The Spanish celebrity Rossy de Palma is one of my personal obsessions and used to be a firm fixture in Pedro Almodovar’s repertoire of reoccurring actresses. He hasn’t used her for a while, however, she had a brief cameo in Broken Embraces again playing the role she had in his 1988 masterpiece Woman on a Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, but I always impatiently scan the credits for sight of her name in any of his upcoming films.
De Palma has an amazing face, incredible physicality and presence and is hard to ignore. That she should be approached by French modernists Etat Libre d’Orange is no surprise, and her collaboration with them on Eau de Protection is as uncompromising and seductively challenging as you would hope.
Unsurprisingly the dominating star of Eau de Protection is rose – and I’m not talking about a pink and feminine English rose but a cool and piercing Bulgarian rose. The rose is certainly identifiable but this is no soliflore. We are meant to smell blood here too, a thorn pricking the finger of the procurer, and although I can’t quite place how blood actually smells there is certainly a metallic tang that at least the taste of blood replicates.
There are dark black currant and berry accords that inform the top notes also, although these are not listed as official ingredients, and the gorgeous blend of spices and patchouli and incense prevent any real sweetness (see Frederick Malle’s similar rose-oriental Portrait of a Lady if this what you’re after).
Eau de Protection has excellent lasting power and you don’t need much to keep you scented all day. Sillage is far enough from the skin for others to smell you but this isn’t a endless perfume cloud fragrance and after two hours or so it settles close to the wearer.
Interestingly, I can smell the bergamot, which is meant to be a top note, and a nice barber-shop musk accord more in the final hours, which are decidedly more masculine. I love this scent, and along with their other two ‘celebrity’ collaborations with Mx Justin Bond and Tilda Swinton, this is my favourite of the Etat Libre d’Orange line.
Dramatic, androgynous but wearable, if you want to make an impression Rossy de Palma’s Eau de Protection is more than capable of out-performing the competition.
Etat Libre d’Orange, Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection 50ml £70, 100ml £105