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Etat Libre d’Orange’s Archives 69 is a decided departure from
the line’s other scents. Warm and animalic, spicy and sweet,
milky and somewhat dank, Archives 69 walks a wearably
androgynous line and those who love a good incense will fall
madly in love with this scent.

Archives 69 (named for the firm’s Paris boutique) was composed
by Christine Nagel and contains the following notes: Tangerine,
Pink Berries CO2, Pepper Leaf, Orchid and Prune JE, Incense,
Camphor, Benzoin, Patchouli and Musk.

My initial reaction to Archives 69 was that it smelled of my father: a man who always walked around with a healthy dose of Old Spice, carrying Juicy Fruit in his pocket. The initial burst of the fragrance is all fruit and spice: the tangerines, prune, and berries play well with the pepper, whose inclusion keeps this fragrance from smelling like a teeny-bopper. These fruits are still decidedly sweet, though - the bubblegum aspect of the top notes can’t be ignored, but it’s not an obnoxious sort of citrus-sweet garbage. Still, beneath the saccharine lies something deeper, something sexier.

As Archives 69 progresses, the fruitiness of the top notes mellow into a delicious incense. Still, this isn’t a strict incense, all spice and strength: the fruitiness never quite dissipates, lending a sweetness to the warmth of the incense. I found it to be borderline milky, undeniably cozy. This is simply delicious, and one of the more delightful incense fragrances I’ve encountered in some time. It is not a strong fragrance, but one whose presence cannot be ignored.

Still, this wouldn’t be an Etat Libre d’Orange fragrance without some twist, and that’s where the camphor comes into play. There is an undeniable metallic aspect to Archives 69 that makes one think of warm, wet skin. The skin-like aspect becomes more apparent as the patchouli and musk  emerge; the drydown is truly seductive, and incredibly animalic. The desire to smell my skin becomes, at this point, one that cannot be tamed. I just want to dissolve into this scent, and I imagine that I would be instantly attracted to any person who wore it as well.

Archives 69 isn’t as bizarre as most other Etat Libre d’Orange fragrances, but that’s perfectly fine. It is still creative enough to join such fragrances as Secretions Magnifiques and Jasmine et Cigarette, and I think that its biggest draw is in its combination of interesting notes and inherent wearability. I can see both men and women enjoying this - and I can see strangers trying getting close in order to try to figure out what that delicious smell is permeating from the skin!

Archives 69 retails for $99USD for a 50mL bottle
wherever Etat Libre d’Orange fragrances are sold.

Josie Plumey

Director of Niche and Indie Fragrances
New Fragrance Review: Archives 69 by Etat Libre d'Orange
By Josie Plumey
September 10, 2011

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