Rien fragrance notes

    • Incense, Rose, Leather, Iris, Cistus, Oakmoss, Black Pepper, Aldehydes, Cumin, Patchouli

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Latest Reviews of Rien

Rien by Etat Libre d'Orange (2006) is quite a fragrance, make no mistake about that. Antoine Lie has sought (or been told to seek by ELDO) a successor to the mighty Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent (1981), which in spite of its qualities even in most recently-produced form, isn't the sex-dripped raunch beast of those initial bottles (for better or worse). Rien seems to reinstate that, going full throttle on incense, leather, animalic musk, cumin funk, and labdanum, divorcing the soapy fougère of Kouros from the rest. In essence, this isn't so much a copy or continuation of that Pierre Bourdon-penned DNA, it's an evolution. If you're not on board with that, turn back now, as there is absolutely no quarter given to the non-believers in this church, evidently. Am I surprised? Not really. Etat Libre d'Orange as it stands, is heavily subversive, dripped in LGBT culture, and ironic, so a scent like Rien is almost a given. Most folks wearing this will probably not get the joke of this scent being called "of nothing" in French.

The opening is brash aldehydes of that old Chanel No. 5 (1921) quality, sour and nose-singing like your grandma's favorite purse spray. The late Divine could have worn this comfortably. The rest moves into bergamot as expected, with iris ionones and rose in the heart, flavored with pepper and cumin. The funk is noticeable right away, as the leather and animalis notes (not civet) take over immediately, although this is a drier funk than something like Kouros or even Furyo by Bogart (1988). Styrax, patchouli, frankincense, amber, and oakmoss bring up the rear, going full-chypre with labdanum and a woody nuance at the end. Animalics do tone down considerably in late phases, and Rien becomes more of a dry chypre incense experience. Performance is otherworldly, so go easy on the sprays, and this scent profile can even be a little overbearing with light application if worn in the wrong weather, especially high humidity. Do as thou wilt though, but harm none. For me, this reads masculine, although officially Rien is a shared fragrance gender-wise. For me, this is a lovely kick to the face I'd wear anytime, fight me.

All told, there is a reason that vintage heads hype this one in particular, and within a few more years time will qualify as vintage anyway, unless that time has already passed when you get around to reading this review. Discontinuation scares also abound on this and its partner Rien Intense Incense by Etat Libre d'Orange (2014), but of course they do, since the kind of cloistered and obsessive "all mine" collectors that get on their lonely soapboxes about the end of perfumery as we know it, are also the kind of types to actually yearn for discontinuation so they can abate the thought of having to share something with someone else able to buy a bottle as they have. That sad psychological minefield aside, they are typically right about Rien, as this is a hearkening back to the bigger (and often gayer) era of the early to mid 1980's, where stuff like Pete Burns and Boy George were mainstream, and not targeted by hate groups. Clearly this scent is anything but "of nothing", although I'll leave it to you for finding out. Thumbs up
12th March 2023
Very interesting take on vintage Kouros.
This is not for the faint of heart, VERY strong fragrance.
I really like it, love it even.
But then again, I love Kouros, so...
6th March 2023

Holy Toledo, Rien is a mega-aldehydic incense torpedo suited up in black leather. Talk about a stratospheric detonation of diffusive perfumery to the nth degree. Not to fear, however, Rien, for everything that its paradox of a name suggests otherwise, has a sparkling, exultant beauty that harkens back to the legacy of Ernest Beaux and his introduction of alipathic aldehyde overdoses in Chanel No. 5 coupled with the addition of muscled, burly, alpha-male trope heavy-hitters of the 70s and early 80s. The resinous incense in Rien is really the showstopper here, it reminds me of all those brightly-hued incense sticks one might peruse through at a head shop, with names like "Tarot," "Wild Nights," "Butt Naked," "My Queen." Somehow, Spencer's Gifts vibes aside, it is really addictive and somehow works to create this accord evoking so many memories of youth and rapturous restlessness (the memories one may actually want to revisit from adolescence and early adulthood).

Rien is the straight man, however, for Rien Intense Incense, which with just one single spray seems like an olfactory wormhole, a vortex pulling everything and everyone in. While the olibanum in Rien has a major role of equal billing to the leather, with Intense Incense, it is a brick of olibanum, incense in overdrive, still brimming with every alipathic aldehyde available for perfume use, and the addition of mutant orris root that is waxy, crayon-like, play-doh like, almost igniting deep within the recesses of the hippocampus distant memories of kindergarten. It must be dealt with a light hand, as it is surely one of the most potent, tenacious fragrances I've ever encountered. Utterly fascinating, with this bottle lasting several lifetimes, epochs, dimensions, matrices.
9th March 2022
The best creation of Antoine Lie!
Like a real Stormblast, Rien is everything you need from a bold fragrance: hits you with dark facest from resins and incense, bold from patchouli, animalic notes and leather and also green from vetivers and woods.
Everything it's abstract, in fact you can't percep the raw materials in their true form, instead in the abstract, metalic, aldehidic way. The signature of Lie. This is a superb creation of master parfumer Antoine Lie, and i m really like it! Potent, heavy, tricky.
Olson it has that latex, plasticity aspect Wich i find it unusual and super original used here, especially for the 2006 year !
10 out of 10 for me, a reference for the bold and abstract parfumery
10th December 2021
Rein is one hell of a beautiful fragrance - it takes elements of oft loved genres that should go together, but rarely find themselves in the same composition, and at long last weds them. Leather as if from knize ten, churchy incense of avignon and aldehydes (with oakmoss, patchouli and floral accords) and like that of many vintage "man-chypre"s like Korous and Antaeus. The result? A powerful masculine fragrance that wastes no time revealing how classic men's fragrances can join hand in hand with modern perfumery.

It is helpful for me to think about this fragrance when it comes to the three primary to break it down as best as possible as to what each of these three are doing, and then in summary discuss how they work in harmony.

1: Leather.
The leather is quite impressive in Rien for it changes between two impressive and historic advents of leather based perfumes. It starts as many sweetened and powdery leathers do (think of Knize 10, Cuir Ottoman and the like) with a great deal of spices keeping it herbal and dry while it still maintains its inherent sweetness (which primarily comes about by way of a balsamic amber accord,) and gets a boost of powdery affects through what I'm taking to be the iris and its mingling with the aldehydes.

As the fragrance dries down, it takes on a far more smokey appearance with the cumin and black pepper adding to it, bringing out a far more butch and aggressive Cuir de Russie style of leather (represented more clearly in Sultan Pasha's Cuir de Russie, but also present in vintage Chanel's.)

2: Incense.
The incense stays pretty linear throughout the whole of the fragrance - it is quite a churchy incense, somewhat less woody than avignon, and perhaps quite close to full incense by montale. This incense itself is quite peppery (the primary bearer of this note) and comes across quite smooth and smokey. This could easily be an immaculate fragrance on its own - a wall of spicy smoke with slight herbal undercurrents.

3: Aldehydes.
The aldehydes here are big and bold up front, with, the oakmoss, patchouli, rose and iris creating what I have already called a classic man-chypre feeling. The aldehydes are loud intitially, giving a huge fuzzy feeling to the overall composition with a thick earthy base composed of mousse de chene and patchouli, as well as some sweetness from the rose. It's classically gorgeous, and one that gives the perfume diversity and depth beyond the leather genres that it seems to fit into so smoothly.

Conclusion: The fragrance in total has one hell of a series of progressions, and one that is hard to be found anywhere else - it leads one through classic men's monuments of fragrance, and yet, never feels out of place as a modern fragrance - it has the typical avant-garde flair and twists that one comes to expect from the more 'out there' ELDO fragrances, but never feels excessive or extreme by classical standards, and only by modern standards if you've gotten your understanding of fragrance from Sephora. It's one that occasionally smells like you have bottled the essence of a luxury mechanic, or a dark perfumer who wears all luxe leather attire. As with most ELDO, it is in fact quite synthetic, but that honestly doesn't take away from the work in general, but is an area that could be changed to take it to the next level, if any indie perfumers would be up the challenge. ;)


YT: JessAndWesH
24th November 2021
Loved it - smelled like patent leather boots with a spiciness that I couldn't place.
6th April 2021
Rien is a bonafide masterpiece, a tremendous tour-de-force composition of leather, aldehydes, musk, spices, patchouli with everything finely interwoven. The perfumer Antoine Lie has mentioned that this is the costliest formula in the whole Etat Libre d'Orange portfolio.

Abstract, complex, perfectly proportioned, wonderful balance between the different elements, and yet there is always a tension. The result is a novel accord, hard to describe because it's so different, nonetheless smells great and is something that would probably make Guy Robert proud. Definitely it's a bold perfume with wonderful silky sillage and lasting tenacity to match, so naturally it was never meant to please everyone.

This is definitely in the musky leather category for me, and would likely appeal to fans of Kouros, Christopher Street (Charenton Macerations). Rien is the quintessential leather perfume of the 21st century - unique, iconic, and yet indelibly evocative of the best vintages in its glorious depth and richness.


13th March 2021
Harshly spicy at first, then the spiciness mellows down a little bit and incensy leather appears. Incense is very sharp. Spices are very spicy (well, duh!) and remind me about the top notes of YSL Opium a bit, just a bit more bitter and more peppery. It's an interesting scent, and the parts of it seem to clash instead of blending and joining each other - it's like you smell all these different aromas all at once instead of smelling one perfume. After a while all the clashing aromas kind of start melding into one, but by that time the scent is very quiet on my skin.

It's interesting for sure, but do I actually like it? I think I need more time to decide, as I do like those notes/accords separately, but I'm not sure I dig the whole chorus here. Honestly, I think I'd rather just wear Opium for the spice, or something by Comme de Garcons for the incense, or Chanel's Cuir de Russie for the leather, or... you get it.
3rd February 2021
This, for many reasons, takes top honors as my least favorite fragrance of all time. (I'm sure there are other possible contenders for this title, but I have yet to sample them.) Rien is everything I don't want to smell or smell of: synthetics that simply won't quit, sharp and (yet cloying) notes of cumin and civet, peppery incense that smells heavily industrial, and something that smacks of burning glue/plastic.

For a brief period of my life, I worked as a finish carpenter, specializing in installing carpet, tile, and laminate. Rien instantly takes me back to that dreadful year of wrangling buckets of toxic glue, underlayment, and rolls of rebond. The smell is so similar that it's uncanny.
5th February 2019
As a fan of leather fragrances I feel this one is animalic in all the wrong ways. And though I enjoy animalic leathers like Cuir d'arabie and leather oud, this one is animalic in the sense of stale cat urine, that sharp, sweaty, "grey" smell that is quite unlike human urine. Those unfamiliar with the smell would never guess it's origins and it makes me wonder whether the perfumer has spent any time in close proximity to cats. Unfortunately my wife knows the smell too well and was horrified by this fragrance. Of course there is more going on than this central accord, but in the end this is all that attired to me. Glad I sampled first.
19th May 2016
At first I was thinking, "The Knize Ten, but less oriental and complex," but then I was thinking, "vintage Red for men but with leather instead of sequoia, and again, less complex." And after a few hours, at most, my thought was that it was far too "chemical," as in chemicals being spilled in a lab! I find Leather Oud by Dior to be more "natural" smelling, and therefore superior, but it's in that "general ballpark" as well. I can understand the appeal, especially for those who like these kinds of scents and don't find this one to be too "chemical," so I'll give it a neutral rating.
8th May 2016