Incredibly Strange Perfumes Pt.4 (The Smell of Music: Hardcore Punk)

From Wikipedia...

Hardcore punk (sometimes referred to simply as hardcore) is an underground music genre that originated in the late 1970s, following the mainstream success of punk rock. Hardcore is generally faster, thicker, and heavier than earlier punk rock. The origin of the term "hardcore punk" is uncertain. The Vancouver-based band D.O.A. may have helped to popularize the term with the title of their 1981 album, Hardcore '81.

Hardcore has spawned the straight edge movement and its associated submovements, hardline and youth crew. Hardcore was heavily involved with the rise of the independent record labels in the 1980s, and with the DIY ethics in underground music scenes. It has influenced a number of music genres which have experienced mainstream success, such as alternative rock, metalcore, grunge, thrash metal, emo and post-hardcore.

Hardcore sprouted underground scenes across the United States in the early 1980s — particularly in Washington, D.C., California, New York/New Jersey, and Boston—as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom.

While traditional hardcore has never experienced mainstream commercial success, some of its early pioneers have garnered appreciation over time. Black Flag's album Damaged was included in Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003,[5] and the Dead Kennedys have seen one of their albums reach gold status over a period of 25 years. Although the music started in English-speaking western countries, scenes have also existed in Brazil, Japan, Europe and The Middle East.

Play at maximum volume...

Pascal Morabito Or Black

Possibly one of the darkest compositions I've ever experienced. A dense chyprey leather which is almost impossible to describe due to its multi-faceted nature.  Smoky, leathery, mossy, incensey (resinous), herbal, old fashioned, modern, bitter, aromatic..OMG there's really a lot going on here.

I do apologize if I can't go through notes explaination but Or Black makes me feel positively "uneasy" and prefer to simply recommend it as the perfect example of a "fragrance for people who actually like fragrances" as diametrically opposed to the Turin's concept of "a fragrance for people who don't like fragrances". 

On of the most assertive compositions ever. A masterpiece and a staple in my personal wardrobe.

Rating: 10/10

Etat Libre D'Orange Rien

This is one of those compositions that I had to "learn" how to appreciate it. Don't get me wrong, I haven't forced myself or something, it just took a while to appreciate its disturbing power, its extremely dry character. Here I'll report both of my reviews...

March 2011

I think a better name for "Rien" could have been "Tout" as this scent is loud, rich and very straight forward. The opening is harshing and crude with a consistent dose of aldehyde, leather (civet) and a completely desweetened rose. Almost disturbing but I like it. After a few minutes everything is joined by frankincense and the scent stays in the same mood for hours turning in the end into an extremely dry woody/leathery base. For a few aspects Rien reminded me  of Knize Ten or even Bandit but it's way more uncomfortable. It's like they have tried to layer the two perfumes I mentioned with a cacophonic result. Don't get me wrong, Rien smells good but kind of unbalanced. Amazing sillage and good lasting power. Not bad but could have been a lot better.

June 2011

After several more wearings I'm addicted. Now Rien doesn't smell so rich as I used to perceived it in the past, I get it as a straight forward, uncompromising, kind of unsettling and positively crude dry leather. It's like a stilyzed dadaist portrait of Bandit after a steady diet of dryness.

Rating: 8.5/10

Lush Breath Of God

Original Review April 2011:

Everybody suggested Breath Of God as one of the weirdest fragrances around and as I'm always very curious about strange perfumes I immediatley decided to try it. A bizarre composition with mint, smoky incense/vetiver and fruits that's quite weird indeed. Linear and just a tad loud but definitely distinctive and (somehow) pleasant. It opens with incese juxtaposed to melon to then "evolve" into a smoky vetiver and a sort of woody-fruit-salad that's fresh and dark at the same time. Funny and very wearable, but far from being the masterpiece I expected.

I think I made a big mistake with Breath Of God as the first time I smelled it, I was at Lush surrounded by the loud and cacophonous chemical aroma that is typical of this kind of stores and, as the sense of smell is inarguably bounded and related to memory, my brain is no more able to dissociate the smell of BOG from the fake "natural-justmade-cosmethics&soaps" odor of Lush's points of sale. I decided to buy a 10ml vial anyway and maybe, one day, I'll be able to fully appreciate Breath Of God.

Edit July 2011:

After several wearings I can say I'm addicted. The smoky vetiver juxtaposed to the general fresh vibe is extremely compelling and absolutely unique. Kudos.

Rating: 8.5-9/10

Etat Libre D'Orange Secretions Magnifiques 

First of all I would like to express my opinion regarding all the moralistic reactions I've heard / read or even seen about this perfume. It tooks more than a year for me to simply find a retailer in Italy and germany who was stocking this product. In a couple of stores I've been told that they refused to stock SM for its nasty graphic, in other stores they simply found it disgusting and decided not to sell it, but the best I've heard was from a mid aged female clerk who refused to stock the product because she could have found herself in the situation to spray it for customers who wanted to try it. OMG!

Said that, Secretions Magnifique is far from beeing spectacular or surprising. It has a STRONG metallic note throughout, mixed with a barely sweet floral-milky accord. The overall effect is pretty weird indeed, but IMO SM is to semen as it is to blood, saliva or mucus. Honestly, we can't say blood stinks, or mucus stinks they more lay in the organic odours limbo of unpleasant almost "adourless smells". I'd say theyr're kind of cloying.  And that's exactly the effect SM has on me. 

I prefer to consider Secretions Magnifique as an experimental (almost situationist) piece of art realized through the sense of smell. In my vision this is not a perfume, it's an universally familiar odour and a taboo subject made to provoke reactions. In this context, Antoine Lie perfectly achived his pourpose as SM has become one of the most controversial and discussed scents of the last 20 years. I agree when someone says that perfumery is another thing, but this composition is to perfumery as Derek Jarman's Blue is to cinema. Pure experimentation.

On the skin Secretion Magnifique has a tenacious lasting power and a considerable projection but I can't stand it for more than one/two hours. Would I ever want to buy a full bottle? Maybe not, but I totally respect ELDO's choice to produce and commercialize one of the weirdest fragrance ever created.

My Rating

the concept / project: 10 out of 10
the smell: 3 out of 10
overall: 6 out of 10

Maitre Parfumeur Et Gantier Parfum D'Habit 

Parfum D'Habit's extremely compelling opening has a quite distinctive "lived-in" leather note joined by pronounced earthy undertones and laying on a masterfully refined musk /sandalwood base. The coniferous (Pine?) presence adds a mysterious extra touch of extreme charme. A well balanced and highly recommended "kinda rough" fragrance.

To be completely honest I found the drydown to be slightly more conventional if compared to the outstanding opening but this may be due to the fact that I'm smelling the reformulated version. I've heard the vintage was way more unpolite and unconventional and I'll do everything is possible to put my hands on it. That being said, this is still one of those compositions you encounter every once in a blue moon...

Extremely solid, masterfully crafted and miles ahead from today's anonymous scents. Probably not a fragrance for everyone because of its unapologetic character. Me? A personal favorite, just like my old leather jacket I used to wear to go to punk/hardcore gigs.

Rating: 9.5/10

Frederic Malle French Lover (aka Bois'Dorange)

I'm convincing myself everyday more and more that EP Frederic Malle is one of the best niche houses of the last 15 years and French Lover just makes my beliefs even stronger. An incense-pepper-vetiver scent that is as dry and bitter as much your immagination can go. It opens with a bitter blast of galbanum and woods, and even if not included in the note list I also get laurel galore. After 20 / 30 minutes a strong but sophisticated vetiver shows up together with frankincense. French Lover is a completely desweetened composition that leaves nothing to prettyness but at the same time it's austerely elegant, refined and modern.

If you're into fragrances such as Sycomore, Vetiver Extraordinaire or Memoir Man,  you will probably dig this. Even if they don't share many objective similarity we can say they're in the same vein, they have a similar effect. Don't get me wrong, French Lover with its bone-dry structure and the overall lived-in vibe can result disturbing to someone but its extremely sophisticated composition make this scent unique and immediately recognizable.

IMO this is an important and potentially influential release, kind of trendsetter in the modern male perfumery. After two years from its entrance on the market it already counts a few clones (i.e. Comme Des Garcons Monocle Scent # 2 Laurel).
Great projection and tremendous lasting power (12 hrs on my skin). A superb work and one of my favourite from this house.

Something to carefully avoid if you're into fresh and clean type of stuff.

Rating: 8-8.5/10

Other fragrances you might want to check:

Etat Libre D'Orange Charogne
Etat Libre D'Orange Je Suis Un Homme
Robert Piguet Bandit (Review)
Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (Review)
Vero Profumo Onda (Review)
Knize Ten (Review)
Knize Sec
Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia (Review)
Comme Des Garcons Garage
Comme Des Garcons Tar
Lush Dirty
Gres Cabochard
Hermes Bel Ami
Caron Yatagan (Revew)
Caron L'Anarchiste (Review)
Geo F. Trumper Eucris (Review)


  1. alfarom
    It's all brilliant choices in music and scent so far. Will you be doing No Wave in this series ?. The recent Kiki Smith/Laudamiel collaboration would be a great choice and eno is massive fragrance fan and amateur perfumer.

  2. Chris, what a coincidence. I recently got a bottle of Eau De Kiki :) I remember the app Eno made for iPhone (I guess it was called "Blooming" or something), it was brilliant. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. This is an article I really enjoyed. You basically reviewed my top 20 perfumes :D

    I was hoping to find more undiscovered ones but no...

    Hopefully you do a Pt.5

    Forza alfarom

  4. LOL Saif :) You're an hardcore kind of guy :)