Etat Libre d’Orange Putain des Palaces : Perfume Review

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Danae_klimt_1

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

There is a striking dissonance between the vulgarity implied by the name, Putain des Palaces (Hotel Slut), and the elegant character of the fragrance itself. Perhaps it’s just me, but Etat Libre d’Orange names that sound as if they were jotted down by a bunch of teenage boys after a night of drinking do not entice me. On the other hand, they do not repulse me either, as the only thing worth judging the perfume on is its scent. And yet, Putain des Palaces is a beauty, hinting at flowers foiled by soft leathery notes. If Sécrétions Magnifiques is one of the most unusual and innovative compositions from Etat Libre d’Orange and Jasmin et Tabac is the most edgy, Putain des Palaces is undoubtedly the most polished and seductive. …

Created by perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer, the fragrance is meant to evoke the atmosphere of a candle lit boudoir. Initially, the composition unfolds as a delicate aldehydic floral, with every nuance conveying an image of softness and subtle elegance. It warms up to present richer floral nuances, deepening and growing duskier. The velvety violet notes heighten the tender and alluring sensation that Putain des Palaces presents as it develops on the skin.

Yet, the floral melody is only one part of the perfume’s story. The elegant and delightfully innocent prelude soon shifts into the voluptuous richness of musk, amber and leather. Nevertheless, contrary to what its name might imply, Putain des Palaces does not showcase its sensuality in a vulgar and ready manner. It tempts one without losing its elegant restraint. In the end, Putain des Palaces is not the vision of a raunchy brothel, but rather a dream of someone beautiful and alluring. Still, one should make no mistake—this haunting stranger is a true femme fatale.

Putain des Palaces has great lasting power, with a fantastic sillage (the trail left by perfume in its wake.) Although men who are not frightened by the rich floral notes might be able to carry it off, Putain des Palaces is more quintessentially feminine than any other Etat Libre d’Orange fragrances. It features notes of mandarin, rice powder, lily of the valley, rose, violet, ginger, leather, amber, animalic notes. For additional information on availability, please see my overview of Etat Libre d’Orange line.

Painting of Danae by Klimt, abcgallery.com.

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38 Comments

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    Your review of this provocative and sensuel scent appeals to my inner vixen. (whatever that may be ! ) I would love to test this one ! All facets of this fragrance are close to my heart: floral, leather. violet amber . It has it all ! The take-a-way message with Etat Libre D’orange – to me is that there is always room for creativity in fragrange development . Kudos to this company for thinking “outside of the box ” I am dying to sample this !
    Madelyn E January 22, 2007 at 3:01am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    Your review of this provocative and sensuel scent appeals to my inner vixen. (whatever that may be ! ) I would love to test this one ! All facets of this fragrance are close to my heart: floral, leather. violet amber . It has it all ! The take-a-way message with Etat Libre D’orange – to me is that there is always room for creativity in fragrange development . Kudos to this company for thinking “outside of the box ” I am dying to sample this !
    Madelyn E January 22, 2007 at 3:01am Reply

  • Donald: I liked this perfume. I like the classic perfumes of traditional invoice which are different with each stage. For example, I adore Vétiver Tonka of Hermès, about which you spoke lately, but its invoice which practically does not evolve wearies me. I will have liked a beautiful basic note! But, I recognize it, it is the modern style “Roudnitska” specific to J.-C. Ellena: transparency and stable like Eau sauvage for example.
    Putain des Palaces has a whore side at the beginning, synthétic or artificial with the face powder and its nail varnish notes. It for me is not powdered as the communication claims it. This powder is really fugacious and it is really that of the poudrier. Then, it goes more and more towards the great knack of the de luxe hotels, flowers then leather.
    One imagines well a very beautiful woman of “petite vertue” to cross George V!!! It appears that there is more than one does not believe! Its bottom is very beautiful. These successive notes the bottom to strongly evolve and I like that. January 22, 2007 at 6:12am Reply

  • chayaruchama: This sounds like one I would very much enjoy !

    Always a pleasure to hear your thoughts…
    You are a wonderful teacher. January 22, 2007 at 6:31am Reply

  • Judith: This sounds just perfect to me! Thanks so much for the wonderful review! January 22, 2007 at 6:44am Reply

  • aryse: Palaces are really very pleasant places :-)
    Like you Victoria, I think that Putain des palaces is the best fragrance of Etat libre d’Orange, changing olfactive initiation into a true incentive with the pleasure. A perfume with a voluptuous, silky feeling. A rose which powders itself in the violet and the balsams. A spice trace mixes with leather and amber evoking the murmur with the skin.
    It is difficult for me to wear it because it indeed is very flowered and feminine.But I love this perfume. January 22, 2007 at 7:57am Reply

  • sara: Thank you for a lovely, stunning, and accurate review. Part of the fragrance’s charm (I bought a bottle and love it!) is the juxtaposition of the name’s coarseness with the scent’s actual elegance and nuance. I agree that PdP is the best one in the line–I also like Rien and was hoping to like Vraie Blonde (since I am one!)

    cheers, Sara January 22, 2007 at 8:09am Reply

  • March: The entire line sounds like great fun. However, I’m trying to imagine telling anyone who asked what I was wearing!? Oh, well, how often does someone ask, anyway?! (Answer: when I’m wearing Chaos or Cuir Amethyste. Maybe I’m putting too much on? sillage is almost illegal in the u.s…) January 22, 2007 at 8:14am Reply

  • Elle: I’d thought that Jasmin et Cigarette would be my favorite from this line, but now this one has elegantly elbowed its way into my consciousness as serious competition. Can’t wait for Bendel’s to start carrying these.
    Great image – I love Danae! January 22, 2007 at 8:26am Reply

  • Linda: Dear Victoria,
    I hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name but I thought I simply must write – I discovered the website just after Christmas and have read it every day since. It really puts me into a good mood before setting off for work! I have begun to appereciate perfume and now realise that it is indeed a passport to a glorious fantasy world. I wish I had your way with words….but nil desperandum!
    I was in London on Saturday, buying Guerlain (I am collecting all my favourites – slowly – in pure perfume form) and looked for the Etat Libre d’Orange collection but could not find it. The one you describe today sounds gorgeous – I love the Klimt too!
    Warmest wishes, L January 22, 2007 at 11:53am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, I cannot wait for it to be available at Bendels. I think that next week is the launch, but I am not 100% certain. It is definitely a very interesting series of fragrances, and Putain des Palaces is the one I enjoy especially just for myself (many others are interesting objectively, but not as easy to wear). January 22, 2007 at 12:11pm Reply

  • violetnoir: V, I have got to get my hands on this one! It sounds beautiful and full-bodied, perhaps the best one in the line.

    I love the image you posted, too.

    Hugs! January 22, 2007 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Robin: I do hope Bendels gets more than a few of this line! This one sounds very tempting (no pun intended). January 22, 2007 at 2:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Donald, I agree. I also like the sequential development of fragrances, which always keeps my interest and presents new facets as I wear the perfume. I essentially agree with your assesment of Putain des Palaces. I also wish that the top notes were a bit less obviously synthetic, but this sensation does not bother me that much and it vanishes quickly. The heart is just gorgeous. January 22, 2007 at 2:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, thank you! I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these. January 22, 2007 at 2:12pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, my pleasure! I think that you might enjoy this one (and also Rien, which is rather incense rich). January 22, 2007 at 2:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Aryse, I am glad to hear your thoughts on this fragrance. I agree that the rose and violet notes are quite rich. It is by far my favourite. After almost a month of wearing this line, Putain des Palaces is the one I enjoy the most. January 22, 2007 at 2:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sara, it is very true! The fragrance is amazingly elegant, which is not what I would assume glancing at the name.

    Vraie Blonde is quite nice too, although I found it a touch too sour on my skin. I liked the idea behind it, however. January 22, 2007 at 2:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, the fragrance that has the best sillage for me is L’Heure Bleue. I cannot think of any other that combines the strength of the sillage with the delicate effect it has. Amazing! Putain des Palaces stays closer to the skin, but it is definitely a glamorous fragrance.

    I have a feeling that I get compliments when I put on too much perfume. Which is why it does not happen that often. I have gotten compliments on some that I would never imagine people noticing, such as L’Antimatiere. So, who knows… January 22, 2007 at 2:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, thank you very much! I was recently watching a documentary on restoration of Rembrandt’s Danae which was damaged in the Hermitage by a madman in the 1980s. It made me think of other great Danae paintings, of which Klimt’s is one of my favourites. January 22, 2007 at 2:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, not at all! Thank you for your compliments. I am glad that you are enjoying my articles.

    I am not sure if ELDO is distributed in the UK at this point, I am only aware of the store in Paris (as well as the coming launch in the US). January 22, 2007 at 2:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, yes, to me it is one of the fragrances I would wear the most out of the entire line. It is just wonderfully sensual and elegant. January 22, 2007 at 2:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I hope so too! I am looking forward to trying a couple of others of which I do not have samples. January 22, 2007 at 2:24pm Reply

  • Tania: I’m very much looking forward to testing this whole range in earnest. Thank you for a fair and illuminating review that doesn’t take the provocative name at face value. :) January 22, 2007 at 3:16pm Reply

  • k-amber: Victoria, the line sounds very attractive. I like to explore them near future.

    Kaori January 22, 2007 at 8:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tania, I am looking forward to reading/hearing your thoughts on this line! One better not take anything at face value. :) January 23, 2007 at 1:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaori, I very much enjoy this fragrance, although I cannot say the same thing for everything else in the line. Putain des Palaces, however, is gorgeous. January 23, 2007 at 1:18pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Well, a courtesan haunting the Ritz or the Carlton in Cannes would hardly be vulgar, would she? Like Madame Claude’s famous bataillon of “filles” — Madame C. was an iconic Parisian madam of the 70s who handled a fleet of 30 high-priced beauties — this well-trained, perfectlu groomed, washed and scented hetaira would have a discreet bourgeois elegance and impeccable manners smoothed over her lacy undies. She’d be as chic as a model for Yves Saint Laurent… which she probably was. This is the fantasy smell of Belle de Jour. January 23, 2007 at 7:42pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, how well said! And yet, I cannot disentangle the idea of putaine however expensive from the lovely elegance of this fragrance. Not that they do not match (as the commenter above added, this seems to be the surprise), but well, that is again just my perspective. The name for the new fragrance “Don’t Get Me Wrong Baby, I Don’t Swallow” struck me in particular as rather tiresome and juvenile. Of course, no name or package can prevent me from sampling. Perhaps, you and Cait can do some exploration for me. January 23, 2007 at 8:40pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Ew, I agree that last one is something of a stupid jokey name. Even I couldn’t wear that and tell… I’m actually planning to do a review of the line for an arty mag here and I’ll asking a few questions. I’ll be going on Saturday for a first sniff. I have a few thoughts about the conceit behind the names and stories: despite their provocative style, some of them are actually kind of pre-modern (ie pre-abstract names), being essentially descriptive of the key ingredients: Jasmin et Cigarettes, Encens et Bubblegum. Most of the other ones (P des P, Vierges et Toreros, Vraie Blonde) are essentially descriptive of a character: olfactory cinematic portraits. I’d be curious to know if there’s an actual, conscious concept governing those parti-pris… January 24, 2007 at 2:39am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I would love to hear what you think. I did not get a sense of any specific concept behind the line, other than a desire not to be niche. It seems that the creators are just having fun.

    I would love to see your review when it is published! January 24, 2007 at 3:11pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., I only just went to ELd’O today… Very charming and patient SAs. I tried Putain des Palaces and Jasmin et cigarette on my skin (I did get jasmin, not much cigarette), the other ones on strips… I quite like both, but I can’t say that I’m overwhelmed by the line — though the perfumes themselves are done with a much lighter, elegant hand that the marketing. “Don’t get me wrong” is actually rather charming and pure: LisaCarol had that one on. Nothing moved me to buy on the spot (Frédéric Malle and Guerlain are the only ones who can work that magic on my depleted wallet). I get the feeling of drafts rather than full-fledged scents, but that may also be a composition style. So to me, the jury’s still out. February 3, 2007 at 1:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear D, I had a feeling that you would find them this way, and in many ways, I agree. Apart from the three I reviewed, nothing else grabbed me. I will be revisiting the rest, but so far I found them also more like sketches, interesting, but perhaps a touch incomplete. I agree that it must be the style in general, but it can be a bit tiresome for me.

    Can you please describe “Don’t Get me Wrong” more? Very intrigued by your description of it as charming and pure. :) February 3, 2007 at 2:12pm Reply

  • carmencanada: About “Don’t get me wrong”: the opening features the same light-handed, rather green jasmine as Jasmin et Cigarettes, without what I perceived as sweet menthol in J et C, blended with lily of the valley. The overall effect is indeed of innocent white flowers, which gradually become “smeared” with the “ambré solaire accord” — there is a greasiness in there that could be translated as the olfactory equivalent of … the French term would be “souillure”, soiling innocence.
    Interestingly enough, this might indeed be the most obscene of all the ELd’O scents. Again, the jury’s still out: the fragrances are mostly quite pleasing, their development does seem to follow the narrative concept of their sexual scenario, which intrigues me. I’ll tell LisaCarol to drop by and add her own comments. She’s the one who wore the fragrance, after all… February 4, 2007 at 7:46am Reply

  • LisaCarol: Well, I have to say, I don’t find these scents even half as provocative as their names. In a way this line made me think of Bond N° 9, ie, you have a concept and then you make one scent for each scent cathegory. And just like Bond N° 9, there’s nothing that’s bad, but nothing earthshattering either… D & I smelled the better part of the line and there was only one I wanted to try on my skin; Don’t get me wrong. All of the other all had something, how shall I say, sharp and candy-ish, about them, which did not please me. The one I was actually most decieved by was Jasmin & Cigarettes, all I got from that one was an un-ripe apricot, and none of that jasmin in a cloud of smoke I’d expected.

    Anyways, Don’t get me wrong; my first impression was that is was a greener and more innocent version of Diorissimo. It starts as a rather nice, very green & aldehydic lily of the valley. So far so good. I can’t describe the middle better than D, but there is indeed an amber note together with something I percieved as fleur d’oranger (made me think a bit of SL’s Fleur d’Oranger – but I could be wrong) However, the dry down… candy once again. I can’t pinpoint what it is that makes me think of candy, but I felt it was really a shame because up til then, I really liked the scent. In a way, if Diorissimo manages innocent white flowers hiding a mature sexual being, Don’t get me wrong only manages to produce a rather precocious teenager – but I guess that’s what the name suggests? February 4, 2007 at 2:05pm Reply

  • Fleur.de.Lys: Call me crazy, but I smell a bit of Rolf Schweiger’s lipstick rose in Putain and Secretions smells like a wet dog (costus’dirty goat hair effect?). We all know that Jicky got women in trouble because it smelled of the melange of perfumes that “women of the evening” mixed together so their trade could be “smelled out” by potential patrons. I think that Putain has this effect, but it is too garish, too much of a melange. Overall, the fragrances in the collection seem to be exercises in concept work; edgy concept, so-so creation. February 12, 2007 at 12:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: F, I can definitely see what you mean, but to me the rose-violet combination is so classical that it is difficult to pin point it to one perfume only. Even Insolence plays on that effect. That in turn gives PdP an elegant, classical facade, while the animalic notes lend it a seductive edge. It is without doubt a favourite from ELDO. SM is the most conceptual, but frankly, can you see yourself wearing it? Jasmin et Tabac is whimsical, but then it turns into goat curry. Overall, it is a mixed bag, albeit far better than so much that comes from niche these days. As a friend put it, revolution these days must mean working and polishing a formula to perfection. This is what I am missing in all of this. Hmm, sounds like a topic for another article, no? February 12, 2007 at 11:32pm Reply

  • Aline et Valcour: Bois de Jasmin, Putain des Palaces is taken after Serge Gainsbourg ‘s famous song Ronsard 58, a controversial french genius poet composer and author. France has a tradition of libertarian ‘libertine’ litterature and poetry (DAF de Sade, George Bataille, Jean Genet, Guillaume Appolinaire…)

    Ronsard 58 – Serge Gainsbourg
    Tant qu’t’auras ma belle de chouettes avantages
    T’auras des amants t’auras du succès
    T’auras des vacances sur les beaux rivages
    Et des bikinis à tout faire craquer
    T’auras des visions t’auras des bagnoles
    Des types bien sapés te f’ront du baise-main
    Tu f’ras des sourires tu joueras ton rôle
    Mais tu n’seras jamais qu’une petite putain

    Putain des trotoirs putain des palaces
    Pour les mecs dans l’fond c’est le même tabac
    On lui paye son prix on s’en débarrasse
    Faut qu’elle fasse l’amour et pas d’embarras
    D’ailleurs un beau jour ma bath petite môme
    Faudra qu’tu t’décides à passer la main
    Alors en chialant tu t’diras qu’ma pomme
    Elle avait du bon en tant qu’écrivain

    C’est tout c’que t’auras mes vers à la gomme
    Ma littérature dont tu t’es foutu
    C’est tout ce que tu auras pour t’rappeler les hommes
    Tes anciens tordus qui t’regarderont plus
    C’est le seul miroir où tu n’seras pas moche
    Il est garanti pour l’éternité
    Le vieux père Ronsard n’était pas une cloche
    Quand il disait ça à sa mijaurée
    À sa mijaurée, à sa mijaurée November 2, 2007 at 6:57pm Reply

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