In a time when fragrances are pushed out the door at alarming rates, where the same themes are repeated over and over again, Etat Libre d’Orange takes a conceptual approach to perfumery and challenges people’s notion of what a perfume is and could be. Sécrétions Magnifiques is, to me, well–I could wax poetic about it all day but when it comes down to it, this stuff smells gross. Fascinating. But mostly gross.
In Bottle: Airy and light, slightly floral layered over something sticky and sinister. I read up on this stuff before I tracked down a tiny amount of it to try for myself and I know full well that its in bottle impressions are not to be trusted. In a way, it’s funny. Sécrétions Magnifiques almost lures the person in with this innocent smelling lightly flowery top with a slight dark under note.
Applied: Then you put it on, thinking that perhaps you’re the one person that might actually work on. That maybe you’re scent blind to whatever disgusting accord everyone else has been raving about. You poor soul. My first impression of this stuff was a rather innocent fresh and light floral fragrance with a bit of slick coconut. Then the top notes fly away and what you’re left with is a miasma of unfolding perplexity. My first and immediate impression after initial spray went a little something like, “This isn’t so bad.Smells like a very synthetic coconut, floral and citrus mixture. Kind of tropical. What’s that weird thing I’m smelling that’s kind of metallic? Oh. Ew!” Sécrétions Magnifiques continues to mount its assault from there as the blood accord floods right up with a a sharp bleach note. This isn’t the blood scent that’s essentially a sticky metallic twang present in some BPAL fragrances, or the coppery-like scent of real blood. This is old, dried, rotted blood that’s been left baking in the sun and fermenting in a puddle of bleach. Then it was run over a few times by some cars. And finally, someone took a congealed scoop of this rancid mixture and rubbed it under their sweaty unwashed armpit. Just because they could. This is a bizarre mixture of citrus, white florals, sharp bleach, salt, rotten blood, old fish and armpit. I toughed it out for the dry down to discover that after hours and hours of you and those around you have suffered, the fragrance takes a turn (quite amusingly) for a soapy dry down with a slight hint of lingering salty armpit–just a touch. Enough to make you nervous about whether or not you’ll get a second wave of that special mid-stage. This is not to mention this stuff is stubborn and lasts a very, very, very long time. Truly Sécrétions Magnifiques commands your loyalty.
Extra: Sécrétions Magnifiques is Etat Libre d’Orange’s prank on the perfumery world. There are people who love how it smells. But the vast majority of individuals who’ve come across this thing can only appreciate what it’s trying to do at best. It takes guts to purposefully create a fragrance that’s such a challenge to perfumery and what “smells good”. While I’ll probably never wear this fragrance, I can appreciate the fact that it’s unique and very brave. Funny enough, for a fragrance that smells awful, Sécrétions Magnifiques sells rather decently. People want to smell and own this stuff simply because of how novel it is. I wonder if anyone’s adopted Sécrétions Magnifiques as their signature scent?
Design: Bottled in an unassuming rectangular bottle with the house name and fragrance name and very assuming fragrance design on it.
Fragrance Family: Dirty.
Notes: Iode accord, adrenaline accord, blood accord, milk accord, iris, coconut, sandalwood, opoponax.
Sécrétions Magnifiques is not a perfume to be worn out to work, to a party, to go on a cruise, to go grocery shopping, and please for the love of all that is good in this world don’t wear it onto an airplane. This is a fragrance for fragrance lovers and the fragrance curious. It’s a piece of unwearable art that dares you to put it on and go out in public. And you can certainly do that if you are brave enough but please, no airplanes.
Reviewed in This Post: Sécrétions Magnifiques, 2008, Sample Vial.