Fat Electrician

(2009)
Fat Electrician by Etat Libre d'Orange
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7.1 / 10     103 RatingsRatingsRatings
Fat Electrician is a perfume by Etat Libre d'Orange for men and was released in 2009. The scent is spicy-woody. It is still in production.

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Fragrance Notes

Myrrh, Chestnut cream, Olive leaf, Opoponax, Vanilla, Vetiver

Ratings

Scent

7.1 (103 Ratings)

Longevity

7.5 (74 Ratings)

Sillage

5.8 (69 Ratings)

Bottle

6.5 (68 Ratings)
Submitted by TVC15, last update on 05.04.2017
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Reviews

Helpful Review    2 Awards
Smoke and Mirrors
Any perfume lover sold on the idea of a semi-modern vetiver may be justly discombobulated when putting this on for the first time.

You get a burst of sweet spices and then a steamed suet pudding with an ethereal metallic tang, and chestnut purée. There are some red fruits, and then a strange aromatic, sweet and vaguely herbaceous note comes floating over the top. What appears to be metallic begins to take on a sour vinegary overtone which you suspect is trying to smuggle a homeopathic spirit of vetiver into the profile.

The development stage is very volatile, changing at almost every sniff. What is certain though, this is not a Vetiver perfume in the accepted sense. There may be vetiver in there, but this profile doesn't smell of it; rather, more and more of a pale, nutty-creamy chestnut purée heaped onto suet pudding in a stainless steel dish, with a splash of aromatic vinegar.

Yet ironically, this radical construction is based on a traditional model of Vetiver, ie: vetiver paired with myrrh and spicy notes, but its the character of the changes which Antoine Maisondieu made to this traditional form that make Fat Electrician radical. He has taken The Vetiver and thrust it into the odd gourmand territory of pale chestnut purée and vinegar. This is the innovative angle which, when latched onto the traditional form justifies the weird ELdO moniker semi-modern vetiver.

In every vetiver worth mentioning (and some that are not,) vetiver's name has had to take pride of place on the label - just as a megalomaniac film star's name must come top of the bill, because, as Luca Turin points out, when there's not enough vetiver in the mix the note gets lost, but when there is enough it takes over.

The problem of vetiver's distinctive personality has at last been solved. The challenge has long been how to get enough of it into the mix without letting it dominate and forcing you to call your perfume Vetiver; the name an admission that the perfumer's attempts to bend this recalcitrant yet seductive weed to their will have failed.

In this case a novel and effective way to square the vetiver circle has been found. Instead of the tried and tested anisic route, or the citrus dead end, the lighter aspects of vetiver have been exalted into the head accord by means of a silver olive leaf note - which recalls the aromatic vinegars of pre-modern perfumery. This is a well blended, fairly neutral, comparatively subtle (and its really saying something to describe a penetrating top note as subtle) sweet vinegar-like accord that washes off a trace of vetiver into its volatile fumes.

The blocking material between the buried vetiver and the exalted thin vinegar / metallic accord is a naturalistic chestnut purée. It has an oily granular-paste like texture, and a mild-sweet & bland nut-meat aroma which is mid toned, yet its also opaque and thick enough to smother the vetiver early on, and is so different from the vinegar accord as to be largely immune to it. This thick splodge of chestnut purée on the vetiver keeps it from rising into the light; a lot of chestnut - almost too much - but not so much as to stop a little vetiver from leaking out into the atmosphere on the volatile vinegar gasses. The vetiver is bowed down, suppressed, but its there none the less - like a Freudian neurosis.

As things settle down, vetiver does, ever so slowly creep out, but it spends the first half of the development in hiding, and then, when it does emerge it's initially disguised as some kind of baroque courtier done up in whitened face, powdered wig and plastic comedy glasses. And then, when it really gets going, FE's alter ego starts cracking acerbic one liners right and left - and its then, finally, you come to realise that that old scoundrel vetiver has been capering under your nose for ages and for much of the time you didn't even know he was there.

The mark of a radical art work in any discipline is the initial confusion it engenders in the mind of the audience. The first time I smelled FE I thought it was boring and a bit weird (ie: Challenging and irritating,) and I thought to myself 'who wants to smell like ... chestnut purée?' But later, I re-watched the art critic Robert Hughes talking about Carl Andre's notorious pile of bricks in the Tate Gallery; the howls of indignation provoked by this 'sculpture' and the public money wasted on buying it. But, by virtue of its location in the gallery, it forced people to reconsider the forms that sculpture might now take; after that, sculpture could no longer be just a marble torso nicked from the Parthenon.

Fat Electrician was the pile of bricks in my head, which challenged baffled, confused and annoyed, but which eventually lit up a neural pathway that led to a lightbulb moment.
Besides the technical accomplishment of having re-engineered the vetiver to make of it a balanced two part structure, there is also the achievement of having democratised a dictatorial material which long exerted a stranglehold on any structure a perfumer tried to make it play along with.

But if it 'means' anything, and whether perfume can or should have any significance beyond smelling good is another story, Fat Electrician is about humour and irony. These people at ELdO are no doubt far too subtle to to spell it out, preferring, as they do, to weave their postmodernist word games into clouds of semiological signifiers, enveloping their weird fumes with tantalising mystique.

Whatever. Let's let Antoine Maisondieu and ELdO have the last word when they declare
"The Vetiver is dead, long live vetiver!"
Bottle 2.5/10
Sillage 5.0/10
Longevity 5.0/10
Scent 2.0/10
3 Awards
Fat Electrician
Opens with a perfect vetiver rendition: (sappy) fresh but also (peppery) dry, vegetal and also metallic. Going against tradition the vetiver is not blended with citrus fruit, but with vanilla instead. This delicate note tames the wild grass and infuses it with a smooth- and sweetness I simply find wonderful. Myrrh and opoponax anchor the top notes and enhance the smooth, pearlescent aspects of the fragrance. This makes me think of olive leafs… they too are smooth and have silver-shiny under side. Despite all this talk about warm and sweet nuances, the scent never loses its (fresh) grassy and (spicy) woodsy character. As the scent develops the notes begin to peel away one by one and when it reaches the dry down all I see is an lovely woodsy-smoky shadow. The linearity and smoothness of this fragrance may not appeal to anyone, but it does not detract from the fact this is a very good vetiver offering.
jtd
Helpful Review    7 Awards
fat me
I can feel the woody amber with my nose, and there is an acetone, shellac, sour plastic quality that I smell as the volatility of the note pulls it away from me.

And then I don’t really smell anything.

Great name, perplexing olfactory experience. It comes and goes in 5 minutes. A discrete, tidy performance that leaves me in a chin-scratching state.

I feel like I should applaud.
Bottle 7.5/10
Sillage 7.5/10
Longevity 10.0/10
Scent 7.0/10
3 Awards
First impression
E.L.D.O.'s tongue in cheek story for this fragrance is about a man who is past his physical prime and needs a fragrance to get his mojo back. Despite that, this fragrance is rather unisex. Not at all only for older men.

This is also illustrated by the fact that Electrician is similar to Encre Noire (homme), a fragrance appreciated by different age groups. On first sniff I thought this was an Encre Noire clone. This one, like Encre Noire, is also a warm, dark, gourmandish vetiver, but closer inspection reveals the differences. Encre Noire, to me, is vetiver boosted by pleasant synthetics and with a gourmand facet that I don't like. Electrician, on the other hand, I would call a vetiver + opoponax combination with an original chestnut cream note.

Encre Noire has better sillage and longevity, but I prefer Fat Electrician.

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