arch and Patty, two geniuses from Perfume Posse blog
, came up with the idea of compiling lists of Genius Perfumes and Evil Genius Perfumes. This is my take on this fascinating topic, but before I begin I would like to try and prevent the shocked exclamations like, “What, no Mitsouko??”
and “But where is Tabac Blond??”,
by explaining what I mean here by “(good) genius
”. A Genius Perfume for me is a scent that is without a doubt beautiful and original, but apart from its unquestionable pulchritude and uniqueness, a Genius Perfume also rocks my world
, touches something deep inside my soul and works perfectly well with my skin chemistry. So here are the seven stunning fragrances that, to borrow Hemingway’s expression, make me feel the earth move.Genius Perfumes
(in alphabetical order):
Ambre Narguile by Hermes
Comfort scent extraordinaire, Ambre Narguile is a sweet, rich, smoky, luxurious delicacy that smells of amber, apples, pipe tobacco, cinnamon, and all things nice. As Chandler Burr noted, “it is not merely the best; there is simply nothing like it on the market, period. And no one will ever do it as well again.”
Attrape-Coeur by Guerlain
One of the most exquisite and most versatile scents, Attrape-Coeur is all great things in one wonderful scent. It is woody, it is floral, it is oriental; it is airy, soft and golden, and its iris note is to die for.
Bois des Iles by Chanel
The proof that wood can be feminine, warm and sensual, Bois des Iles is the perfume that always makes me wonder why I even bother with other scents, when clearly nothing can compare to the perfection that is Bois des Iles, this bewitching potion, this olfactory equivalent of liquid gold.
Djedi by Guerlain
Dark, magical, bizarre, ugly-beautiful, this blend of vetiver, patchouli, leather and who knows what other witchy ingredients, Djedi is the scent of a dark forest somewhere in the land beyond good and evil. Supernaturally captivating.
Feminite du Bois by Shiseido
The second proof that wood can be feminine, warm and sensual, Feminite du Bois, this “Mother of all Bell Jars” (Patty), is a robust, darkly sweet elixir that I never want to be without. Not necessarily a conventional comfort scent per se, it feels so natural, so right on my skin, that I find it extremely comforting and centering.
Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens
Another ugly-beautiful wizard among my favorite scents, Muscs Koublai Khan is strange and dirty, at times smelling just like an unwashed, ruthless, blood-thirsty warrior of the steppes. And yet, somehow, this odd animalic creation is extremely wearable for me. But the most amazing thing about it is its extraordinary, raw sensuality. This scent is so sexy, it makes my mouth dry and my knees weak.
Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle
Musc Koublai Khan’s somewhat more refined, softer relative, this warm, spicy fragrance is a story of passionate love, from the initial spark of adoration to the rapacious love-making, to the loving, comfortable embrace afterwards…
Evil Genius Perfumes (in order of evil-ness):
Luctor et Emergo by People of the Labyrinths, a.k.a POTL is an Evil Genius because, with its “precious woods” and its “incense” and its “fresh grasses”, it sounded like a sophisticated, bohemian, super-duper wonderful fragrance, guaranteed to be my holy grail…whilst in reality, on my skin, it turned out to be a cloying, incredibly sweet, simplistic ambery mess. There are very few scents out there that clash this badly with my skin chemistry.
Cool Water by Davidoff. The Evil Genius perfume that launched thousand other aquatic perfumes, the fragrance category that I hate with undying passion. Evil. Pure evil.
L’Eau d’Hiver by Frederic Malle. Evil Genius simply because it managed to somehow hypnotize people into believing it smells of something, whereas this is really a no-scent scent, an olfactory empty space. Seinfeld was a sitcom about nothing, L’Eau d’Hiver is a fragrance about nothing…The difference however is that while Seinfeld was hysterically funny, the only hysterical thing about L’Eau d’Hiver is its price. [braces self for stones, rotten eggs and tomatoes from the many fans of L’Eau d’Hiver]
Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka. The original, purple one. The one with all the licorice. The relentless stalker that seems to follow me wherever I go, probably in hopes of one day, in a small closed space like a hot elevator, finally smothering me with its murderous, sweet, anise-leaden fumes.
Angel by Thierry Mugler. I must note that I have nothing against Angel as such, in fact, I rather like it, in small doses and on rare occasions. Still, I consider it to be an Evil Genius because of the staggering, ever-growing amount of spin-offs, wannabes, smell-alikes that this darkly-gourmand scent seemed to have spawned. Its offspring are everywhere, they are taking over the earth.
Next week, the second perfume collection by Parfumerie Generale.