31 Jan


It’s been awhile since I’ve reflected upon the stinkers and duds that I’ve encountered, and everyone knows it’s much more fun to read about the gross things that people hate rather than the beautiful things they love. So here are five gross, awful perfumes that I’ve have the misfortune of smelling in the past few years. I’ll include links because one person’s trash could possibly be another person’s trashy disgusting treasure–and just because I hated these, it doesn’t mean that you will.

Marc Jacob’s Decadence: “this is a very bad time.”

Imagine you won a contest run by your local radio station, you know, the one with the obnoxious sexist pig morning show duo, generically called something like “Big Dude Bro and the Little Vermin.” Yeah, so you–lucky you!–entered this contest where the prize was the privilege of getting to spend the night in a local spot purported to be haunted. Great, right?! Well, turns out it’s just a sketchy vape shop and the “ghost” is like, how someone saw Jesus’s face in a baked potato or something. And that actually happened next door in the crusty diner. The moment you walk in the door you are assaulted by the sickening aroma of maple syrup vape juice, a cloying waft from an empty rum raisin ice cream container crawling with many-legged insects, and the dusty fumes of your meanest ancestor’s cherry pipe tobacco. Was it a haunting, or was it Marc Jacobs Decadence? You conclude that while you did not experience anything in the slightest bit supernatural, this vile combination of notes will certainly haunt you for the rest of your days.

Givenchy L’Interdit: “I’m too old for this shit”

Givenchy L’Interdit is…oof. It makes my hips ache, and my knees creak. It makes me feel like a fucking fossil. This is a candied fruity floral, like crushed shards of every flavor Jolly Rancher forming the vague shape of a flower, but I think anyone who smells it will agree it is no flower found in nature. Do you know who smelled it and loved it, and thought it was “bomb” and “fire” and “literally everything,” though? A quartet of college girls who robbed a fast-food restaurant and stole a car to fund their spring break plans and who then got bailed out of jail by a skeezy clown of a drug dealer/rapper/arms dealer who looks just like James Franco. I’m pretty sure they are all about this bikini bacchanalia neon candy Harmony Korine girls gone wild hedonist hell of a scent, and man, they can have it. I’m too old for this shit.

Etat Libre d’Orange You Or Someone Like You: “Smells like white lady meltdown captured on YouTube”

ELdO You Or Someone Like You is the screechy confrontational performance art of a person having a freaky public meltdown, a full-out adult tantrum, taking place midafternoon in a popular coffee chain or a ubiquitous lingerie store in the mall, and which is probably being recorded by spectators for millions of future views on YouTube even as the melodrama is unfolding. It’s the synthetic aroma of an indoor public space filled with too many people breathing at once and poorly circulated air, the awkward musk of distressed and embarrassed onlookers, the cool mineralic concrete of silent complicity, the acrid, antiseptic arrogance of entitlement, and the tang of weaponized tears and performative victimhood of someone who felt personally attacked by Victoria’s Secret’s return policy regarding thong panties or the fact that Starbucks was out of oat milk for their ridiculous latte order. You or Someone like you is the fragrance of someone making a massively upsetting stink in front of a crowd and feeling absolutely no shame or remorse because they have a right to everything, they deserve everything merely because they exist.

Thierry Mugler Angel Nova: “money better invested in therapy”

This is a very horny perfume. But a sort of sad, lonely, horniness. It’s the drunk middle-aged lady at a concert or local gig, or festival, stumble-dancing alone. (I am middle-aged now, but in my memory, every incarnation of this woman always seems older than I will ever be.) It smells like what both partners might wear when they pack for their hedonism cruise in a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, and they’re on the prowl for their unicorn. It’s a bit desperate and hopeless, like that last radiant burst of manic energy that you put into a thing that’s doomed to fail, so what the hell, and why not. As to the actual fragrance, it’s a sticky stain on your sheets that, if you dare get close enough to sniff, smells of overripe raspberries, lychee syrup drizzled shaved ice, and a sickly sweet cola drink spiked with patchouli bitters. Instead of spending your money on Angel Nova, I think it wise for you invest in an extra session with your therapist.

Montale Cafe Intense: “I’ll never forgive you, Mary Lesa Howell”

I first sampled Montale’s Cafe Intense years ago when I was initially getting into fragrance and perfumes. I guess I was feeling a little nostalgic for that sample a kind MUA-er sent me way back when! My recollection was that it was meant to be a coffee-forward scent, but…it is not. My partner observed that it smells like a teenage girl who typically wore a lot of candied, sugary scents and who wanted to level up with fancy florals and didn’t quite hit the mark. She tried, I guess, was his conclusion. My thoughts are more specific. This is a cloying fruity-floral that smells exactly like Rose Jam from LUSH, which I bitterly loathe because that smells just like those gaggy sweet Jolly Ranchers hard candies that all the popular kids were always eating in 6th grade. This, in turn makes me think of the MOST popular girl; we’ll call her Mary Lesa Howell–because that is, in fact her actual name–who broke off and ATE part of my sugar crystal science project that year. I hate science projects, and I have never forgiven Mary Lesa Howell, and this awful perfume can go straight to hell.

If you would like to support this blog, consider buying the author a coffee?



Melissa Kojima says

OMG!!! The best!!! I love your reviews!! And yes, MLH can rot in hell!! 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Add Comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Discover more from Unquiet Things

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading