I must have been influenced by the name of this Etat Libre d'Orange perfume and the accompanying imagery of the hidden knife behind the traitor's back on the tester and official sample, because Eloge du Traitre gives me chills.
This is yet another case I'm not very fond of either the name Etat Libre d'Orange chose for their perfume or the graphics, but I'm willing to mostly let it go because Eloge du Traitre is quite good. I would have enjoyed it more had this perfume weren't giving me a piercing two Advil-worth headache every single time I'm wearing it. However, the fact I'm having trouble staying away and have gone through sample after sample must mean something (the samples were from both East and West Coast sources, as I wanted to make sure the headaches weren't a fluke).
Eloge du Traitor opens cold and metallic before morphing into a curious and uncommon spicy chill. Usually a perfume that throws so much spice and tree bark at you is mostly warm. Not here, though. The combination of geranium and bay leaf is so sharp it reminded me of ginger the first time I smelled it, before I recalibrated my senses. There's something dank, murky and dark about the way Eloge du Traitor develops. It's like a hot and cold dirty patchouli stew with a side dish of something eerily close to chicken soup. That's the heavy dose of bay-leaf, and if you remember, I'm a vegetarian. No wonder Etat Libre d'Orange is giving me issues with this one.
Soup mix aside, I can't help admiring the way this Traitor sneaks up on me. I could have sworn there's some oakmoss in there, together with earthy forest floor and the decomposing pine needles. Usually piny scents bring in fresh mountain air, but not here- it lets the chilly draft in, but I smell more mushroomy than clean here at first, before the Eloge becomes the heavy and damp black wool cape the traitor wears as s/he sneaks along the alleys.
Notes (via Luckyscent): pine, bay leaf, artemisia, clove, geranium, jasmine, patchouli, leather, musk.
Eloge du Traitor ($80, 50 ml) by Etat Libre d'Orange is available from Henri Bendel in NYC and Luckyscent.
Top images of Lana Turner as Lady de Winter, Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan and June Allyson as Constance from the wonderful 1948 version of The Three Musketeers, classiccinemagold.com.