It’s impossible to mention controversial fragrances and not immediately think of Sécrétions Magnifiques. Its notoriety precedes the scent itself.
Launching in 2006 by Etat Libre d’Orange and detonating like a ton of bricks scattered in every direction, gaining as many detractors as fans, this odd but compelling fragrance is nothing short of a piece of art.
Daring, like a philosophical novella laced with pornographic elements by le Marquis de Sade.
Unprecedented and influential, like Marchel Duchamps’ Fountain.
Strangely beautiful, like bodies painted by Lucian Freud.
In short, a must see. Or, to be precise, a must smell, as this is olfactory art. You simply cannot profess an interest in contemporary perfume-making without testing this particular fragrance; it’s a rite of passage and a critique on consumerism rolled into one. Something to wear to impress connoisseurs or go to the hippest club in town. Certainly not for the office!
Etat Libre d’Orange, the liberated territory of unbridled creativity, giving free reign in pushing the barriers of conventional taste, would be the proper outfit to launch such an unusual, tongue-in-cheek scent. Intent on referencing the potent scent of our own bodily juices -saliva, milk, blood and notably semen- it evokes the rush of adrenaline, the anticipation of mating, the tenderness of childbearing, the mouth-watering effect of discovering new sensual pleasures. These magnificent secretions, this elixir vitae, are at the heart of the most challenging and talked about fragrance of the last decade. The perfumer, Antoine Lie, chose complex accords to infuse the scent with aromas which attract as much as distance, balancing attraction and repulsion.
As you spray the scent on the skin a potent freshness builds, composed from molecules reminiscent of ozone charging in the atmosphere before a storm, as well as aqueous flowers smelled from a distance; like petals floating in a bowl of water and chlorine. This is the Florazone molecule, which gives the initial spark jolting our attention. This chord, provocative like the semen spurting phallus initially embossed on the bottle but since removed -shhh…we will keep this our little secret- is, shall we say, more than a little controversial. To some it’s cool and perfectly innocuous, to others strongly reminiscent of a well-used dungeon.
Almost simultaneously, the synergy between iodine, bitter and fresh, and a metallic tang like iron, composed from molecules called aldehydes, lift the scent, diffusing further. The impression now is of a sharp razor dripping blood, maybe cutting up cephalopods at the seaside. If you have ever dived to fish aphrodisiac oysters from the depths of the ocean, and then consumed them raw at the beach with only a drop of freshly squeezed lemon juice, then you can totally appreciate the strange lure of this bloody-iodine aroma. If not, here’s your chance. It’s primal and pure, in the rawest way possible. At one with nature. And yet you find this in a man-made fragrance.
The perfumer continues to fascinate us with his daring techniques as he creates the at once milky and sweaty odour of human bodies which is the final stage of the development of the scent on the skin. Heaving, sighing, with glands in full swing, human activity and life beguile and provide the final, promised coitus, which the company dares to put forth in its provocative presentation. The milky scent is comprised of molecules called lactones, which are present in sandalwood and coconut, while the musky odour left behind recalls the sweaty epidermis of our nether regions.
Predictably, not all people react the same to Sécrétions Magnifiques, even if they’re oblivious to the concept and the name. There never was a more deserving of the title “love or hate” fragrance. Proof positive that you have to have the opportunity to formulate a personal opinion. Now is your chance at LKNU Parfumerie. Will you miss it?
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