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Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Holiday Surprise

Review by Tom

A very generous blogger sent me three very interesting samples, and I am breaking into the Caron reviews to strike while the iron is hot.

Human Existence

From Thierry Mugler"s "olfactory interpretation" of the book Perfume, Colombina described this one by writing "it could be a Demeter kind of scent for Body Odors" and "It puts the previously skankiest perfumes like CB Musk and MKK to absolute and utter shame".

Well, that just about says it all. The first few minutes of this is the literal interpretation of sweat. Old sweat. Not romanticised, sweetened or made like your lovers post-coital embrace like MKK. Not that wierdly feral, berry like, ridden hard gay-porn accord of CB I Hate Perfume. This is the sour sweat of desperation and failure. Perhaps even insanity. This is the smell of the crazy homeless person you cross the street to avoid. This may be the way that most people smelled back in the day before indoor plumbing, but it's not the way I'd like to smell.

As it dries, it becomes less human and a little more animal, something more like civet. It becomes more wearable,but that's like saying that being strangled is a bit more personal than being shot.

You're still dead.

But you know what? After about a half hour, I kind of started to like it.


Also from the Coffret my wonderful benefactress sent me a smidge of this one- a strange skin scent with some of the odd sourness of HE (is it cumin?), toned down with something creamy that I can't quite pick out. On me it fades very quickly to almost nothing: a very light musk. I tried adding a bit of Human Existence to it but that didn't help. The Orgie promptly killed off most of the HE, making it quite wearable, but the HE eventually slashed its way back.

Rich Hippie Psychedelic

A polar opposite of the darkness of Human Existence, Psychedelic, as Colombina wrote, is one happy scent: on me it's extremely linear. It smells to me like Orange Marmalade. One of the really expensive ones from England, bursting with orange peel and spices and that bright fizzy smell if home-made vanilla extract(vanilla pods that have been soaked for months in really good vodka) We get very few of the drab, depressing overcast days in Southern California that I remember from my youth in the northeast: if you live there you know the ones: late March when you are convinced that spring is never going to come. This scent would be a happy antidote to those grim days. I can't imagine not grinning ear-to-ear putting this on.

And for those of you who were wondering, Yes I did layer Human Existence with both CB Musk and MKK. Both of them kind of stomped all over HE, MKK let a bit of it through but it just made MKK smell a little, elderly? CB Musk was not letting stop it's little sex party: it rolled right over it. HE was relegated to a distant corner, brooding. Phew! I was scared for a moment there!

The still from Perfume is from The image of the Orange Marmalade with Champagne jar is from


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, I find your reviews so evocative, so purely romantic, though not in a humorless way. Please keep writing.

11:11 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd like to second what Bryan said, although some might say I have a selfish interest. :-D When I read your comments, I thought, wow, I wish he'd write whole posts...OK, what's with the mushyness tonight :-)

By happy coincidence, tomorrow (well, today, Thursday), I am going to go watch the preview of Perfume. The trailer looks amazing, but I am still a little scared of gruesomeness...of the scenes that would look the way Human Existence smells. :-)

11:17 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colombina, I wouldn't replace you with Luca himself. I know, it is getting a bit mushy, but hey, it's the Holidays.

11:30 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

*bursts into tears*

11:32 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Thank you so much! Evocative and romantic? That's the best X-mas gift I could get! If you were in Los Angeles, I would so buy you a drink!

11:53 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Well, you know how proud I am that you not only allow but look forward to my ramblings, and of course none of this would happen without you!

I have to admit I am diffident about seeing the movie: I'm sure it will be brilliant, but I just reread the book and thought "if they can film this, do I really need to see it?"

12:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, I may just have to get out to L.A.
I agree with your notion that the book is a challenge to film, but I am reminded (by you no less) that they were able to bring the scents to life.
How do get your email address? : )

1:35 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay you guys - break it up! Break it up, I said! Already, my life! You're reviewing a scent called Orgie, not having one. That's what those West Hollywood clubs are for Tommy boy...

But seriously, all three of you are lovely folks with a special bit of magic residing in your fragrant typing fingers.

blessings of the holiday season to you. Yo ho ho.

4:12 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so very curious about the Thierry Mugler coffret. I am especially curious about how perfume achieves an unromanticized smell of a dirty human being. I like that you liked HE despite its rank human odor. :-)

7:07 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Good man! You actually got through HE and liked it! I can't wait to try it and will layer it w/ MKK and CB Musk for sure. MKK...elderly? Wow. And I'm proud of my beloved CB Musk for holding its own. :-)
Oddly enough, I think I might like HE more than Psychedelic, since only rarely do citrus scents work for me. Although, the idea of orange marmalade is appealing.

7:28 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

What a love fest ...makes me all misty [but then, I AM known to be a squishy sneaker-full of sh-t] !

Dearest Tomtom-

You may porn me anytime, Dearheart.
Visceral and pictureque, this post makes me nostalgic for my blatant escapades in 1972- all the smells and adventures...

Wish you were here !

7:34 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

I went to a preview and got to smell some of the coffret afterwards. The movie is definitely worth seeing--in some ways, I liked it even better than the book (and M, it's not really gruesome). The coffret is amazing! I didn't get to layer anything, but held my human existence blotter next to some others (e.g. jasmine), and it is a very good mixer. Oh--and I love you all:)

8:07 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

That is HILARIOUS -- my first thought was, huh, I wonder what they'd be like layered with MKK etc... I am just so proud of our CB Musk, staying strong through the finish!

Orgie smelled like sperm to me (not to put too fine a point on it.) I think for HE I wrote "sewer."

The Rich Hippie sounds delicious, but that's some spendy marmalade.

BTW I keep forgetting to mention, skankmaster -- have you ever smelled S-Perfume Lust? I don't have a sample anymore or I'd send it. I, uh, think it was made for you. :-)

8:10 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Forgot to add...I heart you all. :-) What would I do w/out fellow lovers of skank?

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Skanklovers, Pirate Santas, a love-fest if not quite an orgie yet....*happy sigh*...just the way I like the blog to be.

8:30 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


11:24 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Orgie's a bit much for the West Hollywood crowd, and HE would have them run screaming down Santa Monica Blvd to get away from it!

Silverlake, however....

11:26 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'd be interested in how he did it as well. There's Civet for sure (and I think it's real civet, it has that old-fashioned gob-smack skank that I remember from some older perfumes, just undiluted here) and Cumin, what else? Who can say.

It became wierdly compelling after a while. Not precisely wearable, mind you, but not so much of an affront either.

11:29 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Silverlake. Hmmm...makes note to self to add that onto list of places to see in LA. :-)

11:31 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It really made MKK smell elderly in that the civet note being amped up reminded me of old-time perfumes- ones that had that slightly shocking, uncivilised blast to them. It tipped the balance of MKK a bit too much for me.

CB Musk just ignored it. I love CB Musk...

11:38 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You'll have to tell us about those! :-)

11:39 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love you too.

So the movie isn't that gross? I have to write that I don't care for battle-slops on film. No "Apocalypto" for me. Even "Snakes on a Plane" I had to be dragged into.

11:41 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


S-Perfume Lust? hmmmmm.

But it cannot possibly be more skanky than HE. Actually, I think HE deserves its own category. MKK and CB Musk are at least trying to smell nice. HE's just sitting there saying "Screw you, buddy. I REEK!"

11:45 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Go out of the house? I had a hazmat kit at the ready if the experiment went tragically wrong!

Zombies? Layer HE with CB Black March. And maybe some beef drippings.

11:49 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaah, beef dripping...

I imagine they have that in Silverlake too! ;-P

12:10 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oh and he tells me to tone it down!


12:41 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

now kids let's really get arty and stop treading lightly... how 'bout we conjure-up ed kienholz' SOLLIE'S PLACE with a "feral" rendition of filthy pillow wafting a greasy dander?... or better yet... a "post coital" extrait of BACK SEAT DODGE... actually no... this is just wrong... all wrong... perfumers need to visit a steamy leather bar (and take notes) where skin and skank waft naturally... not from a decant

2:20 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love me some skank but I must say it never occurred to me to layer the Skank of All Skanks - Human Existence - with another skank! You're one brave soul, Tom. I'll just take your word for everything. ;)

2:36 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think this smell is more Henry Darger than Ed Keinholz, but that's just me.

3:41 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I only did it in the interest of Science.

3:42 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Silverlake is an area of LA known for, in part, it's gay clubs. It's not as youth and trend-obsessed as West Hollywood: it's more for the pierced and tatooed boys.

3:45 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

...and there goes the family part of this blog.

3:46 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologise for my smutty self yesterday. I'm much more grown up today. The leash is on.

3:56 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I wouldn't worry about it. It was totally PG-13.

On a leash, huh? Hmmmmmm...

11:47 AM EST  

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