Monday, March 29, 2010

Questionable Secretions

The other day I was carrying out a totally non-perfume related presentation at work. One of the points I wanted to make was that we need to appreciate that many people around us experience the world in a way that is utterly different from how we experience it. The same external stimulation may be processed and interpreted quite differently by two different brains. So, in order to make my point, I passed around a couple of tester strips doused with what must be one of the most controversial fragrances I have ever encountered: Sécrétions Magnifiques.

This curious creation by État Libre D'Orange is, according to many, a fresh, gentle, marine-like floral. Certainly, Turin and Sanchez's Perfume Guide awards it 5 stars and praises its originality. I'm reliably informed that it's a pretty good seller. But when I smell it, I feel as though I've been punched right to the pit of my stomach. Shockwaves of revulsion course through my body - all the way down my throat - and I immediately feel the urge to be sick. My brain rattles as the odd/unearthly/wrong metallic note rushes to the top of my head. Every inch of my body screams, "Run! Get this vile concoction away from yourself and run!"

I kid you not. No other perfume I know of - regardless of how unpleasant I consider it to be - has such a visceral effect on me. There are plenty of fragrances that I think are below-par in many ways, but they tend to elicit little more than a frown and a grimace. This one makes every inch of my insides hurl with digust and horror. And, sure enough, as I passed the tester strips amongst my work colleagues, some of them looked mortified and wanted to leave the room as soon as they could, whereas others smiled and said all they could smell was pretty, soft, white flowers.

It's a wonder any fragrance is ever a success!

[For an interesting little follow-up to this story, please click here.]

9 comments:

  1. Haha, nice to hear that. I had a similar experience. I really wanted to understand the beauty of this fragrance and tried it on my skin. A fellow perfumist described it as a smell of a beautiful mermaid. Unfortunately - my mermaid was an old creature of uncertain forms and definitely overweight. With fatty grey thin hair and no expression on her face. I suspect she didn't have a shower for a long time. This fragrance smells like a clean wet urinal to me.

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  2. The smell of a beautiful mermaid? Oh, please! The thing is, that even the people who didn't feel totally violated by the experience of sniffing SM weren't overly impressed with is: they simply said it was light, moderately pleasant and inoffensive. I've yet to actually meet someone who thinks it's a masterpiece.

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  3. I nearly threw up when I smelled it and it sent me into waves of depressions...though my husband didn't mind it at all.

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  4. Thanks for writing.

    It's a very weird beast, isn't it? I wouldn't say it depressed me, but it certainly made me feel very uncomfortable.

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  5. I'm dying to try this one to be honest. I just think for someone to be so brave and brazen to release it deserves praise. Still, I can't judge without a whiff! I also wish stockists would be brave enough to sell this too. I can't see it anywhere!

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  6. Anyone know where I can try it before I buy?

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  7. Hi Liam J. It's certainly well worth trying. You should be able to get a sample from www.lessenteurs.com

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  8. Perfect! I had no idea you could buy from that site :) Thanks.

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  9. Liam J, you're more than welcome. Their sample service is excellent.

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