Monday, 24 January 2011

Review: Archives 69 from État Libre D'Orange (2011)

You can't accuse ÉLdO of cowardice. The instant accessibility of last year's commendable Like This may have raised fears that one of perfumery's cockiest houses was starting to play it safe, but their newest offering - named after the address of their flagship Paris store - pulls them right back into spikier, more dangerous territory. In fact, it returns them to the area occupied by what many consider to be their most abrasive creation: the infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques. There are several moments in the development of Archives 69 when the all-too-familiar, gag-inducing, metallic wrongness of SM appears in the background, but it's never allowed to dominate. Instead, centre-stage is taken by an impressively indecipherable blend of snuffed candles, acrid, heavily synthetic marine-woods and brittle, aluminium-edged florals.

ÉLdO have stated that Archives 69 is another of their 'body' scents, and yes, its connection with their highly idiosyncratic 'olfactory understanding' of anatomical aromas is clear. But I'm not sure that their vision of what counts as an intimate smell necessarily resonates with other people's. In ÉLdO's oeuvre, the human form appears to be the site of odours which tend to repel rather than attract, and this latest release is no exception. On paper, its drydown does display a welcome muskiness, but on skin, it's cold and curt, like a glare from a stranger wielding deadly shoulder pads. Archives 69 is unusual, distinctive and rarely boring... but is it wearable? I'll leave that question to you.

[Christine Nagel is officially credited as the creator of Archives 69; review based on a sample obtained in 2011; fragrance tested on skin.]


  1. This sounds brilliant. I always love Orange's perfumes because they're so edgy and different. I'm definitely trying it as soon as I can.

    Thanks for the review.


  2. Jayme, 'edgy' certainly applies to this release.

    After you've tried it, come back and share your thoughts.

  3. Persolaise, do you know when it will be available? I've been searching for samples, but alas.

    ELdO never ceases to intrigue me!

  4. Jaacq, I'm afraid I have no info on a release date, but I suspect it's imminent, as the ELdO site already lists the fragrance.


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