|Photo by Jamie Nelson for Elle Mexico, 2011|
When Etat Libre d'Orange released their original perfume lineup in 2006, Encens et Bubblegum was considered one of the gimmicky fragrances, those created mostly for shock value or amusement. I didn't care. I loved this funny little thing from first sniff, but every time I tested it at the stores with friends and/or spouse everyone around me made such a face you'd think I was offering them kale. I kept spraying, but never dared buying a bottle, since every time I'd bring out a sample the Husband would have recognized it on the spot and protested way too much. Eventually I gave up.
Nearly a decade later a couple of new Encens et Bubblegum samples landed here again. I was happy to be united with the forbidden gummy fruit. It's just as fun as I remembered, and surprisingly, a sample and a half into it, the Blond has yet to complain or make faces. I guess he's smelled much worse over the years and has developed a healthy tolerance for funky scents in general and to Etat Libre d'Orange in particular.
Even for peach bubblegum.
The bubblegum and sugary candy notes (with not a hint of real fruit or anything that appears in nature) are the most prominent thing as the perfume enfolds. no one tries to mask it as anything else. just sugar, artificial flavor, and if red food coloring had an odor it'd be here as well. It's not too sweet, though, which is where one can start developing an appreciation to the perfumer's talent. We've all had smelled plenty of popular fruity candied fragrances, many of them aiming for teens and tweens who want nothing but to smell "yummy" in a junk food kind of way. This is not what I smell here. There's actual chewiness to this bubblegum, a musky intimacy that is both ironic and nostalgic. Like stolen teenage kisses.
The more "serious" notes here are sweet musk and the powdery remnants of burnt incense sticks. They make for a smooth and not too dense of a base, yet have enough substance to make Encens et Bubblegum joyously long-lasting. It also becomes warmer and almost cozy, while still lighthearted and pure fun. It might be time for a real bottle after all these years. I promise not to wear it on date night.
Etat Libre d'Orange- Encens et Bubblegum ($85, 50ml eau de parfum) is available at Luckyscent.