ETAT LIBRE D’ORANGE
‘Like blood, sweat, sperm, saliva, Sécrétions Magnifiques is as real as an olfactory coitus that sends one into raptures, to the pinnacle of sensual pleasure, that extraordinary and unique moment when desire triumphs over reason. Masculine tenseness frees a rush of adrenalin in a cascade of high-pitched aldehydic notes. The sensation of freshness is gripping. Then the fragrance reveals a metallic side, precise and as sharp as unappeased desire. We are on a razor-edge… skin and sweat mingle, and tastes of musk and sandalwood. The slightly salty marine effect stirs, arouses, and sets your mouth watering. Tongues and sexes find one another, pleasure explodes and all goes wild. Confusion reigns supreme. A subversive, disturbing perfume. It’s love or hate at first sight. Sensuous jousting is rarely satisfied with half- measures… In between Don Juan and the woman who offers herself, arms are laid down… Who will be the first to surrender?
With almost a cult of love or hate, Sécrétions Magnifiques shook up the perfume world when it was launched, and it still does. A work of conceptual perfumery designed to speak to all the senses at once. One rule: attraction and repulsion.’ – Etat Libre D’Orange
In what was probably the highlight/lowest point of my short-lived YouTube stint, I recorded a video where I wore Secretions Magnifiques and Strangers Parfumerie Sombre on skin at the same time.
Secretions Magnifiques is a huge thing in the fragrance community. Once you dive into the hobby and start interacting with perfume lovers online, sooner rather than later, you will come across the notorious Secretions Magnifiques and hear many superlatives expressing how vile and unwearable this is. Most people will name it ‘the worst thing they ever smelled’.
I’m here to tell you that it’s really not that bad. Probably helped by wearing it alongside Sombre, which is miles and miles worse and harder to bear. I can not state clearly enough that Sombre (smelling like vomit, stinky cheese and sweaty feet) makes Secretions Magnefiques smell like your average mass-appealing designer in comparison.
It’s too long ago for me to go into the Secretions Magnifiques scent profile in-depth, but I remember the milkiness and florals being a relatively wearable mix. Like a soft milky floral, mixed with a seaweed-esque marine tinge and a bit of sweaty skin. The metallic-bloody element wasn’t too prominent for me; it was metallic in the way a rose oxide is. Unfortunately (due to work-related situations) I know the smell of a room filled with the scent of blood all too well; the metallic tinge being palpable in your mouth. It’s depiction in this composition seems to be quite toned down with the lactonic element. It’s still an unsettling combination, but manageable.
Having not worn it by itself for long, before also applying Sombre, maybe my perception was a bit skewed; but there are ‘regular’ perfumes on the market that people don’t speak of with such hyperboles, that I found equally hard to wear. I’m thinking of Akro Night (sweaty), Amouage Figment Man (muddy batcave), Beaufort Vi Et Armis (bacon birch tar) come to mind.
That’s not to say that I would regularly wear Secretions Magnifiques; I thought it was pretty awful (as a scent, as a concept, for its time, it obviously got the job done and was a marketing jackpot). However, I wasn’t shocked and it bordered on wearable for me. If you really want to seek the edges, I suggest seeking out a sample of Strangers’ Sombre and invite some friends over for a sniffing session.