There have been some closet queens in the news recently, especially in the political arena, but none of them are “delicious.” I wonder — CAN a closet queen be delicious? Does Etat Libre d’Orange know what “closet queen” means? A “closet queen” is a gay man who pretends he’s not gay — he hides his homosexuality from everyone; he is repressed. Etat Libre d’Orange tries to make a closet queen seem romantic, mysterious and exciting. While most real-life closet queens are furtive and ashamed, Etat Libre d’Orange’s closet queen thinks “elegance is an armor” and he “excels in the art of concealing” (à la James Bond). Etat Libre d’Orange’s closet queen is “a master of pretence”, “a…seducer who never yields to anyone.” We are encouraged to believe we have something in common with the delicious closet queen: “we all have a secret side…an inner garden we cultivate to protect our most abiding passions.”
Sorry, just as I have a hard time relating to a closet queen in person I have a hard time relating to Delicious Closet Queen on my person. Delicious Closet Queen was created by perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer and contains violet leaf, iris butter, Atlas cedar, Indonesian patchouli, Haitian vetiver, dynamone, rose absolute, framboise irisée, sandalwood, leather, tonka bean, opopanax, benzoin, geranium, and citrus. The overall fragrance of Delicious Closet Queen reminds me of a make-up counter at a department store with its cosmetics-chemical aura. The ad copy for Delicious Closet Queen uses make-up imagery too (mentioning the closet queen’s ‘lip gloss’ and ‘compact powder case’) but that’s just another Etat Libre d’Orange disconnect: would a closet queen draw attention to himself with shiny tinted lips and a made-up face?
Delicious Closet Queen starts off with a medicinal edge; it reminds me of the scent of Band-Aids (perhaps the closet queen has scratched his wrists?) As the well-blended fragrance rapidly settles into its “one-note” (and blurred) personality, I also detect a metallic violet aroma, a “cosmetic” rose scent, powdery, not buttery, iris and the teeniest bit of vetiver. As for the “iridescent raspberry” (framboise irisée) — it’s detectable and not overly “fruity.” I have never had the opportunity to smell dynamone in isolation, so I’m not sure if the sweet aroma that pervades Delicious Closet Queen is dynamone or just an accord produced by the cedar, tonka bean, patchouli and sandalwood. Delicious Closet Queen “crumbles” and turns powdery quickly; it’s very feminine to my nose and it’s a light, close-to-the-body scent — a true closet queen does not want to draw attention to himself!
Always wanting to shock, why didn’t Etat Libre d’Orange scrap the timid (and confused) Delicious Closet Queen concept and create, say, Sometimes I Play Dress-Up — a fragrance based on the secret life of a six-foot, five-inch tall banker whose manhood is hard to hide in the skin-tight gowns he wears when his wife is not at home. Sometimes I Play Dress-Up could still contain metallic cosmetic aromas (hairspray, shave cream, nail polish, face powder, lipstick, talcum) but with an added, and generous, pouring of the wife’s Joy de Patou perfume: a tiny ‘rivulet’ of Joy would take us on a scented journey as it travels from our banker’s neck, down his hairy chest and stomach and into the territory of serious odeurs viriles that no make-up, costume or attitude can fully camouflage. I’d prefer such a brash fragranced bomb to the prim “scented envelopes” of Delicious Closet Queen. Wouldn’t you?
Etat Libre d’Orange Delicious Closet Queen is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Etat Libre d’Orange under Perfume Houses.
Tomorrow: Tom Ford For Men.