‘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.
28 responses to “SECRETIONS MAGNIFIQUES by ETAT LIBRE D’ORANGE (2006)”
I have read a lot about this perfume, but you really put it into perspective.
Thanks for saving me from trying it.
No! You have to at least once, and some people just get an acceptable, metallic musk that they find quite addictive.
Me, I could heave.
I always find it fascinating to read about scents that repel, as well as attract. I felt a quite violent repulsion towards Thierry Mugler’s Womanity, which smelled of rancid pastry and fish to my nose. I also disliked Courtesan by Worth, which smells like a sweaty bed after a passionate weekend. However, such scents have their place in the fragrant world, even if only as controls against which we measure other scents.
Great review, very interesting.
Womanity is hell on earth, and I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME UNDERSTAND HOW ANYBODY COULD TOLERATE IT ON THEIR SKIN FOR A MOMENT.
In fact I have a review of it that I never published for fear it was too repugnant. I might have to dig it up!
No, do post your review! I’d love to read it. I’m so glad to hear I’m not alone! My review was full of repulsion for it, and like you, I think it beggars belief that even one person in the world would choose to smell that!
Awww, I like Womanity! To me it’s a freaky gourmet that I can’t stop sniffing.
SM, on the other hand…. I have a bottle, and it doesn’t make me ill, but although I like that drydown you mention, I’m scared to wear it in case I leave a trail of vomiting people behind me! 😉
I would be one of them, soiling your garments with chunder.
🙂 Love your description of this.
I had to try it some time ago, just to see what the fuss is about. I find it both repellent and at the same time, I kept going for more – just to be sure if that was really the smell of it.
It’s one of my favourites! Though I get you when you say, small doses are best. I don’t get fish though?!
You know, as I say at the end of this review, I can totally imagine that human, soft, sweet musky thing being really quite compelling, as long as it wasn’t too directly in my face.
You actually wear it?
Indeed, and I can see where the repulsive factor comes in, someone said it was like screeching egg whites to him! Definitely a drop on the wrist for you then and no more? I do indeed wear it, but not over applied, has to be sprayed in the air and walked into for a light *ahem* spray.
ugghhh : ‘screeching egg whites….’
You have added a new layer of repellence (your friend is spot on!)
I’ve never understood the appeal of love-or-hate perfumes except as samples to dab in privacy. Why would we want to polarize everyone who smells us? Life is divisive enough. But I really do understand the horrified fascination with which one might approach something like this in privacy. Although it wasn’t in nearly the same category of repulsion, I once emptied a sample vial of some vanilla, Vanille Galante I think it was called, which smelled like vanilla-rubbed fish. I would put on a drop whenever I was going to be alone for a few hours, just to see if the fish scent was really in there. It really was. And I have to admit that I have a similar problem with the CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention. There is something camphorously chemical in there that sends a shudder down my spine. Just can’t like it, although I understand that that makes me a perfume cretin. I try it again every now and then, just for the thrill of the shudder
I thought I was the only one who couldn’t take Vanille Galante.
This is very interesting for me to read…
Do you get the mackerel note in it? To me, it was as if some scattered vanilla beans from a shipwreck had washed up at low tide on the mud flats, and were warming slowly in the sun amid the other detritus.
This is one I’ve never tried, but with all the polarizing(mostly negative)talk I’ve got to see what all the hoopla is about.It really is interesting how people have such different reactions to scents.I think occasionally some people may be more or less sensitive to certain odorants and in some cases completely anosmic, such as to certain musks.This is why often in perfumes containing musk, the perfumer will throw in a whole cocktail of musks in the hopes that each person with a particular musk anosmia will smell at least one.It may also be the reason for varying longevity issues of a particular scent among different individuals.I actually find Vanille Galante very enjoyable.To me it smells like lilies.In Vanille Galante Jean Claude Ellena combined the medicinal cough syrup note of vanilla absolute with the banana like note of benzyl acetate to create a lily like aroma.Benzyl acetate is found is ylang ylang,jasmine,and tobira flowers.It has an unripe green banana smell that some love and some can’t stand.Like musks I think some are more sensitive to this odorant than others especially when musks are involved in the formula.The musks usually round off the harsh edges of the benzyl acetate.With a musk anosmia, wham!,you’re left with the full on effect.Great read as usual and now I’m off to smell Secretions Magnifique to see what all the fuss is about!
Please report back if you have time!
As for Vanille Galante, it is most definitely a lily fragrance, and I can imagine it smelling heavenly on certain people. But there is a salty note in there at some point when the notes all overlap….I think that is probably the problematic point. On me it smells DREADFUL, but then I am absolutely Mr Basenote, bringing them immediately to the fore and killing all flowers.
“…but hover on the fringes of its airspace: intrigued; just to make sure of the conclusion to which you think you have come.” I suppose it’s like a hangnail or a sore tooth that you can’t leave alone. I’ve never smelled SM but I don’t have any great desire to. Why on earth would I want to go around smelling like that? In the days before we were all so squeaky clean people did go around smelling “like that” for lack of bathing. Fragrance then was supposed to mask those odors. Now we want to fragrance our squeaky clean bodies with them. Maybe we should just give up bathing for a few days instead and revel in our own natural animalic odors rather than manufactured ones.
But as I said, this is definitively not a human smelling perfume or a skank fest. It is not cheesy or fungal or sweaty, but pure as the living day and thus a whole other alien kettle of fish.
To be honest, it has kind of traumatized me, as I fear the the key ingredient, turned up to the max, is a thing called nitriles, which, now, if I even hint an infinitesimal amount in a perfume, I am maximally repelled. To my horror I think I even detected some recently in my beloved Kouros.
Better leave this thing alone.
At MiN, if you want to smell it, they walk you outside and spritz it in the street. Granted, I have actually never smelled SM out of fear. I’ve smelled the Blood Concept line and found that repellent enough to not want to pursue anymore milky, bloody, metallic anything. However, they did say at MiN that a single dab behind each ear of SM could be incredibly beguiling. I also hear that it smells radically different on men than women, and men and women perceive it very differently.
As I said at the end of the review, there is definitely something appealing in there somewhere, a futuristic metallic milk-musk thing that touches the heart in some primal way.
And yet. Say no.
I tried this a long time ago and was not too overwhelmed by it. it smelt a bit dirty and raw to me, but nothing I could not handle, it was not a fragrance I could fall in love with, but not one I was repulsed by. Oh, the joy of human chemical composition, a fragrance can show us just how unique we each are and how our body chemistry is so singular to each individual.
Indeed. But what I resent is the fact that whatever synthetic molecule (possibly nitriles?) that was pushed up to the max on the graphic equalizer has made me HATE that note, even in infinitesimal quantities, in scents that I previously liked. I detect some of it in Kouros, now, and that used to be one of my holy grails.
I definitely agree that this was WAY overhyped (it doesn’t actually smell of the things it says it does) but at the same time, despite its cleverness, both olfactive, and in terms of propaganda, for me it really does smell quite disgusting.
I understand completely. I have the same issue with ISO E Super, which I am able to pick up at a distance. I think the restrained hand in perfumery is a thing of the past. I will have to revisit Secretions, if I can find it, and experience it again after all these years.
Sad about Kouros, I ADORE that scent.
Ack. I shudder when I remember the smell that lingers on my fingers after opening a sample vial containing Secrétions Magnifique. And it triggers my gag reflex, it really does. I guess that’s what it was made to do, so full marks for execution of intent.