Brownie Mix

bniesA couple of days ago March and I were yakking about When You Crave Chemicals. A friend had come by, bearing brownies – and they were gorgeous!  Snappy chocolate sheen, dark moistness….I viewed them with approbation..then I bit into one.

Uh….yeah.  About That Chocolate.

Where was it?

It was the strangest sensation – I saw chocolate…but I tasted..nothing!  A faint hint of chemicals and a bit of corn syrup and beet sugar..and something resembling something dark and cocoa-like..

…but no chocolate.

March bit back a hoot and explained to me the principles behind brownie mix brownies, which I Did Not Know.  Now, before you mix devotees get your dander up, know this:  I am no food snob.  I love an Oreo like a duck loves a junebug.  And the whole  point of a Hostess powdered sugar Donette is persackly that chemical zing! you get when you bite into one (ditto Suzy Qs.  Lord, I hope they bring those back).  I don’t eat a lot of that stuff  but, as March said, there are days when nothing but a chemical buzz will do.

So while I don’t get the brownies, I get the concept.   So what in perfumery is the equivalent of a Suzy Q?  For me, one of those things is Jean Nate –  the Posse knows my deep and abiding love for the Nate – and one of the things I love about it is that cheap chemical buzz.  But what other scents – maybe not quite so CVS?  What does the trick when you just can’t face the idea of Amouage?  And when does the Chemical Craving hit you?

For me, it’s always in Summer.  I love a cheap and cheerful ChemBuzz on a hot August day.  And ‘cheap’ doesn’t always have to mean price (though it usually translates thus) – one of my favorites is Balmain de Balmain (okay, it’s $20 – tops- but you know what I mean).  It’s got a slicey galbanum note that’s great but  there’s this funky cheap  chemical vibe bumpin’ underneath that actually makes the damn thing more interesting, like a Barbie with an alien head poking out of her stomach.  Or early David Bowie.  Or a Dalek in a dress.

The other one I’ve  fallen for is Pacifica’s Malibu Lemon Blossom lotion (which, speaking of Amouage, it layers up right nice under Al Mas attar.  I hope His Majesty isn’t reading this, I’ll be banned from the State!).  Lemon’s a tough primary note to pull off, if you want to avoid the Dreaded Pledge accord.  But sometimes I don’t wanna.  I wanna Pledge!  MLB topped by Fresh Lemon Sugar edp provides a yellow miasma of Citrus-Ish that actually fixes and holds, like an ad for denture cream.  If you ever want a lemon-ish scent that will last in 90F-plus, I recommend this combo. And it’s got an extremely cool, mid-60s vibe.  I just need some AquaNet for total Better Living Through Chemistry – omg!  I LOVED the smell of AquaNet!  The fabulously cool girl next door?  Her mom looked like Renee Taylor from The Nanny and I don’t think she ever cooked a day in her life – they sprayed so much Aqua Net in that house  it was, literally, embedded in the wall-to-wall carpet!  I loved going over there – she would open the front door and wham! I was in the coolest beauty parlor EVAH!  Two years after we moved in, they moved out; I went away to school that Autumn.  The following year the new neighbors, Mr & Mrs King, invited us over for a Christmas party.  A full year (and a carpet shampoo or two) later?   That house still smelled like Aqua Net.   I’ll bet it’s in the studs.    Anyway, that’s a digression – yeah, like that never happens!  But I wonder if this is where my love of the Chemical Buzz first started?  Crap.  Now I’m lemming AquaNet!

I’m back on track now – and I wanna know:  what’s YOUR Chemical Buzz?

  • Maren says:

    How about the smell of summer at the swimming pool with the nice buzz of chlorine and Coppertone? Nothing better!

    • patriciaC says:

      yep love it but -Musette said that didn’t count-petrochemical somthing is our homework! I will report back if i survive! JK

      • Maren says:

        Oh yes, petrochemical, I think I got it! Like the smell of a plastic Barbie doll or creosote, which for some weird reason I love. So how about some Bulgari Black?

  • patriciaC says:

    I loved the wintergreen paste when i was a child. Some kids ate it but i think i only tryed it once, didn’t taste good. I confess i like the smell of bleach sometimes,when it smells like a swimming pool. But lately my favorite is second generation lavender flower and mint dish detergent. Maybe that last one doesn’t count because they say that they use natural ingrediences.

    • Musette says:

      It’s okay – you can love it anyway! LOL! Though now you have to go find some petrochemical ‘something’ to love, to balance out all that ‘natural’! 😀


      • patriciaC says:

        Ok will do-i guess sniffing paste doesn’t qualify, lol let me read through what some of the other members have suggested. I think i see a headache in my future.

  • Caroline says:

    You know, SL Bas de Soie has a bit of the hairspray accord. I find it’s a great summer scent.

  • NeenaJ says:

    I dearly miss the toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) since it’s been phased out of most household items for sale in the US. The smell of new shower curtain liners, pool toys, etc. would remind me of a fresh-out-of-the-package Star Wars figurine or Barbie doll, from my childhood.

  • Ann says:

    Some of you guys may be too young to remember this, but — freshly mimeographed papers. I loved it as a kid when the teacher would pass them out and they were still a bit damp and smelled so cool! Then in college, I worked at a church for a while filling in for the secretary, and I had a ball doing the church bulletins using the mimeograph machine — what a fun post!

  • Lisa D says:

    Watermelon Jolly Ranchers!

  • fleurdelys says:

    Creosote wafting up from the boardwalk!

    • Musette says:

      I can smell that from here!


    • NeenaJ says:

      On extra hot, breezy mornings, that smell emanates from my office’s black top parking lot (150 miles inland) If I close my eyes and imagine the sound of the surf, I can trick myself into believing I’m at the beach for a few moments. It’s a favorite!

  • Tiara says:

    Perfume wise I’ll take California (originally Jacklyn Smith, now Dana) any day. Doesn’t really smell 100% perfume-ish but something about that just does it for me. Otherwise, I love a bleached white laundry load fresh out of the dryer. Almost makes matching socks worthwhile.

  • purlbaby says:

    This post is great timing! I’ve been wearing various CDG’s this week and today it was Odeur 53, a strange chemically smell but in a good way. I love the smell of diesel as it reminds me of traveling.

  • Beth says:

    Oh wow, those brownies look so good and then to not taste the way Tom describes… sacrilege!! Although I need to add nuts to the description Tom gave. Bitter walnuts.

    I, too, love the smell of vinegar. Ammonia is good too. In fact, have you all seen that song about ammonia? Not that I huff it, but c’mon, it smells so darn clean!

    As to perfumes that smell like chemicals … I feel like they all smell a lot like that these days. It’s hard to pick out one that smells more so than another, but I’d guess I’d have to go with Bvlgari Black. It definitely has that industrial chemical vibe going on.

  • Portia says:

    Heya Musette,
    LouLou by Cacharel, which I adore, has always smelled 100% artificial to me as has JPG Le Male which is another great love.
    Though it’s not CHEMICAL chemical I love the smell of white vinegar and lemon disinfectant in a bucket of warm water (that’s what I clean the house with on Wednesdays). It smells fabulous but the best thing is the white vinegar takes all the fragrance away when it dries and I’m left with a house that I can imprint the scent of choice upon.
    I’m with everyone who loves the petrol smell, also I only can REALLY enjoy a brownie if it’s warm and has ice cream with it.
    Big kisses and hugs from down under,
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      My mom was a great user of white vinegar! I know it cleans well – I need to revisit.

      Wednesdays, you say? GET BACK TO WORK, Portiarella!


  • Maureen says:

    I kinda think Silences smells chemically but I love it on a hot hot day. A real cheapy I like is BBW White Citrus, again, on a hot day. My mom used to have Jean Nate in the bath, I think eveyone did in the 60’s…I have to try it again to see if it still smells like I remember. Lemon Drops and Smartees….I must like that sour chem thing!

    • Musette says:

      Silences and Balmain de Balmain smell similar and I love (and wear) them both for that subtle chemical zing! I’ll have to check out the White Citrus. I haven’t been in a BBW in years! Time to revisit! xoxo

  • Kim B says:

    Ink from ballpoint pens. Especially from cheap pens. Bic is a favourite. I don’t even know what it smells of or what makes it smell. But some brands don’t smell at all (Waterman ballpoints), others are wonderful (Bic, Cross & Parker ballpoints). And I never gel rollerballs – no smell!!

    And that gas pump waft. Which is probably why I am a Scotch lover, especially cask strength from Islay – that same gas pump waft mixed in with smoke and sea and other assorted goodies depending on the Scotch.

    Agree with Tom about the brownies – and anything less than that perfect brownie just isn’t worth the calories – I’ll save them for my Scotch!!

  • rosarita says:

    Reddi Whip “real” whipped cream is kind of hard core chemical taste. I agree with you about Aqua Net; I like Gucci Rush for that same kind of hit. I only like it once in awhile and only in summer, it has that sweet, sultry thing. Totally fake.

    • Musette says:

      March and I discussed the Reddi Whip – we’re both huge fans of whipping our own but (don’t tell anybody) I get a real kick out of spraying a mouthful of the heavy cream, right in the ole piehole! 😀

  • Martha says:

    Ooh, my favorite is a good hit of gasoline waft at the fuel pump. Don’t know what it is about it, but I love that refined petroleum product aroma.

  • poodle says:

    I’ve had those brownies and thought the same thing. How can they look so chocolatey and not taste like chocolate? It doesn’t stop me from eating them, mind you. Anyway, I love a chemical buzz now and then. I love cleaning the house with some of those strong smelling Mr. Clean products but for my big chemical buzz I love using bleach and water.. I love the smell of latex paint because freshly painted rooms seem so clean and new to me. And bring on the Yankee Candles for filling the house with aromatic chemicals.

    • Musette says:

      Bleach. Bleeeeaaach! I love me some bleach water! Kitchen? check! Bathroom? check! Den (Dog and Oso)? quick wipe-down kills a multitude of canine and oso sins! check! Alas, candles are the one place where I cannot abide the chems – it’s not the smell as much as what they do to my sinuses. That was why I was so thrilled with those ridiculously pricey Malles – not only do they smell incredible? they didn’t slam shut my wonky snout!


  • Tom says:

    Coke Zero. Cool Whip. 4711 in the gallon plastic bottle. (If I ever get bored I could likely use it as anitfreeze..) Jean Nate.

    Not only do I love the Nate for the smell, but for the fact that after a long hot bath it will strip off the layers of dead skin like old wallpaper (a fact I learned as a kid when I used my grandad’s {you read that right} after a bath.)

    • Tom says:

      And although I don’t want to offend devotees of mix brownies, I feel a bad brownie is an offense.

      I’m verrrrrrryyy particular about brownies. I want a fair bit of crunch on the outside, a layer of chewy and an inside of semi-gooey. I want a balance of cocoa and a bare touch of coffee and not too sweet. No frosting, no powdered sugar and no nuts ever.

      But I’m not picky or anything..