I’m the proud owner of several fragrances that don’t have to be worn miles from civilization. Whether they’re skanky, metallic, or just plain weird, some scents go so against the grain that I’m legitimately afraid to wear them in public. But should I be nervous? Perhaps “weirdness” is partly a construct of the fragrance community and so-called normal people don’t find bold scents particularly off-putting.
To test this theory, I invited my friend Jacob to taste some of the weirdest perfumes in my collection. We retreated to the comforting cool air of Mount Charleston to ensure that Jacob (JW) had the most scent-neutral experiences possible. Below are some of her reactions to the weirdos I had on hand at the time, along with brief explanations of what makes each scent feel strange to me.
JW: It feels like walking into a girl’s bathroom and she pulls out all her chemical bottles. Strangely, it smells clean. I don’t like it, but it makes me want to sniff it again.
The Fandomentals: It’s Hyrax from Zoologist – an animal scent beast with an ingredient literally made from the dried feces of an African cat. To me, it smells of desert zoo exhibit air and hot pavement.
JW: So it’s really good for cat lovers. It smells like hot mess. I was getting chemical makeup removers, which have this burnt smell. Do you write everything I say?
The Fandomentals: sort of.
JW: I feel like I’ve felt that before but I don’t know what. What comes to mind are the big fruit teddy bears. When you’re a kid, you want to hug those big teddy bears and that’s what it feels like – safe. I wonder if it feels the same to others.
The Fandomentals: This is TINABB 1.2 from Histoires de Parfums, a series based on the this is not a pipe painting. It’s an abstract aquatic floral with ylang ylang that personally reminds me of sunscreen. So I get a futuristic sunscreen from that.
JW: And I thought of teddy bears. Maybe it’s because I’ve been around the sea… in fact, I haven’t traveled by sea much. I should have gone more when I lived near one.
JW: It’s weird. Because it kind of reminds me of my grandmother and my mother when I was younger. I can’t say who it is, but it reminds me of a smell I smelled around them when I was a kid. It has that smell of a 1990s woman.
The Fandomentals: Introducing Figment Man by Amouage, a very earthy animal scent. There’s leather and some petrichor notes that make it really well rounded, rich and earthy.
JW: My mother was a great gardener and my grandmother too, so it makes sense. It brings back a lot of memories for them when they took care of the garden. How weird – I completely forgot about that.
JW: Mmm. This one is… it changes for me. I don’t know what I smelled like before – citrus maybe – but then it turned into tea. What is that? I don’t know how to categorize this one. Literally, if you asked me what it smells like, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
The Fandomentals: I couldn’t resist going with another zoologist to end things. It’s Sloth, built around the idea of jungle plants and moss growing on the titular animal. It also has a strong note of chamomile which is a very bitter flower that is quite tame in tea form.
JW: Really? Yes, it makes sense. How strange – I wasn’t able to pinpoint this specifically, but I was able to identify what it reminded me of. You know what? If you’re going out in the woods, this is what you should be wearing. You will be classy and integrated at the same time.
When you show someone something you assume is weird, they often have a completely different perspective. It definitely encouraged me to wear some of my weirder scents more often. Show someone your weird scents! It can reveal a new side to them that you have never seen before.
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