Fragrant Offering – Review: Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu

By Tara

The full title of this fragrance is Fils de Dieu, du Riz et des Agrumes which translates as “Son of God, rice and citrus”. It was created by Ralf Schwieger and launched in 2012. The note list appears to contain – among other things – the ingredients for a Thai green curry:

Ginger, coriander leaves, lime, shiso, bergamot, coconut, rice note, cardamom, jasmine, cinnamon, French May rose, tonka bean, vetiver, musk, amber, leather and castoreum.

fils de dieuI generally find the idea of smelling like food quite a turn-off. Maybe a dessert at a push, but a curry?
As it turns out, it’s not a literal interpretation. While it does have foody connotations, it comes across as a perfume rather than just an aroma.

Fils de Dieu opens with a fantastic hit of tangy lime, freshly peeled ginger (which smells more green than spicy) and a scattering of just picked coriander leaves. It’s both citrusy and aromatic.

The floral notes are low-key. Along with a nice scoop of cosmetic powder, they create an overall effect that is sweet and pretty, in contrast to the herbs and spices. Like a lot of South East Asian cuisine Fils de Dieu is an interesting mix of sweet and savoury elements.

The rice note is what pulls it all together. It’s fluffy basmati rice with coconut cream swirled into it which adds a carefree “on vacation” vibe. It’s the perfect steamy base for the flower petals, fruit and spice to rest upon.

Interestingly a number of commentators liken Fils de Dieu to Shalimar. Although it’s not listed as a note, there is a sheer waft of vanilla throughout. Combined with the citrus in the top and amber/musk in the base, it could be reminiscent of the classic Guerlain, however the fruit, herbs and spice make all the difference.

Things get darker and more intimate in the far dry down. There’s sexy musk and warm amber but the faint scent of aromatic herbs lingers on. The blazing sun has set but the air still feels close. The windows are flung wide but no one is in the mood for sleep…

Fils de Dieu is the smell of exotic climes, heat and happiness. It is part of that joyful collective of fragrances which instantly spirit you away somewhere your worries can’t find you.

It’s distinctive like most of Etat Libre d’Orange’s perfumes, but unlike a lot of them I find it wearable, particularly in hot weather. It really comes into its own in the heat. The steam of the rice melds perfectly with the humidity while the citrus slices through it like a cold knife.

It has presence, but the whole thing feels balmy and lightweight. Sillage is moderate and lasting power on me is extremely good.

While wearing Fils de Dieu I’m reminded of the little offerings (known as “canang sari”) I saw on the streets outside homes while on holiday in Bali. Everyday there would be a new, artfully woven palm or banana leaf bearing fruit, flowers and a small amount of rice.

An attractive and fragrant way to please the Gods.

How wearable do you find the fragrances by Etat Libre d’Orange? Have you tried this one?


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29 Responses to Fragrant Offering – Review: Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu

  1. Love the ELdO offerings Tara. I find so many of them wearable. Also like their fearless attitude to mixing, I’m rarely bored in their frags. I have tried Fils but can’t remember it being so fabulously exotic, maybe it’s time to get another decant. You make it sound heavenly.
    Portia xx

    • Tara says:

      Portia, what’s exotic to me could well be pedestrian to you 🙂

      Whatever people think of ELdO I think they would have to agree with you that their fragrances are rarely boring.

  2. Anka says:

    Yes, Fils de Dieu to me is the smell of happiness and wanderlust, it actually is one of my absolute favorite fragrances. So nice that you like it too!
    It’s the flanker Shalimar Initial L’Eau which is very similar to FdD from about the second hour onwards (the opening is rather different).
    Other favorites from the line are Eau de Protection and Like This.

    • Tara says:

      Anka, the smell of happiness and wanderlust is a great description.

      Thanks for clarifying which version of Shalimar this resembles.

      I shall have to look into Eau de Protection.

  3. Vanessa says:

    Your beautiful review has reminded me that I love this perfume – I am particularly drawn to ones with a rice note – and have a tiny smidge left which is in my bag of ‘Perfumes to drain’. Today may be the day!

    I only recently realised that it was originally called ‘Philippine houseboy’, which is a bit more provocative. ;). Nothing surprises me about that range though.

    On a small point of grammar, I have been puzzling over the fact that on the bottle there *appears* to be no comma, yet on the ELDO website I have seen a comma after ‘Dieu’ when they mention the scent name in the copy. With comma, the translation is as you have it, while without comma the meaning changes subtly to ‘Son of *the god of* rice and citrus fruits’. The other reviews are 50/50 with and without comma, so I have no idea what the name is for sure at this point!

    It’s potentially that ‘Eats shoots and leaves’ vs ‘Eats, shoots and leaves’ teaser again, only the brand itself seems inconsistent in its deployment of a comma in different parts of its marketing / packaging. Sorry, but you know how I enjoy a grammar conundrum…;)

  4. Ines says:

    I tried this a long time ago (along with the whole line) and if I remember correctly I rather liked it. In general, I think those are fun perfumes if some possibly unwearable. 😉

    • Tara says:

      Ines, seeing as you love Shalimar and aren’t adverse to a bit of spice I would imagine you getting on well with this.

      Fun but possibly unwearable is a good summation of ELdO line for me too!

  5. Sandra says:

    You really make this sound divine Tara. I tried this a while ago and did not get any rice notes. Lots of cooked greens though. Hmm – will try it again after reading your review. I really enjoy ELDO Putain de Palaces.

    • Tara says:

      Sandra, do give it another go. You should get the rice underneath the greens if you wait a bit.

      I love the violet/rose/rice powder drydown of Putain de Palaces but I just couldn’t get past that pungent curry spice opening. Maybe I should try again.

  6. cookie queen says:

    Hi Tara! I have a 10ml bottle of this. I lie. I had one but I gave it to a friend. Although I liked it, I found it way too masculine on me. I thought a few drops added to a Thai dipping sauce would be nice though. 🙂 I love Rien and like Putain. The new Cologne is really quite lovely. Hugs. xxx

  7. Lady Jane Grey says:

    So far there was only one scent from ELO I appreciated : Like This. Now you made this Thai green curry sound extremely appealing – it became a definitely-need-to-try issue !

  8. Suzanne says:

    Hi Tara. I enjoyed your review and particularly the way you concluded it, with those “little offerings” … I think you’re right, they are quite fitting with Fils de Dieu. I have a sample of this and quite liked it after a couple wearings. It is quite light on my skin, but as you noted, in a way that is delightful in summer weather.

    • Suzanne says:

      p.s. Just read over my comment …could I say “quite” quite a few more times??! 😀

    • Tara says:

      Hi Suzanne!

      After I wrote my review I read Victoria’s and she also made the connection with offerings in her illustrative photo. It does feel right.

      I can imagine Fils de Dieu is a lot lighter than your usual fragrance style but yes, that’s no bad thing in heat and high humidity.

  9. Undina says:

    What a nice review! Too bad the perfume itself didn’t wow me. But I’ll test it again – just out of curiosity.
    I think that the majority of Etat Libre d’Orange’s perfumes would have been very wearable – if it weren’t for their names. There’s no situation in my universe in which I’d like to answer “Hotel Slut” or “Fat Electrician” in response to my friend or co-worker’s question: “What are you wearing?” I don’t think I ever was the right audience for that type of “humor” even when I was much younger but now I would feel like a grandma wearing fishnet stockings.

    • Tara says:

      Ha ha! Love the grandma wearing fishnet stockings comparison 🙂

      I’m the other way around. The names don’t bother me but my tastes are too conventional for a lot of the perfumes. Maybe that’s why I like Fils de Dieu so much – an ELdO I can wear!

  10. Asali says:

    Tara you make this sound rather worth seeking out, and that although I generally am not a fan of ELd’O’s perfumes. Of the ones I did try, nothing wowed me, and yes, like Undina I can’t say I like the names. I had great hope for the last one, the iris one, but even though I have a sample, I can’t even remember anything about it.

    • Tara says:

      I didn’t know they did an iris one, I must admit. Although the fact you don’t remember a thing about it doesn’t bode well 🙂

      I know a lot of people liked the Cologne.

  11. Michael says:

    Lovely review Tara. Fils de Dieu is one of my favourites from the line.
    It’s not one I’d have imagined loving but it’s just so easy to wear and it’s one of the few fragrances that seems to garner compliments often.
    I understand what you mean about it being light in weight too. An underrated scent IMO.
    In fact I might even wear it tomorrow thanks to you, although that will require me not wearing Rose Nacree for the third day running……another fragrance I did not expect to love…..

    • Tara says:


      I’m not surprised Fils de Dieu gets compliments. It’s lovely and diffusive with that light, wafting vanilla. You generally have the perfect weather conditions for it too.

      Enjoy it if you wear it tomorrow and it’s nice to hear you like Rose Nacree so much.

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