The full name of this perfume by Etat Libre d'Orange is Fils de Dieu, du Riz et des Agrumes. It means "Son of God, rice and citrus"; On the website of Etat Libre d'Orange it's also accompanied by the tagline "S/He brings on the sunshine". It's a big promise, for sure, and also quite poetic. Yes, this comes from the same line that brought us the abomination of Secretion Magnifique and some of its siblings. Thankfully, it seems like everyone has moved on.
Fils de Dieu opens up sparkly and sunny, half a step up from a really good lime-cologne (the ginger and general spiciness provide a more interesting twist from the very beginning). The herb garden has an Asian spice market feel, but still maintains an easygoing freshness that's friendly to all and gender-inclusive. I rarely find citrus notes and light accords so engaging, but here it not only smells good, but has me pining for more. If you ask me, perfumer Ralf Schwieger who composed this fragrance for Etat Libre d'Orange needs to teach a class or two on how to do a fresh opening accord without insulting the taste and intelligence of the market. Just about everyone could use this lesson.
It gets more interesting and complicated. The long list of notes starts playing here, offering several interesting facets, most of them around a gourmand theme. The star of Fils de Dieu's development is rice, and the composition takes it from savory to sweet, from what Candy Perfume Boy describes as "lightly spiced Thai curry" to one of my favorite desserts, a milky coconut rice pudding. Victoria of Bois de Jasmin observes that Fils de Dieu is related to Shalimar, and I get it. This fragrance takes the "oriental" idea quite literally, and the result is not just exotic, but also beautiful, modern, and very satisfying. What Etat Libre d'Orange offers us here is not exactly the cuddly comfort gourmand that wraps us up in its cashmere fuzziness and lulls us to sleep. Instead, Fils de Dieu is something to wear as one gets ready to take on the day: it's fortifying and pleasing, while unique enough to provide a personal touch to one's outfit.
Notes: Ginger, coriander leaves, lime, shiso, bergamot, Jungle Essence coconut, rice note, Jungle Essence cardamom, jasmine, cinnamon, French May rose, tonka bean, vetiver, musk, amber, leather, castoreum.
Etat Libre d'Orange- Fils de Dieu ($80, 50ml EDP) is available from MiN NY, Henri Bendel, Parfum1,and Luckyscent. The samples for this review came with various purchases.
Photo: Rice market in Vietnam, Wikimedia Commons.