You Or Someone Like You by Chandler Burr + Etat Libre d’Orange 2017




Hey Crew,

I got home from my holiday to find a box awaiting pick up. I had no idea who the sender was but guessed it was fragrant in nature. There were also a couple of messages in my email inbox from Chandler Burr. That’s kind of unusual because he has been holding radio silence lately. So when I opened them and saw that he has creative directed a fragrance with the kooky crew from ELdO I was immediately on high alert.

Based on the heroine of his book You Or Someone Like You, a rollicking read that I found provocative, informative and unpretentious. The ad copy is just as provocative but lacks information thus presenting itself as audaciously pretentious. From the Press release: I find that the smells mesmerize. Astringent mint/green of eucalyptus, wild jasmine from vines climbing the stop signs, catalyzed car exhaust, hot California sunlight on ocean water (although “You” contains no jasmine, eucalyptus, car exhaust; if you need to know what it’s made of, “You” is not for you).
When Etat Libre d’Orange approached me about creative directing, my perfumer Caroline Sabas and I created not a “perfume” — people in Los Angeles don’t wear perfume – but a specific scent, the scent someone like Anne would wear, this woman high in the Hollywood hills, imported like the palms into this blue air.

Nevertheless, if head-up-your-ass ad-copy was a problem for me I’d definitely not be loving the perfume industry as much as I do. So I took all of that with a grain of salt and went to the box.

You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange 2017

You Or Someone Like You by Caroline Sabas

So, though the idea is to wear this scent experientially, I know you want to know what it smells like. Sharp herbaceous green opens. Like a tart unripe orange and grapefruit with the green of basil, cardamom and grass. Mint! There is a minty note running through too. There is no note list so I’m guessing here, we’ll all have a good laugh at my guesses when the note list is revealed. There is an awkward creamy note that is disturbing and alluring, like matcha tea.

Not long in and a spiky green that really does seem like eucalyptus comes through and suddenly I’m transported to bush walks through the Australian Mallee Scrub with the Cadets as a boy. Also we had a Wildflower Park and National Park not too far from where we grew up and we would picnic in them as a family.

I like that ELdO have allowed this slightly freaky niche fragrance to be born. The first couple of hours You Or Someone Like You doesn’t sit quietly and comfortably but there is always a lightly curdled feeling running through. Later in the development there feels like definite references to the LA air seen and smelled from the pinnacle of the Hollywood Hills. There is also the warmth and cool of lying in the sun with a foot or hand draped into the pool.

Dry down is a soft focus creamy-mint with a shitload of white musks, nothing particularly distinctive but it smells nice enough and hums away in the background for hours.

Further reading: Colognoisseur and Scents Memory
has it from $52/30ml + Samples

Then there is the final question. “Is it art Chandler?”

Does this read like something you’d try?
Portia xx




25 thoughts on “You Or Someone Like You by Chandler Burr + Etat Libre d’Orange 2017

    • VERY chewy mint Steve..
      We have a rope that is mint infused for the dogs. Keeps them entertained and freshens their breath, a bit like that.
      Portia xx


  1. Not sure. I’m pretty weary of obtuse perfume descriptions. The REAL cutting edge advert these days would be something like “This is………. It contains………. buy it.” xoxox


    • Hi Robert. The reason we chose not to list any raw materials is that reducing the work to its materials completely misses the point, as it would miss the point of by describing, say, a Richard Meier building this way. Reductionism and, say, the Getty Center in Los Angeles: “glass, concrete, steel, wood, stone, and plaster.” Each work of architecture is conceived as a complete work, not as a list of what it’s made of. Wright’s Falling Water used glass, concrete, steel, wood etc. It’s completely different from the Getty Center stylistically, intellectually, aesthetically, structurally. I believe the future of serious scent art is: Experience the damn work. Judge it as a whole, which is the only possible coherent way to judge it since Caroline and I sure as hell didn’t intend for you to judge “You” based on the fact that it contains jasmine absolute. First, you can’t take the jasmine absolute out of “You” and smell it on its own. Second, that would be like judging “Gimme Shelter” by talking about Nicky Hopkins’ track apart from Jimmy Miller’s, Charlie Watts’, Bill Wyman’s, Mick Jagger’s, and Merry Clayon’s. Why do that? You like Hopkins? Great — talk about Hopkins. But that track isn’t “Gimme Shelter.” It isn’t the work. Third, “You” contains no jasmine absolute.


  2. I’m finding I like ‘difficult’ scents, so I’m very curious about this. Guerlain’s Herba Fresca has a strong mint, and takes a bit of shifting the mind to accept.

    ELDO fragrances work with me; a definite try.


    • Hey there Kate,
      I’m in it for mint too. Do you like Malle’s Geranium Pour Monsieur? You should check it out.
      Portia xx


  3. Am I supposed to read the book first to understand the scent? I hope not, because I’m not ready for such an effort but it sounds strange enough to be good. I have ended up with FB of scents that were considered strange. Besides I like the notes you have mentioned: mint, herbaceous green, basil…


  4. Hey Portia!
    I got to smell this at Lucky Scent yesterday. I liked it on paper, I should have tried on skin. Your description is great. xx
    Tina G


  5. It’s making us all think, so my guess is, yes it’s art. Sounds intriguing and I’ll have to get a sample to try. (I’m am crazy addicted, because I’m supposed to be downsizing my collection in prep for the possibility of a move.)
    When I first moved to California and went for drives I was struck by an odd and very new to me smell. Finally, one of my friends who was more scent aware than the others explained that what I was smelling were the eucalyptus groves. I love that smell. My husband who’s a native, does not. It will be interesting to see how this perfume goes over with him.


    • Tatiana, in that case I’ll be interested to here both you and your husband’s reaction. Not that it contains a eucalyptus absolute (I actually don’t remember if it does) but because like a particular chord in a song it often calls that to mind.


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