Friday Guest Post: Skank!

By Musette

Please welcome frequent commenter, motorcycle queen, Chicago Scent-sation goddess and today’s guest blogger — Musette!

Jane Russell.  Voluptuous, earthy beauty.  She was never the delicate princess, never the waif, never rescued by the prince.  Jane wasn´t flitting across the moors like a woodsprite, she was rolling around in the hay or punching a guy in the mouth.

I didn´t want to be Jane Russell.  I wanted to be Twiggy.  Never mind that I´m 5´9″, with a rack you could set a coffee cup on (and put a tea service on the back´) and at the height of my powers could bench 200 lbs without breaking a sweat. 

I wanted to be Twiggy, dammit.  Or Jane Asher, Paul McCartney´s Beatle-love.  Or…well, you get the idea.  Winsome, heathery/feathery, all smudged eyeliner, flat chest and bony knees and windswept love on the moors…

and so it was with perfume. As a young teen I saturated myself in Heaven Sent and Love´s Baby Soft.  As a young adult I had a thing for citrus – the more linear, the better (and the quest for citrus continues to this day).  Though they are delightful in the scorching heat of summer they tend to sit uncomfortably on my large, formal frame, like a wreath of rosebuds on a robust matron in a tweed suit and sensible shoes.

I kept trying, as my delicate, gauzy friends took to florals and citrus like little fairy-sprites, the b*tches.   And even as I honed my warrior prowess I still longed to be the waif, the delicate princess. 

But through all the absurd eyeliner, straightened hair and gauzy fantasies and the grapefruit scrubs… there was a dark, weird corner of my perfume psyche that never went away…  I didn´t know why I loved these perfumes.  I just knew I was never without them (even if I had to resort to petty theft of my mother´s dressing table):  Jicky.  Mitsouko.  Bal a Versailles (parfum).  Schiaparelli Shocking.

Can you say it with me?  SKANK.

As a little girl I used to sneak into my Tia Cornelia´s elegant dressing room and dab on a bit of Shocking.  It would surround me like a warm, flowery, slightly doughy cloud, like wrapping yourself in your mother´s dressing gown right after she disrobed to get into the bath, reveling in the smell of perfume, sweat, powder… the essence of her.    My own mother wore Shalimar and cigarettes, which I disliked, but one Christmas my father, who never paid attention to details, got her Mitsouko.  That was it for me…….I was in my mid-teens, too young to wear it, but I would pop in and just spray and sniff it, not understanding why I loved it so much.

But now we know:  SKANK.

Bal was a happy accident.  Remember when Joy was “the costliest perfume in the world?” I loved Joy (still do) but I wanted to be different, so I grabbed Bal, thinking it was 1000 (don´t ask).  I was 20, still too young, with no understanding, but somehow the love was mutual.    I have never been without Bal since and I´m thinking I would like to be pickled in a jar of it when I shuffle off my mortal coil.

Of course, it wasn´t until I fell in with the Posse that I could even put a name to this weird, dark corner of my perfume life.  I mean, it wasn´t lemons!  It wasn´t fresh and powdery and waiflike!  It wasn´t pretty and floral! It was old´ and funky and weird!  I always thought jasmine was merely a pretty, delicate, sweet-smelling flower!  Who knew???!  But these these mainstays stuck around, bringing me an almost visceral pleasure, even when I didn´t wear them.  To use an old-fashioned word, they suited´ me.

Still… something was missing – somewhere there was a scent that would tie it all together and Make Me Understand why these perfumes had such power over me.  Then La Belle Enabler March, taking pity on a po´ thang, sent me a little box.  And in that box was a sample of Rochas Femme EdP.

And in an instant my heart was yanked out of my chest and I understood.

SKANK.  Femme, like Bal, Mitsy and Jicky, contains an almost indecent indolic jasmine along with that faint sweaty-cumin note.  It´s the jasmine that truly captures my heart, though the cumin is necessary, in my opinion, to keep it slightly wet and grounded, keeping it from skittering off the planet.  But you gotta be in the right frame of mind for Femme.  When it´s right it´s like reveling in a sun-drenched, flower-filled bedroom, after a hot and heavy night – your lover has just left the bed and is in the shower, while you laze about, the bed-scents testament to the night´s passions.  When it´s wrong it´s like the same wakeup, except it´s 8:50am and you realize you have a 9:30 job interview and said lover is hogging the shower!

Mitsouko.  Perfection.  I liken it to silken body armor.  I wear Mitsouko when I want to take no prisoners.  And she gives me props, every time.

I once broke the arm of a man who was misbehaving.  I was wearing Jicky at the time. 

Now, La Belle Enabler is the Originator of the term “skank” on this blog (the Skankinator, if you will) where she states that indolic/animalic defines skank´ to her.  We definitely agree that the indolic jasmine (the poopy parts), along with civet, is most definitely skankalicious.  And all of these have that (Shocking doesn´t list jasmine or civet in the notes I have but I´m willing to go to the mat that they are in there).   I´m more in La Belle E´s camp, thinking the indolic outweighs the sweaty in skank.  Feel free to disagree – and tell me why.   But now my shameful secret is out; I´ll never be a gauzy princess and my heart soars at the poopy parts of a finicky flower and cat-butt juice.  Me and Jane strap em into our 18-Hours, there´s no rescuing prince, my jasmines smell like effluvia ….and if I´m on a moor nowadays I´m probably in sensible shoes and a warm jacket – and SKANK.

And that´s just fine by me.

What are your scents?  The ones that you return to time and again, through all the samples and decants and FB flirtations?  Floral/citrus/incense/dirt/whatever…what ties it all together for you?

ps.  Any skank recommendations?  I´d love to hear them!




joe805 November 21, 2008

Ha! I never get it when I hear these Yatagan horror stories. To me, it's like being in a deliciously dark, dank (but not too dank) pine forest.

joe805 November 21, 2008

A little late getting here, but wanted to say that was a fantastic essay. And you might want to add Rose Poivree to your skankfest.

Tamani November 19, 2008

There is one perfume that wasn't mentioned that I think of as undercover skank. It happens to be my signature. Dior Addict. Oh. What with it's slightly woody/amber/jasmine/orange blossom indolic goodness...whenever I'm out on a date, it's what I wear and it does the trick every time! Not everyone can wear it - it's a tricky one. If your body chemistry isn't right (and I mean to bring out the rich powdery base note) it can smell like bug spray. Unfortunately. But when someone whose body tends to accept the rich, sweatiness of heavier scents wears it, ooh la la!

mimmimmim November 18, 2008

Like some of the posters above, I was going to recommend Nuit Noire. Mitsouko's been my real love since university, but I've branched out and it seems to be the mucky perfumes and jasmine heavy florals that grab my attention - Shocking, A La Nuit, Habanita...

mollypenny November 17, 2008

I don't know much about perfume (and will read up on it when I get a chance) but I can't help but think that skank was orginally an accident. What I mean is ambergris and civet and other animalics where used to fix the perfume, right? Use too much and you get the skank scent. Same with the indolics, skankier with more concentration of that flower, no? I just find it interesting that even if it was and accident to have a perfume smell animalic back when, that we ended up finding these smells intriguing and like them even though they "stink". It is actually in us, as animals ourselves, to like these smells. Or am I saying something that is well known?

Flora November 16, 2008

Musette, I love it! You are a woman after my own heart. I will never be wispy either! (But I did try, and sometimes I still do.) My go-to scents tend to be complex classic florals, white florals, both skank and non, and green florals/floral chypres. AG Gardenia Passion and Henri Dunay Sabi are two white florals that never fail me. Serge Lutens Datura Noir is one of a kind if you want a really dangerous white floral with more than a hint of swamp in it. Balmain Jolie Madame is a leathery chypre with a lot of green in it (narcissus!) and I love it. My all-time favorite perfume is the sadly discontinued Jean Patou Vacances, a green floral grounded by a wallop of hyacinth. And of course, who can live without the fabulous Bal a Versailles! You want skank? I will see you Bal a Versailles and raise you Lelong pour Femme by Lucien Lelong - it was released in 1999 but you would swear it's vintage. It has a gut-punch of lilac in it that I personally adore, though others may disagree. Add jasmine, tuberose, orchid and Kadota fig and swirl with magnolia. It's for us grown-up ladies only! :d

Vasily November 16, 2008

Recently, I purchased an oud sampler pack from Oriscent. One of them, Assam Organic, is the skankiest thing I've ever put on my body. At least, in the top & midnotes. It smells like a barnyard, or the south end of a zoo animal going north. When I first received the package, I was appalled: how could anyone wear this stuff? Oriscent says somewhere on their site that the more animalic ouds are difficult for westerners. Funny, as I've worn them, I find that my opinions have changed. An oud named Archipelago, which I initially found overpoweringly medicinal, is at present my favorite. And even the Assam once you get past the initial fecal rush. Strange, that vegetable matter should smell so animalic ...

Marsha November 15, 2008

A college beau once described me as "vavoomy," which I have used as self-description ever since (he wasn't useful for much else, but this alone earned him a happy place in my memories). Vavoomy girls don't smell clean and powdery, I've decided. I'm new to this perfume thing, but I've signed on with TDC's Rose Poivree and I'm looking to get some Theo Fennell and something else I can't remember at the moment. I'm trying some darker roses, too - like Lyric for Men - trying to take good advantage of my nonwaifiness.

Louise November 15, 2008

OK, now, this is just weird. I got my bottle of Theo Fennell today (thanks, sweet relayer)! and I swear it heard me speaking of my oriental love...I get little skank, but rather a glorious womanly floriental :-? Very lovely, stunning even, but where's my stink-um :> ?

vidalicious November 15, 2008

Musette, You GODDESS you! Big love and skanky kisses in Baghari! MWAH!

Olfacta November 15, 2008

Thanks for the tip! I'll look for some vintage, too.

Zoe November 15, 2008

Ah, what a great post! I was/am one of those Twiggies, and specifically one who looked at exotic, voluptuous /women/ -not girls/sprites- who could pull off the big orientals with jealousy. See, we all have our complexes. :-w On to the skank. I have a problem with it: I can't smell it. Or my skin eats it, whichever it is. Sweaty skank, that is, indolic skank from jasmine and orange blossom I /can/ smell (I think) and run away from. But spray Musc Ravageur, Kouros or Musc Koublaï Khan on me, and those allegedly lion cage-ish raunchy numbers turn into purring kitties on me. Even Bal à Versailles and some of those other skank-heavy scents you mentioned are very decent to me. I want me some skank! So where do I turn? Any recs? I've already heard I ought to try Kingdom for some real essence of dirty knickers - agree, disagree?

Divinemama November 15, 2008

~~Obviously I need to either watch the temper or watch the pearls!~~ Giggles...wildly entertaining article and comments. Thanks for the laughs, Musette and Posse. I loves me some skank too! I too get a little skank from Chanel No 5 extrait. I scored some vintage Femme on the bay, and am on the prowl for more vintage skank now. Definitely want to try Bal and Jicky. Joy, Mitsouko...LOVE! I even have some Eau de Hermes. I saw a bottle at Sephora and knew it was a classic by Edmond Roudnitska... bought it, got scared reading reviews :o , took it back, then went back again and found it hiding in the drawer underneath the men's Hermes and bought it again. Have yet to open and try it. :-?

carmencanada November 14, 2008

I think the most pungent of fragrances have been covered here -- I personally find vintage Visa (full of the Animalis base -- civet land) and vintage Shocking (unwashed knickers splashed with rose) to be the most suggestive that way. Now, everybody talks about indolic jasmine. Not everyone has smelled pure indoles. I was with Patty at the Patou shop when we discovered it straight from the bottle. It actually doesn't smell like excrement at all, more like mothballs. Then one day I caught an indiluted indole smell coming from my toilet. I was in the shower. My flatmate had just... used. She'd sprayed Parfums de Nicolaï's Eau de Lude, a jasmine fragrance, as an air freshener (I got it dirt-cheap and was out of room sprays, so that was what was in the toilet). Somehow the jasmine and the poop combined, filtered through the steam of the shower (in France, most toilets and bathrooms are separate, just to reassure you: people don't go potty in front of each other in my house). Pure indole. Really weird. Which means that now, I can actually "decompose" -- as it were -- the smell of jasmine to get the indole. How's that for skank? Oh: and when I was a little girl, I wanted to be Emma Peel when I grew up. Somehow, I turned out more like Tara King...

Elle November 14, 2008

What a fantastic post! I'm a fellow skankaholic, but I have to admit that I was defeated by Theo Fennell - which I had ordered unsniffed, assuming that if I could happily wear CB's Musk, there was *no* skank which could possibly be too much for me. I still hope that some day I will be able to wear Theo Fennell. Today I've been basking in the glory of Bal parfum. Never ceases to make me happy. :-) And I am simply in awe of the fact that you broke a man's arm! Wow! A Jicky wafting force of nature! :-)

March November 14, 2008

Heh. Some real skank lovers on here! I can't believe I didn't ship you some Eau d'Hermes, although it may be over your line. It's more pure sweat than sweet cumin. Although I'm still mad at Hermes for being such asshats in Chicago. [-(

Wendi November 14, 2008

Oh my goodness... I love you all!! :x Musette, reading your post and all of these glorious skank-worshipping comments has warmed my heart today! Three cheers for skank!

moongrrl November 14, 2008

Since I've met you IRL, Musette, I can't *imagine* you as wanting to be so, well, meek. You struck me as someone who was a Force to Be Reckoned With straight outta the womb! What ties it all together for me in the fragrances that I consider my true go-tos are an undercurrent of what I call (to myself) "womanliness". A lot older chypres have it, what LT/TS called the sense that you are smelling subsequent applications of the same fragrance over unwashed skin. Off the top of my head, I think of Miss Dior, Diorella, Givenchy III, YSL Y . . . even O de Lancome has a hint of it. I also like the real love-or-hate scents for the same reason (think Angel). They're sometimes safe-ish, but not completely. They don't smell mumsy. It comes from the emancipated women in my young life always wearing these kinds of fragrances. When you grow up in a rural area, there aren't too many women who step outside the norm, and I idolized all the ones I met who did. Oftentimes they were teachers, who, being unmarried at 30-some, were considered "old maids", but it was obvious that they really didn't give a sh*t. My mother and her mother were the kind of married women who would risk their reputations (or lack there of) to be friends with these rural feminists. They all taught me to speak my mind, not to be ashamed of being smart, and never to dumb myself down for a man's affections. Even on days that I don't feel confident, I can spray on some fragrance and smell like a warrior!

Elizabeth November 14, 2008

I, too, am 5'9" with a coffee-cup-ready bust, but I can't do skank. It makes me ill. "My" scents are dreamy, nostalgic florals, like L'Artisan La Haie Fleurie, Caron N'Aimez que Moi, and Apres l'Ondee. Though I do keep some Shalimar and Tabac Blond on hand for occasions that require them. :) The funny thing is that I wore Opium as a signature scent for seven years, starting in high school, mostly because every woman in my family wore it. Now they've all switched to Thierry Mugler Alien. At family gatherings, the collective sillage smothers to death any poor perfume I happen to be wearing! :(

aelily November 14, 2008

Oh how I can relate. I feel into lust with skank by accident. I started reading the posse about a year ago, and have just filled my TPC carts with samples and decants since. Based on a PP recommendation, I tried Jicky and Mitsouko, and loved them, but didn't know why. Then one day I tried FM's Musc Ravaguer. I was in love. I immediately bought a 10oz "tester" on e-bay, and the day after it came, I was drenched in it. Ironically, that evening, I read a basenotes article on skank ( (found, I think, while I was looking for more info on my new love)and realized what all these new favorites had in common: SKANK! And suddenly I was worried: what if I couldn't smell in my loves what everyone else did, and I in fact smelled like some sort of wet rutting deer?? After a brief discussion with my DH (who said I smelled sexy and yummy at the same time, and who finds it humorous that scents can be “skanky”) I decided that I didn't care what everyone else might think! However, I am conscious of my application if I wear one of my loves to work. :">

Tara November 14, 2008

Another vote here for the awesome VP Onda, my skankiest scent. Also Party in Manhattan, of which I only have a few drops, but is delightfully skanky on me. And last but not least, Miller Harris L'Air de Rien.

Meliscents November 14, 2008

Oh my gosh, I can SO relate. The more time I spend on perfumes the weirder they seem to be getting. It's like pretty isn't enough any more. Lately I'm like an addict looking for the next "skank" score. I tripped up on an almost full bottle of vintage Bandit perfume in a thrift store in Ohio & I thought I would cry! Now that stuff is "skank" to the next level but I couldn't keep my nose away. And yes, I agree with Femme, Mitsouko & Bal. Cabochard & Miss Dior (the old stuff) also keep with the dirty girl theme. Also, I'm still Twiggy and at 40 am STILL waiting for my bust to develop. Funny how most of us are never really happy with the bods we got. I was always waiting to become Jane or Marilyn but it never happened. Oh well, at least I can smell like a vamp.

sweetlife November 14, 2008

Wow, Musette, what a great post. More please! I wrote to Karin above about Femme being my mother's scent. Like Louise, the Orientals are my true home, but apparently I like skank, too, if I'm judging by the lists above -- I recently fell hard for Vol de Nuit and Mitsouko in parfum, and I love the indolic jasmine in A La Nuit and Sarrasin (I get a lot of leather and horse sweat in that one even though all the reviews said it was softer) and I recently got to try some vintage Scandal extrait -- holy mother, that is HOT stuff! Still, I wouldn't say I pursue skank, exactly. Its more like I fall for something because it feels right (as you say) and then it turns out to have a little something dirty at the bottom. So to speak. :">

Teri November 14, 2008

Aaaaah, my dear, I feel your pain. At 5'11" in size 11 bare feet, with an oversized Teutonic head designed to wear a horned hat and a chest designed to uphold an Amazon's breastplate, I'm the Valkyrie sasquatch. Nothing about me is the least bit romantic in the classic sense. Wispy? Waiflike? Shy English rose? Not bloody hardly! I realized early on that I had two choices: I could do my best (not easy at 5'11"!) to fade into the woodwork, or I could embrace what the Lord gave me and run with it. I suppose my role models were Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, if that tells you anything. lol I'm a skank fan, too. I do love me some indolic jasmines and big blowsy tuberroses and gardenias. But what defines me are the chypres. If it's got oak moss, amber and civet, bring it on! Diorella, Chanel #19, Ungaro's Diva, Giorgio's Red, Madame Rochas and even that ravening beast Animale suit me just fine.

helenviolette November 14, 2008

Oh lah lah Musette! That was fun. I have become quite the fan of skank myself. Shalimar, Vol de Nuit, Bal, Femme, Jubilation 25... I received a few drops of Party in Manhattan and it seemed tame to me? Gorgeous for sure, but not as naughty as I expected. I am afraid I will have to send off for some of this Theo Fennell. Oh and BTW, I would rather roll around with Jane over Twiggy any day...:>

sara November 14, 2008

Thanks for the magnificent Skanifesto read! I'm not a waif or a bombshell but my tent's been firmly in Camp Skank since I was old enough to spritz. I don't get any skank from Mitsouko but I've been wearing it for nearly 35 years! Here are a couple of skank recs: La Nuit by Paco Rabanne and Rumba by Balenciaga. Happy Spritzing!

Lee November 14, 2008

I love some animalic numbers, like Nuit Noire, though I can never pull them off as well as I would hope. Bal, MKK have a similar effect on me - though go very perfumey. The ones that work are quieter numbers - Orio's Carnation, Jicky (in my top 10 of all time), and so on. To be honest with you, I'm naturally quite a smelly person. I don't need to amp the skank, as I have plenty of my own to go around, even after showering. Oh yes. I'm a stinkmachine. Love to read your voluptuous words, hot stuff. (just got back from London after scented exploration...Interesting....) xxx

Debbie November 14, 2008

Warrior women rule! I'm one too. Or I used to be. Now, only in my mind. :(( However, attitude goes a long way too. I want to know exactly how you broke the guy's arm. Was it the joint or what? I don't think that's an easy thing to do unless you know locks. I love skank. I'd like to put in honorable mention of NM Midnight Tryst and VW Boudoir. I could roll around in them. As for long-lasting loves, Bal is the only one. I tried it three decades ago, and I still adore it. I am out of it now, however, and I hope someone gets a bottle of it for me this Christmas. It's on my wishlist. :)

Catherine November 14, 2008

The skank monsters you and others talk about just end up wearing me. Maybe I'm just too small (without being Twiggy-esque, mind you!), too pale. And big "baby" cheeks don't work very well with the sirens called Mitsouko, Femme, and Bal. I'll need to develop some exoticism before I could pull them off. The one skank scent that I return to over and over and over and over is Mona di Orio Nuit Noire. After a harried day, I douse myself in it, pull on ugly comfort clothes, and feel like a Queen. The other skank scents that I enjoy when the snow of winter turns into the mud of spring (spring is the skankiest season to me-all that sweet decay revealed by the vanishing snow and ice): Onda, Une Fleur de Cassie, and Le Parfum de Therese. I also find Guerlain's Plus Que Jamais quite a skanky scent, although more delicately so. Love it.

Melissa November 14, 2008

Great post! I can't help but notice how we all come flocking out to reply when the topic is skank. And it's only 8:30 am!! :) I don't fit either the Jane Russell or the Twiggy body type. 5' tall, petite with chestage..... hmmm. An aged-out gymnast with boobs? But I like me some skank! All of the above mentioned and probably a few more. Along with incense, orientals etc. Seems like we have a theme going.

karen November 14, 2008

My first blog here so forgive me if I seem naive. Your blog was realllllly interesting. But Femme and Mitsouko are Guerlain?? Guerlain seems like something I wore eons ago. I'm drawn toward sampling all kinds of scent lately; always interested in aromas but on warp speed with it lately. I kinda like Hermessence's Ambre Narguile and also Profumo's Onda. Leather-y or peppery. Funny how tastes change. I used to be a flowery sort or an orange/cinnamon type but now not.

Anthony November 14, 2008

That was... brilliant reading!! HAHAHA! I like weird things but I don't know how skanky they are. I mean, I think skanky for boys is Kouros and that is really not something I'm interested in. I do LOVE Declaration (with a certain nod to sweaty cedar notes), LeLabo Patchouli 24, Montale Patchouli Leaves, Bois 1920 Real Patchouly, CdG Luxe Patchouli, EVERY PATCHOULI YOU CAN IMAGINE, I LOVE IT... but that's not really skank is it? That's leaning more towards dirty... What are some skanky boy colognes? Would that be delving into Quorum territory? I have tried Jicky, and yes... oh my.. that is skannky! On me, at least. Any suggestions welcome! I wanna be dirty too hehe ;)

Olfacta November 14, 2008

Oooh, I'm there. Jane Russell got a lot of p.r. on her rise because Howard Hughes designed a specially engineered brassiere for her. I think it was the one with the smaller and smaller concentric circles of stitching. Well I love Bal of course, although I haven't tried Femme and can't imagine why not. Jicky isn't that skanky on me but, for some reason, Angelique Encens is; does anybody else get that? I have a very old bottle of Arpege parfum (from 1960)which was my mother's. It is full of all that stuff, all real, and it's held up pretty well. When I wear it, I can really tell the difference between the real perfume bases of the time and the modern ones. Talk about a "dirty floral." It really is.

Shelley November 14, 2008

I want to shout out to my skanky friends, tell them how much I love them, enjoy their embraces, think they smell fabulous...and quietly affirm that yes, they still not worry that little ol' me is going to snip a decant from their favorite bottles. :x Of course, I may have a background identity crisis...every now and then, something like Jub 25 (Hi, Louise!), Norell, or Fem du Bois comes up, and they fall in my "like" column...with 25 and FdB, it might be that leaves me with...what?...latent minor skankiness??? Especially when Kim up there is telling me she gets skank out of L'Heure Bleu, which I apply & sniff for comfort... :-?

trinity November 14, 2008

Hello & welcome - I can relate to your post a bit, I came to the SKANK game a little late, but I have found two that I can wear and love immensely. The first is Amourage Jubilation 25, which I consider my diva-invincible-rock your world-scent. It has skank, no doubt, but it comes across as regal, elegant, and totally empowering on my skin. It's the scent I wear when having a nice dinner with hubby. He's crazy about it. I never get enough sleep on the nights that I wear this..... ( guess why?) My second skanker is Serge Lutens Serge Noire. This one was a total shocker to me, cause there's nothing in there that normally appeals to me. But I like it. If you are familiar with makeupalley, you'll find that it has few fans there, which surprised me, really. I thought it would be the runaway hit over there. In addition to the definite skank, this one also has a hot whiff of cinnamon and lovely dry slightly sweet incense. Really worth a sniff. Although not really a "skank" scent, Mugler's Angel is another fave of mine - so much so that I have the extrait in that fancy-smanchy bottle. Utterly beautiful. I totally get the skank thing, though. It's just a matter of what works with one's chemistry.

karin November 14, 2008

My Parisian grandmother wore Femme. She was born in 1905 and passed away in 1995, just before her 90th birthday. I see Femme was created in 1944, so I have no idea what she wore before it, but it was her signature scent from then on. I think she would be shocked, however, to hear this classic scent referred to as "skank!" My grandmother was the most sophisticated, impeccably dressed woman I've ever known. Her hair was always dyed chestnut and groomed perfectly. Her stunning manicured nails were always red, as were her lips--one time when she must have been in her 70's, I asked her, "Susie (soft second s, not a z-sound), are those your real nails?" She slapped my hand in horror, "Oh, Karreeeeeen!" as if I had gravely offended her. She dressed in black and cream and taupe, mostly pants, silk blouses, and cashmere cardigans. She wore fashionable dark sunglasses, hose, and heels. She did not want to be called by her first name - no grandmere for her. She was tall and lithe. Always drank her red wine with dinner, and always smoked a few cigarettes. She was wonderful. I have not smelled Femme since I last saw her years ago. When I smell it again, it will remind me of her, and I would guess I most certainly won't identify it as "skank." But you never know. Perhaps there's a side to Susie that I'll never know.

Kim November 14, 2008

You all may think I am nuts but here goes - I get jasmine skank from Chanel No 5, parfum strength. I just don't get the powdery notes that others talk about - and that indolic jasmine note is why I have always loved No 5. Since I discovered Perfume Posse and thus Guerlain, you all have turned me into a hard core fan of L'Heure Bleue/ Shalimar/ Mitsouko /Jicky. On my skin, the parfum strength of both L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar have a fecal/skank undercurrent, the grounding under all that other goodness. On my skin, it is the same skank note that is more dominant in Jicky and Mitsouko, just enough to remind you that they are relatives. I often respray Shalimar after a few hours in order to get that initial blast of citrus/vanilla/skank. And just so you can all write me off as certifiable, L'Huere Bleue in the heat and humidity - anise/skank heaven!! :x

chayaruchama November 14, 2008

OK, baby. Post the banns...I think we're in love. Scent twins from another life. Yeah, I wanted to need braces, be blonde and freckled..HAH ! Tant pis- the emphasis being on the 'pis', ma fee. Viva SKANK ! Don't forget the men's, LOL.. Troisieme Homme, Mouchoir de Monsieur, Yatagan. All the 'male' Amouages that sear your nostrils [ Lyric, Jubilation XXV, I'm lookin' at YOU !] One recent adoration, is Bois 1920's Real Patchouly- So gorgeous, you weep. Or SMN's Peau D'Espagne- all stables and horsesweat. MWAH !:x

Francesca November 14, 2008

Great post! I'm too recent a perfume fan to say I have favorites I return to time and time again--every day it's something new. Though perhaps when I expect a trying day at work I'll run to Promesse de l'aube, and all's right with the world. I was one of those wispy longhaired girls you mention, and today, to look at me, I'm the anti-Jane Russell. Think Mrs Danvers in a fairly good mood. But I am developing a love for skank. Years ago I used to wear Bal à Versailles and then went on to other things. Recently, I purchased a decant and nearly slapped my forehead for ever thinking I could do without it. Jicky was also a favorite in my 20's; I stopped wearing it, tried again, didn't like because the formula had changed. But now, after trying it again, I realize it's something I want back in my life. During my earlier Jicky period, I tried all the Guerlains, but the only other one liked and wore was Vol de Nuit. So I must have tried Mitsouko and not cared for it. Maybe I was just too young to appreciate it. But prompted by The Guide, I purchased a decant of the parfum. Have been saving it for...what? So last night, after reading Musette's post, I sprayed a bit on my wrist before going to bed. Well, it's just heaven (the sexy part of heaven) and certainly stays in the act. Party in Manhattan. An apricot silk teddy worn to a pre-air-conditioning Park Avenue soiree and then slept in by a perfumed and powdered girl who is no better than she should be. I'm crazy about it, though I was in the minority of everyone whose opinion I sought. Only one (male) frag-fan friend liked it. Other opinions ranged from "nice on you, definitely not for me" (young women) "not my fave" (my husband) to hand-fanning and an order to stand on the other side of his office (I had one teeny spritz on my wrist) from my perfume guru. Now I have to try Femme....Thanks, Musette! Oh, and last night I had a dream about the Posse. (Maybe it was the Mitsy?) Patty wrote a post about Carmen Miranda (with of course a great picture of CM in a fruit hat) to which there were 96 responses.

Silvia November 14, 2008

Superb post :x A heavy skanker that I don't think has been mentioned yet is Eau d'Hermes. Theo Fennel Scent is full throttle too. And when I put on L'Arte di Gucci I am always suprised by how animalic it is. So much wish I had been able to meeet you all at the Chicocoa Scentsation !

MattS November 14, 2008

Hooray for nasty girls and boys!! Lord knows I love the skank--all the usual suspects-MKK, CB, EdH, Bal, Jicky. Must try this Party in Manhattan stuff everyone's carrying on about. I thought of you Sunday; I wore Fracas and it is great on men. I had the best day wearing and speaking of skank, I thought it had a hint of freshly washed @$$hole that I wasn't expecting and made it even more delightful! Wonderful post! Three cheers for skank!

Anne November 14, 2008

I am speechless. You are priceless. Amen to SKANK!

rosarita November 14, 2008

What a fabulous post and photo to wake up to! I'm an oriental/incense/woods person, with some crunchy chypre thrown in. Bought myself a small bottle of Norell with my allowance money when I was 8, and that's one you should definitely try - vintage if possible. I share your love of Femme and Bal, and indolic jasmine and sweaty cumin. You broke a guy's arm when *no* wasn't enough? My admiration grows ever stronger! :x

tmp00 November 14, 2008

Musette! First off, welcome! Nice to read the person behind the comments! :x Second, you know I loves me some skank but can neuter a scent more effectively than a Vet with an electric probe on Red Bull. I make MKK cuddly. I have actual testimonials to that. But still, I love that there are people out there that still love the skank! Lastly, I feel you on the Twiggy thing. I think we all kind of want what we aren't: I always secretly wanted to be one of those cave-chested, slope-shouldered little slips of a man who looked good in Alexander McQueen. I am not. I'm built like a Martini glass and that's that. But I can tell you that most men really prefer Jane Russell to Twiggy. I didn't understand what he meant at the time but I do remember my father looking at one of her ilk in one of my Mom's Vogues and saying "It'd be like rolling 'round in the cutlery drawer!"

Louise November 14, 2008

Musette, you're a naughty girl, and I love you for it :"> I was always an oriental girl, and remain so at heart, with incense a close follow-up, but exposure to PP has lead me down the skank path, and lord knows, there's no looking back. Like you, I simply adore Femme, especially in the vintage, with its genuine cat-butt extract. Vintage Joy is skank o'plenty with the indolic jasmin hit, and Bal is a cherished classic, but really only in the parfum, which meets my desire for skanky oriental perfectly. Mitsouko defies definition; though I don't really smell skank in it, there's an earthiness that adds up to The Best Perfume Ever. Lately I'm enjoying Jubilation 25, and Party in Manhattan, a delightful riff on the classic skank theme. I may have gone around the bend now, but orderd Theo Fennell unsniffed. It is currently known as the skank queen of all skanks, and sounds right up my stinky alley :o

Stella Maris November 14, 2008

Brava! That was a wonderful read. The gay boys call it "raunch," and those of us who secretly long to snurfle our faces in the perfume of a sweaty crevice (or a sweaty crevice of a perfume) are "raunch pigs." Good on you for proudly claiming your skanky nature!