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Thread: "Scary" scents?

  1. #1

    Default "Scary" scents?

    First, hello to everyone from a new member! I've just recently discovered the joy of fragrances while living in France and am decimating my budget with purchases, carefully justifying them when they're cheaper in France. I've enjoyed lurking on the board for a little bit now.

    I was thinking about my own fragrance memories when I was a child. I got to wondering if anyone had a similar experience where they were kind of *scared* of a fragrance. I know it's a very odd response, but I think somehow my olfactory sense was very different than it is now.

    The story is, when I was little, more than 10 years ago (I can't even remember how old!), my father went to Hong Kong and came back with lots of perfumes for my mother that my sister and I could use. He brought back some odd ones--a Versace in fun bottle that doesn't seem to exist anymore, Diorrisimo in a cute gold houndstooth atomizer, a flower bottle of Chloe Narcisse, some miniatures, No 5, Cristalle and Dune. I was quite find of the Chloe Narcisse and the Versace--they smelled like I thought fragrances should. The Diorrisimo was nice but it smelled much too strong and intense (it's still a bit intense to my nose!). But the Cristalle and Dune smelled cold, austere, vast, sharp and kind of...scary. I think the packaging didn't help--Cristalle had the stark Chanel packaging, and Dune was in a tall bronze bottle. Combined with the name, it reminded me too much of the desert for comfort.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience? I've recently gone back and sniffed these, although I haven't sprayed them. They actually smell fine--not anything I love but certainly not scary. Diorrisimo is also less intense than I remember. It's led me to wonder about how olfactory senses mature.

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Scary" scents?

    Hello and welcome.

    No I cannot say I have ever been frightened of a fragrance. Well unless I have sniffed it and thought 'Agghh'!! LOL

    There are a few on that list but in order not to offend we won't go there.
    DONNA

  3. #3
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    Quarry's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Scary" scents?

    Great story and great question, Jen. I'll venture a few guesses. Since certain natural shapes trigger fear in some people (snakes, spiders), and because odor detection is a component of our fight-or-flight response system, it could be that your brain read a scent as potentially threatening. In the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks describes our sometimes-peculiar neurological filing systems. For myself, I sometimes get an auditory response to non-auditory stimulae. For instance, a picture of a beautiful, multi-colored tropical fish may cause a harmonious chord to be played in my brain. When I smelled Clinique's Aromatics Elixir, I heard a conflicted sound akin to that of several orchestra instruments tuning up at the same time. A really good idea sometimes produces a neurological tinkling bell sound.

    If you get more curious about these things, the book A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman might be a fun read. It's mainstream material, not too collegiate.

    P.S. I have been frightened by perfume price tags.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  4. #4

    Default Re: "Scary" scents?

    Interesting post, Jen!
    I don't think I've ever been frightened by a scent but I have certainly been revolted by them. That reaction generally always takes me by surprise and generally has nothing to do with a "rotting" smell or a "fecal" smell....I often cannot even tell you why the scent gives me that reaction. My stomach will turn and my head will start to spin and I can't get away from it quick enough. Casran by Chopard is one of them. So is Habit Rouge by Guerlain. I even have problems with good ole Chanel No 5 occasionally.
    Go figure!
    "Ca sent les pieds!"

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Scary" scents?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quarry
    Great story and great question, Jen. I'll venture a few guesses. Since certain natural shapes trigger fear in some people (snakes, spiders), and because odor detection is a component of our fight-or-flight response system, it could be that your brain read a scent as potentially threatening. In the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks describes our sometimes-peculiar neurological filing systems. For myself, I sometimes get an auditory response to non-auditory stimulae. For instance, a picture of a beautiful, multi-colored tropical fish may cause a harmonious chord to be played in my brain. When I smelled Clinique's Aromatics Elixir, I heard a conflicted sound akin to that of several orchestra instruments tuning up at the same time. A really good idea sometimes produces a neurological tinkling bell sound.

    If you get more curious about these things, the book A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman might be a fun read. It's mainstream material, not too collegiate.

    P.S. I have been frightened by perfume price tags.

    HI, new here. I've been intending to the that book by Oliver Sacks you mentioned. I may have to do that soon!

    EA Red Door and Givenchy Ysatis scare me. They come at you before you see who's wearing them. And I used to own both as a teen which is a very odd choice for a young person. I liked my fragrances very strong when I was younger but hopefully i've matured since then.

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Scary" scents?

    Messe de Minuit is scary. *

    Like the inside of Dracula's castle. (just a guess, never been there!)
    Are you not entertained??? Is this not why you are here??

  7. #7
    Ladylonestar
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    Default Re: "Scary" scents?

    Muscs Kublai Khan...

    Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they learn why they fear the night. (Thulsa Doom)

    My very first sampling of Muscs Kublai Khan was scary as hell. *One whiff and scenes from Escape From New York, Road Warrior, and Conan the Barbarian rolled through my head -- bottled death, doom and destruction. *However, later, when I got brave enough to sample it again... all of that was gone. *And I missed it terribly, too. *:'( *

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