In One Thousand and One Nights, there is this wonderful expression for addressing a loved one: to say “soul of my soul,” signifying the emptiness of living without one's love.
I remember Aladdin's warm voice - crackling out of a record player on a 45 rpm - speaking to Badroulboudour. He calls her "my princess, soul of my soul." I was 7 years old at the time, and I asked my mother for the meaning of soul.
She replied, "There is no single definition. It is an invisible presence that links us to the divine, a little like the Vanilla trail of the perfume that you want to follow. The soul travels to infinity in space and time and connects us to the whole. It is a fragment of that which is beautiful and perfect in each of us, that returns us to heaven and remains on earth when we disappear. Perfume continues the presence of this fragment, and the soul proceeds in the same way."
A few years later, through the sustained reading of One Thousand and One Nights, I learned that the relationship to the body is nothing without a relationship to the soul, though for some, sensuality seemed to be an excellent substitute for the soul. To embrace each other could be an innovative way of instilling in each other a drop of the white and cosmic soul that flowed into the primordial ocean before the world came into being.
We have here a perfume that speaks of the fire-god of Persia and the gods of India, the worship of offerings, Mesopotamia, milk and clarified butter to honor the gods. And to remember, by a wake in the air, the foaming whiteness of the soul that comes from everything. Here, perfume is soul, soul is perfume. A creamy explosion, where musk intermingles with iris butter and transmits the powerful balm of vanilla, followed by the friction of Tonka against benzoin.
For twelve years, Etat Libre d’Orange has been celebrating enlightenment through an awareness of beauty, goodness, sensitivity and intelligence. Our house has welcomed humankindin all its forms, as long as they try to contribute toThe Perspective– the Renaissance concept of three dimensions in art which allowed for more realistic and profound depictions. And this perspective can be interpreted to extend beyond paintings.
Five hundred years ago, merchants confronted the two established orders :the Red (priests) and the Black (soldiers). They created a third path, cleansed of dictates, for the proliferation of the arts – and perfume. Etat Libre d’Orange honors the sons and daughters of the Renaissance by offering a trail of insight and alliance for their skin.
Think of Lucifer – from the Latin roots, lux (light) and ferre (to hold) – the shining one, light-bearing, like Venus when appearing as the morning star. Half a millennium to wear on the skin, and in its wake the majestic memory of the rose, the power of spices and the sense of something precious. The story of mankind delivered to you in a perfume.
An anti-hero never lies about who he is, hence the seeming simplicity of this hedonistic and sun-drenched creation, entirely centred on lavender flower. This hero of everyday life fights very ordinary battles at work, when driving, at home without every taking anything too seriously. His innate modesty is extremely appealing and he knows it. He cultivates his imperfections with wit and with natural unconventional elegance. With his tousled hair and look, this somewhat unexpected superman catches the eye and still cannot believe it — that’s why we adore him.
He took on many roles: writer, revolutionary, philosopher, libertine. He disdained the social norms and he demanded unrestrained freedom. He questioned every assumption about love, beauty, even violence, and he ignored the taboos. He wanted to attack the sun and ignite the world, liberate us from our preconceptions, break down the barriers which keep us from accepting our own desires. We identify with him, because we try to do the same. Which is why Etat Libre d’Orange has chosen to celebrate a man who celebrated extremes. We have invited the Marquis de Sade to join our family of outrageous perfumes. He has accepted with pleasure . . . and maybe a little pain.
Etat Libre d’Orange and the Marquis de Sade. It’s a marriage made in heaven, or possibly in hell. Either way, it works. Together, we launch an assault on the sun.
To read Sade is to take a risk — one is suddenly forced to face one’s self, exposed. It’s a wonderful risk to take if you want to plunge yourself into the heart and the body of humanity. Because Sade liberates. He pushes us to imagine and to desire, far beyond the boundaries which saturate our perspective.
“How many times, dear God, have I not longed to be able to attack the sun, snatch it out of the sky, create a general darkness, or use that star to ignite the world.” As a creator of perfume, how could I open my perspective, imagine beyond my limitations? A very personal question. The cistus! One of my paradoxes. One of my gray areas.
I have always recoiled from the cistus, I’ve avoided it or hidden it under thick layers of vanilla and amber as a way of escaping it. This is why I have made myself confront a radical formula: the cistus, exposed, and in all its states. My dear Marquis: here’s to your suns, to our volcanoes!
— Quentin Bisch, perfumer
From the depths of his prisons, Sade constantly reminded his contemporaries — and all men — of his injunction to go beyond compromise, to overcome conformity, and to always put freedom rst. To be yourself, without suffering the judgment of others; to be yourself and to live as you want to live… “All human happiness is in the imagination,” Sade reminds us. Sade was the freest man who ever lived. Sade is desire and passion, strength and tenderness, provocation and sensuality. His scent is the same: in nitely volcanic. Like his perfume, Sade cannot be banished, reduced to silence, made to disappear. He is there, always there: unforgettable. This is an eternal fragrance that endures just as his thought endures, beyond time.
Some battles are worth a few strikes below the belt. Secretly, he tirelessly weaves his web of seduction - and his victims get caught with delight. Friends, lovers, whoever... one only betrays a loved one. True to himself and to his own desires, the traitor is cunning and crafty but at least he does not lie to himself. Like Lucifer with the face of an angel, he makes a virtue of cupidity and knows all its rules inside and out. He who kisses him is damned and yet asks for more. History is full of divine traitors who are looked on as heroes : who would be Cain without Abel, Cesar without Brutus, Cinna without Augustus, Samson without Dalila, Remus without Romulus ? This perfume is a tribute to all the Judas of this world. The price to pay ? 30 denarius.