Etat Libre d’Orange Je suis un homme ~ fragrance review

Etat Libre d'Orange Je suis un homme

Over the holidays spent at home, I found myself wearing LOTS of perfumes — named Chanel No. 5, Jean Patou Joy and Dior Diorissimo (vintage, both), Molinard Habanita and Lalique de Lalique. All of a sudden, I felt I needed to stop shaving, to put on some work boots, and to wear a manly cologne — nothing fancy, but a salt-of-the-earth, dare I say, conservative fragrance. I reached for Etat Libre d’Orange Je suis un homme.*

I tried Je suis un homme years ago; it was like-at-first-sniff. And what’s NOT to like? Though its emblem is a penis-barreled gun, Je suis un homme is a comforting scent to me…not menacing in the least. Je suis un homme is masculine, warm and fuzzy; it's sexy, but I don’t like to write the word ‘sexy’ in connection with a gun (Etat Libre d’Orange: retire the penis-pistol...if you want another penis besides the spurting one used in the Sécrétions Magnifiques ad copy, make it less aggressive, maybe zero in on the naked crotch of an ancient Greek or Roman sculpture?)

Je suis un homme’s opening is bracing, with aromas of citrus, crushed cloves and birch tar, creating a scent I’ll call “stomping through a wet woods.” This slightly bitter, “tough,” herbal-smelling opening begins to sweeten quickly (not a gourmand sweetness, but a liquor-y amber sweetness). As Je suis un homme enters its heart, I detect smooth leather mixing with resinous myrrh and the cognac accord…this is a relaxing-on-the-sofa moment that leads to the fragrance's  finale of woody patchouli, vanillic notes and not-too-clean musk. This speedy scented movement from the Great Outdoors to the Great Couch is as manly a progression as most guys can manage these days, especially in the city. (We won’t sully the semi-butch scenario by mentioning the view from the couch may well include Downton Abbey or some ‘reality’ trash from Bravo TV.)

Etat Libre d’Orange Je suis un homme Eau de Parfum is available in 50 ml and 100 ml (€64/119). For buying information, see the listing for Etat Libre d’Orange under Perfume Houses.

*Perfumer: Antoine Lie; fragrance notes: lemon, orange, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, myrrh, cognac accord, birch wood, leather, patchouli, animalic notes.

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  1. sinnerman says:

    I love to wear Chanel no 5 edt , and like u after a while I crave something at the other end of the scale. I know I would love this fragrance, it’s a shame they don’t stock (eldo) in my mecca anymore as I would sample it at my next convenient moment. I have been tempted to buy the delux samples at lucky scent as the bottles look super cute!

    • Kevin says:

      Sinnerman, that is a nice set…I believe ELdO sell samples on their website, too

  2. Rictor07 says:

    This one was like at first sniff for me as well. I never envisioned that it smelled like sitting on the couch though.

    • Kevin says:

      Rictor, such is my mind….

  3. mals86 says:

    I’ve been pretty vocal about finding ELd’O’s marketing angle off-putting (I feel like they’re yelling, NO SOCCER MOMS ALLOWED! ONLY KINKY PEOPLE!), but up to now I’d somehow missed the penis gun.


    That said, I rather enjoy Hotel Whore.

    • mals86 says:

      And I’ll join you in a Downton viewing any day. That new footman is cuuuuute, ain’t he?

      • Kevin says:

        Mals: I’m behind in my viewing; I’ve been watching a The Munsters marathon. ha!

    • Kevin says:

      Mals, that ‘s one I’ve missed…I’ll have to go look at the art for that one.

      • mals86 says:

        It’s Putain des Palaces, I just translated freely. Artwork for that one isn’t as titillating as it might have been.

    • samberg says:

      Count me in as another un-fan of the tacky advertising for meh perfumes. Seriously, after the Philippine houseboy sexee child sexploitation thing I’m counting the days until the “creative” director reaches with their last gasp for a perfume called “Rape!”

      • Kevin says:

        Samberg, it would be called ‘Sabine’…more ‘romantique’

  4. plume says:

    ELDO Rule #7: when your perfume is too boring to get people to discuss it, put a penis on the bottle. It’s weird how this company is even in business still, sampled the whole line and found them all forgettable.

    • monkeytoe says:

      You found Secretions Magnifique forgettable!

      • Kevin says:

        Monkeytoe: oh, to be so lucky, right?

    • Kevin says:

      Plume…the fragrances are not as wild as their names…with one exception.But I like several of the perfumes. That said…I’ve not bought a bottle!

  5. Rappleyea says:

    “…from the Great Outdoors to the Great Couch…”

    Classic! Great review, Kevin. I love the combination of birch and patchouli (a la Patch 24). I’d give this a try, but I am seriously offended by the gun (and I’m not easily offended).

    • Kevin says:

      Rappleyea, I love birch too, I see it appearing in many new releases…maybe the note is on the upswing

  6. Merlin says:

    At some point I tried way too many Eldos all at the same time and so I accidentally made myself averse to the type of heavy leather-labdunum base that many of them have.
    I think S.A. culture is pretty conservative and so I don’t think they sold very well here. The only shop that sells them has discontinued the range and the last release they brought in was ‘Like This’.
    This one sounds earlier so maybe I need to go in and give it a sniff!

    Most of the time I’m ok with the tongue in cheek marketing – anything different from the numbing monotony of most marketing strategies: but, that image brings to mind that girl gang-raped recently in India:(

    • Kevin says:

      Merlin: they are hard to find on the shelves…my source in Vancouver BC stopped carrying the line too.

  7. JolieFleurs says:

    I was raised among 8 boys, so I am not offended by ELdO’s jr high approach to marketing, and having had my life and property saved by them on three occasions, neither am I offended by guns ( in fact, Cosmoline and gun powder are comfort scents to me!) but I AM somewhat taken aback by the idea that Kevin thinks it unmanly to wear Joy or Chanel.

    Cuz I tell you what, if I ever came across my husband wearing my Joy, I am one hundred percent certain I’d take him then and there! :P

    • Kevin says:

      Jolie, let’s just say I suffered an overdose of aldehydes! The remedy required a MANLY scent. (Someone should perhaps tell your hubby about the joys of Joy? Ha!)

      • JolieFleurs says:

        I am seeing him next week for the first time in several months…..and on second thought, I’m thinking Joy maybe too heavy on the jasmine for him to tolerate, but what say you to The Party in Manhattan? Just a small squirt on his chest or thighs, perhaps??? ;)

    • mals86 says:

      Ohhhh, that made me laugh.

      Not least because I gave The CEO a bottle of Gres Cabaret, which I find COMPLETELY sexy on him. I decanted it into a plain bottle, and he does not know it is supposedly “for women,” or he’d never wear it again.

      • JolieFleurs says:

        Oooh, Clever Mals! :P

      • Kevin says:

        Mals: dumb of Gres not to make it a unisex…since it IS to my nose. Would love to see if face though…if you showed him the bottle!

  8. austenfan says:

    I was put off for quite a while by their ad copy to try their scents. Then glowing reviews of some ELdO fragrances started appearing on various blogs. I ordered some samples and fell deeply for Rien and Rossy de Palma. I have yet to try this one but I must have sample of it so it will be done.

    • Kevin says:

      AustenFan: I think this one is the most masculine of the line…in case that matters to you.

  9. Jaisalmer says:

    I always adored Etat libre d’orange,,,i bought Fat Electrician (my favourite), Anti hero (wonderful) Divin Enfant (funny and sweet) Charogne ( sexy) and Incense and Bubblegum ( fantastic)…I think their image is gorgeous and I’m looking forward to sniff their latest two creations…that said Je suis un homme is the only fragrange I’ve never been attracted to…I will try to re sniff it again….maybe I was wrong and I’ll love it

    • Kevin says:

      Jaisalmer: Afternoon of a Faun is calling my name…I admit!

  10. nozknoz says:

    Perhaps I’m being generous, but I interpreted the penis-pistol image as a satire of American Hollywood standards of masculinity. On the other hand, the image (and name) I absolutely can’t deal with is Fat Electrician. It could be the best perfume on earth and I’ll never know because I’m not going to try it!

    • Kevin says:

      Let’s see Noz…I’m seeing a cute sumo wrestler who does wiring on the side and wears Guerlain Vetiver…. Now can you try it?

      • nozknoz says:

        VERY adroit image shifting, Kevin! Perhaps, assuming that ceremonial sumo gear neatly covers b*ttcr*cks.

        Vetiver is a lean, athletic note best observed on elegant French men and cool women everywhere. More ELdO mythbusting, I guess!

    • rendangboy says:

      I see the penis-pistol as a mockery of traditional notions of masculinity too (in the same way the fragrance itself caricatures traditional masculine notes), but I suppose the point of satires is that some people will get offended, or at least find it distasteful :)

      • Kevin says:

        Rendangboy: I’m betting ELdO is gleeful at everyone they ‘shock.’

        • samberg says:

          That’s just the thing, they’re about as shocking as nipples. Nipples are not shocking, but point to them and scream “BOOBY POINTS!” and nipples seem like something more noteworthy than they are.

  11. donnie says:

    It’s mockery for sure. The pistol just isn’t very funny any more. But, paraphrasing Turin, you’d expect such branding to go with drecky perfume, not with the quite nice stuff they offer. I’m not in love with every ELDO number, but I appreciate many of them, especially Je Suis and Eloge du Traitre on myself and Bijou Romantique and Putain des Palaces on my wife. And Kevin, you were right on time with this review after Angela’s piece about leather on Monday. And don’t forget Rien.

  12. eminere says:

    Some people wouldn’t find a penis-barreled gun menacing. Comical perhaps. :p

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