I’m the proud owner of several perfumes that have no business being worn within miles of civilization. Whether skanky, metallic, or just plain bizarre, some fragrances go so against the grain that I’m legitimately afraid to wear them in public. But should I be nervous? Maybe ‘weirdness’ is partially a construct of the fragrance community and so-called normal people don’t find daring perfumes particularly off-putting.
To test this theory, I invited my friend Jacob to sample some of the stranger perfumes in my collection. We retreated to the comforting fresh air of Mt. Charleston in order to make sure Jacob (JW) had the most neutral experiences of the perfumes possible. Below are some of his reactions to the weirdos I had on hand at the time, as well as some short explanations of what make each perfume weird in my own eyes.
JW: This makes me feel like I’m walking into a girl’s bathroom and she has all her chemical bottles out and about. Oddly enough, smells kind of clean. I don’t like it, but it makes me want to sniff it again.
The Fandomentals: That’s Hyrax from Zoologist – a beast of an animalic perfume with an ingredient literally made from the dried excrement of an African cat. To me, it smells like desert zoo exhibit air and hot pavement.
JW: So this is really good for cat lovers. It does smell like a hot mess. I was getting makeup remover chemicals, which have that burning smell. Are you writing down everything I say?
The Fandomentals: Kind of.
JW: I feel like I’ve smelled this before but I don’t know what. What comes to mind is big fruit teddy bears. When you’re a kid you want to go hug those big teddy bears and that’s what this smells like – safe. I wonder if this smells like the same thing to other people.
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 floral aquatic with ylang ylang which personally reminds me of sunscreen. So I get futuristic sunscreen from this.
JW: And I thought of teddy bears. Maybe it’s because I’ve been around the sea…actually, I haven’t been around the sea much. I should have gone more when I was living near one.
JW: This is weird. Because it somehow reminds me of my grandma and my mom when I was younger. I can’t tell who it is, but it reminds me of a scent that I smelled around them when I was a kid. It has that 1990’s woman smell.
The Fandomentals: This is Figment Man from Amouage, a very soil-heavy animalic fragrance. It’s got leather and some petrichor-esque notes in there that make it really well-rounded, and rich and earthy.
JW: My mom was a big gardener and my grandma was as well, so that makes sense. This brings a lot of memories back about them taking care of the garden. How weird – I totally forgot about that.
JW: Mmm. This one’s…it changes for me. I don’t know what I was smelling before – a citrus maybe – but then it turned into tea. What is that? I don’t know how to classify this one. Literally, if you were to ask me what this smells like, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
The Fandomentals: I couldn’t help but go with another Zoologist to end things off. This is Sloth, built around the idea of jungle plants and moss growing on the titular animal. It also has a strong chamomile note which is a very bitter flower that gets quite tamed down in the tea form.
JW: Really? Yes, that makes sense. How odd – I wasn’t able to pick up on that specifically but I could pinpoint what it reminded me of. You know what? If you’re going out into the woods, this is what you should wear. You’ll be classy and fit in at the same time.
When you show someone something you assume to be weird, they often have a completely different perspective. It definitely encouraged me to wear some of my weirder perfumes more often. Show someone your strange fragrances! It may reveal a new side to them that you’ve never seen before.
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