Etat Libre d’Orange introduces their latest fragrance, Cologne Eau de Parfum, with the words, “It’s an easy pleasure, a scent for everyone, to splash on all over and wear everywhere… It’s a very nice cologne.” Cologne opens with a bright, flat orange note and soft orange blossom. I almost always loathe orange blossom for its syrupy sweetness, but the orange note keeps both in check very nicely. It’s easy to sniff a resemblance to the recent Atelier Cologne Cedrat Envirant during this beginning stage, but unlike Cedrat Envirant, the citrus in Cologne is very streamlined, intentionally unnatural.
Now, here’s the fun part. Traditional colognes are much like Hollywood ingenues: bright and fresh, with very limited lasting power. The delightful trick up Cologne’s sleeve is that it gets better with time instead of fizzling out. The best and most interesting stage of Cologne is the drydown, when white musks mingle with polished, unsweetened leather. The lasting power is surprisingly good, and the holographic silver label is gorgeous in person.
Cologne is not the most daring, exciting Etat Libre d’Orange fragrance. It’s not the one that I, personally, would spend $150 on (Cologne is currently only available in the 100 ml size). But it is exactly what Etat Libre d’Orange set out to achieve: “an easy pleasure”. “A very nice cologne” might be just what this heavy-hitting brand needed.