Orange ever after… Tilda Swinton Like This… by Etat Libre d’Orange The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

From All Saints’ Day onward for about a week or maybe two, through All Souls’ Day and Bonfire Night, he keeps up a steady round of collecting.

At first people are unwilling to give up their gourdes.

Either they have invested too much effort in carving their gruesome, welcoming faces or they promise themselves that they will roast the seeds and scoop out the flesh for purees and pies.


They never do.

And so as November wears on, after a second or third time of asking, neighbours and strangers are more prepared to surrender their squashes.

It could of course have been that they think him somewhat strange in his frugal requests and want to forbid his return by acquiescing to let him have their discarded fruits.

Certainly he cuts a figure odd enough to engender fear: rangy in unkempt, well cut antique tweeds, flowing cream collarless shirts with double cuffs never fastened at the end of simian arms.

A single rose in his untidy, unwinding buttonhole.

Upon his head a moss green bowler hat that can’t ever hope to keep control of the extravagant red hair exploding forth in natural ringlets.

Maybe some of them have seen the ritual he performs once his harvest is gathered in.

In his back garden a pile of pumpkin shells a man or so high stands, and when he is satisfied that no more will come his way he begins his mellow fruited mass.

First, a strengthening soup, made from orange juice and the soft insides stewed with ginger and spice, served with heavy bread topped with the toasted seeds.

Then he withdraws his instrument from its ancient wooden case.

A croquet mallet, hip high in height, rendered in light wood, sunset velvet wrapped around the shaft to form a grip.

He swings the hammer high above his head taking on a golfer’s gait.

With a sound like sirens hissing it stirs a great arc in the sky before landing a blow upon an unsuspecting orange sphere.

The smashing of the pumpkins has begun.

And in the next hour or so, as short Autumn dusk becomes night, lit by the flames of the hundreds of candles he has set about his makeshift altar, he will reign down a shower of coups upon the crop.

Until, at last, all is reduced to a great wet rubble that he covers in already rotting leaves and old bouquets of immortelles, the daisies the English call ‘everlasting’.

Pungent of spiced pumpkin and with something of decaying flowers about it Etat Libre d’Orange’s Tilda Swinton Like This is a sickening, almost sublime anti-gourmand scent.

It is a sweet but rather uneasy, certainly not mellow, impression of the after-harvest.

Individual notes are discernable, most especially pumpkin, immortelle daisies and ginger, with an abiding tangerine note that is too sedate to be truly citrus.

But it is the general accord, the olfactory equivalent of the colour ‘burnt orange’, the shade the leaves of certain trees turn before they fall, that remains in the senses longest.

The perfume’s chief achievement is the marrying of these very specific and realistic tones and an architecture which is as abstract as it is linear.

Yet for all that it is an undoubtedly accomplished piece of work, it seems distant, strange and strangely unfulfilling being neither a satisfactory scent of the happy harvest nor a fragrance that captures the inherent sadness of the fall.

It is something in between.

Neither red nor yellow.

It’s a very odd and orange sort of thing.

Being in between I suppose it could be classed as unisex, so a man or woman could wear it with ease. But not The Dandy.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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15 responses to “Orange ever after… Tilda Swinton Like This… by Etat Libre d’Orange The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Lilybelle

    That does sound odd, Mr. Dandy. I sampled Tilda Swinton Like This when it was first available here in the U.S., but I can’t remember anything about it except that I forwarded the sample to someone else. I have a gift: selective memory. 😉

    • Dearest Lily
      Apologies for the delayed response, fair WordPress has not been allowing me to comment on my own blog these last couple of days for reasons that elude me.
      Yes, very odd, and not terribly pleasant either.
      Best forgotten as you wisely did!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. How very peculiar, I’m with the smashing pumpkins camp… I like so much to carve them, or look at them piled high, or plant them in the garden and watch in autumn as goggle eyed children stop and stare… But to capture them in a bottle with ginger and everlasting? I don’t think so. Thanks for braving this one so we don’t have to.

    • Dearest V
      ‘Tis The Dandy’s place to try such wares so that others might not need to.
      As for the things themselves, pumpkins that is, I think them rather perfect too. Carved or whole and at any time of year!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. batkitty

    You lost me at immortelle. My nemesis. I haven’t smelled Like This and I think I’ll keep things like this.

    • Dearest Batkitty
      I must confess that ‘everlasting’ is not top among my favourites notes either. Matched with slightly mouldy pumpkin and unsweet and yet not savoury spices it made for an odd compost heap of a perfume.
      Some people (Tilda Swinton being one of course) like this though!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Alice

    this was one I had really hoped to like: the notes sound intriguing, I admire Tilda Swinton, and ELd’O is a very talented line… but although not unpleasant, it was disappointing, somewhat indistinct. I love and own Rossy de Palma, and have my eye on a few others, but will skip this one. Perhaps its just too personal, ie difficult to grasp if it doesn’t match a specific memory. Thanks for your review, it explains my mixed reaction perfectly! Are you going to try some of the others?

    • Dearest Alice
      You may well be right, it could be that this is too personal a scent to be of general appeal. Maybe the inscrutable Tilda is awash with emotions when she smells this, transported involuntarily back to some point in her past.
      The Dandy is more than happy to try any Etats Libre that are suggested (though most are unisex and therefore outside the rules of the game)… do suggest a few you feel might be worthy of attention.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Nena

    I have a sample of this. I like it, but I was hoping it would be a kind of pumpkin pie scent.

    • Dearest Nena
      No, it certainly isn’t a pumpkin pie scent (from my only glancing acquaintance with the dish, which isn’t that popular here in the UK).
      I imagine that would be sweeter and spicier.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Nena

        Pumpkin pie isn’t a thing in New Zealand either, unfortunately. But thanks to Alkemia, I have found a delightful pumpkin pie scent, and if it tastes as good as the perfume smells, I might make some one day.

      • Dearest Nena
        There are an awful lot of surplus pumpkins still hanging around here…. you never know The Dandy might try turning his hand to this culinary delight too!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  6. rosestrang

    Yes, save it all for soup! I’ve never tried it and it sounds very unusual which is no less than I’d expect of a Tilda Swinton influenced perfume. I read an article which said the aroma of pumpkin pie is extremely attractive to men, which is making me laugh – lots of women spraying themselves with Eau de Pumpkin Pie! Probably more efficacious to serve it up as food. I’ve never eaten a pumpkin pie and I’m guessing it’s an American dish, so UK men are probably immune to its powerful lure!
    I tried Putain des Palaces by ELdO and found it a bit imbalanced, but I suppose at least they’re experimental. Have you tried or liked any of their other perfumes and did you like them?

    • Dearest Rose
      Yes, I feel that the Pavlovian dog is only roused in American men, I have only a notion of what pumpkin pie smells like and as I’m able to cook reasonably well do not tend to be drawn to gourmands for comfort (another conversation I was having the other day around whether just as why by ever more cookery books, in inverse proportion to the amount we cook, perhaps gourmands are more and more popular because so few people actually bake at home, as opposed to watching others baking on television). Gosh, that was quite an aside.
      As to ELdO (a truly Hobbit-like acronym) I have tried a few and liked Afternoon of a Faun best, Secretions Magnifiques is a curiosity, the olfactory equivalent of Damien Hirst pickled sheep, it is not art.
      It is a range I should like to explore more though…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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