Exploring a perfume department in a department store can be an absolute minefield. Scented blotters coming at you from each and every angle, all of them pushing the newest super scrubbed up clean and shower fresh launch. Patchouli is often cleaned up so much that it feels sparkling and metallic, less earthy and dirty than you, or at least I, would hope.
So what do you have to do to find something utterly filthy? Raunchy, animalic, well... skanky! The answer is: look very hard indeed. I set myself the task of finding the dirtiest new launches I could in London.
I decided to start out at Selfridges
with their huge selection of Oud fragrances. I'd find something there, surely? Well, almost. From Dior
's Private Collection: Patchouli Impérial
had a slight dirtiness to it, which was offset by a hint of what I keep reading as cucumber.
Not dirty enough, I marched onwards to the Guerlain
counter where I encountered the latest flankers (of flankers): Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau, which was far too candy pink to contain anything earthy. Or so I thought. The drydown has a very soft hint of dirtiness betwixt the vanilla and iris. Is that the Hyacinth? I hear they have potty mouths. Guerlain Homme L'Eau Boisée
(flanking Homme L'Eau
? Or just Homme
? Who knows!) has a fantastic earthy and anisic vetiver base. Still not dirty enough but I felt like I was on the right track.
If you are in the region of Marble Arch, stop off at the new Les Senteurs store
(where yours truly is now the manager). Last week I was smelling Caron's Accord 119
which has a metallic patchouli with a blackcurrant note and some clean jasmin lurking in the background. Not quite skanky enough though.
So to Harrods
I went. Exploring the whole perfume hall, I thought, there really must be something in here with a bit of filth to it. Roja Dove
had the familiar medicinal / filthy feeling you get in any good Oud. Pretty good. But I was almost awestruck at Lubin
's recent launch of Idole in Eau de Parfum concentration
: cumin with rum, smoky incense and leather, with some labdanum for good measure. To me it even feels kind of civet-y. And the bottle is so beautiful that I nearly got my credit card out there and then.
Before making my way back to the tube, I stopped in Harvey Nichols
, and am I ever glad I did. I hadn't heard a great deal about it, but found the new one from This Company (the Escentric Molecule
, inspired by the German Nosferatu Actor, Klaus Kinski. Full on filth, at last! Blackcurrant, castoreum, civet, juniper and woods. Pissy, beavery, catty and dark, all at once. They describe it as feral, and I absolutely agree. I spent most of the afternoon with my nose buried in my arm, like the twisted skank fetishist I am.