Etat Libre d’Orange’s La Fin du Monde (2013)

Etat Libre D'Orange's La Fin du Monde © Victor Wong
Etat Libre D’Orange’s La Fin du Monde © Victor Wong

My previous boss, who majored in geography and loved history, liked to share his knowledge in those subjects with people around him. Just before my vacation to visit the Yellowstone Park, his eyes lit up and enthusiastically told me that the Yellowstone National Park was a massive collapsed super-volcano. At a bar, he said that the TV show Fear Factor (in which contestants were asked to do dangerous/gruesome things to win) was an indication of the imminent end of the great American civilization because history repeats, and the Americans were acting like the citizens of the Great Roman Empire before it fell – they had nothing better to do but entertain themselves with stupid, senseless, brutal and humiliating game shows. I didn’t think the American civilization would end like the Romans, nevertheless it was a very interesting chat…

Now I must say that I have a fascination with the “end of the world”. Of course, I don’t want it to happen, and I don’t think it will happen, but living in a First World country comfortably and being a complacent middle class citizen, it is thrilling to occasionally think about it. (In 2003 Toronto and some neighboring cities had a massive blackout and the whole city was paralyzed; at nighttime the sky was pitch black and we lit candles and used mini propane stove for cooking. It was an experience of a lifetime 🙂

When Etat Libre D’Orange announced “La Fin du Monde” in 2013 (The End of the World), I was quite excited. Like watching the trailer of a disaster movie, I “previewed” the perfume by reading its notes on Fragrantica – gunpowder (war and violence), popcorn (explosion and movie theatre junk food), carrot seeds and sesame (“what the F?”), vetiver, sandalwood and cumin (reliable actors), I could tell it’s a going to be a creative nonsensical B-movie perfume. When I first wore La Fin du Monde, I was smiling from ear to ear because it smelled ridiculously silly yet perfectly fine; deliciously oily yet inedible (sesame and popcorn), strange yet familiar (carrot seed/gunpowder and vetiver/sandalwood/iris/freesia); really the top notes of the perfume are a joke but the middle and base notes are serious and sincere.

Sometimes when my friends want to watch a movie at my place, I choose the common denominator – a disaster flick or a brainless comedy; similarly, when I have friends who want to smell some niche perfumes, I will definitely bring out “La Fin du Monde”.