‘Like blood, sweat, sperm, saliva, Sécretions Magnifiques is as real as an olfactory coitus that sends one into raptures – to the pinnacle of sensual pleasure; that extraordinary and unique moment when desire triumphs over reason. A subversive, disturbing perfume. It’s love or hate at first sight.’
(Etat Libre d’Orange).
I was always hoping to like this legendary, infamous, perfume, or at least appreciate what I imagined would be its primal power.
As it turned out, it is probably one of the most disgusting smells I’ve ever experienced; engineered, it seems, to push all my buttons in the worst way possible.
These secretions are not just vile……..but upsetting.
The amusing thing is the way the perfume is engineered. In the first five to ten seconds you get a fresh floral musk-like aroma and wonder what the fuss is about.
Then it happens: a metallic, and very artificial, blood, adrenaline/semen accord that smells like an alien life form doing a reproductive experiment on human subjects. A penetrating, fishy smells that repels on a very deep level and you can’t scrub off. And if it so much as graces the nasal cilia….(I have tried this on test subjects for fun, and one – a newly wed young father, was traumatized, rushing off to the bathroom for regular scrubbing as if someone had just come in his eye.)
What’s clever here is that there is a recalibration of the repulse-attractometer after fifteen minutes or so, as something quite compulsively fascinating about the sillage, painfully loveable, enters the equation: poignant, human (and in infinitesimally small doses), really quite attractive.
Like a cautious young animal, you stay out of the smell’s immediate reach, but hover on the fringes of its airspace: intrigued; just to make sure of the conclusion to which you think you have come.