A review of Etat Libre d’Orange’s ‘Vraie Blonde’
Scandinavia, any red-blooded male will tell you, is the natural habitat of The Blonde. Tall, short, silver, bronze, amber and every shade not even L’Oreàl has discovered yet. Pixie blondes, mermaid blondes and suicide brunettes with fair roots.
Blonde may be a state of mind or just a moment, and blondes have more fun, right?
I doubt it, but bear with me. I’m having a moment and I am…a blonde.
There are even perfume blondes…Daim Blond, Bois Blond, Tabac Blond, or even Chanel no. 5 by way of association with one of the world’s most famous ever (bottled) blondes, which is beyond horrible on this particular blonde. Scents of suede, woods, tobacco or aldehydic florals, they’re not really about being blonde at all.
Which is not something you could ever say about Etat Libre d’Orange’s Vraie Blonde.
Etat Libre is a line that tends to make a lot of people, well, nervous. Nervous to have their scented bubbles burst, their preconceptions challenged by whatever true-crime movie ELdO bottles up and unleashes upon an unsuspecting planet.
If that’s your idea of Etat Libre d’Orange, stop right there. Vraie Blonde isn’t one of those.
Instead of distance and glacial perfection à la Grace Kelly or Catherine Deneuve (my all-time favorite blonde), this blonde is flirty, peachy, utterly and completely approachable. Instead of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this is the best kind of Thirties screwball starring Carole Lombard. Blonde, yes, kooky, yes, but smart and sassy too, and if all she wants is to have a good time and let her hair down, who am I to argue?
I was…surprised, and that’s a good thing. I like surprises. I like knowing that there are knock-your-socks-off, opulent Orientals, I like knowing about immensely complex perfumes that are never the same from wear to wear, I like instant sex appeal and I like happy-go-lucky florals, too. I like don’t-mess-with-me leathers and chypres. Help me, someone, I love them all.
Do you know, sometimes I just want to let my own hair down, drink slightly too much champagne and be…well, blonde, too! Certainly if champagne is involved. Among other things.
Out of the bottle, Vraie Blonde is a bubblefest of aldehydes and a hint of champagne. Rose and white pepper are in the mix, too, says Fragrantica, but what I get is…peach. Not too sweet, definitely not canned, but sun-warmed, perfectly ripe and right off the vine, ready to slice into the chilled glass of bubbly on that golden summer evening when your most pressing intellectual concern is to savor the moment and dish all the off-color jokes unfit to print.
Later, the bubbles fizz and soften to a slightly smoky finish where I can detect a suggestion of patchouli and a hint of myrrh that stays close to the skin, but not so close someone else can’t appreciate it. On my skin, it lasts about three hours, which is just right for two bottles of champagne, a pound of peaches and my repertoire of dirty jokes.
Vraie Blonde makes me laugh. Laugh at the absurdities of life and the seriousness of love, laugh at myself and laugh in good company. Laugh because this is a good night, and great champagne, and peel me another perfect peach, would you, darling? You are a peach of a guy. There’s more champagne and life’s a peach, and did I ever tell you about the time I pulled a Lady Godiva by accident when the horse rode off with my clothes one day at the beach, so I had to chase after it, right, which was when these two dishy police officers showed up. So I said to the horse, and whoever says that horses can’t laugh is dead wrong…
What did you expect? I am a blonde, after all, ornamental topiary included!
Thank you, Etat Libre. I shall henceforward never write you off as gimmicky again. I didn’t expect to like this so much as I did, and I certainly didn’t expect this reminder of one very important fact.
Sometimes, life’s a peach!
Thanks to Dee who sent it…tongue-in-cheek and with a wink!
Notes according to Fragrantica: Aldehydes, Champagne Cognac Liqueur, Rose, Vine Peach, White Pepper, Myrrh, Patchouli