Antihéros (Etat Libre d'Orange)

I have no problem with the fragrance. I do, however, have a big problem with its price. Antihéros is an abysmal perfume for a few reasons, not the least of which is its contrived approach to lavender, that most-volatile of minty herbs. With real lavender essential oil, you are lucky to glean thirty minutes of enjoyable wear, and more likely to get about ten or fifteen minutes before it simply evaporates into thin air. Twentieth century perfumers have found ways of extending lavender's lifespan beyond the half-hour mark, and into the two or three hour range, without compromising its delicate freshness. A good example is Caron Pour un Homme, which pairs a very bitter-herbal lavender with a cool, clean metallic note, to carry the feeling of dawn-frosted rawness through a few extra innings. The wearer is aware of an unnatural durability to the note, but not at the expense of its smell. If you want lavender, then you get it for longer than the actual bud could ever offer.

Antihéros doesn't attempt to render lavender buds, but aims for cheap lavender-scented soap instead. It smells a bit like Yardley's English Lavender bar soap. Yardley's can be found at drugstores for a dollar and change. It smells good, but it's gone when the shower's over. If catching heady whiffs of synthetic lavender suds for nine hours straight is appealing to you, this offering by Antoine Maisondieu might float your boat. I'll hand it to Antoine - the stuff never loses its faux-lavender edge. It's strong. It lasts forever. A little goes a very long way. But movement-wise, where does the scent actually go? Fake herbal lavender on top for about twenty minutes, then bar-soapy lavender for five hours, then lavender-scented laundry-grade musk for another four hours, and then just a fuzzy hint of white musk at nine hours, and counting. Yikes.

Let's cut the bullshit and not pretend there's any cedar, or moss, or flowers, or anything but two or three massive lavender-like synthetics smooshed together in Antihéros. Yes, it's a likable smell, yes, it smells good for hours, and yes, it's something I wouldn't mind wearing, if Caron PuH didn't already exist. And therein lies the rub: Caron sells for eight dollars an ounce online. Antihéros is about fifty dollars an ounce. Sorry Free Orange State, but once again, I ain't falling for it. If your lavender actually smelled like natural lavender buds for ten hours, my money would already be yours. Your lavender smells like that Yardley soap I get at the dollar store. For ten hours. That means I should find bottles of Antihéros next to Yardley's bar soap. At the dollar store. You get my drift.