Provocative name from a provocative brand. Will this be a provocative scent too?
Vetiver, chestnut cream, olive leaves, myrrh, vanilla, opoponax.
Etat Libre d’Orange are an eccentric and provocative brand. They make scents which always feel left-of-the-middle if not downright transgressive. They’re interesting, avant guard and out there. Constantly surprising, but not always easy to wear, these are fragrances for the bold and the bonkers.
We are almost as in love with the marketing team who write such wonderful descriptions on the Etat Libre d’Orange website as we are with the scents themselves. Here’s what they say about Fat Electrician:
“His beauty would have been his greatest asset. One imagines he was raised in the big air of Texas, his soft skin scrubbed by ears of wheat, his eyelashes curled by grappling with grace against a blinding sun….Now, a Fat Electrician in New Jersey, his talent depleted in his sexual decline. This is the curse of beauty — it doesn’t last.”
If the top of the scent aims to evoke the youth of this formerly handsome man then he must have indeed been very beautiful. Gorgeous plumes of creamy chestnut emerge when you spray the scent, nutty, soft, slightly smoky but sweet, delicious, edible. This is like some delicate and complex chestnut confection which you’ve just happened across in the window of some beautiful continental bakery. You know when you bite into the cake it will be pillowy soft and sweet on your tongue, impossible to resist and really tasty.
That’s what the top notes of Fat Electrician smell like, full of optimism, satisfying, exciting. Maybe you know that it’s bad for you, but you’re going to do it anyway.
The smoky notes which peep around the wonderfully delectable chestnut in the top build as the perfume ages. They’re innocuous at first, the smoke adding a nice, more grown up and darker nuance to the sweet top. For a while the two facets of sweet and smoky play together pleasingly. This is the moment, we suppose, when the Fat Electrician is at the height of his prowess. The gloss of youth worn off by a few years of appetite and conquest, but his beauty all the more evident for the lines around his eyes and the stubble on his jaw.
In the heart, Fat Electrician the scent is beautiful, complex, dense, layered and intriguing. It has a leathery nuance about it, like a well worn jacket, it’s masculine, powerful and potent. The scent hangs poised before inevitably, inexorably descending into the base.
What Etat Libre d’Orange have done here in a scent is utterly fascinating. We found ourselves captivated by the life story of the electrician shown in perfume. We all know people like him: the pretty kids at school who everyone wanted to be but who passed their prime the moment they hit their third decade, before they really tasted adulthood. You can smell that ageing process here, watch it unfold in your mind’s eye like a time-lapse film. The arrogance of beauty cracks before falling apart, the base is the story of what is left.
Forget the listed notes, the thing which intensifies as this perfume wears is the scent of cigarette smoke. You can almost feel it building, layer on layer, step by step, cigarette by cigarette until it eclipses the beautiful chestnut creamy nuances we began with. Whilst the start of the scent was easy to wear, the base becomes increasingly challenging. It made our testers feel grubby, like they wanted a shower, and was reminiscent of what it was like to have an evening out in the UK before the smoking ban came into effect. Stale cigarettes clinging to clothes and hair is the overriding feeling from the base of Fat Electrician.
It would be easy to see Fat Electrician as this metaphor for the transient and fleeting nature of beauty, but instead we prefer to see it as a warning against smoking. The youthful beauty of the creamy chestnut is covered up by layers upon layers of cigarette smoke and at times you can almost discern glimmers of what was in the overall scent of the fragrance, like a ghost of something that is almost now entirely obliterated.
The base of Fat Electrician will not be to everyone’s tastes, the smoke is acrid, unhealthy, greasy and clingy – especially further out into the sillage of the scent, closer to the skin the vanilla sweetens it more and it is more pleasurable. But to those who enjoy it and can wear it, Fat Electrician will serve as a reminder, a momento mori, that life, and indeed beauty aren’t around for long.
The other stuff
The longevity of Fat Electrician is very good. It lasts from morning well into the evening without the need for reapplication.
The sillage or projection of the scent is also good, at least to handshake distance and probably further if a larger amount was applied.
Fat Electrician would be most suited to those looking for something on the more masculine end of the spectrum, but as always, feel free to wear it whatever your gender or gender presentation.
We felt that Fat Electrician would wear best in the winter. In the summer months the buzz of the cigarette smoke would make it even more overbearing and challenging to sustain.
Fat Electrician is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £120 for 100ml EdP, or £85 for 50ml.
You can also buy Fat Electrician from the Etat Libre d’Orange web boutique.