Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
He brings the sunshine. That’s how Etat Libre d’Orange describes its latest fragrance Fils de Dieu, du Riz et des Agrumes. “Son of God, rice and citrus” was brought into this world by perfumer Ralf Schwieger, who took the idea of a classical oriental and made it new and memorable. What drew me to Fils de Dieu from the first inhale was how well it played on the contrasts: the effervescence of citrus cologne and the plush richness of vanilla, the spring-like brightness of green leaves and the sultry darkness of musk, the clarity and the complexity.
The first hint of an interesting twist appears right from the top note where the bergamot and lime suggest a tart citrus, while an animalic note promises something far naughtier. Then the illusion of sweet spices and crushed rose petals gives way to vanilla and amber, and suddenly I realize that Fils de Dieu is a modern twist on Guerlain Shalimar. It has the same juxtaposition of crisp citrus and creamy vanilla, with a lavish dose of castoreum and musk.
However, the surprises do not end here. As Fils de Dieu unfolds, it goes from fresh to sultry and then to delicious—the savory gourmand accord of milky rice notes and coriander leaves makes my mouth water. Fils de Dieu works so well in spite of its unusual layers because of its perfect harmony. Every accord is seamlessly linked with another like a perfectly choreographed dance. Discovering little touches that give Fils de Dieu its distinctive character is one of the reasons I fell in love with it.
Another is that the fragrance diffuses beautifully, and its trail—warm, soft and radiant—feels very inviting. I had left a blotter saturated with perfume in my living room, only to find the perfume filling the entire space with its generous presence. Lacking the typical heft of a vanilla rich composition, Fils de Dieu is nevertheless very tenacious. For all of its twists and surprises, it is charming and lighthearted. The end result is as disarming as a smile. In fact, every time I wear Fils de Dieu, I cannot help smiling; it is an instant mood lifter.
Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu includes notes of ginger, cardamom, coriander leaves, lime, shiso, bergamot, coconut, rice note, jasmine, cinnamon, rose, tonka bean, vetiver, musk, amber, leather, and castoreum. Available from Henri Bendels and online from Luckyscent.
Sample: my own acquisition
Photography © Bois de Jasmin