Thursday, 5 April 2012

Persolaise Review: Fils De Dieu Du Riz Et Des Agrumes from Etat Libre D'Orange (2012)

Image: Nitzan Klamer

Ralf Schwieger's ability to inject humour into his creations is well documented; smell the first few notes of his Lipstick Rose for Frederic Malle and you’ll see why. He’s aimed for the funny bone again with Fils De Dieu, a suitably facetious release from Etat Libre D’Orange. It was originally going to be called Philippine Houseboy, which explains why it starts with a steamed rice accord so vivid, it prompts a salivary response of Pavlovian immediacy. Next to this emerges a coconut facet (desiccated and milky) as well as a suggestion of cardamom, cinnamon, chopped herbs (is that parsley in there?) and a prominent lemongrass note. In other words, it’s an Asian feast from which the only thing that’s missing is a serving of chicken adobo. Genuinely amusing and original, it elicits a chuckle for its chutzpah as well as admiration for the manner in which it presents foodie elements without slipping into gourmand clichés.

However, perfumed punchlines are hard to sustain. As it progresses, FDD sheds its vaporous oddness and becomes increasingly sweet and floral. Thankfully, it never loses all of its eccentricity and just about manages to sustain its ‘weird fresh’ feel, a la Mugler’s Cologne (a scent for which creative director Etienne de Swardt has publicly expressed his admiration). But the more conventional drydown does spoil the fun somewhat and makes you wish that the scent would live up to its 'son of God' label and rise again at the very last moment with some of kind of cheeky, scented trump card. Sadly, it never does. That said, it is streets ahead of most other recent releases, particularly those trying to play it light and breezy. A must-try.

Speaking of Biblical references, I'd like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful, chocolate-filled Easter. Enjoy the post-Lenten feasting!



  1. Lipstick Rose was done by Ralf Schweiger, my fellow Indie Committee member. :)

    I remember when the name Filipino Houseboy was announced (or was leaked, not sure), pretty much everyone was apprehensive about it, so I'm not surprised that they changed it. As for the scent, I've just received my sample but it is unsniffed so far. I never thought I'd accumulate such a backlog of samples/reviews to do, but here I am, trying not to drown in fragrant waters!

    1. Oops! Thanks, Carrie. I got my wires crossed there, somehow.

      I can't wait to find out what you make of the scent.

  2. I think you've got the perfumer name wrong: isn't it Ralf Schwieger? Thanks for the review anyway!

    1. Mikael, you're absolutely right. Thanks very much indeed for pointing this out to me.

  3. Apparently it will still be called Philippine houseboy in Italy where the other title might cause too many problems. I prefer Fils de Dieu as it is quite poetic and suits the fragrance.

    1. Austenfan, thanks for the info. I also like Fils De Dieu as a name, but I also love the idea of slight cross-border differences between perfumes.


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