A body of evidence...
A body of evidence…

What is the worst thing that you’ve ever smelled? For me it’s the smell of rhubarb boiling. Seriously, there is nothing worse to my nostrils than those large sticks of pink fruit bubbling away on the stove. As a kid I used to hide away from the kitchen whenever my dad made rhubarb crumble because the smell (which is the olfactory equivalent of white noise FYI) would permeate every fibre of my being and leave me feeling utterly nauseous.

What is the worst perfume you’ve ever smelled? Now this question is even easier to answer! I’ve smelled a good few stinky scents in my time, take Estée Lauder’s Spellbound for instance, a vile syrupy mess of florals and fruit that apparently has the power to strip nail polish, but that’s hardly the worse thing I’ve ever smelled. No, if I were to pick a scent that was the worst I’d ever smelled then I would pick Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d’Orange, and to add insult to injury it is a fragrance that INTENDS to smell bad.

Sécrétions Magnifiques was part of the original bunch of offerings from Etat Libre d’Orange when the brand first launched in 2006. Since then it has gained cult status as one of the most disgusting fragrances on the market whilst simultaneously earning a legion of fans who love and wear it. Sécrétions Magnifiques, with its accords of milk, blood and iodine, is described as being “as real as an olfactory coitus that sends one into raptures, that extraordinary and unique moment when desire triumphs over reason.” [1] Above all it is a “subervsive, disturbing perfume” [2] that really does need to be smelled to be believed.

(NSFW pic after the jump)

Springfield Residents
The colourful residents of Springfield

The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing/boyfriends/girlfriends/movies/insert-celebrity-mistake-here let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.

In previous instalments I have successfully scented a wide range of celebrities and characters ranging from the loveable lunatics that are The Muppets to the hip schizo-rapper Nicki Minaj as well as Icelandic Siren Björk and super-glam glam-poppers Scissor Sisters, even The Royal Family haven’t been able to escape my scented clutches.

I have mentioned before that I am a hardcore fan of The Simpsons, I watch it nearly every day (it’s always on when I get home from work) and I confess to having seen every episode, perhaps more than once! The inhabitants of Springfield are a fascinating bunch and over the course of both parts of Spritzing Springfield I hope to select fragrances that befit their eccentricities and play to their incredibly human characteristics.

The Simpsons
The Simpsons – The world’s favourite family.

The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing/boyfriends/girlfriends/movies/insert-celebrity-mistake-here let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.

So far the series has touched upon a variety of famous names including; those fuzzy-wuzzy comics The Muppets, the Icelandic super-talent that is Björk, schizophrenic female (but kinda-male due to her alter ego) rapper Nicki Minaj, the maniacal monarchs that make up the Royal Family and super-glam pop tour de force Scissor Sisters. Joining this patchwork quilt of celebrities is everyone’s favourite dysfunctional TV family, The Simpsons.

I am a die-hard The Simpsons Fan and I confess to having seen nearly every single episode at least twice. The colourful inhabitants of Springfield, or predominately-yellow inhabitants should I say, each provide a large dash of humour to a town that you wouldn’t really want to live in but are quite happy to watch from the comfort and relative safety of your own sofa.

Restaurant Table
Our table is booked, all you have to do is show up…

Food and I have a very strong and loving relationship. Perhaps too loving in fact, and I’ll be the first to admit that our relationship can be a little unhealthy at times. But at those times when I don’t feel that I should exercise a good degree of self control to keep my weight down I thoroughly enjoy going out for dinner and experimenting with new food.

Our senses of taste and smell are inextricably linked and when going out for dinner it makes sense, and it’s also good fun, to match our fragrance to the style of cuisine we will be devouring. Only the other night I was heading out for dinner with friends and was having a SOTE (Scent of the Evening) dilemma, I asked my Twitter followers for help and they came back with some interesting suggestions based on the type of food (Mexican F.Y.I.) I would be eating, which got me thinking – which fragrances would be best suited for other cuisines?

To explore the relationship between fragrance and food I cordially invite you to dinner, during which I, along with the help of my partner-in-crime and budding-foodie Nigel, will pair some of the most popular cuisines with fragrant counterparts that will leave you complimenting your food and smelling wonderful simultaneously. Get your passports out because we’re going to be touring the restaurants of the world…

Scissor Sisters

“I’m a classy honey kissy huggy lovey dovey ghetto princess”

The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing/boyfriends/girlfriends/movies/insert-celebrity-mistake-here let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.

So far the series has touched upon a variety of famous names including; those fuzzy-wuzzy comics The Muppets, the Icelandic super-talent that is Björk and schizophrenic female (but kinda-male due to her alter ego) rapper Nicki Minaj. Joining this plethora of huge talents, and even bigger egos is the wonderfully glam and delightfully eccentric band of personalities that is Scissor Sisters.

Scissor Sisters, currently consisting of Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Del Marquis, Babydaddy and one other dude (but he doesn’t appear much so we shall forget about him), are a glam rock band taking their cues from Elton John, Abba, Blondie and the Bee Gees just to name a few. To say that they are a band with personality is an understatement, in fact they are a band with four distinct personalities, each one being as eccentric, if not more so than the other.

Katie Puckrik

Katie Puckrik Does Indeed ‘Smell’

YouTube frightens me slightly. Maybe I’m just a wimp but despite the wealth of content YouTube has more loons, weirdos (not the good kind) and trolls than any of the other ‘tubes’, including the London Underground, which indeed has its fair share. Other than the odd music video and occasional perfume-related video I really don’t visit it much and I admire those who can put themselves out there, warts and all.

One person who is not afraid of YouTube and actively embraces the medium with as much gusto as one person can conjure is Katie Puckrik of Katie Puckrik Smells. Katie’s YouTube reviews are pithy, fun and are splashed with charismatic wit, which is no surprise as Katie Puckrik is someone with oodles of charisma and she has been a key player in changing the way that perfume is discussed.

As a general rule of thumb I am not a big fan of YouTube perfume reviews, with my tastes lying with the written word rather than the spoken, but I always make sure I watch Katie’s videos because she talks about scent in not only an intelligent way, but because she makes it so much fun. It was for this reason that I jumped at the chance of spending an evening with Katie Puckrik organised by Olfactory Events and Perfume Lovers London.

Let it Rock

“Let it Rock!”

Throughout the majority of my perfume journey I have been under the impression that it’s all about the juice with my mantra very much being; ‘nothing else matters except the smell’. But I’m no longer sure that this is entirely true, after all a perfume is a concept, and the best perfumes are the ones where the smell, bottle, name and concept are harmonious with each other. One thing that I have recently discovered is that a bad name can really take away from my overall enjoyment of a perfume. I can hide a crap bottle and I don’t necessarily have to tell people the inspiration behind the perfume I’m wearing, but if the name is bad then things can go sour rapidly.

Take Shalimar for example, could Guerlain have picked a more beautiful and fitting name? Or what about Gorilla Perfume’s ‘Breath of God’? Or on the flip-side, think of Thierry Mugler’s Womanity, the hideous name (sorry Thierry) honestly does make me hesitate from picking up my bottle at times. A bad name can ruin things, just as a good name can be the cherry on top that makes for perfection.

One brand who can always be counted on for an interesting name is Etat Libre d’Orange – they’ve got it all, from Fat Electricians to Magnificent Secretions and Hotel Whores. I think these names are fabulous but I can understand why they might rub some people up the wrong way, they are after all quite risqué. But name-wise Etat Libre d’Orange are at their best when they aren’t trying to be controversial (‘Jasmin et Cigarette’ anyone?) and none have been bestowed with a more perfect name than their latest release – ‘Malaise of the 1970s’.

Malaise of the 1970s may be the latest perfume from the Orange Free State but it is in fact a repackaged version of 2010’s Sex Pistols fragrance created in collaboration with Sephora. Etat Libre d’Orange describe Malaise of the 1970s as being “Inspired by a wealth of seventies pop culture references, from Star Wars to The Stranglers, Malaise of the 1970s captures the resistant and tumultuous spirit of the times. A metallic juice that resonates like the twang of a guitar string, its sharpness reminiscent of safety pins fastened to tartan. A distillation of rebellion, music and raw emotion.” [1] 

Bjork

I enjoyed scenting The Muppets so much that I’ve decided to create an entire series of celebrity-based perfume posts ingeniously entitled the ‘Scent a Celebrity Series’. Celebrities are a funny bunch that on the whole cannot be trusted in the world of perfume, you only need to look at the shelves of your local department store for proof of this, and I’m thinking they could do with a fair bit of scented help from yours truly.

Celebrity culture can at times be incredibly frustrating and for that reason this series isn’t simply a ‘what would they wear’ feature, I only want to focus on those celebrities that I admire, the ones with true talent, charisma and purpose. You will not find the cast of The Only Way is Essex and Jersey Shore here, nor will you find such sucky-celebrities as Paris Hilton or Justin Bieber. No way. Instead you will find MY celebrities, the ones that I love and to kick of the series I have chosen to scent one of my absolute favourites – Björk.

I love Björk. This is a fact that many of my friends and family don’t quite understand. “She’s weird!” they shout, “when she sings she sounds like an angry walrus kicking a dolphin.” But I do not rise to these silly comments because I am in the know, I ‘get’ Björk, I know that she is nothing short of a musical genius. Don’t believe me? Simply take yourself off to a dark room and listen to her Vespertine album and you will be converted. Go on, off you pop, you may return once you have finished.

Philippine

“I love a perfume that makes me smile – Fils de Dieu brings the smiles, and plenty of them”

Despite their often hyper-sexed and occasionally misdirected marketing techniques, Etat Libre d’Orange are one of the most solid niche brands out there. They offer a line of well made, interesting, unusual and affordable fragrances that simply cannot be matched. The Etat Libre d’Orange war cry is “Parfum est mort, vive le parfum” (“perfume is dead, long live perfume”) and they are going a very long way to resurrect the concept of fun into the landscape of modern perfumery, a landscape that can so often become devoid of any delight.

I have said many times before that I am a self-proclaimed Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy, I simply cannot help it, I find their compositions to be filled with humour, occasional, nay regular genius, surprise and wonder. Each one is an essay in pushing the boundaries of perfume, turning familiar genres on their heads and firmly sticking two figures up at the bland, the trite and the cheap.

Fils de Dieu or ‘Fils de Dieu Du Riz et Des Agrumes’ (Son of God of Rice and Citrus Fruits) to use its full name is one of two latest releases from everyone’s favourite French olfactory freedom fighters, the other being Bijou Romantique. It was created by Ralf Schwieger and the concept behind it is interesting to say the least. Also available under the more controversial name of ‘Philippine Houseboy’, Fils de Dieu “is the golden eye that reflects beauty and conflict, rapture and pain. It is an emotional fragrance that requires a sympathetic connection between the server and the served, the giver and the taker, and the willingness to exchange roles.” [1]

Tilda & Rossy

The Etat Libre d’Orange Muses

Celebrity fragrances, or ‘celebuscents’ as they are so often called, are the scorn of many a perfumista. The majority are cheap, thoughtless compositions with the sole intent of making a quick buck for a celebrity desperate to cash in on the latest trend. As you can imagine, most of the time the celebrity has very little input in the development of their fragrance, preferring simply to be ‘the face’ rather than ‘the brains’.

There are of course exceptions, and some celebrities do insist on being more involved by playing the role of creative director. Celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and J Lo are widely reported to have been directly involved with the creation of their early fragrances and this involvement shows in the final product. But these celebrities are few and far between.

One brand in particular has taken the idea of the celebuscent to a new level by choosing to partner with unusual celebrities who take on the role of muse and work with the perfumer to create their fragrance. This brand is Etat Libre d’Orange, those funny French olfactory freedom fighters whose compositions feel like a breath of fresh air within the industry.

For their celebuscents Etat Libre d’Orange chose two unexpected, subversive celebrities; Oscar Winning British Actress & Androgynous Style Icon Tilda Swinton and Pedro Almodóvar’s Picasso-esque Muse Rossy de Palma. Two strong, unique women for a strong and unique brand.