A perfume made from waste materials. A bold and intriguing concept from a brand who know how to shock.
Apple, rose absolute, atlas cedar wood, bitter orange, strawberry, akigalawood, sandalore, Iso E Super.
Etat Libre d’Orange have to be one of the most controversial brands on the market today. They run riot through the perfume industry making challenging concoctions which defy convention and classification. They combine interesting ingredients to make perfumes which are unique in their character, and their website is a gorgeous melange of marketing hyperbole which amuses and delights us in equal measure.
If you like the apple note in PG 23.1 Jasmagonda, you may well also like this scent.
It’s a pertinent concept that the brand have decided to bravely tackle here: the fact that waste can be beautiful, the idea that we should re- and up-cycle, and even the idea that the beauty industry is a wasteful, wanton machine. When all that is said and done, however, this is not a challenging scent to wear. We were surprised by the easy going vibe and relative ease of I Am Trash, but maybe that in itself is the point the brand were trying to make: recycling, finding beauty and use in our trash, doesn’t have to be hard work.
I Am Trash opens with the most beautiful and realistic apple note and it’s an utter delight. This apple smells really ripe, outdoorsy and fresh. When smelling it we were immediately transported to an allotment, picking up windfalls which are a bit battered and bruised in places but still mostly fine. I Am Trash smells like real apples resplendent with imperfections, rather than the perfect, sterile, waxy cold-storage apples you can buy in supermarkets which barely smell of anything at all.
Apple is a note which is often done if not badly, not very realistically, but here it is so beautiful, so bright and real that you can almost taste the slightly-bruised fruit and almost feel the tart juice running down your chin.
The heart of I Am Trash feels like a fleeting beast, sandwiched between the attention grabbing top, and the sophisticated base, but there is a quiet, contemplative moment here that is easy to miss.
Hints of creaminess reveal themselves under the tart apple, felt more than smelled, right at the back of the throat. The apple is smoothed out by this nuance, becoming more honeyed and refined. The transition from the apple top to the woody base is really well blended and managed, but if you pay close attention you can watch the metamorphosis begin. For a time in the heart, I Am Trash smells beautifully of both the apples and woods. This reminded us of eating windfall apples in the potting shed, the fruit and the old wood of the shed mixing together.
Etat Libre d’Orange were responsible for the advent of what has to be one of the most challenging perfumes on the market today: Secretions Magnifiques, which includes accords of semen, blood and mother’s milk. The brand describes I Am Trash as being the passage to adulthood of Secretions (which in our humble opinion is almost unwearable). It took us a while to understand what they meant by this, but at times in the heart of I Am Trash, there are hints of salt and sweat. They’re very low in the mix and don’t always appear, but when they do you it’s possible to see how these two scents might be cousins.
The woodiness in the base of I Am Trash is light, transparent and musky. It’s friendly, smooth and easy to wear. There’s something about the muskiness of the scent which made us think of clean hair which had been freshly washed in apple shampoo. At the same time the transparency gave the scent an ethereal tone which made it feel transient and dream like.
The things that we missed from this fragrance was the rose, orange and strawberry. The latter two we couldn’t detect at all, and even the rose absolute wasn’t very easy to pick out. Your skin may bring out these notes more, but just be aware that if you are expecting a bold floral or a zesty orange then this might not be the best scent for you.
Overall though, I Am Trash has a really interesting journey. It starts off with something really solid that is touchable and edible: the apple. It then moves towards something more akin to a memory: chopping apples on a wooden table perhaps. And finally, it ends up with something imagined: the transient scent of imagined woods and musks. It’s an easy to wear fragrance which is light, intriguing and worth checking out.
The other stuff
I Am Trash is a perfume with a bold concept behind it, but a very wearable and approachable tone to the scent itself. We really liked this. It would have been easy for the brand to make the equivalent of Secretions Magnifiques for rubbish, but in the end they decided that the statement would resonate more if it was spoken quietly rather than shouted.
The longevity of the scent is relatively short. We get a two to four hours wear out of it before it has vanished. The sillage, or projection, of the scent is also pretty quiet. The scent seems to stay quite close to the skin and wouldn’t be picked up by people who were further away from you than handshake distance.
In terms of who should wear this scent, we felt that it was applicable and appropriate to all genders given the ease of wear that the scent has. We felt that the perfume would be best suited to the gentle warmth of Spring to really bring out the more subtle facets.
I Am Trash is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £120 for 100ml EdP, or £85 for 50ml. Bloom very kindly gave us a no-strings-attached sample of this scent. Check them out for their range of Etat Libre d’Orange perfumes.
You can also buy I Am Trash from the Etat Libre d’Orange web boutique.