a bottle of it, I’m not sure I really need it! LOL

  14. anitathepianist says:

    I agree about the name. It’s off-putting, but “Archives 69″ is intriguing. I am going to put a sample set on my long list. I lived in an area with many Spanish-speaking people, and that ugly word is not a joke.

  15. dremybluz says:

    I got a small decant as an extra gift from a swap on perfume possee. I fell in love with it the moment I sprayed it on my arm. I was very suprised at the sweaty level this perfume has on my skin. Since I am a big skank lover, this fragrance was right up my alley. This will be my next full bottle purchase as I just made a large purchase of new scents I had been trying. I can hardly wait to get my hands on the full bottle of this elegant elixir. At least the French Putain de Palaces sounds a little classier to me than had they just named it “palace whore”. I am suprised at some of the perfume name choices they have made-example-Tom of Finland. I am sure that most people have no idea who the real Tom of Finland is and what type of art he creates. Guess I will have to investigate what the association of the perfume make up is to its title.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I hope you get your bottle soon, dremybluz. The CandyPerfumeBoy gets a lot of traffic to his Tom of Finland review from a clientele not primarily interested in perfume. ;)

  16. Undina says:

    I vote with my money: so far ELdO haven’t gotten a single dollar from me – in bottles, decants or even samples. I strongly object to their names and visuals. I did try several of their scents and thought that they weren’t bad. But I will not buy them.

  17. Anat13 says:

    Oh dear. I am one of those who don’t know what Tom of Finland references. I think I am afraid to look it up.

  18. Nina says:

    I’m not impressed or particularly amused by their packaging or ”themes” either, but I truly love 2 of their perfumes (Vraie Blonde and Jasmin et Cigarette). I will probably buy a bottle of both. Testing ELdO became, inadvertently, an exercise in just focusing on the scent. Obviously, the packaging is/can be an important part of the whole experience. We perfumistas all certainly have those iconic bottles in our collections! Sampling ELdO caused me to learn something important about myself: I can actually get past a scent’s bottle, as well as its reputation and context, if I love it.

  19. Caro says:

    Dear, I remember having read somewhere that it is quite similar to Citizen Queen (which I own and wear a lot). How do you think it compares?
    Cheers,

    Caro

  20. flittersniffer says:

    I haven’t tried this in forever, so my opinion is somewhat suspect, but I remember finding it discordant in some way, along similar lines to the way I do CdG Daphne, for example. The curried spice accord maybe? The hint of skank amplified? It didn’t mesh together and wasn’t tame or pretty – just weird! Can’t remember about a plastic note, but if there is one I usually pick up on it! JPG MaDame, here’s looking at you… : – )

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’ve experienced on some wearing that PdP kind of falls apart a bit, but I didn’t include that after all, because most of the time it behaves like I said above. Maybe that is what you experienced?

  21. Joey says:

    I actually love ELdO’s branding, because my sense of humour is childish and crude. I’ll admit that I’m not terribly refined in that aspect. =) and Putain des Palaces is one of my favorites from the line – it’s deliciously skanky and beautiful all at once.

    (Admittedly, I do sometimes wish that ELdO made non-labelled, no-name versions of their fragrances because I do understand that people would be terribly turned off by their image and would ignore the lovely juice!)

    You should try Bijou Romantique if you can. I think you’d enjoy it. Archives 69 is also worth getting your hands on, as well as Jasmin et Cigarettes!

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