Etat Libre d’Orange – roses from 2019.

500 years and Spice must flow 

From 2006., when first Etat Libre d’Orange perfumes were launched, until 2019., ELDO presented only one rose-centred perfume: striking Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection.

But in just finished 2019. Etienne de Swardt – bang! – launched three roses: 500 yearsSpice Must Flow and Experimentum Crucis.

After the exclusive launch for Selfridge in January, the first two became broadly available in November, and Experimentum Crucis was launched in April.

Just about enough to form 2019. rose bouquet, and this 2019. ELDO’s there-flower rose bouquet is, as Gilbert Bécaud sang, about the rose, the flower that dances on top of time: 

Roses rule the compositions and the ideas behind them – there is an idea of the rose of Yesterday (500 years) and the rose of Tomorrow (Spice must flow), and to them is connected the rose of Now (Experimentum Crucis). 

“With this flower everything begins and ends”, says ELDO. 

Along with the launch date, 500 years and Spice must flow share the main spicy-oriental olfactive profile:

A  crimson Turkish rose in both perfumes is infused with cardamom, saffron and pepper, as the focus of ELDO’s narrative is placed on the merchants of spices in the past and the future:

Spices intensely started to flow 500 years ago, in the wake of modern polemic and plural culture. Spice merchants were those who enabled the renaissance enlightening processes that transformed the Western culture, pushing it further away from the Dark Ages.


Along with Arabian sophisticated oriental knowledge, the merchants who transported spices from East also brought back to Europe forgotten and rejected Old Greek’s knowledge in sciences, philosophy and arts. 

The dominance of flat, two-dimensional perspectives present in art, philosophy and the social order got the alternative in three-dimensional perspective and anti-dogma, polemic thinking.  

The accumulated wealth of new, third class of merchants and citizens created the social grounds for the more liberal flourish of arts.


The perfumery is the child of renaissance, too.

In this context, the name of the second in the pair of Etat Libre Orange’s modern western spicy-orientals – Spice must flow – isn’t just a quote and the direct reference to the cult Robert Herbert’s SciFi saga Dune, published in1965. and first filmed in 1984

“The spice must flow” represents the imperative of free-spirited society and culture. 

It points directly to ELDO’s libertarian concept which promotes and celebrates the pluralism of perspectives and the liberty of trade. 

Once again Etienne de Sward found the way to sublimate the historical, social and political narrative into perfume, and his creative force did it by producing another immaculate string of both cultural and olfactive symbols:

The rose in both perfumes represents The Perspective.
If the spices flow and the trade progress
we experience its scentful presence
and we flourish,
in any time, from past to future.

In the creation of 500 years and Spice must flow Etienne de Swardt relied on the perfumers of Mane:

Behind 500 years is Cecille Matton, who also created Etat Libre Orange’s gourmandish and expressively cardamomic Remarkable people (2015.), and for Spice must flow is responsible Mathilde Bijaoui, who also created beautifully warm and luminous gingery Like This (2010.).

I do believe that it is not a coincidence that Matton and Bijaoui decided to treat relevant spices in their creations as leitmotifs which connect their previous works for ELDO with this recent ones. So, the spices – cardamom and ginger – flow in the handwritings of both perfumers, too, spicing up the link between the present and the past of Etat Libre d’ Orange’s time-line.

The third dimension, it is.

500 years  

Fully bloomed Turkish rose makes its appearance from the sparkling haze of fresh bergamot and saffron.

Her crimson petals are enveloped with a generous dose of cardamom. The dense spicy opening oscillates between the shade and candlelight and deepens as oud emerges as the companion of the bold and dark oriental rose.

The core-accord in is three-dimensional: cardamom, rose and oud form a refined and opulent oriental heart: Oud bares no obtrusive heaviness as it’s more pronounced demanding facets are carefully removed. It firms the surface petals are spread on and works as a static, supportive woody contrast to the still sparkling bergamot and spices.

Though the oud will lurk beneath the rose almost until the full drydown, its presence unobtrusively supports the oriental origins of a rose and cardamom.

As the perfume blends with the skin, the spicy-oriental heart gradually becomes sweeter and softer, almost going on a verge of gourmand. 

In the base, the cocoa and maybe even a touch of vanilla and flirt with soft, palatable sweetness of  amber (and maybe some cocoa-like patchouli).

Sweet cocoa-ambery layer blurs the presence of spices and oud, and the rose seems enveloped in warm and soft, dark blanket.

In deep stages of base development, the perfume becomes cosy, almost intimately embracing.

Wearing the perfume I got the feeling of indulging cosines in a half-dark private chambers enlightened by soft trembling candlelight.

Afterwards, while thinking about the 500 years experience, I remembered the dive into orientally ornamented depths, only to find cosy, warm and calm intimacy.

The olfactive notes mentioned in the official description are: 
Turkish rose, oud, bergamot, cardamom, saffron, cocoa, amber woods.

Spice must flow  

In Robert Herbert’s saga, the Spice (Melange) is a product of giant desert worms living on the sandy planet Arakkis (Dune) and it allows the travelling through time and space. 

The spice infuses the rose, flows trough is dark petals, the spices are making it happen – I flew wearing the perfume and I felt mighty.

Spice must flow opens with the spice mix which is at the same time both cold and warm. Swirling of bright saffron, coldly aromatic cardamom, freshly piquant ginger and warmer cinnamon create a voluminous illusion of glittering frame in which the dark ruby rose appears. 

Though it is not listed in the notes, in the first stages of development I do smell oud enhancing and supporting the rose, but this might be the olfactive illusion the spice-melange creates.

The crimson darkness sparkles.

Further in, as the rose gains strength and volume, the smokiness appears: it almost feels like the dark smokiness is some side-effect or an incensy resonance of swirling spices. While the spicy rose blooms into the incensy rose, it becomes colder, mystic, almost distant, as if centred only in herself.

Looking backwards, the rose started her progression as voluminously velvet material spicy-rose and ended it as a mystical silver-sparkling and coldish incensy-rose, detached from material self.  

To those who know the world of Arrakis and the characters in Herbert’s Dune, Spice must flow mightpresent itself as a true Bene Gesserit rose.

Wearing Spice Must Flow I got the feeling that I am enveloped in a giant and mighty, deeply crimson and velvety rose, genetically modified for generations and generations to become able to detach herself from the materiality and travel across the time and space.

The olfactive notes mentioned in the official description are:
Turkish rose, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron.

Disclosure: The review is based on the sample from my own acquisition. Opinions are my own.

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