What does a perfume that smells of blood, sweat, saliva and sperm smell like? Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge is the only place in London selling this “exclusive” scent by Etat Libre d`Orange. I jumped on the (not-so-fragrant) tube to find out.
In the perfume section, Secretions magnifique is easy to find. How many perfumes in Harvey Nichols feature a school boy drawing of a cock? This is anti-perfume; I get it. Ingredients: agreement adrenalin, agreement milk, agreement blood, iris, coconut (?), sandalwood…etc.
Here goes. I spray it on my wrist; my friend jumps a metre back.
Do you know what broken bones and blood smells like? It all flooded back. Nine years ago – after a few drinks, we crossed the road and my friend was hit by a car. Blood poured from the crack in his forehead. I held his head up, to keep him talking, while we waited for the ambulance. The traffic passed around us. It was nearly midnight, but the bitumen was still warm from the day.
Smell is the most primitive of the senses. I was shocked a perfume could provoke this deep, visceral memory. This is not hyperbole; it felt shocking. Yet the perfume presents itself as an intellectual concept: magnificent secretions.
I tried to smell my wrist again – I wanted to keep an open mind, maybe it will change into something else? – but it literally made my stomach turn. All I could “smell” was confusion, panic, flashing sirens, exhaust fumes and too much alcohol thrown into the mix. Perhaps, it was just me: but could it smell better on another person?
Whatever. I had to get it off; this smell, this memory. Even the expensive Harvey Nichols’ bathroom soap didn’t help the nausea – and worst of all – I could not get the smell off my skin.
After I calmed down a bit I couldn’t help but thinking, who would like this? Perhaps the sado-masochist in your life who owns everything. Although at £75 you’d want to be stinking rich.
Personally, I’d rather a night out, wake up next to some take-out trash in a dirty bed, still in my clothes from the night before, smelling of tequila and stale cigarettes, catch the humid tube to work, hungover, with my nose smashed up against some sweaty businessman’s armpit. Now how do we bottle that?
Link: New perfume smells of semen and sweat – London Metro