État Libre d’Orange Rien: Bondage Leather

Candice Swanepoel in "Strict" by Mert & Marcus for Interview Magazine September 2011.

Candice Swanepoel in “Strict” by Mert & Marcus for Interview Magazine September 2011.

A cool chick, dressed in fake leather that she’d bought at a cheap, second-hand store. By day, she worked in the industrial backrooms of a carpeting warehouse, trying to get the smell of dust and sanitized, synthetic cleaners out of her hair. With her torn fishnet stockings and combat boots, she exuded an air of toughness like the black whip she wielded at nights, in her other job, as a dominatrix at an exclusive BDSM club downtown. The clean scent of her slightly musky skin was coated with powder, the palest of pink roses, a touch of iris, and a sharp sweetness. The pale delicacy of it all contrasted with the feral meow of the raunchy cat smell that lingered under the fake leather, and with the incense that she loved to burn. On her evening breaks at the club, she would lounge nonchalantly against the wall, her long leg in its black patent, thigh-high stiletto boot crooked behind her as she restlessly flicked the whip to the side, and did her best James Dean with each long drag of her cigarette. When men asked her name, she would coldly reply, “Rien.”

Source: Lenoma.ru

Source: Lenoma.ru

Rien is a leather and aldehyde fragrance from the quirky, eccentric French niche house of État Libre d’Orange (hereinafter just “État Libre“). It is an eau de parfum created by Antoine Lie and released in 2006. The fragrance gives a nod at Robert Piguet‘s legendary Bandit, but without the latter’s famous green-black hues from galbanum. It also shares similarities to L’Artisan Parfumeur‘s Dzing! and Molinard‘s Habanita. Like all those fragrances, Rien is a love it-or-leave-it proposition. I hated it. Deeply.

État Libre describes Rien and its notes as follows:

RIEN, THE STORY…

Nothing is Everything. Do not believe what you first see… under the demureness of the name, there is the spicy savor of blackcurrant bays and the musky notes of blond suede. ‘Rien’ is a second skin perfume, a perfume that clings to the body and perseveres in the mind. Like venial sin on the verge of becoming mortal, it is irresistible and resolutely pervasive. As light as mohair and as precious as cashmere, the fragrance envelops skin with a powdered caress. It has the meticulous elegance and hypnotic beauty of a modern Dorian Gray, in a feminine/masculine version. An entrancing fragrance that leaves an unforgettable imprint. Utter charm, utterly charismatic. The vanilla/opium accord of the drydown reinforces the addiction. ‘Rien’ is an essential. A perfumer’s confession

Rien.

Incense, rose, leather, cistus [Labdanum], oakmoss, patchouli, amber, cumin, black pepper, aldehydes…

I’m a bit confused by the fact that some of the notes mentioned in État Libre’s story aren’t included in the notes. “Blackcurrant bays?” Apart from my ignorance as to what constitutes a berry’s “bay,” there is also the issue of Luckyscent listing a few additional or separate elements. For example, it lists mousse de chene (which is technically different from mere oakmoss), in addition to styrax (a vanillic resin) and iris. If Luckyscent is correct, then the complete list of notes would look more like this:

Incense, rose, leather, iris, labdanum, mousse de chene, styrax, oakmoss, patchouli, amber, cumin, black pepper, aldehydes.

Source: hdwallpapers.lt

Source: hdwallpapers.lt

Rien opens on my skin with aldehydes and a nuclear blast of black-green. For once, the aldehydes don’t translate on my skin as pure soap and foam, but rather as something fizzy, sweet, and with a wax candle undertone. They also have a salty, nose-tickling smell that is enormously similar to Alka-Seltzer tablets dropped in water.

Dried oakmoss or tree moss.

Dried oakmoss or tree moss.

The green note smells sharp — so much so that it almost resembles galbanum more than mere oakmoss. Yet, despite its pungent, bitter acridness, it clearly has the traditional musty, grey mineralized feel of lichen. It’s an extremely cold note that has a mineral and metallic clang to it, along with a salty quality that obviously carried over to impact the aldehydes. The grey-green moss is also infused by incense, though it is not the usual dark, black, smoky kind. This is more like the mentholated, medicinal, almost anise-like tonalities of myrrh, but without its cold, white, High Church feel. The overall combination feels as sharp as the crack of a black-and-green leather whip across raw flesh. Have you seen those old films like “Mutiny on the Bounty,” where mutineers or slaves were whipped as punishment across their backs? That’s the crack you feel here with Rien’s opening. 

Civet. Source: focusingonwildlife.com

Civet. Source: focusingonwildlife.com

Some other notes stir and whimper submissively under this aggressive barrage of sharpness. There are subtle flickers of a pale, pink rose and of a slightly powdered iris hiding fearfully in the base. More defiant is the feral meow of the civet, sounding like a cat in heat as it lets off a sharp, bitter, animalic note. I’m not one of those people who always thinks civet smells like a “cat’s anus,” but something about the note in Rien strongly conjured up that pejorative term. Civet is a note that cannot be naturally harvested any longer due to animal cruelty and abuse issues, so the aroma is commonly replicated by synthetic versions. In Rien, it might be some very cheap stuff, because the civet feels not just animalic, but so sharp that it could cut you. Then again, given the rest of the fragrance, it’s undoubtedly intentional….

Source: ellequebec.com

Source: ellequebec.com

The most interesting parts of the fragrance to me are the leather and the mousse de chene. Let’s start with the former. There is something very synthetic about the leather, almost intentionally so, because the material smells like new, unworn, black patent shoes mixed with the cheap, plastic-y smell of fake, plastic leather, or “pleather.” As a lawyer in San Francisco, one of my areas of speciality was sexual harassment defense, and I gained some working knowledge of BDSM and sex clubs, as well as every possible kinky twist that you might imagine in a city as sexually open as San Francisco. When I wore État Libre’s Rien, all I could think about was bondage leather, whips, and rubber outfits in San Francisco (and a truly bizarre case). Here, however, the material always has a slightly powdered, dusty, rubbery, plastic, industrial undertone to it. I wouldn’t be particularly fond of the aroma, in and of itself, on the best of days, but when combined with the waxy, fizzy, nose-tickling aldehydes, the acrid, black incense, and the crack of the oakmoss, it’s really is not my cup of tea.

"Evernia Prunastri" lichen moss. Source: via supermoss.com

“Evernia Prunastri” lichen moss. Source: supermoss.com

And let’s talk about that oakmoss. Mousse de chene is actually a specific type of oakmoss (Evernia prunastri) which is an oakmoss absolute according to The Aroma Connection blog, and, in some people’s eyes, seems to be considered the “true” oakmoss. It’s a grey lichen which grows on trees and has an intensely dank, pungent, fusty aroma that can also be salty and smell like tree bark. Still, the truth is that “real” oakmoss of any type is essentially banned out of perfume existence, so substitutes are used. There is a very interesting, detailed, and somewhat technical discussion of the different types of oakmoss on The Aroma Connection, including the various synthetic versions or additives thereto. The site also helpfully provides the following aroma description:

It should also be mentioned that a range of commercial oakmoss products exists, some offering a warm, leathery-mossy character, whilst others offer have woody, mossy – almost marine-like aspects.

Here, both types of aromas are present. The oakmoss has a sharp mossy, salty character that smells quite distinctly like the bark of a tree, but it also has a leathery quality to it. Later, it turns warmer, but the opening moments of Rien are really a whack on the head with its colder, sharper aspects that are further amplified by the black pleather and acrid smoke.

Thankfully, about forty minutes, Rien starts to soften its sharp edges, turning smoother, sweeter, and a hair less insolently hostile. There is a gentle warmth stirring deep in its depths, aided by the slow awakening of patchouli along with vanillic touches from the styrax. Unfortunately, these more positive aspects are off-set by a soft, sweet, musky smell that feels like the aroma of newly placed, industrial carpeting in an office, or rolled up carpet in a warehouse somewhere. It’s a smell that is sharp, musty, dusty, almost glue-like, but also sanitized clean. I blame it on the combination of the aldehydes with the oakmoss, along with some help perhaps from white musk. Atop this dusty, somewhat industrial, musty, clean bouquet is a sprinkling of sweet powder; it’s not quite vanillic, but it’s definitely not like iris or makeup powder either.

Source: ehow.com

Source: ehow.com

At the 75-minute point, Rien’s base is a mix of cloyingly sweetened, dusty oakmoss with bondage leather, rubber, that sanitized industrial aroma, and some patchouli. The whole thing is wrapped up with sharp myrrh-like incense smoke, and even sharper animalic civet. The syrupy brown sweetness now filling the oakmoss juxtaposes sharply with its more pungent, mossy, mineralized aspects. The juxtaposition grows even more contrary when you add in the synthetic, “office clean” vibe and the dominatrix’s rubbery, black leather. I can’t bear any of it.

Source: Thriftcore.com

Source: Thriftcore.com

I’m also having extremely pained flashbacks to L’Artisan‘s Dzing!, a fragrance that almost made me lose my mind with its extremely similar dusty scent mixed with synthetic, cloying sweetness. Dzing! reminded me of those cheap trinket, tourist shops you find in Tijuana where the smell of plastic toys and shoes from China mixes with dust, vanilla air freshener, clean notes, rubber, and sweetness. Both perfumes are intended to be leather fragrances but, to me, the “leather” in Dzing! smelled solely of cheap, industrial plastic accompanied by cloying, synthetic, vanillic sweetness. It’s nowhere near as bad in Rien — the aroma is more dusty pleather than hardcore, pink plastic with glue and chemical undertones — but the two fragrances share enough synthetic similarities to make me wince. 

At the end of the second hour, Rien’s combination of aldehydes with plastic leather remains the dominant feature, but the oakmoss recedes a little. Slowly rising to take its place is the patchouli, resulting in a discordant dusty-musty-soapy-patchouli combination. The amber also becomes more prominent, though it never once feels like labdanum with its wonderfully nutty, rich, sometimes dirty, resinous characteristics. Instead, the amber here is just a generic, vague, muted warm glow in the base, infused with myrrh smoke, styrax’s vanillic hues, the feral animalic skank of the civet, and those godawful industrial synthetics. Is there no end to this nightmare?

The perfume continues its subtle shifts. Slowly, Rien transforms into a bouquet of clean, musky, supposedly “skin” tonalities with aldehydic underpinnings, accompanied by fruited notes from the patchouli. There is powder that feels a little like that in makeup, thanks to the orris, but it also resembles powdered vanilla. The sharpness of the synthetic civet vies with the swirl of equally sharp dark smoke, which now feels more like frankincense than bitter myrrh. And the floral elements grow more prominent.

By the start of the fourth hour, Rien is a soft blur of clean, musky, aldehydic skin infused with muted floral notes of rose and iris, as well as a fruited elements that resembles dried raspberries. The smoke and plastic leather wrap it up like a bow, creating a bouquet that calls to mind the sharp, powdery, fruited, black leather, florals and smoke of Molinard‘s Habanita eau de toilette. (A combination that resulted in my struggling enormously with Habanita as well, by the way, and which ended in me disliking it immensely.)

Rien’s undercurrent of animalic, almost urinous civet remains unabated, as do the prickly, biting synthetics in the base, but Rien has (thankfully) lost its aura of freshly cleaned, commercial carpeting. The reason may lie in the growing warmth and amber in the fragrance’s foundation, which has finally managed to diffuse some of the oakmoss-aldehyde-pleather combination’s bite. At the same time, the sillage drops, and the whole bouquet hovers just an inch above the skin. Rien is still extremely potent when smelled up close, and I suspect the synthetics are the reason why.

So, to summarize, we’ve gone from Bandit to Dzing! to Habanita. No matter how much I may dislike the fragrance, I have to give Rien credit for pulling off so many clever referential nods in a row. Rien remains in its Habanita-like phase for a few hours before reaching its last stage near the end of the seventh hour.  At that point, Rien is really just powder on my skin with a slightly floral nuance and quite a bit of stale sourness. The bloody fragrance sets me free just after the tenth hour when it finally dies away. I rushed to put on some Puredistance M, so that a leather fragrance I actually enjoyed would wipe the bad taste away.   

Sons of Anarchy photo via wall321.com.

Sons of Anarchy photo via wall321.com.

As noted earlier, Rien is one of those difficult fragrances that people either love or hate. To balance out my perspective, I thought I’d share the views of The Non-Blonde who accurately describes the fragrance as “edgy” in a review which reads, in part, as follows:

It’s dirty, animalic, leathery, and smoky. There’s a hint of hot asphalt and burnt rubber, the kind you get when notes of black leather, cistus, and cumin come together. But Rien is also directly connected to Robert Piguet’s Bandit, not just in the smoke, leather and uncompromising oakmoss, but also in the softening that happens when the fragrance unfolds and gives a peek at its floral heart (more apparent in Bandit’s extrait concentration).

I used to think of Rien as very butch. I’m not so sure nowadays, though it is completely gender neutral. Rien is urban, has a distinct and deliberate synthetic twist– rubber, smoke, and some metallic parts, but also very human and warm. Wearing Rien is like taking a whiff of skin warmed under the biker’s leather jacket. […]

Rien can be downright dangerous in large amounts. I’ve noticed it the very first time I tried it and I maintain this view to this day. It’s one of my favorite perfumes from ELdO, but its non-perfuminess and the medicinal quality it takes when sprayed lavishly can be a major turn-off for those who don’t appreciate its style and heavy dusty leather boots.

I think we detect very much the same thing, particularly as Rien does have a whiff of warm skin under a biker’s leather jacket, in addition to ties with Bandit and the “deliberate synthetic twist” that she noted. I may have different terms and aroma sensations for the synthetic parts, since Rien was more sanitized, industrial office carpeting on my skin than asphalt, but the synthetic and urban feel is very much the same. Where we part ways is that she happens to think Rien is “daring and seductive,” while I simply hate it. Profoundly. And, no, I did not apply a lot. It doesn’t take much to be deluged by Rien’s abrasively acrid, synthetic, extremely sharp weirdness.

People’s assessment of Rien on Fragrantica is generally very consistent in terms of how the fragrance manifests itself on people’s skin, but there is a big split as to whether people actually like the final result. Some consider Rien to be a “masterpiece” precisely because of its difficult notes. Others found it to be utterly unbearable. Some examples of the range in perspective:

  • it’s suede and little else. Smells like a department store leather jacket area. Also has a nice hint of industrial carpet. Ever walk into a new office? Yep, that’s what I’m smelling. Not something I’d want to wear. I don’t smell anything animalic or balmy or like incense or wood. JUST ALDEHYDES.
  • Truly the bizarro spiritual successor of Magie Noire and Aromatics Elixir! It smells yellow, pissy, leathery, turpentine-like, but also like patchouli and clean earth. At times it smells like a corrupted Chanel No. 5, with muted and expensive-smelling florals. A masterpiece with unbeatable strength and longevity, great in hot or cold weather, and devastatingly sexy on men and women alike. If you want to project a certain fuck-off image then you must have it. Vastly superior to the more timid Bandit, I must say.
  • All I smell is brand-new snow tires in a garage. [¶] And I can’t scrub it off. Must be those 60,000+ mile steel-belted tire models. I just might have to wrap my wrist in a towel and duct tape it up…so that I might get to sleep tonight.
  • strong aldehydes, remining me of grandmas classical perfumes, and the heavy leather scent. There is also a strong animalistic note and the animalistic and oakmoss notes clash with something industrial, plasticky.
  • I’ve read quite a few of the reviews here and mostly I see negative remarks. All I have to say is – ARE YOU PEOPLE CRAZY? This is one of the most magnificent perfumes I have ever smelled! And believe me I have smelled (and owned) a lot of great perfumes. Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, Guerlain’s Mitsouko (which is my most favorite scent ever!), L’Heure Bleue ( some say old-fashioned, I say classic) -I could go on and on, but I won’t. [¶] Anyway, my point is I would put Rien in the same line up as any of the greats. It is a masterpiece of perfumery. And this is said by a 56 year old woman, who only a couple of years ago was afraid to go out of her Guerlain, Chanel, Dior comfort zone.

There is the same sharp split at Basenotes. The negative reviews talk about such things as how Rien is “mainly a piercing, industrial note like glue, solvent or hot light bulbs. A woody-spice note in an quirky mutant, sci-fi vein. Hot plastic, volatile glue… really not my scene.” The positive ones rave about how Rien is a challenging, strange beauty that has ties to everything from Habanita, Bandit, and Dzing!, to such famously skanky or urinous fragrances as Kouros and Bal à Versailles. On both sites, I get the impression that men generally seem to outnumber the women in terms of loving Rien, so I’d definitely not worry about the fragrance being very feminine in nature.

How you feel about Rien may depend on how you view certain notes. If you’re someone who is ambivalent about Bandit, please be aware that the leather here is much more intense, not as smooth, and is significantly more synthetic or industrial in feel. If you dislike aldehydes, industrial notes, black rubber, synthetic plastic aromas, incredibly sharp civet, urinous elements, and/or super mineralized, dusty, pungent oakmoss, then stay away. On the other hand, however, if you’re someone who loves oakmoss fragrances that are very animalic, skanky, aldehydic or dusty, then I’d definitely recommend you giving Rien a test sniff. (But do not blind buy!) If you go one step further and genuflect before the altar of Bandit, Habanita, or Kouros, then Rien should absolutely be your next stop. I’m sure you’ll enjoy cracking that whip to the feral yowls of the civet!

 

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Rien is an eau de parfum that is most commonly available in a 1.7 ml/50 ml size, but which can also be purchased directly from Etat Libre’s website in a large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle as well. The prices listed there are in Euros: €69.00 for a 50 ml/1.7 oz bottle, and €119.00 for a 100 ml/3.4 oz bottle. Samples are also available for €3.00. Etat Libre offers worldwide shipping, and free delivery to or within France. In the U.S.: Rien can be purchased from LuckyScent for $80 for a 50 ml/1.7 oz bottle, with samples for $3, and from MinNY. You can also purchase it from Parfum1 in the large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle for $149. The site offers free domestic shipping, with international shipping available for a fee. Outside the U.S.: You can purchase Rien from Etat Libre’s new London store at 61 Redchurch Street for £60, as well as from its Paris one located at 69, rue des Archives, 75003. Elsewhere in the UK, I found Rien on Amazon UK for £58.49 for the 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle through a third-party vendor . It is also sold at London’s Les Senteurs for £59.50, with samples also available for purchase. In Germany, Rien is available at First in Fragrance in the small size for €69. The site ships worldwide. In the Netherlands, I found it at ParfuMaria in the large 100 ml size for €119. In Italy, it’s available at ScentBar and in Spain, it’s sold at The Cosmeticoh. In Russia, Lenoma carries the full Etat Libre line. For all other locations or vendors from Canada to the Netherlands and Sweden, you can use the Store Locator listing on the company’s website. Samples: you can order a sample of Rien from Surrender to Chance where prices start at $4.75 for a 1 ml vial.
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53 thoughts on “État Libre d’Orange Rien: Bondage Leather

  1. I had high expectations for this one, but was left a bit disappointed. I neither loved it nor hated it, really, but for me the experience was straightforward leather with a synthetic edge to it and a bit of sweetness. I think even without the synthetic edge, I wouldn’t have loved it only because I’ve tried a number of leather fragrances I found more interesting. Your last paragraph was funny because it was so opposite of my impression. During my wear, I said to myself that it reminded me of a more wearable Bandit (though admittedly I’ve come around a bit on Bandit and I appreciate it more these days). Despite our somewhat divergent impressions of this scent, I ultimately agree it was a disappointment – or at the very least it didn’t live up to my expectations based on the notes. I’ll certainly be trying it again as I wasn’t scarred from the experience as you seem to have been, but give me Nombril Immense or Jasmine et Cigarette any day over this one!

    • It sounds like it was substantially milder and simpler on your skin than on mine, my dear. (And, yes, I remember how much you struggled with Bandit originally!) I also sounds like it didn’t develop much on you. Did you not get a blast of potent civet? No Kouros urinous elements? Or the industrial, glue notes that so many other detected as well? If so, then you lucky dog! LOL! 🙂

      • Indeed it was! But perhaps more complex pieces will reveal themselves to me in later wearings, as they have in the past. Definitely no civet or urinous elements – and I feel like I can usually pick those out easily. You know how I adore Absolue pour le Soir and my friend and I call it “peefume” because of it’s slightly urinous note. LOL. I can sort of see the industrial glue notes though – that’s probably what I would associate as the strange synthetic element which stopped me from truly enjoying it. There was something a bit too fake about it (although knowing the line, I’d argue that is wholly intentional) for me to really take to it. Not when I have other beautiful leather perfumes available to me. ELdO’s price points are pretty decent, though, so with the right chemistry perhaps this would be ideal for someone. Just not me. And definitely not you. LOL.

        • “peefume” — ha! As for Rien’s fakeness, yes, I definitely agree that it’s intentional. I have high hopes for the ones we have already talked about, but Rien is definitely a scent for someone other than me. That said, it was still better than the revolting, ghastly Dzing! Now THAT is a fragrance that truly and genuinely traumatized me. LOL. If I recall, you didn’t mind that one either, and it was relatively banal on you, without any of the notes that bothered me so much. Hmmm….. upon further thought, I am starting to be quite envious of your wonderful skin. 😛

          • Yeah, I didn’t like Dzing! but I really feel *anything* about it. It mainly just existed. That said, that was pretty early in my perfume journey, so I wonder if I’d feel differently now that I’m a little more discerning in my tastes. I really hope you are able to find at least one in the line that you find worthwhile! I *do* think you will like Nombril Immense, though, if you ever get to it, unless it’s the polar opposite on you as it was on me. As far as leathers go from the line, Vierges et Toreros was infinitely more likable and interesting, IMO.

          • Out of those that I’ve tried thus far, I like Fils de Dieu from the line quite a bit!! Tom of Finland just sorta…. bewildered me, though I deeply respect the intentional polarity and intellectual theory behind it. Very cleverly done, but not very me, I’m afraid. I’ve got great hopes for Nombril Immense. You know how I love my dark patchouli! 🙂

  2. I tried Rien when it first came out and was overwhelmed by the skank that just got louder by the minute while I was wearing it. That was quite a while ago so I should try it again, just out of curiosity. I love Absolue pour le Soir, so skank is not out of the question for me. I also disliked Dzing, btw. 🙂

    • Ha, one of the very, very few other people I know who also dislikes Dzing! There aren’t many of us, you know, Tara! As for Absolue Pour Le Soir (mmmm, so good), I see it as having a very, very different sort of skank. Of course, all our skins are different and so are our perceptions of things, but on me, it was never a civet-like screech or howl. It was simply a somewhat animalic, warm muskiness, instead of the more feline edge, raunchiness and sharpness of Rien. I don’t think Absolue has civet in it, based on my vague memory of the notes, so perhaps that’s why. Plus, I’m lucky that honey almost never, ever goes urinous on my skin. I know others aren’t so lucky, so if Rien was somewhat urinous on you and Absolue as well, then I can see how the skank may feel the same. Does honey ever go south on you? I think the only time it went weird on me was with Fumerie Turque. (Alas.)

      • I’m not sure if honey in general goes south on me… Miel de Bois was very urinous, but Fumerie Turque is not and I enjoy wearing it. I get the same warm muskiness you get from Absolue pour le Soir.

  3. Haha- You hated it deeply? I did not expect that. For me Rien falls into the category of perfumes that are so evocative of certain places and things that I need several wearings to get over those associations and be able to parse the notes (This happened to me with Tolu and DSH Pandora as well). Rien reminds me of the insides of certain shops in Bangalore (where I lived in India, for a while) that sell wooden things. (If there is any leather in that shop, it is probably fake leather, so I see what you’re saying). So I thought it was interesting that Dzing reminded you of the inside of a different kind of shop..:).. For me Rien is more a ‘whoosh..time machine’ kind of perfume and I enjoy it in that light. I’m not sure if I can actually ‘wear’ it. Though I like Rien, I smelled Habanita very early in my descent down the rabbit hole, didn’t like it and swapped my sample away. I wonder I would think of it now.

    I’m curious- how much of Rien did you wear while testing? I usually wear a teeny dab from a vial..:)

    • I tested it twice, with about 1.5 tiny squirts from the little sample atomizer, and then about 2 squirts. The atomizer was so wonky that I probably put on less than my usual amount that I use for testing when applying scent from a dab vial.

      Perfumes that are time-machines of sort can hold a special, wonderful power, so I can understand how your experience with Rien made it feel very special. 🙂 It’s interesting that you were transported to a shop too. Was it a dusty one? lol. I’d be curious to see what you thought of both Habanita and Dzing, if you tried them now, and if they too held some of the same notes (and memories) for you.

  4. Lo behold! The ‘enigmatic’ and quite ‘controversial’ Rien!
    I actually smelt it last week after reading all the ramblings on Basenotes and Fragrantica. After smelling it all I can say is: …….Meh!
    I’ve to agree Kafka, it was a synthetic leathery mess that honestly could not decide what it should be. It was confused and having a nervous breakdown in leather closet as can’t decide which leather or rubber costume it should wear…..Boohoo!
    Another thing that it annoyed me with is its rather timid sillage and longetivity. …..eventually it was just a shrinking violet although one expected a loud butch and confident leather and rubber clad dominatrix.
    In terms of of good old leather I will just stick with my fave Bandit. …nothing beats this classic in terms of its sheer elegance and refined use of leather.
    In terms of etat Libre de oranger I will stick with its sickly but yet wierdly addictive and very very original Secretions Magnifique.

    • Ha, you’re hilarious, Sultan! I’m so glad you found me. “Nervous breakdown in the leather closet” because it can’t decide which rubber or leather outfit it wants to wear. Hahaha!! Absolutely perfect! Talk to me about your experience with the longevity. It was brief?! Either you didn’t put on much of the fragrance, or your skin is even wonkier and more perfume-consuming than even my own! With regard to Secretions M., I have had a sample for months and months, but I’m rather terrified to try it….. 😉

      • Dude try it and disregard all the misconceptions that comes along with it. The initial first few minutes is quite an eye opener and so metallic it will start hurting your fillings in your mouth if you have any but after that its quite refreshing (atleast to me) and super long lasting for an iris fragrance. Its truly one of a kind and now other houses such as Blood(mis)concept are now trying to cash in using the metalic blood/semen note which I believe is a huge new territory and genre that truly needs to be explored in to properly….so sec mag to me at least was a pioneering experiment and a masterpiece.
        Interms of Rien…….on my left hand I had Bandit and on my right Rien…two spritz of each. Bandit smelt gorgeous and was loud through out the next 12 hours.
        Rien on the other hand 4 hours and was hiding it its closet as it was being bullied by the butch grande dame called Bandit. …..
        my skin is wonkier than any body I know…..probably from all the experimenting over the last couple of years with my own compositions and trying to train my nose with different aromachems to my dear wife’s and family’s total and utter dismay!

        • P.s. if you loved ambra aurea try to find a sample of Porfumi Del Forte’s Versilia Vintage Ambra Mediterraneana…….you will go absolutely crazy. I was introduced to both by a good friend of mine Trebor from Scentforathought. 😉

          • I’ll definitely jot down the name. Some of the Italian houses are difficult to get over here, especially in terms of samples, so I’ll see if the place I order from carries it. Thanks for the tip, Sultan!

        • I don’t know, Sultan Pasha, I think I’m more of a wimp than you! *grin* Ignoring the fact that I don’t really like iris fragrances, the real thing is that metallic blood/semen notes aren’t exactly my idea of a party on my skin….. Really hardcore scents can be hard for me. Take, for example, the notorious Zafar from Xerjoff. That kind of oud that smells like horse feces isn’t my thing but other guys go nuts for it. (You should read my review for Zafar, as it’s a legal case with prosecution and defense, and I save that format for really controversial fragrances. I suspect I’ll do the same thing with SecMag.)

          Interesting that you’ve been experimenting with diff. aromachemicals. I think I’m going to start doing that this winter. Try to hone my nose on some of the things like the various amber synthetics and ISO E-like siblings. Hilarious how your wife and family are totally horrified by your experimentations. LOL!

          • Dude don’t get me started on oudh…..lol!
            I’ve learnt to love the funk. You gotta try oudhs from different regions…..no oudh is the same….just like people really. From the sweetest fruity Cambodi, to vanillic, balsamic, jungle Borneos, to the pure funk ‘I just fisted a cow to see what is the position of the calf…..oh damn that was a bull not a cow!’Hindis, they are absolutely amazing. I think my family hate me more since my journey into the world of oudh……I say to them….Meh!

  5. Kafka, that review made me feel sick. Your writing is vomit inducing. Literally. I have sampled Rien and it was so completely plastic/synthetic and sweaty on me that I ended up in nauseous tears from it’s constant assault. I so wanted to be cool and love it for it’s edgy gimpness but I just couldn’t hack it. I have never read any review of it that so accurately fitted my experience and it took me right back to the afternoon when I spritzed it on my wrist and the hellish evening that followed before I could scrub it off. I hate you for reminding me……….(I hope you are taking this as a compliment btw…..)

    • It’s a HUGE compliment, my dear! I can’t help but laughing every time I see that part about “your writing is vomit inducing. Literally.” Hahaha! You poor, poor thing. Have you tried Dzing? 😉 😀 For many, it’s a trip to the circus, complete with elephant poop leather and some of the same sort of dry dustiness. Rien is more extreme, black and brutal, but I found Dzing to be far worse somehow!

      • No I haven’t tried Dzing. If I have to die a perfumed death I’ll do it in ecstatic raptures, not curled up in a ball, weeping. There are some things I don’t need to smell in this life, just like there are things I don’t need to see. It’s the reason I don’t watch horror movies. I know I’ll be scared out of my wits, even if it’s rubbish so I just don’t put myself through it. I can imagine Dzing would have a similar effect on me. I am just preserving my sanity 😉

  6. I don’t get any of the urine in this. I get mostly a rubbery leather. On the other hand, Bandit is just vile on me. Dzing! is vanilla, cotton candy, and old leather saddles. It actually reminds me lot of Bvlgari Black, only sweeter. Habanita is just powdery like a grown up Love’s Baby Soft. I only have Rien because I bought the coffret and it was in it. I don’t think I’d have purchased a bottle if I had sampled it but I’ll probably wear it now and then. I guess I’m lucky that it’s not that terrible on me. I actually just tried it again the other day so it’s fresh in my mind. It fascinates me when people have such strongly differing experiences with the same perfumes.

    • You’re another one who seems to have great, great skin for leather fragrances, my dear. How I wish Dzing had been on me what it’s like on you! Oddly, on me, your “vile” Bandit was the most bearable of the lot, though that galbanum opening was very tough. Out of curiosity, how does your skin deal with civet generally?

      • Civet goes either way on me. Sometimes it’s okay, others, not so much. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s my skin, maybe it’s the notes it’s combined with. It’s not something that I see in a list of notes and get concerned by. Peach is one of those concerning notes. It usually (but not always) smells like cat pee on me.

        • How interesting! I wouldn’t have associated peach with urinous notes but, now that you mention it, I can see how the sweetness may go south on some people. Thanks for elaborating, dear Poodle.

  7. Oh, this old thing? An ex of mine got a sample of this one and I HATED every second of it. It has just too much of everything. There wasn’t one aspect of it that didn’t read as cloying. He, of course, loved it. That is until he put on more than a dab and got so burnt out that he threw the rest of the sample out.

    I admire what they were trying to do, but I vastly prefer Bandit, which to me is much more edgy considering its origins. I find most Etat Libre D’Orange scents try too hard to be shocking or edgy. Because of this I find most of them mundane. Then again, I have a weird sense of smell. To me Secretions Maginifique (such a reputation on that one) reads as pure dryer sheets. Which is just as gag inducing as the “bilge” note it contains.

    • It’s always funny when one’s partner hates the things you love, or vice-versa. But at least your ex eventually came around on this one, Hunter. 😉 I agree with you on ELDO’s marketing vs. reality. They really *do* try so hard to be shocking, provocative, and edgy, so that when one actually tries their fragrances, you’re left feeling rather let down, bewildered, and/or underwhelmed. I had some of that with Tom of Finland. But I did like Fils de Dieu a lot, even if it’s not my normal thing at all and is really more of a cozy, comfort fragrance. Still not shocking at all, though!

      I have a sample of the notorious Secretions Magnifique and it’s sat on my shelf for months now. I’m frankly rather terrified to try it…. LOL!

  8. I agree that it is a love or hate fragrance. I love it! 🙂
    I had a female friend actually stalking me and she kept on asking – what on earth are you wearing? It is wonderful….
    It must be worn in small amounts though. 1-2 sprays max.

    • Heh, I love your response. I know you don’t want to have anything to do with ELDO fragrances, but I’d almost wish you’d try this one just to see how horrified you would be. This is a fragrance which I know you’d have a very difficult time with, as it’s so antithetical to all that you love. Alas, we shall never know, but I can always dream about your reaction…. 😉

  9. Amazing,another fragrance that I love and you hate!Along with Rossy de Palma I think it is the best from the line.Hmm although we share a profound love of Absolute pour le soir and Ormonde Jayne Woman, we rarely seem to adore the same things!As well as that,it might sound sacrilegious , but I haven’t found a single Serge Lutens fragrance so far that would compel me to own it.I have Santal Blanc,but only because it was vastly reduced.Was a blind buy, and I enjoy it,but not love.All Serge stuff seems to disintegrate rather quickly on my skin,and most of the time I’m left with rather boring and subdued drydowns.

    • I’m glad it works for you, and that you love it. But why is it “Amazing” that we have such different perspectives on things? The world would be boring if we all liked the same things and hated the same things. Do people in your life all think exactly the same way you do? It’s fine if you hate Serge Lutens and love Rien. I don’t expect you to share my views, but you seem to be shocked that I don’t share yours.

      • I think you have misinterpreted me.I’m not at all shocked just ,in lack of a better word, amused.As someone else mentioned earlier is fascinating how the same perfume triggers such different reactions in people.And I don’t hate Serge Lutens work,much too strong word for just my lack of deep love.I respect his vision big time, I’m an admirer of his creativity, good taste and intelligence,it’s only that I’m still waiting for one of his perfumes to truly and deeply take my breath away.I haven’t tried everything from the line and didn’t spend enough time with some of his fragrances either,so there is still a chance it might happen.I’m sorry , I’ve reread my comment many a times but I don’t think it deserved such an aggressive response from you.

        • Your comment came across as highly irritated and annoyed to me, hence my response which I don’t think was aggressive at all. It didn’t seem to me that you were amused by how differently fragrances appear to people, but rather that you were offended my views differ so widely from your own. I reread your comment a number of times before I responded, and I had the same impression each time. Shall we chalk it up to the inherent difficulty of conveying nuances online, and to a misinterpretation on both sides? Deal? 🙂

          • I’m very glad! The internet can be a mess enough without adding the issue of nuances. It’s one reason why I use so many emoticons or smiley faces when I reply to comments. When one doesn’t know someone, how they normally speak in person, and can’t hear their tone in saying something, all sorts of misunderstandings come about. I truly don’t mind if you have 100% different views from my own because I think that’s part of the fun of perfumery. So rock on with your Rien and your bad self, my dear. We’ll always have Absolue Pour Le Soir. 😉

  10. Yucky. The longer I read, the nastier it got. This would probably suffocate me like Dries Van Notten; I know they are not at all similar but the rubber part made me shudder in a bad way. Curiously though, I’ve had Rien on my STC Wish List for a long time and everytime I go there to decide which one to order, something held me back. Money saved!

    Now Bvlgari Black, despite having that rubbery smell, is one of my favorite perfumes and it is so inexpensive. I had been wearing it for the past few days!

    • The thing with Rien is that it is far, far more than just a rubber note. I think the civet would keel you over, my dear, given how animalic notes aren’t your thing in general.

  11. No thank you. I’m just not that edgy nor do I want to be. And if it does smell a bit like Bulgari Black, again no thank you. Why would I want to smell like a rubber tire? And I agree with Undina, the civet is cute. Where can I get one?

    • HA! I’m not that edgy either, clearly. LOL. As for the civet, I don’t think your hubby would be very amused by it, nor your furry ones! Judging by some of the photos I saw, civets look a lot like hissing possums and rats when upset.

  12. Despite Rien being one of my favorites and one of my signature fragrances, I had a rollicking good time reading this, dearest Kafka! I’m always so amazed how different scents can be on different people. I agree, that Rien is a polarizing fragrance. It’s challenging and edgy and definitely not safe!

    I was actually afraid of it for the longest time, but after reading Victoria’s review of it on Bois de Jasmin, I gave it a try at an ELd’O event in New York with Ralf Schweiger. It was actually Ralf who grabbed me and demanded to know what I was wearing (in a good way) that truly sold it.

    • Oh, how impressive! I’m sure it’s glorious on you, darling. My skin, unfortunately, doesn’t play very nicely with some sort of leathers, and I guess this is one of them. I also think I have difficulty with black leather fragrances over the more brown, aged, sweetened ones, or perhaps it’s just the dusty issue together with the black leather. I’m sorry. I know you won’t take it personally, but I still felt badly nonetheless.

      • Don’t feel badly for one moment, darling Kafka! You write so beautifully and have such a clear and distinct voice that I am overjoyed that one of my favorites could inspire such a wonderful post. Perfume is different on everyone and to everyone, otherwise it would be no fun at all!

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