Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Recently I found myself wishing for a woody oriental fragrance, where woods take the center stage, as opposed to the gourmand effects. While I love a mouthwatering dessert of a fragrance a la Lolita Lempicka or Prada Candy, I am even more partial to dark, rich blends with dry woody and incense accents. One such favorite is Etat Libre d’Orange Like This. Created in collaboration with the actress Tilda Swinton, Like This is a strange and unconventional blend. It is a cross between the woody richness of Serge Lutens Douce Amère and the smoldering darkness of Donna Karan Chaos, with plenty of its own surprising elements.
Like This was composed by perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui, whose Penhaligon’s Lily & Spice (now unfortunately discontinued) I have enjoyed for its dry spicy notes. In Like This, the interplay between sweet, juicy and dry, pungent sensations is what makes it unique. Through every point of the perfume’s evolution, one experiences various contrasting effects, which together lend it a dramatic, bold character. The main juxtaposition in Like This is between the woody-spicy and the sweet balsamic notes, with honeyed rose and immortelle tying the composition together.
The fragrance opens up on a bright spicy accord redolent with clove, cinnamon and ginger. Sweet orange notes temper the sharpness, and as the fragrance begins to segue into its woody heart, it mellows down further. The woods on my skin unfold in complex layers; at one point, I smell creamy sandalwood, then green vetiver and finally, incense ashes. Although there are strong sweet accents—from candied fig to almond-like heliotrope, the spicy woods form the main impression of Like This. The fragrance may be compared in character to Tom Ford Black Orchid and Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradis—dark, luscious and seductive. However, being relatively dry, Like This would be interesting on both men and women. It lasts well and retains all of its complexity and depth, while its sillage is radiant and velvety. It is as wonderful to wear it as to be in the presence of someone who has it on his skin.
Etat Libre d’Orange Like This by Tilda Swinton includes notes of tangerine, ginger, immortelle, neroli, rose, pumpkin accord, vetiver, musk, heliotrope. Available from Henri Bendels and online from Luckyscent.
Sample: my own acquisition