deux parfums de bubblegum……. ENCENS ET BUBBLEGUM by ETAT LIBRE D’ORANGE (2006) + BUBBLEGUM CHIC by HEELEY (2012)

























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Bubblegum is not a flavour that most people want to smell of consciously : cheeky memories of teenage sass may resurface for a moment, but soon the stronger worries of cheapo and air head will take over, the strawberry novelty quickly bursting its bubble.












Heeley’s grown up, fresh and piquant twang of tuberose and gardenia with citric, jasmine overtones is as bright as a button; falling somewhere between the full, medicinal wintergreen trumpeting of the classic tuberoses and the modern brightness of by Kilian’s Beyond Love or the original Marc Jacobs (all of which of which I love and wear, incidentally).



While there is no blatant bubblegumness here (though the amalgam of the florals, so out there, full and heady, could from a distance have a certain bubblicious effect), this scent has an upbeat, optimistic freshness and energy. It evokes an assertive and gorgeous woman walking briskly down a street in  New York with a beat in her step, and yes, perhaps even surreptiously chewing some bubblegum.




She turns a corner, when no one is looking and – pwah! ! – there goes the fruit pink gecko balloon….






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Etat Libre D’Orange’s Encens et Bubblegum could hardly be more different to Bubblegum Chic : a curious, delicate cloud of smoke-resting pink that fuses the aqueous, frankincense-infused holy water from the cathedral font with a dusky, fruity-pink haze of something – Madonna perhaps, sunglasses removed slowly, as she enters, furtively, in off the street:  a moment of silent introspection in the house of her former religion.












” Before the holy of holies, she genuflects and pops her gum…”




goes the spiel from this naughty French fragrance house, riffing on sanctity and mischief;  the time ” when transgression is tinted with erotic guilt”, and ” the impish sensuality of her sham innocence takes the upper hand”.










What I like personally about this scent, though, in fact is its held-backness.





With its name, ‘Incense and Bubblegum’ you expect to smell something brash and shocking, only to discover on the contrary a genuinely atmospheric, tender scent that evokes the silence and space of an Italian church on a summer’s day.




She may be working her gum, but her defiance is softened for a moment here: for once there is no one watching.











Filed under Flowers

18 responses to “deux parfums de bubblegum……. ENCENS ET BUBBLEGUM by ETAT LIBRE D’ORANGE (2006) + BUBBLEGUM CHIC by HEELEY (2012)

  1. Tora

    Wow. That last paragraph, following the gorgeous photo of the brunette Madonna just slayed me. “When transgression is tinged with erotic guilt” is a perfect caption of that particular photo. And I don’t know anyone who has used that phrase ‘held backness’ before, out loud. And I totally get it. Don’t ever stop writing, Niel. You make the ordinary day extra ordinary.

    • Wow to you as well for saying such nice things.

      I was actually supposed to be playing the piano upstairs but it such a gorgeous day that I felt like tuberose and then the idea came to me to write this, one perfume on each wrist. I love tuberose, I love Madonna, and I love pink.

    • It should also be said that I rarely bother to check if words actually exist or not: that is one of the great liberties of having your own blog with no one verifying and editing: if I like a word, and it sounds right I use it!

  2. Lilybelle

    I don’t know the first fragrance, but I loved Encens et Bubblegum when I tried it (a long time ago now). It reminded me of Chanel No. 22 – sweetness plus incense. I must sample it again to see whether I still feel the same.

    • I see what you mean actually about the Chanel.It could never rival 22 but then it doesn’t need to; it occupies its own special, soft place. Strange, but appealing.

      • brie

        if it bears a similarity to my beloved 22 then I must try it..

      • Lilybelle

        Brie, I don’t know that it is so*similar* to 22, but it made me think of it because I always get a billowy cloud of almost edible sweetness in 22 accompanied by that slow incense burn. I don’t know many incense fragrances (except for actual frankincense). Now I’m craving 22!

      • Ah, 22……a beauty if ever there was one.

  3. I realize that I have a sample of Bubblegum Chic around somewhere. It was sent to me with a decant that I had ordered, and I took a look at the name and tossed it in my sample box without trying it. Foolish me, smug in my preconceptions. Aren’t smug people the most irritating ones of all? I will have to dig it out and try it.

    • I felt the same, as those Heeley’s don’t strike me as being very interesting, and this isn’t original either, but if you like strong, pert tuberoses it is pretty good I think.

  4. Neil, I love your writing! It is the highlight of my morning.
    I also still wear the original Marc Jacobs.

    • I was mildly miffed that hardly anyone read this last year when I was rather pleased with it, so I am delighted to hear this comment. Arigato! It seems I am on something of a tuberose tip.

  5. Lilybelle

    Nice to re-read that one. It made me smile. xo

  6. Makes me want to revisit Encens et Bubblegum; which I think I will next time I am at the boutique.

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