Etat Libre d’Orange Like This ~ fragrance review

Etat Libre d'Orange Tilda Swinton Like This perfume

Yellow mandarin, ginger, pumpkin accord, immortelle, Moroccan neroli, rose de Grasse, vetiver, heliotrope, and musk. These are the notes of Like This, the latest fragrance from Etat Libre d'Orange. Sounds like a train wreck, doesn't it? It's not. Like a vintage Harris tweed woven with threads of pea green, turquoise, putty, and aubergine, it sounds scary but makes a gorgeous blend: untraditional, yet natural — even inevitable — once you experience it.

Inspired by Tilda Swinton and a poem from Rumi, perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui created Like This. Both Swinton and Rumi set a mighty high bar. The Rumi poem talks about the Resurrection and the fragrance of God, as well as relatively minor things like the sky and love. He is such a popular poet and philosopher that quotes from his work probably show up more often than anyone else's as part of the automatic signature line on emails. Swinton has blazed a singular artistic path of intelligence, sensitivity, and almost extraterrestrial beauty. (April is National Poetry Month. Do yourself a favor and click over to the Etat Libre d'Orange website to hear Swinton read the Rumi poem.)

I imagine Bijaoui looking at the Etat Libre brief, trying to come up with some common theme between the redheaded Swinton and Rumi and hitting on Orange. Orange hair, the orange of the sun, saffron monastic robes, fading day. Then, with this visual inspiration she found a way to connect orange scents: pumpkin, neroli, mandarin, immortelle, and ginger. The crazy thing is, it works.

Like This's mandarin and neroli are apparent at first spray, but they are muffled by a diffusive, almost cardboard-like note (the pumpkin?) that keeps Like This from feeling too citrus or sweet at first. Fendi Theorema smells much sweeter and orange-y initially than does Like This. Sometimes I think I smell a hint of civet, too, dirtying Like This up. Other times I can't smell it at all. The maple-curry scent of immortelle is more prominent than ginger as the fragrance wears on, although dried ginger is definitely present.

Over time, Like This sweetens to a burnt sugar, like the crispy top of an immortelle crème brûlée. A dose of moderately clean musk and wood keep it from smelling like food. The rose and vetiver are lost on me, although their watery crispness undoubtedly lighten Like This's sweet warmth. Like This wears close to the skin and lasts four or five hours.

Despite its unusual combination of notes, Like This is easy to wear. Other perfume lovers who smell it lift their noses from my arm and say, "It smells nice on you." People without a lot of perfume experience tend to simply say "It's lovely." No one who has smelled it on me has demanded to know where he or she could get some. Like This doesn't call attention to itself and isn't a challenging or assertive fragrance. But lately I've been loving perfumes that don't wear me, and Like This has been in heavy rotation, especially with the cooler spring weather. Its quiet but fascinating play of notes keeps me interested but not distracted.

Not everyone will want to wear Like This. Like Swinton (and I wish more like Swinton) I'm a pale redhead with a penchant for creamy colors and thick textures. Like This fits right in. If a clear, light jasmine is more your thing, you might not make Like This a daily choice. It could be too sweet or too, well, "orange" for you.

I don't know about the dreamy world of Rumi and how it connects to Like This. But I can see Tilda Swinton wearing Like This and a battered tweed jacket and climbing the Scottish countryside in the late afternoon. She's headed home, to an Italo Calvino novel, black tea, shortbread, and a peaty fire. Her scarf smells delicious.

Etat Libre d'Orange Tilda Swinton Like This is an Eau de Parfum and comes in a 50 ml spray bottle. It hasn't yet been released in the United States. I bought mine at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs gift shop in Paris. For general buying information, see the listing for Etat Libre d'Orange under Perfume Houses.

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. Dzingnut says:

    Terrific review, Angela! This sounds so intriguing that I must get a sample when they become available. Orange is not an avenue that I have explored much, but this sounds wonderful. I love your descriptions; they are so evocative, and you just nail your image every time!

    • Angela says:

      Like This isn’t so much about the citrus fruit orange–although it’s there–but more about orange as a concept, I think. If you try it, let me know what you think!

  2. violetnoir says:

    I am not an immortelle fan, Angela. In fact, I really don’t like maple syrup.

    But, I love your review, and I will give this a try when it comes to Luckyscent.

    Thank you, again, for your beautiful, evocative writing!


    • Angela says:

      It’s interesting to smell, even if you’d never wear it. I’m not sure Like This will ever be a blockbuster, but I bet it gets some dedicated fans.

  3. Your review def has me intrigued. Is this the Tilda fragrance I’ve been hearing all the buzz about, or there another one? For some reason I thought it was with CdG. Who can keep track with all these releases? Sheesh.

    • Angela says:

      I’m betting this is the Tilda fragrance with all the buzz, although I’d love to see what she’d do with CdG!

      I agree–it’s impossible to keep up with all the new releases.

  4. Delfina says:

    I was already curious but now I’m hooked. I hope it gets distributed very soon. I definitely want to smell a fragrance which smells of tweed, sunset, black tea and a Calvino novel. Thanks Angela!

    • Angela says:

      Do try it! I’m guessing not everyone will like it or even find it all that compelling, but I’m hooked.

      • Delfina says:

        I have a good sensation. Your last review of a subdued fragrance, Mythique, made me try it again after months and now I love it (and it will SOON dig a hole in my wallet…)

        • Angela says:

          I’ve been loving Mythique, too–it’s so perfect for spring! Like This is also close to the skin, but a lot warmer and sweeter.

  5. Haunani says:

    Angela, you paint the most delicious word pictures! I’m becoming addicted to your reviews. :-) I love the idea of a fragrance created around the concept of my favorite color. I’m a blue-eyed blond who can’t wear orange, but I love it nonetheless. It’s the happy, warm marriage of my other two favorite colors, yellow and red! I also like hearing that this is not an in-your-face fragrance. It will be a must-try for me when it becomes available here!

    About immortelle. I don’t like the smell or taste of maple, but I like most fragrances I’ve tried with this note (Songes being one exception). Immortelle just isn’t maple-y to me. Good thing, huh?

    Thanks again, Angela!

    • Angela says:

      It’s great when immortelle doesn’t read as pancake syrup, that’s for sure! Sometimes immortelle is a little too much for me, like in Sables (I think that’s the one you mean). But in Eau du Fier, for instance, it’s fine. In Like This, it’s not in your face at all.

      • Haunani says:

        Aaak! You are right, I meant Sables. Thanks for figuring that out. :-)

        • Angela says:

          Songes, Sables–way too easy to confuse!

      • Erin says:

        Agreed to everything H says above – very evocative review, and I love orange (and red and yellow, too). Descriptions of Like This have intrigued me, and now I have to try it, I guess. Sables is too much for me, but immortelle is one of my fave notes otherwise. I guess it’s the oriental immortelle-amber combo that puts me off: in a chypre, fougere, citrus etc. scent I love the curried sweetness of it as an accent. I like the idea of pumpkin as a note, too, but you just don’t smell it or see it in note lists very often. Mandarin and heliotrope, too, you say? Vedddy interesting….

        • Angela says:

          I know–doesn’t it sound like it could be a muddy mess? I like it, though. I think it’s worth trying, for sure.

  6. miss kitty v. says:

    I think it was Chypre Rouge that ruined immortelle for me, if memory serves, but I’d still like to give this a try. More than anything, from the first I heard of this the pumpkin had my attention.

    • Angela says:

      The immortelle is pretty subtle in this, I think, but the overall feel is luminous and comforting.

      • miss kitty v. says:

        I’ll take luminous and comforting. Sound good to me! Sort of subtle sounds appealing as well. I’ve been wearing some strong, and occasionally downright abrasive, scents lately, and feel the need to recalibrate my sense of smell somehow. (BTW, I’ve decide that when in doubt, the BB Nude always brings me back to center. I have not had a single bad day with it.)

        • Angela says:

          I’m glad Nude is working out for you! Like This is a whole different feel than that one–sweeter, thicker, closer to the body.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Oh, yeah, sorry–that was just sort of an aside. I wouldn’t imagine they would be at all alike.

          • Angela says:

            I know! Just adding that.

            I found another bottle of Nude at Goodwill and had to buy it. Pretty soon I’ll be able to embalm myself in it. Let me know when you need more.

  7. Karin says:

    I want to try this!

    On that pumpkin note, I tried a really weird soda this weekend – the limited edition Pumpkin Pie by Maine Root. On first sip, I exclaimed, “potpourri”!!! The drink includes flavors of vanilla, allspice, clove, and nutmeg. STRANGE!!!! I finished the bottle, though. ;-)

    • Angela says:

      Yikes! That sounds like drinking a scented candle!

    • Joe says:

      That soda doesn’t sound too bad to me. I’m hoping the pumpkin in this fragrance is less “pumpkin pie” and perhaps more the vegetal (though odd) smell of fresh-cut squash.

      What’s really disgusting sounding is the four-course pack of Thanksgiving sodas that one company puts out (annually?)… I think it’s Jones Soda. Google it for a laugh.

      • Angela says:

        Definitely more like squash. Nothing Thanksgiving about it to my nose.

      • mals86 says:

        What, the turkey-and-gravy one?

        • Angela says:

          Horrible thought! (Although a little turkey and gravy for breakfast in a little while might be nice.)

  8. meadowbliss says:

    A beautiful review. I’ve not explored orange, but you’re luring me into wanting to smell this. Interesting that no one asked where to buy, but did comment about it being a lovely smell. I’m enticed.

    • Angela says:

      I think no one felt compelled to chase it down because it’s a subtle scent, not the kind people generally flip over. Still, I like it! I don’t always want to be upstaged by my perfume.

  9. mals86 says:

    Although Like This still doesn’t sound like it would be to my taste, this was a lovely review, Angela. Thank you.

    • mals86 says:

      Lots of pale freckled redheads in my family. Sadly, I missed out on the gene (my daughter’s got beautiful strawberry-blonde hair, though).

      • Angela says:

        So you’re a redhead gene carrier!

    • Angela says:

      It definitely won’t be to a lot of people’s taste, but it’s nice to sample.

  10. maggiecat says:

    Thanks…thanks a lot for the beautiful review that will make me want…no NEED…to try this after I promised myself (and DH) I’d take a break from the samples for a while…Angela, you’re such an enabler! Is there a 12-step group for perfume lovers? If so, don’t tell me where it is…I don’t want to know…(beyond all help here)

    • Angela says:

      I know! I know! My fervor to buy perfume has slowed down, thankfully, but it’s an expense habit, that’s for sure.

  11. Yes, fascinating review, and I think I would like to try this if it is a quieter take on orange. I had high hopes of Ineke’s Field Notes from Paris, but that was overly orange unfortunately, and I went right off Theorama some time ago!

    • Angela says:

      I wasn’t wild about Field Notes from Paris. Like This is more muted and earthy than a lot of the citrus-y scents with orange in them.

  12. Luccia says:

    Hi Angela, lovely review. I can imagine the dogs eyeing that scarf, carrying it off for the fragrance…I want that scarf myself. I love the scent of perfume rubbed into clothing. This sounds like a good combination of glamor and simplicity.

    • Angela says:

      Oh, I bet it’s a nice scarf, too! Maybe Robin’s egg blue cashmere.

  13. Jill says:

    I’m really looking forward to trying this, and your writing about it is so lovely! I love the pictures you paint with your words. I’m glad you find it a more quiet fragrance — I’m into that lately.

    • Angela says:

      I’ve really been into quieter fragrances, too. I’m sure I’ll plunge back into the sillage grabbers again soon, but for now I’m enjoying having just the wispiest aura of fragrance close to my skin.

  14. Jared says:

    Thanks for that audio link! I went right over and listened to it- how cool to hear her read the lines of one of my favorite poems :) Now I shall go muse about the emotional associations of the color orange and await the day I sample this!

    • Angela says:

      Isn’t she terrific at reading it? I can barely stand to listen to some people read poetry. They get all sing-songy and snooty sounding. Tilda reads it like it’s a secret she’s telling you. Marvelous.

  15. Dear Angela, great review! I ask myself how does the colour orange smell? Like this.

    • Angela says:

      Yes! You got it!

    • Helle says:

      Actually, I let my non-perfume-obsessed husband smell it on me (without sharing any details as to what he was smelling) and his first thought was that it was a very orange colored smell! It does smell sunny and warm. Thank you Angela for a beautiful review!

      • Angela says:

        He sounds like a natural! Did he like it?

        • Helle says:

          I know I already bragged about his synesthetic abilities in an earlier post but I just had to tell the story again! Yes, he did like it, and he’s quite picky. Like This was awarded a “that’s actually not that bad”, which is why I’m thinking I must get a sample to test it out some more… after all I do like being sniffed occasionally without having to beg for it ;).

          • Angela says:

            That’s so funny!

      • Haunani says:

        Love your story, Helle!

  16. Joe says:

    Hi Angela: Just a brief note to say that my urge to try this has waned just a little since I first heard about the launch. My cooling ardor has nothing to do with the reviews — it still sounds really nice, though I’m concerned about the “wears close to the skin aspect.” That’s not always bad, but I do like a little bit of waft. Today I’m wearing something that seems similarly “soft” and close-wearing: No. 18, but luckily I get a little bit of waft now and then after having sprayed *liberally*.

    I’m buying some Like This very soon. It’s not scheduled to launch in the US until June (at LuckyScent). Currently available at a decent price at

    Regarding the brief and the inspiration: I like Rumi just fine but I truly LOVE Hāfez (or Hafiz), a later Persian poet of the 14th century. I highly recommend some recently published and widely-available translations by Daniel Ladinsky.

    • Angela says:

      Like This isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure, and it does stay close to the skin. Still, it’s worth trying!

      Thanks so much for the poetry recommendation. I’ll hop over to the library’s website and see if I can find something by Hafez right away!

    • CynthiaW says:

      I agree that it’s not a sillage monster like Poison or Obsession, but you don’t have to ram your nose up to your wrist to smell it either. It’s more like being in your own personal scent cocoon. I can definitely see this being a “go-to” scent on days when I want to hibernate and be comforted. It almost reminds me of 31 Rue Cambon or Bois des Iles in that respect – it doesn’t smell anything like them, but it has the same feel as they do to me, just something cozy and warm, yet uplifting.

      • Angela says:

        I agree–it’s very comforting. And it does have more sillage than Mythique, but it stays relatively close, too. I’m glad you like it!

  17. Rappleyea says:

    Gorgeous review, Angela. I swear your reviews are more beautiful than the actual fragrances! You truly are gifted. I love the orange metaphor, and while I doubt Bijaoui came up with anything that brilliant, it sounds like she did come up with a good fragrance. Helichrysum (immortelle) and neroli is a favorite combination. It’s one I use on my skin as both oils have wonderful skin care qualities.

    • Angela says:

      I never would have even thought of the combination before I tried Like This, but it sounds like people in the know about smells (like you) figured it out a long time ago!

      • Rappleyea says:

        Real helichrysum essential oil is quite expensive and hard to get so I doubt commercial perfumes use the real thing. To my nose, the e.o. doesn’t smell like maple syrup, more of a dark honey smell, which blends great with the neroli.

        • Angela says:

          Sounds divine, it really does.

  18. Robin R. says:

    If I had to choose — and fortunately I don’t — I’d take your wonderful reviews over pretty much any new scent, no matter how wonderful, Angela. This does sound intriguing and wearable and I’m going to make sure I try some. I know we like many of the same things, quite a variety of things, for similar reasons (I’m thinking now of Daphne, which you loved and so did I). The fact you splurged on a whole bottle of Like This is quite the endorsement! And I do love SWINTON. ;-)

    • Angela says:

      You are so nice to say so! I hope I don’t blow a perfume’s beauty out of proportion, though. I hope I don’t get too purple about them, either. Still, is it possible to get too purple about Swinton? She really is pretty terrific.

      • Robin R. says:

        No amount of prose, no matter how purple, could possibly do justice to that woman, Angela. ;-)

        I don’t find your descriptions misleading, ever. I do find them all too dangerously enticing, however!

  19. halimeade says:

    I’ve been waiting to hear more about Like This since y’all posted the first ad copy a couple months ago. I’ve really been digging neroli lately (I think its the warm days we’ve been getting). I’ll be keeping an eye out for samples.

    • Angela says:

      If you’re looking for a tingly, crisp neroli, Like This may not satisfy you. It’s thicker and warmer than the idea of neroli might lead you to think. Think, instead, of the immortelle and pumpkin. Still, it’s definitely worth trying!

      • halimeade says:

        Hmm, not to derail the conversation at all, but what would you suggest for a neroli-centric fragrance? A little bergamot thrown in would be a bonus for me : )

        • Angela says:

          I know Goutal, Chloé, Jo Malone, and L’Occitane all make soliflore nerolis. You might start with those and see where they lead you. Good luck!

        • Robin R. says:

          Halimeade, see if you can track down some Ailleurs et Fleurs by The Different Company. It’s made by Celine Ellena, Jean-Claude’s daughter, and it’s a gorgeously crisp, sheer neroli-based fragrance. Notes are:
          Neroli, petitgrain, hazelnut-and elder-flowers, mandarin, star anise, bigarade orange, soft musk and prune

  20. Tama says:

    Oooh thank you for the wonderful review and the equally wonderful link to the poem. I definitely want to try this scent – I like some of the quiet ones (she says, drowning in massive sprays of her new Demeter Gingerale) and this one sounds really interesting and unique.

    • Angela says:

      Let me know what you think of it! It sounds like it will be a little while before it’s out.

  21. Bunny says:

    Nice review! I look forward to trying this whenever that will be, it sounds interesting. I’ll have to put on my coraly-light orange 50s patio dress to really orange it up! …and be excessively matchy! haha

    • Angela says:

      Love the sound of that patio dress! Maybe some dangling orange earrings and orange patent leather sandals would be good, too. Really, though, a cozy orange sweater might be best.

  22. Isa says:

    Wonderful review, Angela. I bet that I will love Like This, according to the notes and your description.

    I don’t know why, but I’m thinking of it like a mix of Etra Etro and Sisley #3 LOL Too much imagination!

    • Angela says:

      I wish I knew both of those fragrances so I could tell you! Now I want to try them, though, and will hunt them down at my local perfume store.

  23. frangelicahsrh says:

    Hearing Tilda Swinton read Rumi was a delightful experience. She is truly a remarkable breathtaking actress in my opinion. She was one of my favorites eternally after seeing “Orlando” years ago.

    • Angela says:

      It really is wonderful to hear an actress read poetry. So often gorgeous words are wrecked by indifferent–or worse–readers.

  24. Dzingnut says:

    Angela – I ordered a sample of this, and by the third try, I was hooked, so now a full bottle is on its way. Thank you again for the wonderful review – I would not have tried this without it, and would have missed something wonderful!

    • Angela says:

      I’m so glad it worked out for you! Like This is so different from anything else I have–it’s really easy to wear and well behaved, but it’s so different, too.

  25. promiseevans says:

    Since you mentioned it in your review Angela…what scents have made people stop you and demand to know what you are wearing and where they could get some? Those are the kind of fragrances I most definitely don’t want to miss out on having the opportunity to at least sample! I know how I LOVE when my heart skips a beat when someone walks past me and I am like “Whoa!! What is that fantastic smell??”

    • Angela says:

      Of course, now that you ask I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Havana Vanille does get comments–I think mostly because people recognize and appreciate the vanilla.

  26. Dzingnut says:

    Angela – my bottle of Like This arrived yesterday, and it’s so wonderful, I absolutely love it. This could become my HG comfort scent, and her comments to Jessica about it being a “home brew” are dead on accurate. Now, if I could only have Tilda’s bone structure …

    • Angela says:

      Her bone structure would be nice! I guess we can wear Like This, close our eyes, and pretend…

  27. Blimunda says:

    When I first tried this, it kept remind me of another perfume……it was nagging away at me for a few days, and then MECHANT LOUP jumped into my brain! It smells like a gingery, spicy, citrus-y sister to Mechant Loup on me. Yum.

    • Angela says:

      I didn’t even think of that! Now I want to try them side by side.

      • Blimunda says:

        Yay, do try them and let me know whether it’s the same on your skin. It could be an olfactory hallucination, but I reckon there are similarities……

  28. stephham says:

    Such a good review made me rush out to order a sample and I loved it. Its winter here in Australia and it is such a warm comforting fragrance I’ve been wearing it for three days straight. Definately going to have to go buy a full bottle!
    Thanks for the great review!

    • Angela says:

      I wouldn’t mind a touch of winter to blend in with the scorching weather here today!

      I’m glad you like Like This. It’s such a particular fragrance that I don’t think it speaks to everyone, but I love it.

  29. Shoegal says:

    I think Tilda Swinton is a brilliant actress so when I read that she was collaborating on a fragrance I was intrigued. I read the description on the Les Senteurs website purchased a sample and waited excitedly for the post to arrive. On opening the vial, I thought this has possibilities, but unfortunately after about 30 minutes, poof, Like This, was no where to be found. I don’t know if it’s due to my body chemistry or the fragrances sillage but it just didn’t last on my skin. So, if it does on yours, I’m very envious.

    • Angela says:

      On me it definitely hugs my skin–not a lot of sillage–but it does stick around. I’m sorry it doesn’t last well on you. I hate it when a fragrance I like just won’t last.

  30. ceelouise says:

    Interested but not distracted – perfect summary of what the best frangrances require! Thank you! An addition to my TPC sample order list. (Wish I’d read this before my trip to Paris this summer!)

  31. ceelouise says:

    Received my sample from luckyscent. I like the drydown fine, it’s a nice sweet musk, but I really didn’t like the top or middle – too much immortelle/maple syrup for me. A little disappointing. I’ll have to find another scent to evoke the Scottish Highlands…

    • Angela says:

      Maybe something peatier or smokier would be better?

      • ceelouise says:

        Thanks for the suggestion!

        • ceelouise says:

          Must report that Like This is growing on me – liked smelling it on my jacket days later. After two or three wearings, still not sure, luckily there’s enough sample left to try again. Who knows, might be one of those you think you don’t like and then change your mind and purchase. Not everything is love at first sniff. Still deciding…

          • Angela says:

            Some fragrances are like that! I definitely own a handful that I barely gave a second sniff to at first, then came to love.

  32. Cephyse says:

    Ceelouise, I’m very fond of the “love at first sniff” concept^^
    Why is finding the perfect fragrance so hard? Because you have a one-in-1000 chance of liking every scent a fragrance is made of…
    The thing is, while smelling Like This, my nose keeps being pleasantly surprised from one note to another. Appreciating a perfume is a kind of love relationship: sparkling passion at first, then deep,smoothier affection.
    What is great with a fragrance is that the love story repeats itself at every application ;)
    Anyway, I’m expecting with a huuuge anxiety for Archives 69 (the new fragrance by ELO) to be launched! A love story to be continued!

    • Angela says:

      I’m eager to try the new one, too! It will probably be ages before I wrangle a sample, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

Leave a reply