Re-calibrating The Nose – Review: Parfums d’Orsay Etiquette Bleue

A true cologne in the classic style is a wonderful thing. It is timeless – traditional and utterly modern at the same time. It is genderless – nothing else works so perfectly without taking perceived boundaries between feminine and masculine into account. It is instantly familiar and comfortable.

I came upon a sample of Etiquette Bleue some time ago, but didn’t take it out until I got to know another scent of the line, L’Intrigante, that I liked a lot.

Allegedly created in 1830 for the Count d’Orsay and reconstructed in 2008 by Florent Leblanc, Etiquette Bleue contains notes of lemon, bergamot, orange, petit grain, rosemary, rosewood, orange blossom, sandalwood, balsam of peru and oakmoss.

Etiquette Bleue opens fresh with an accord full of citrus blended with the aromatic stringency of rosemary. It is a wonderful smelling, bracing wake-up call. Soon the scent mellows into sweeter territory thanks to orange blossom that is soft and sweet and decidedly non-soapy, which I love. All to soon the perfume dries down into a woody-mossy base that on my skin turns out a bit sweet, but in a good way and does last surprisingly long on me, although it is very quiet and shy.

The delightful evolution of Etiquette Bleue goes by in a matter of minutes, compelling me to reapply frequently to experience it over and over again. This is not a scent where a small decant gets you very far. In the spirit of living in the moment, I love Etiquette Bleue, but as an investment, I’d have to say go with something more long-lasting. But, there is a “but”… in a moment.

The genre of cologne and longevity have been at odds until the lovely people of Atelier Cologne came along and brought us truly long-lasting, highly concentrated cologne absolues. (Orange Sanguine, Bois Blonds, Trefle Pur, Oolang Infini, Grand Neroli and Vanille Insensée.)

I enjoy applying Etiquette Bleue lavishly as a refreshing summer treat and it fits my desire for the uncomplicated and simple that overcomes me from time to time, when I have had enough of testing things like Skarb, or wearing opulent creations like Amouage for days on end.

Etiquette Bleue is a kind of base line for my nose, a re-calibrating scent, a perfume that lets me breathe free again and reminds me of what is “normal”. For that it needs not to be longlasting, on the contrary, I like the fact that it is gone soon, opening up my nose and my skin for new possibilities. (That was the “but”!)

Something like that is essential in any Perfumistas collection.

What are your re-calibrating perfumes?

Image source:,  Piotr Grzywocz via wikimedia.commons

About Olfactoria

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22 Responses to Re-calibrating The Nose – Review: Parfums d’Orsay Etiquette Bleue

  1. IsabelleMi says:

    “re-calibrating scent” – I like it 🙂 A good cologne is a wonderful thing. –
    I realize I wear e.g OJ Osmanthus often after testing quite a few fragrances: it’s like a brake because it’s so familiar and refreshing. I find osmanthus scents kind and fresh in a lovely way. And talking about OJ, I find her fragrances “cosy” to wear in a good way. Linda Pilkington and Mona di Orio – two charming ladies, aren’t they! – But I just received my By Kilian samples so I open the the first one now… 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Such a fresh cologne shifts my parameters right back to starting point, it is great to have a good one at hand. Etiquette Bleue is perfect for that.
      OJ acting like a brake – I like that.
      Enjoy your Kilians! 🙂

      • IsabelleMi says:

        Thank you, Birgit. I started Kilian’s love story from the end and it can be sensed the story has been emotionally eventful. Sweet Redemption has named the way I feel it – and there is already a sense of something new. Memories and hope weaved together. Lovely 🙂

  2. Ines says:

    I love that dog pic! So cute. 🙂

    My re-calibrating perfume is also a cologne, Jo Malone’s Ginger&Nutmeg. It’s there for me whenever I need something lightly fragrant that will make me feel at ease and not bother me in the slightest and is the only perfume I can actually wear when feeling nauseous (if I’m taking a long trip by car for example).

  3. Nana Kelly says:

    Lovely piece B…especially because I am so in the mood for the citrus/fresh. The range in South Africa is so limited and I stock up when I travel or ask friends to buy some for me when they happen to be overseas. I am no perfume aficionado nor am I an avid collector but I do appreciate the art of smelling good 🙂

    My re-calibrating perfume is Bulgari Eau parfumee au the vert and I also like Cipresso di Toscana by Aqua di Parma. I am now the proud owner of Yuzu Fou by parfum d’Empire and it seems like it will join this list soon, I am test-driving it at the moment…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Nana,
      this one would be perfect for your mood at the moment. I hope you are enjoying Yuzu Fou! 🙂

      • Nana Kelly says:

        Hey B, I am loving Yuzu…got so many compliments wearing it. Am already thinking about my next acquisition target which is another Parfum d’Empire, I am going to go for the Osmanthus Interdite 🙂
        I must confess though that my initiation to the Osmanthus range did not go that well which is making me a tad nervous to go for one again…Last year, a zealous sales assistant at a bespoke boutique in Cape Town managed to twist my arm and I acquired a bottle of Osmanthus from the different company and somehow, the scent did not agree with me very much although I am a big fan of Ellena.

        • Olfactoria says:

          That is good to hear, that you are happy with Yuzu Fou. Osmanthus Interdite is really nice, although the Osmanthus by Ormonde Jayne is also very, very good. There is an OJ discovery set to order online, should you want to try that before you commit to the Parfum d’Empire. My favorite osmanthus rendition is Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan though, a beauty.

  4. deeHowe says:

    Re-calibrating, I love it!

    A quick side-note: I adore Florida Water, and I was just thinking yesterday that I needed to find a place around here that sells it. It’s SO cheap, but so astoundingly good—if it lasted more that 30 seconds, it’d retail for $100 easily… Anyway, it’s may favorite cologne, and I was thinking about it and you, and now today, you write about cologne! We are on the same page, again 😉

    Re-calibrating scents: Carthusia Via Camerelle is my top pick in this category, I use it exclusively to revive myself when I’m having sniff-fatigue. When I want to emind myself what an astundingly good perfume should smell like, I wear zshalimar extrait, which resets the bar. When I want to remind myself that I like aldehydes in small doses, it’s Eau Premier. Finally, my “Reset All” button can be activated with galbanum: no. 19, Gray Flannel, Silences, or Antonia do this nicely!

    Great post (as always) Birgit! xo

  5. Vanessa says:

    I mistook that nose for a Mulberry bag initially!

    Haven’t tried this but I love L’Intriguante (thanks to you – again).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Haha, thanks for that, I laughed so hard about the Mulberry misidentification right now, my stomach hurts. I really needed a good laugh! 😀

      I like this line, very well made and likeable perfumes. Not earthshattering, but solid and dependable, what one wears more often in real life anyway…

  6. Tara says:

    This cologne has a lot of my favourite things, I particularly like the idea of a good rosemary note. I love the way you appreciate its fleeting nature for what it is, B.

    I don’t think I have a re-calibrating perfume like this yet, but maybe Trefle Pur or even Kyoto.

  7. Undina says:

    What a cute picture!!! Thank you, Birgit! The picture alone would have improved my day significantly but paired with a nice review and an interesting question… 🙂
    My re-calibrating scent is French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone. It’s fresh and simple, and very pleasant. It’s not demanding: I can just spray it on and go on with my life. While wearing it, I do not need to work on getting my perfume – I just live in it.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is important not having to work at understanding a perfume all the time, that’s true!

      Thank you for that lovely comment, I’m glad that this post helped to improve your day a bit! 😀

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