On the other side of the wormhole, I’ve found Etat Libre d'Orange’s Rien Incense Intense (RII), after surviving similarly sharp, medicinal fragrances like Montale’s Black Aoud and other “incense bombs” like Amouage’s Interlude Man. This is where I have arrived after all the roses, like Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady or Aramis’ Calligraphy Rose. This is the future in which I’ve somehow returned to my earliest days of daubing Myrrh EO all over my body in abandon. Here, burnt rubber abounds, the remnants of sweet new tires, and, at the higher altitudes, something ethereal, like a matchstick, to remind the world that serious playfulness requires both resolve and risk.
The more I smell Rien Intense Incense, the more I realize the following paradox: no scent like this could last forever and yet this one does. The depths of space contain the debris of nothingness, and that is, in fact, intense. By adding incense to fumigate the void, Etat Libre d'Orange adds irony to the day.
I've had an interesting time getting to know Rien Intense Incense. It mostly smells like quinoline, that leather chemical made most famous by Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather, but matched with incense. But not the creamy frankincense I expected, but instead very green and mulchy, like opoponax or galbanum. There's also a quiet sparkle of lemon champagne alhedydes, and something in there gives it an unexpected sweetness. In a way, it reminds me of a terrible accident at a Home Depot, a caustic puddle of paint and chemical fertilizer and rat poison and burnt wood, spritzed with a pinch of Chanel No 5. If that sounds terrible, it kind of is, but it's also utterly compelling.
The first time I wore Intense Incense, I loved it. The unique combination of smells had me completely enthralled. Unfortunately, the following times, I was out in public more and started being bothered by how strong and sharp and frankly, just weird it smelled. This simply isn't a perfume for non-perfume people, and it's got nuclear strength, so there's no hiding from it.
In all, I just have to give it a thumbs up for creativity, but I would never go through more than a little sample of this.
For me the best moments of the brand Etat Libret d'Orange are precisely those that they can support a provocative and ironic concept regarding market practices with a scent that not only fits into the concept but who rescues something of the past and gives a more modern but still decent interpretation.
Rien is perhaps one of the best brand in this sense, a perfume with her name somehow takes a fun of minimalist and almost transparent compositions offering a gigantic and proud creation of leather, aldehydes and animalic touches, something that immediately reminds me of one of the most challenging classic when it comes to leather, the beautiful Robert Piguet Bandit. Rien Intense Incense goes precisely in the opposite direction that less is more and do more is more by adding another facet to the idea, incense, keeping the intensity of the composition as promised.
This is one of those scents that automatically highlights, since few still dare to do this. The composition maintains the optimum combination of leather with aldehyde and animalic elements, something that gives it a bold and different personality. You can tell that the incense fits very well, adding a fresh, camphor-like and resinous dimension at the background, something that highlight the aldehydes while softing a bit the dry intensity of leather. Sometimes you can see the floral aspect of the iris and pink adding something more delicate and sensual to the brutality of the idea, which is again bring back by the dry aspect of the woods and amber in the base.
It surprises me a little the direction that Libret Etat d'Orange took recently. It is with perfumes like Rien Intense Incense that the brand became relevant and drew attention in the scenario. It is with creations like Rien Intense Incense that it should continue. I understand the need to ensure the profitability of business with less challenging compositions, but I feel that most of brand recent launches lack this kind of personality, which go against common sense and come out victorious in what they do.