You repulse me


When we bought this house over five years ago, there were a number of things to, erm, sort – structural, functional and aesthetic. It hadn’t been loved, and its neglect told in the stained and sagging ceilings, the loose floorboards, the squalor of the basement kitchen (now long gone), the patches of weedy grass in the blank canvas of the rear garden interrupted by exposed earth and heaps of Weimaraner turd, the filthy carpets, and so on. The ceilings, whilst still not perfect, are now presentable. The floorboard are tight, man. The kitchen is now a thing of unfussy beauty. The rear garden is turd free and full of plants (new plans for that this autumn), and the carpets – top quality wool no less, are clean. However, I’ve always wanted to replace them and we’ve still yet to get round to it – budget and other priorities. A 200 year old terraced house with four floors always has a list of pressing things to be done… And not all of them get done. But those carpets are still somewhere on the list.

And the reason? Moths. When we moved in, we inherited something (something? Ha!) of an infestation. Every carpeted room had loose patches of pile, and as the first few days passed, we discovered more and more of them. And the small male monsters resting during the day on walls and ceilings. Hundreds of them.

We’re cleared most of the infestation, but it’s been a long battle where pest controllers have failed, and internet bought remedies didn’t do what they said on the tin. What did work – persistence. Moving furniture every time we vacuumed. Lifting carpets and vacuuming under them. Strips of moth killer paper forming random floor patterns in all the relevant rooms. And lavender and cedarwood oil, dissolved in vodka, sprayed liberally on every woollen surface.

We still get one or two appearing on a weekly basis, and might well have to live with that, unless until we finally lift or replace the carpets. They never invaded the wardrobe, and so no holey sweaters, no pockmarked jackets, no coats half digested by tiny caterpillars. And the house always smells goooood.

So, in thinking about what to write this week, and having just killed a moth as it dithered across the bedroom, I was drawn to the fact that what insects find repulsive, we often love. And how, in scent, a touch of the repulsive can be a GOOD THING. Musette commented the other day – hilariously and wonderfully – how she had to change perfumes for a visit to the ER to give off a ‘don’t you go messing with me’ message. Now Musette is never repulsive, of that I can be sure, but here she seemed to be using perfume as repeller more than attracter, and though the message may be conveyed through social association rather than the inherent qualities of the scent itself, that power of perfume to repulse is impressive, no?

I think in their review of Lutens’ Chypre Rouge, Turin/Sanchez stated something along the lines of how it was made of elements that were repulsive in nature, and how these combined – at least in this instance – to make themselves repulsive in perfume too. And they didn’t mean that as a good thing. Now, I’ve always found the aforementioned non-Chypre quite-Rouge, to be a quite harmless, pretty thing, dusted with melancholy like the memories of eating favourite childhood candy. Not repulsive at all.

But I can see the repulsion that some of y’all feel for Borneo 1834. After all, patchouli, like cedar and lavender, is a moth and bug repelllent, and I indeed add a few drops of high grade oil to my moth spray in the colder months. And that perfume also has camphor at the start. And yeah, the cocoa/patchouli combo can smell a little parmesanny/vomitty if you sniff it from the wrong angle.

But you know, in spite of because of these repulsive facets, I love Borneo 1834. Sniffing it, and wearing it, whenever, however. I didn’t at first, and it’s one of those ‘fumes that took me a couple of years to grow to love, but now it burns with an intensity that can’t diminish, even as I know, oh boy, this stuff pretty well stinks.

So tell me, what repulsive perfumes (and smells, if you want to be less specific) do you love, and why? And I’ll rustle up a batch of samples for one lucky commenter – to include both lovely and repulsive, familiar and strange. I’ll send em next week. And there’ll be no moths included. I now have plenty of sample sprays (thanks L!) so I can at last deliver on my promises.

Moth image by Ellie Curtis. She has an Etsy shop.

  • Theresa says:

    Gasoline!–a lot of people seem to agree. I also like the smell of the compost when they fertilize flowerbeds. Weird but compelling. I’d love to be in the draw.

  • T-Rex says:

    On the less specific side…

    Mildew. It’s the smell of old books and clothes and half forgotten treasures.

    Wet dog, and not necessarily fresh from the bath. Dog smells like love to me, clean or dirty.

    Gasoline, although it seems that’s not uncommon.

  • Lavanya says:

    Hmm- I love the mentholy beginning of SL’s Tubereuse Criminelle..Also love the pungency of black Indian salt (I don’t know why it is called black salt when in fact it looks pink)
    Would love to be included in the drawing..Thanks!

  • Lavanya says:

    Hmm- I love the mentholy beginning of SL’s Tuberose Criminelle..Also love the pungency of black Indian salt (I don’t know why it is called black salt when in fact it looks pink)
    Would love to be included in the drawing..Thanks!

  • Mikael says:

    I don’t have favourite repulsive perfumes but sometimes my friends are kind enough to point out their “favourites”. I’ve gotten comments with patchoulis (mildew), Ormonde Woman (hairspray), Ambre Narguile (old closet), Vol de Nuit (“why do you wear this?!?”)… the list goes on. But I don’t care, they all have bad noses bwahhaha!

    Would love to be in the drawing if you haven’t done it already.

  • Alica says:

    My choice refers to Aromatics Elixir (vomit-inducing) and Annick Goutal Folavril smelling like nail polish remover but sometimes like sweet mortuary aftertaste. Thanks for including me in the drawing!

    • Musette says:

      Ewww! The ‘sweet mortuary aftertaste’! My maternal fambly’s in the mortuary business (I call them mortuarians, which irritates them no end)….anyway, that smell is ……….unique.

      xo >-)

  • Lee says:

    Never smelled ‘that’s life’ (bad perfumes should always be translated into prosaiv English, no? I’ll take your word for it though…

    TC is glorious and fits into my ‘loner’ category mentioned above, sadly…

  • Flora says:

    Gotta go with Tubereuse Criminelle’s opening for love/hate, which I love in a weird way but oh that gasoline/asphalt! Of course it goes away – eventually – but its lingering effect haunts the scent as long is it’s on the skin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    (For hate with NO love, the worst one for me EVAH is C’est La Vie by Christian Lacroix – Eau de Urinal Cake is not my fave.) 🙁

  • BBJ says:

    DOES Bandit count? I’m having weirdness with Bandit. I can’t imagine wearing it–I don’t want to kill my students, and my husband hates acridity (he even dislikes roses. “Acrid,” he says.) But I dab it on my wrists at night and visualize rain dripping off leaves in an overgrown garden full of dark green and cement.

  • CynthiaW says:

    Hmmm… I don’t know if I have anything that repulses/attracts me, but I do have some scents that I find disturbing or odd, but are strangely compelling. Bvlgari Black is one – I never lose the sharp rubber that others get, but I keep trying it hoping that it will morph into something awesome. L’Heure Bleue, which I love, has an odd “sharp” camphor smell to the opening that I don’t exactly like, but I also can’t stop sniffing.

    I don’t really like Lolita Lempicka or Lempicka L, but I keep trying both of them and sniffing deeply to try and identify the “oily” note that I find so off-putting. L’Air du Desert Marocain is so dry and the incense makes me cough, but I keep wearing and breathing the incense in deeply.

    Outside of perfume, I’m oddly attracted to the smell of gasoline; Vicks Vaporub; wet, kind of mildewy, decomposing leaves; and dry I’m sure that there are some others that I’m forgetting – like the combo of freshly-tilled soil and fertilizer.

    For non-perfume

    • CynthiaW says:

      Hmm… I don’t know what happened there – it should have said dry erase markers and that last fragment should be gone. Freaky.

  • PhinClio says:

    Many of my favorite perfumes are animalic, for example Jicky and Eau d’Hermes. But I don’t think they qualify as an answer to Lee’s question because I find them simply captivating and not at all repulsive.

    There are a couple scents I’ve tried that I find both fascinating and repulsive, however. Miel de Bois and Montale’s Aoud Lime both fit into this category. I do perceive the urine note in Miel….but I like it anyway. And I get the medicinal/bandaid note in Aoud Lime….but I like it too. Truly examples of scents that I’m drawn to despite feeling that they are, at some level, repulsive.

    The problem with both, however, is that my wife finds them simply repulsive. So now that I’ve worked through my samples of each, they are banished from my wardrobe.

  • Kim says:

    For me also, a number of Serge Lutens are both repulsive and compelling at the same time – Borneo, A La Nuit, Chypre Rouge come to mind. And it is interesting that soooo many are answering this with a Lutens perfume!

  • Tara C says:

    Serge Noire was horrible, as was Miel de Bois, but I like Chypre Rouge and Borneo. I can usually wear MKK and L’Air de Rien but some days I just sniff the bottle and say, “no way.” Musc Ravageur is the same way. JARdenia was the worst, literally turned my stomach. Bulgari Black and Norma Kamali Incense smelled like burning tires, no go, although I keep sniffing the Black hoping I’ll fall in love.

  • victoria says:

    The last really gross perfume I smelled was 100% Love. At first I liked it, liked the sweetness…but as it dried down it was too sugary and cloying, and eventually it was just nauseating. Ugh. I had wanted to try it for a long time, too. Oh well.

    On a more general smell level, I love the smell of ripe durian fruit. Durian is a notoriously repulsive fruit but I grew up eating it with my family and love the taste. The smell just makes me happy…probably because it means that I get to eat it soon.

    • mariekel says:

      oh, yeah, the lovely lady at Aedes gave me a big sample of that almost shamefacedly and told me I might not like it. Boy, was that an understatement. Nasty, neausea-inducing stuff.

    • Lee says:

      !o00% Love is certainly… interesting. Doesn’t Turin love this one, designed by Grosjman, if I’m not mistaken (and I often am..)

  • Elizabeth says:

    Interesting question. But repulsiveness is subjective, of course…I don’t think anything I love is repulsive! But I will play along….I adore Muscs Koublai Khan, despite the armpitty smell, which I do not find repulsive at all, but rather, a turn-on. 🙂

    I suppose some find Montale’s Aoud perfumes repulsive, at leasat Original Ouds, but I, too, find that repulsive and can’t imagine wearing it. I do love Red and Golden Aoud, but I have yet to try others…oud rocks my world ATM!

    • Lee says:

      E – I’m still yet to learn the love for Montale, though my pleasure in oud itself is growing, when it doesn’t give me a headache… :-~

  • Debbie R. says:

    The first half, I’m thinking. Or not?

  • mariekel says:

    Freud would have a field day with my love-hate scents. In my perverse manner, I seem to be drawn to scents that remind me of boyfriends past — and not the nicer ones. The combination of Dial soap, sweat and linen starch is particularly potent — oooh baby! There are limits, however. I had a French boyfriend who used to douse himself in Montana. Today, even the barest whiff of that vile juice makes me want to immediately smack the wearer — and not in sexy, dominatrix way.

    I do, however, love me some skank. When I first smelled Rochas Femme, I thought how ghastly, but a few minutes later I found myself compulsively sniffing my wrist, to the point where the casual observer might have diagnosed me with OCD. In a similar vein, I am fond of Amouage Jubiation 25, Noir Epices (even thought this one seems to upset some of my friends) and every feral jasmine I can find.

    Maybe it is time for some therapy…

  • Bad repulsive:
    Miller Harris L’air de Rien (halitosis)
    Gucci Flora (burnt hair in peach syrup)
    Serge Lutens Miel de Bois (marinated hobo pants)
    Hermès Kelly Calèche (extreme vegetal dryness that inexplicably makes me retch)

    Good repulsive:
    Guerlain Jicky (poopy diaper, rancid vanilla, fresh lavender)
    LesNez Manoumalia (sweaty nuts…I mean the edible kind of nuts…oh wait they’re all edible…I’m digging a hole, here…OK, I’ll admit it – I enjoy smelling like every version of sweaty nuts!)

  • Tarleisio says:

    For some strange reason, the first ‘fume that first comes to mind as both repulsive and compelling is this Claude Montana perfume from the Eighties, I think, that was so pungent, let’s say, it was like walking nose first into an olfactory wall of bricks. My mother wore it, until both daughters stood their ground and demanded she find something else. She did – Bal á Versailles. That’s the next.

    ELdO’s Secretions Magnifiques – there are no words. At all. Whoever wears this within 10 feet of me will be shot on sight with Ivory soap and scrubbed for days.

    The same applies to Miller Harris’ L’Air de Rien, and SL Musc Kublai Khan – or any very musk-heavy scent. For some reason, my skin is a Marshall amp for musk, and I just can’t wear it.

    But of all my repellant fascinations, the place of honor must go to Caron’s Narcisse Noir parfum. I can’t believe I wore this in my late Gothaholic teens, but I did. It is utterly, totally stunning, and I-just-can-not-stand-it, all at the same time. Peerless beauty and E.A. Poe in a bottle, both at once.

    I haven’t yet had the gonads to try Borneo. Clearly, I’m missing out!

    • Lee says:

      Grow those ‘nads, T! you’re ready if you teened it up on NN!

    • pyramus says:

      Claude Montana Parfum de Peau was very much of its time: one of those huge 1980s scents that announced you before you even came into the room, with a walloping great glug of the blackcurrant (aka damascone) that made Poison so interesting, a huge floral centre, and an ungodly huge dose of animal base notes (plus patchouli, of course). Naturally, I loved it without reservation. It was in retrospect probably not wearable, but I still remember how it smelled.

  • tmp00 says:

    Miel de Bois and Miller Harris l”Air de Rien are a couple that I love that spring to mind.

    Moths are evil. I was told that they hate cotton however so I now store sweaters swathed in t-shirts. Seems to have worked. Of course, you can’t really do that with your rugs..

    • Lee says:

      You’re a slutty boy and no mistaking. Dirty Gerty.

      I’m onto the cotton – I have some Victorian wool blankets wrapped in bed sheets cos I read that too (KIm and Aggie of How Clean is Your House – does that air on ABBC?)

      • tmp00 says:

        Sadly, BBC America isn’t on my cable package and I just can’t commit to the one it is on since it has like 836 channels. I barely watch 8 of the 80 I have now.

  • pyramus says:

    God, I love Miel de Bois so much! It smells like the whole life cycle of honey on me: polleny flowers, resinous trees, honey, beeswax, a bit of the smoke that beekeepers use and even a touch of plastic (that bear-shaped bottle, I guess).

    I also love porny, civetty things like Yatagan and MKK and cheap-as-hell Tabu. Intense patchouli like L’Artisan Patchouli Patch or Farmacia Annunziata Patchouly Indonesiano mostly smells like a horror story on my pale Anglo-Celtic skin (though it smells divine on my equally pale Nordic co-worker), but if you pollute it with enough civet and castoreum, I’ll wear it and like it.

    And I have loved oakmoss since the day I discovered what it was. I can sort of distantly understand why people might not like it (and all the other filthy, skanky things I like), but to me oakmoss is pure beauty, probably the most olfactorily fascinating thing humans have ever devised.

    I still have not tried Borneo, for some reason. Clearly I must.

    • Lee says:

      Hey P – I must call by your blog soon – been so busy recently…

      Well, me and MdB aren’t friends and I’ve never got on well with Yatagan either. But all the others – great. And love oakmoss – straight up.

      You need to try Borneo and see whether it goes sick or sick on you. See, how hip am I?

    • Flora says:

      Pyramus: You. Complete. Me. 😀

  • Disteza says:

    I see lotsa things on here that I love (am wearing MdB right now in DC), but there’s some scents out there that absolutely repulse me that seem to not offend anyone else. TDC’s Rose Poivre smells like “sweaty man-@&$” on me, and CB IHP Under the Arbor smells exactly like the biggest, fakest, plastic grape you could ever imagine. CdG Skai is headache inducing in that plasticky vein as well. I can’t wear any of the Mona de Orio or the ELdO lines; something about their base or structure smells wretched on me. Can’t wear Chypre Rouge, though my SO can. Chypre Rouge smells like vomit on me, whereas Borneo smells fabulous. L’Air de Rien is also pretty darn fabulous (all incense, very little barnyard), as are the mustier scents like Olibanum, Messe de Minuit, and mustiest one to rule them all: Cepes. That thing is too wickedly voluptuous to be described.

  • Debbie R. says:

    Borneo and Secretions Magnifique are the only two that have been gag-inducing to me. The former smelled of vomit, and the latter smelled of blood in milk. (Shudder.)

    Fragrances that I love which others don’t: MKK and Miel de Bois are the only two that come to mind. I love musk, honey, civet, castoreum.

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Secretions Magnifique, for sure. I don’t actually WEAR it–but I just can’t give my sample away ’cause I have to sniff it occasionally. To me, it smells like the bodily secretions of a non-too-hygienic alien.

    For something I occasionally wear, Nuit Noire, which I love despite (or maybe because) of the poopy diaper note. Also, Bal a Versailles.

    I also love Miel de Bois, but don’t get the skank that others do. For me, it is just the honey and the bees and the tree that the hive is in. I do sometimes just get a hint of cat pee from Chergui, but that is only a fleeting stage

    • Lee says:

      Cat pee is one smell I could never love. It’s below all other pee, as far as I’m concerned, on the LeePeeometer.

      • mals86 says:

        You have a meter??!!

        I had to laugh. I have a mini bottle of YSL Champagne, and my testing notes for it say, “Cat pee + Mitsouko: Utterly, totally, completely wrong.”

        I have been afraid to open that brand-new bottle of Bal in parfum. It’s too hot right now, but I’ll be crackin’ that baby open come fall.

      • carter says:

        As opposed to monkey pee, which is quite lovely.

  • kathleen says:

    Eew, moths. We had them in our last place. The people who were there before us stored seeds in the basement. Took ages to get rid of them.

    I love the ever unpopular Miel de Bois. After the initial “catch in the throat” spritz, it’s all honey on me. I think it garners me more complements, than any other scent.

    • Lee says:

      Aaah, those sort of moths. Bean loving moths. Had those too, but out in the store.

      For me, that catch stays and stays… 🙁

  • Musette says:

    Lee, my little angelfood cake of fabulousness!

    I had to laugh at myself, later – that really was such a bizarre decision to make, yet it was as natural as brushing my teeth. My intention, though, was not to repulse, it was to completely (but graciously:-D dominate and intimidate. For me, that default scent is Mitsouko, with Bal or Chanel 5 coming in close behind. Of course, I can see intimidation being repulsive (repulsing?). I was channeling Tilda Swinton’s ‘Narnia’ Ice Queen (or whatchamacallit with the gorgeous skin – Cate Blanchett(e)? – in LoTR)….while I have none of their icy, blonde, terrifying beauty I wanted to convey the impression that my flaming sword was folded up in my giant handbag. In a very nice way, of course.

    The whole exercise was mostly moot – these are very kind people out here – I could’ve shown up in a torn t-shirt, reeking of Catagan or Angel, and they would’ve been just as pleasant.

    speaking of Angel…okay, let’s not.

    xoxoxo >-)

  • Elle says:

    A 200 year old terraced home? Swoon! I suffer from a complete moth phobia (their inability to understand that we’d both be better off if they would just refrain from flying into my face – that surprise attack thing from insects like moths and crickets freaks me out), but I’d still be thrilled to the core to have a house like that. My absolute ideal dream home.
    Cumin’s a note that tends not to get a lot of love due to its sweaty quality, but, as far as I’m concerned, the more cumin a scent has, the happier I am. And I love the band-aid note that a lot of people complain about in Montale’s Cuir d’Arabie. The only scent I own that DH loathes w/ a passion is Norma Kamali’s eponymous perfume. He claims in reeks of vinegar, which I also get, but I still adore it. CB’s Musk and SL’s Miel de Bois round off my list of scents which require extra love from me to protect their sense of self esteem from the less than kind comments they receive from others.

    • Lee says:

      Ours is the one with the creeper up it in this photo from 101 years ago:
      It is lovely.

      And I always hold you up in my head as on the bold and brave frontier of perfume love.


      • Elle says:

        OMG. Thanks for that link! I would never, ever, ever move. I can’t even imagine the magic and wonder of living w/ that sort of history and beauty! House karma of the first order w/out doubt!

        • Lee says:

          We love it. The road can irritate sometimes (it’s a tad busier now) though it’s still really a country lane. And coming home some days makes me sigh with pleasure.

  • Fernando says:

    I don’t have much experience with repulsive-but-interesting notes, I guess. My wife is a straightforward kind of gal, and she reacts at once to certain smells. Dzing, for example, I find very interesting and can’t quite decide if I like; she just hates it. The sugary gourmands I do find repulsive, but with no complementary attraction: they’re just awful. The exception is vanilla, especially when combined with something not-sweet.

    Perhaps the closest, for me, is oakmoss, which I find both a little disturbing and completely fascinating. Tauer’s Rose Chypree strikes me that way.

    On the other hand, some things that a lot of folks complain about (Montale’s oud perfumes, for example) I find very nice! I like a slightly rude note in my perfumes; masculines should not be well-behaved. That’s the biggest problem with a lot of the newer scents for men: way too clean, way too domesticated. That may be the standard for males today, but it’s far too boring.

    • Lee says:

      Oakmoss is exceptionally fascinating, true.

      And I’m with you on the rude note, and goodbye to the tidy clean and neat woody ambers, please.

  • Catherine says:

    Borneo is one of my favorite Serges, although I still haven’t acquired that bottle. All in good time. Like Louise, I find it comforting. Chypre Rouge is certainly one of my favorite scents ever, and my bottle is actually draining. Serge Noire, too, is a much-beloved SL, and I can see why others find it revolting; I, however, find it one of the most beautiful incenses ever created. When fall comes, I’m wearing it a lot; maybe I’ll get a lot of space to myself in the grocery store! Two of my other favorite scents get called repulsive a lot: Mona di Orio Nuit Noire and Carnation. I’m on my second bottle of each. I can’t get enough of them, or enough of Miller Harris L’Air de Rien. The more I wear any of these, the more I can see what turns people off, and I yet I find I just love them more. And wearing them in a new home/city makes the repulsive parts that much more obvious somehow.

    I love that: start a new life somewhere and the collection of perfume not only brings sensory comfort but also grows in unbeforeseen dimensions.

    I want your moth-fighting concoction recipe, Lee. I love the idea of lavender/patchouli/cedar in vodka. It would go well with the woodwork of this old apartment.

    • Lee says:

      You like an edge C, and that’s what I LOVE about you – cept for the Serge Noire which left me cold, but I intend to retry at your behest.

      Mix is simple – about a pint of supercheap vodka, 30+ drops of cedarwood oil, 50+ lavender (the cedar makes the lavender recede somehow) and oh, 15 or so of patch. I don’t count; I throw it in and see what happens. My cooking’s a bit like that too. No’one’s died. Cept the moths. And they don’t go near my food.

      Good luck in your new home. Did you move for work, love or new views?

      • Catherine says:

        Thank you, Lee, for the recipe. When I get back from my end-of-summer trip, I will be whipping that up. It will be especially great for all the quilts and blankets as they get pulled out for the oncoming winter. I moved way north (egads!) and I hear winter comes very early. A touch of lavender, however, will bring the sunshine anywhere. (And I moved for everything: new work, new love, new possibilities with various passions, and just a darn-excellent fresh breath of air.)

        Do give Serge Noire a go if the opportunity comes up. But, then, I fell head over heels in five seconds, so my opinion is clearly irrational. (But that’s what it took for Nuit Noire, too.) I’m hoping the new SL Filles en Auguilles does the same to me when I finally get to trying it.

  • Violaine says:

    Sheesh… my cut and paste is soooo bad.
    I know MIEL DE BOIS is not to everybody’s taste; i loooove so much the perfume, with a few dab of FLEURS D’ORANGER! Lovely!
    Have a nice day, V

  • March says:

    Can I just say when I clicked on the blog today and saw the title I burst out laughing? Thanks for the love, brother!

    I think you know all mine — Borneo (one of the few I’ve thrown away)… that Lorenzo Villoresi powder one I’ve blocked from my memory due to PTSD from smelling it. Tuberose Criminy makes me a little ill too. I really, really hate mothball smell. Oh, also, that huge cheese note in JARdenia is gross, I couldn’t wear that. Secretions Magnifique – sort of goes without saying, right?

    Things others have found appalling that I love: CBIHP Musk Reinvention, Lutens MKK, Le Labo Vetiver, Miel de Bois.

    • March says:

      Okay, I just reread everyone’s lists. Louise — ugh, what is up with that plastic doll head thing? I hate that too. Also, Lee, Louise has prompted me to add Angel to my Hate List (how could I forget my mothball/chocovomit nemesis?)

      Also hate that Jane Birkin one that smells like poo. Shudder.

      • Louise says:

        Oops, March, forgot Angel…which I do wear in body cream, but not around you:) Certain people like it on me….

        Doll’s Head…for me it’s more than plastic, which is what I turn many a nice vanilla. Looking at Tolu.
        It’s the shrunken people head association. Right up there with clown-fear.

        You forget-you gave me Teint de Neige, which I cuddle up to in the right move. No accountin’ for taste, eh?

      • Lee says:

        Angel – agreed.

        L’air de rien – I like my poo bottled that way.

    • Lee says:

      Hey, don’t get your knickers in a twist about it…

      I love mothball smell but Teint de Neige: I’m all nerves-ajangle with you.

      Musk Reinvention – yes please. MKK – why not. LL Vet – no thanks. MdB – gawd, get that vile concoction away from me!

    • Musette says:

      March, you did not throw away the LV, you gave it to …oh, wait! It wasn’t you – it was another who gave me the LVilloresi. That one with all the powder! Yow!

      One of the most compelling/repelling scents came from a gorgeous blonde – Turtle Vetiver. I spritzed that on, jumped back in horror!…..and then, for the next 4 hours, could not stop sniffing my arm. That stuff is insidious, like a barbed fish hook. For something I thought I couldn’t stand it has the fascinating ability to stay completely present in my olfactory memory.

      Ick-olas for me are musks. But often it’s not straight-out musks – at least those announce their intentions up front – it’s the scents that dry down to a ‘skin scent’ that ook me. That’s what killed my love for La Nuui. I will never forgive musk for that…

      Straight out ‘holy moleys!’ include Anne Pliska (that’s the one where I shot straight up in bed @ 2am and shouted “Play-Doh”!) DSH St. Valentine has a touch of that for me.

      And the Incredible, Inedible Aromatics of Doom by Clinique. It’s so migraine-inducing! And I’m fascinated by its ability to bring on the bright lights with such swiftness.

      xo >-)

  • AWench says:

    Hi Lee – what did you spray on the doxies in your curtains?

    I have a weird attraction to those scents with a touch of mildew about them – the ones that have slept overnight in a crypt, preferably on crushed wreathes of lilies or carnations.

    (PS and right royally off topic – I’d like to join the campaign to reassure our American cousins re: the nonsense they have been told about the NHS and so-called death panels. My Dad was over 70 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was treated magnificently by the NHS, for free, with no question of compromised care or rationing and just last week, he was given the 5 yeears all-clear. My husband is diabetic and he, too, gets all his medications completely free, no questions asked. I have been aghast at all the misinformation I’ve been seeing and reading.)

    • Lee says:

      Doxies… Are you playing on your name? There are no loose women in my curtains, thank you very much. I’ve shook em out and tucked them up in bed.

      Well, I can’t abide mildewy stuff but know many who do… Enjoy!

      And I’m with you on the NHS loyalty. I get very incensed about the misuse of statistics based on different data input and stupid Tory MEPs talking shite on Fox news… But we’re straying into politics, hon!

      • AWench says:

        Apologies folks, perfume and politics don’t smell sweet together, I know – it’s just all over our news today and making me cross. I’m wearing Gucci EdP as an antidote – something warm, cuddly and fluffy.

  • Violaine says:

    I once dabbed a few drops of Guerlain PAMPLELUNE … but oh ! the horror…this scent is not for me 🙁
    It is the very first time this happened so I was shocked. My scent innocence was then lost for ever in the Land of Dreams and Roses 😉

    • Lee says:

      Running away with you V. It reminds me of someone I used to sit next to in Biology class, poor thing. Someone eventually had words…

  • Calypso says:

    My nomination would be Le Labo Patchouli 24, which isn’t too patchouli smelling but has some weird elements, most notably that smell that can only be described as “burnt rubber.” On occasion it makes people look around and ask, “What’s that smell?”, so even though I love it, I’m very careful when and where I wear it.

    • Lee says:

      Oh I love Patch 24 but it is one of the freakiest things ever – I think I described it recently as a nineteenth century operating theatre next to a rubber plant. I love it; few I know do. Keep wearing it though!

    • Rappleyea says:

      Funnily enough, we were just discussing ichthammol (as a child it was known as “brown salve”) last night on NST, and I said the similarity of Patch 24 to brown salve was why I loved it!!

      • Lee says:

        I could do with some of that on this darn exzcema (sp?) patch, right about now, R!

        • Rappleyea says:

          Lee – I didn’t check back yesterday, so I hope you find this. I’ve been an aromatherapist for 15 years now, and I’d recommend a simple blend of lavender and chamomile essential oils for eczema. Hope this helps.

  • dinazad says:

    Welllllll….. I’m a Miel du Bois lover. I adore the stuff, but then I get raw honey and no urine from it, so maybe that doesn’t count. I find the opening notes of Villoresi’s Piper Nigrum (which I love with the heat of a minor volcanic eruption), this combination of medicinal desinfectant and essential oil of rosemary (believe me, that’s NOT pleasant) extremely fascinating.
    As for smells: once, in Southern France, we bought so much garlic from a market stall that the vendor presented my sister and me with a bouquet of lavender each. We piled everything into the car and travelled on. In August. Believe me, the lavender-garlic-heat combination was really vile, but oddly uplifting. We got used to it and by the end of the trip rather liked it….
    Mothballs always remind me of Venice in winter, when the elderly ladies wear their mothball-infused fur coats. The fur-coat-wearers all seem to know each other and waft a gentle “zau, cara!” at each other when they pass in the street. So mothballs have a tinge of gentle melancholy about them, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Lee says:

      Love the Venice story and having harvested my own garlic recently, and cut and dried lavender at the same time, I know of what you speak. And mingle in shallots and red onions in with that, wouldja?

      As for Miel de Bois, and Piper Nigrum…

      *gets coat and runs*


  • Louise says:

    I just sprayed me to be-jeebus with Borneo, and am trying to work out, yet again, why this darling campho-choco-hippie thing could be off-putting to anyone….I’m looking at you, March 😉

    Mothballs and camphor have only pleasant associations for me-my bubbie infused her home with an overkill (!) of moth prophylaxis. All time spent with her, and all gifts, including food stuffs, were camphor-laden. Oh, how I loved her, and her No Moth Rules scent, often tinged with her sweet sherry.

    A few common perfume notes do have the power to put me off, sometimes to revulsion. Too much LOTV is quick death for me with a side of nausea, and I’ve met some jasmines that are gaggy, not from indoles, but from over-sweetness. An occasional poor quality sandalwood hits me as unneutered-male cat pee, and some vanillics go the Plastic Doll Head way, to poor effect.

    But I do love many animal (not necessarily classic animalic) smells, with horse poo ruling. Besides the pleasant association with riding, the “processed” hay is marvelous. A stinky wet labrador retriever may bother some, but will always get a good sniff and ear scratch from me. And guinea pig wood and poo smell just can’t be beat (thanks Chaya!).

    • Lee says:

      Love doggy stink – as you know. And horsey hayness is only ever good, before and after digestion. I prefer it *slightly* before. And I get to smell it all the time round here.

      And sweet jasmine is the worst.. and you are too too right about plastic head vanilla.

  • Silvia says:

    I get the parmesanny/vomitty thing at the opening of MdO Carnation and love it for it. AG Ambre Fetiche has an odd salami/feet feel to it which I also enjoy.

    As kids we used to stick a finger in our belly buttons and force the others to smell it, it always struck me how your own smell was comforting while other people’s disgusting.

    I wonder if repulsive/obsessive scents strike the same recognition chord somewhere in our olfactory memory.

    • Lee says:

      *sniffs belly button finger and detects… next to nothing*

      Child belly button cheese smell is stronger, right? I remember it being so. Maybe we didn’t wash much in the 70s. And I think you must be right about memory.

      Love what you describe in Carnation oh so much.

  • carter says:

    The ones that spring instantly to my mind are Tubereuse Criminelle, Dzing! and Bandit, all three of which I find absolutely thrilling. If I apply myself, I can even understand why some find Iris Silver Mist’s dirty carrots to be a total turn off, but that wouldn’t be me for a moment. The one that continues to perplex me and refuses to be pinned down is Dans Tes Bras, which alternates between being gorgeous and making me want to retch.

    Do Weimaraner turds look like ghost poop?

    • Lee says:

      Dans tes Bras is all out bleurgh for me I’m afraid, so I can’t vacillate with you.

      I like your three repulse thrills muchly, though no longer own Dzing! as it was just gathering dust.

      And Weimaraner poo – depends how long it’s been lying around (there was more poo than grass on a hunderd foot lawn is all I’m sayin…)

    • Shelley says:

      Ignoring “the dog,” as my grandfather-in-law used to say when referring to the droppings…regarding the case of Dans Te Bras, I’m on the fence, too. But I think I might fall off onto the side without, um, “the dog”–aka, I’ll like it. (Not a positive in a post titled “You Repulse Me,” I know…)

  • Eric says:

    I have such a love/hate relationship with Borneo that doesn’t make sense even to me. It wan my second favorite of the Exclusives I’d tried and I fell out of love with it soon after making that statement to the whole world.

    I wore it to a friend’s birthday dinner and everyone discussed afterward how they thought the waiter smelled like weed; I, of course, had to defend my darling Serge’s creation. Now it just wears on me like a wire brush: at first it scratches the itch. Then you’re bleeding and very unhappy.

    I do wear it on bike rides, though. It actually does keep of pests. =P

    • Lee says:

      I can see how that might happen – I’ve fallen out of love with a number of scents myself – Chergui, Musc Ravageur, Egoiste, even beautiful Nuit Noire…

      And Borneo is weird.