DCAD39E7-4FA2-4F09-8945-49E19D7C6E0EAfter emerging scathed, from a well ventilated but still suffocating windowless room, I took great lungfuls of the hot city Yokohama air the second I stepped outside thinking : this it : I am outside in the second biggest city in Japan – there is no going back. There is probably virus everywhere : my mind reeled.

As the train pulled into Kitakamakura station half an hour later, the carriage doors opened and I was immersed, unambiguously, into the almost nauseatingly fecund air of the current season; muggy; flowers – mauve and lilac-coloured that feel like darkly overripe jasmine laced with dollops of civet, so strong the air feels heavy and dense, saturated with their perfume along with those foul, pollinating trees – whose names I also don’t know  – that smell like hot spunk.

Pushing my bike up the final stretch of the steep hill once I had finally reached the top and it was smooth sailing again, away from the inescapable funk of nature going wild, the nightscents – green mountain soil, honeysuckle, rapidly manifesting hydrangeas, balmy, blue-aired and cool, were a respite from the suppressed hysteria of the day; the clinical smells of bleach, hand sanitisers; my own breath.

Back home,D was on the phone with the Kawasaki theatre organizers about Sunday’s live performance for Covid Cabaret : a chance for singers and actors and mime artistes to perform while the art scene is still on lockdown :  I could hear his animated voice upstairs, muffled through the kitchen ceiling going over logistics.

I myself cracked open a beer and decided to smell Sarah Baker’s deliberately trashy adventure in sleaze, based on the HI-NRG song by the legendary Divine  : Jungle Jezebel.

This is no subtle perfume. With big, flesh eating manplant accords of trumpeting banana, pink bubblegum, and pooey civet, this smells like a huge-chested Glamazonian taking a dump in the equatorial bushgrowth. Giant hairy flowers surround her. Fruitbats. Armadillos. Rotting, spiky, durian fruits.

As tuberose and ylang ylang begin to appear in the blend alongside woods and vanilla,  this grotesque, yet hilarious,  perfume coagulates into a florientalia that we are perhaps more familiar with, in its sweetness and fullness, a mosquito bitten Mahora;  a smell-your -fingers Technicolor Odorama leopardskin nightmare of a dare.  I would not recommend this perfume for polite society. I am not sure I would even license its being work out in public ( but go on). It did, however, after the grueling day I had just had, bring a big smile to my face. And surely the wigged and eyelashes bottle alone is worth the price of a ticket.






Filed under Flowers

14 responses to “HOT IN THE CITY : : JUNGLE JEZEBEL by SARAH BAKER (2016)

  1. bibimaizoon

    Hah! I recall thinking that the Jungle Jezebel bottle looked like Divine when it first came out. Sounds like a raunchier version of Versace Blonde.
    The flowering trees that smell like semen are the Chinese chestnut, the sweet chestnut, and the Callery or Bradford pear. Boxwood blooms are reminiscent of civet or cat pee.

    • Oh god yes – they smell horrendous.

      And no – nothing like Versace Blonde. Though bombacious and creamy, that perfume still comes from the age of Perfume. Balanced. A gorgeous tuberose. I want a bottle !

      This is a hot mess in comparison – weird combinations just thrown in a blender. Civet and banana has been done before – quite beautifully – in Patou’s Sira Des Indes or whatever it was called; suggestive but still graceful. This is a dog’s dinner in comparison but as an overall product I find it rapacious and fun.

  2. Robin

    Especially with the zebra print satin.

    I’ll close my laptop now with a smile. Thanks, dear N.

  3. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Yesterday I was watching a not so good movie about a dutch drugs baron.
    And at the end there was this one song that suddenly got to me ..
    I give you Speed of Life by the Fatal Flowers a dutch rock band of the 80ies! There’s a sting there, strangling poetry no rollicking.
    The weird contradiction of it all.
    Motherfuckin’ life!

  4. Tara C

    Foul-smelling plants, ugh… I live near a brewery and when the wind blows towards us, we get that nauseating fermenting yeasty hops smell.

    I’ve heard of this perfume but it is undoubtedly too much for me. My latest perfume misadventure was Bogue Douleur. Smelled like vomit, I couldn’t get that off me fast enough.

    And thank you for this blog, it is one of the few spots of colour in the remnants of this modern life.

  5. I got Jungle Jezebel as a hand sanitizer when supplies were scarce in shops and ended up getting a whole bottle. I really love it. I’ve worn it to work, no problem!

    Catalpa trees smell kind of like hot spunk in the spring. Maybe it’s that.

  6. Any perfume inspired by Divine gets my attention. And now I’ve got the song in my head. Sounds like quite an experience, Neil.

    • Both times I have tried it properly it has smelled completely different. Last night was more manageable. The first time was FILTH, which as you know, Divine would have loved!

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