Denise Hamilton on Scents that Evoke Bodily Fluids

Denise Hamilton, the crime novelist who write the “Uncommon Scents” fragrance column for the L.A. Times, has a new piece on “scents that evoke bodily fluids.” Naturally, Etat Libre d’Orange’s infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques figures prominently here:

“When I asked Etienne de Swardt, the Baudelairean impresario behind Etat, how the idea for this perfume came about, he relayed the fragrance concept he gave perfumer Antoine Lie: ‘My brief was this pernicious idea of viral risk, which at times gives a mystical and transcendental dimension to sex. Suicide, love, confusion. When one does not know where to stand in between “Protect me from what I want” and rushing for that raw desire, whatever the consequences…Welcome to your mammal’s DNA.'”

Woah. As I’ve written before, I think Sécrétions is revolting and unwearable, and yet I keep going back to it as a novelty. I’d love a large sample of it (perhaps just to scare friends and use for dares), but I could not spend money on it. (Indeed, de Swardt says that it is “the fragrance most demanded for sampling on our Website.”)

Sécrétions was the subject of a lively comment section discussion on the blog Personal Odour recently. Many commenters think they smell egg whites. I’ll have to smell egg whites (uncooked, I’m assuming. Am I wrong?) to get a frame of reference. One pointed out that “if sex smelled like this, human race would be in extinction!” Too true.

Hamilton covers a couple dozen other fragrances, most of which do not cross the line so boldly as Sécrétions Magnifiques does:

“Miller Harris’s L’Air de Rien, Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom and Vivienne Westwood’s original Boudoir all have a soiled-panty note. Cumming by Alan Cumming (by the talented Christopher Brosius) is a coy double entendre that evokes soiled leather panties doused in single-malt scotch. Even Sarah Jessica Parker, whose Lovely and Covet were hits for Coty, is a fan of the skank school. She likes the smell of B.O. and has announced she’s working on a perfume with self-same olfactory note.”

Disgusting, and intriguing.

Denise Hamilton’s columns are worth a look, especially the one on men’s fragrances.

This entry was posted in Cologne, Novel Ingredients, Sexy Colognes and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Denise Hamilton on Scents that Evoke Bodily Fluids

  1. Liam J Moore says:

    I’d say give it another go and try and remove ideas about what you’re being told it was inspired from, and see past the egg whites (if you dislike them). Starting to sound like you have to work to appreciate this fragrance, but that’s not the case. Honest.

  2. Hi Liam! I am going to give it another try, if for no other reason than it’s fun to talk about. But I still think that we’re all smelling different things. Most Secretions critics agree on certain basic notes — we all smell something metallic — but some of us are repelled by whatever else is there. I just wish I could describe it better.

  3. Liam J Moore says:

    It’s a shame, because I don’t get what everyone else does. Funny that, I think sometimes we suffer from far away fields are greener/smellier syndrome 😉

  4. Thanks for the shout outs in C&C!
    That Etienne, his quotes are surrealistic poetry.
    I’m glad you enjoyed my column on men’s colognes. I wear many of those myself.

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