Filth Glorious Filth!

21st February, 2012

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's Aoud 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 folks). Kinski, 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.

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About the author: Nick Gilbert

Nick has been working in the world of fragrance for over 15 years. He is co-founder of Olfiction, a creative scent agency offering fragrance development, training, copy and content production. He is frequently quoted in the press and has provided perfumery training globally, from London to Seoul.


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    • Larimar | 22nd February 2012 05:45

      Thanks for an interesting read!

    • Francop | 22nd February 2012 07:20

      Thanks for the great review of old school scents...:cheesy:

    • danny1967 | 22nd February 2012 14:32

      thanks nick, i'll now have to go try guerlain homme l'eau boisee and lubin's idole eau de parfum, have the original one and love it (just when i thought i'd give my c/c a rest this month). and congrats on becoming les senteurs manager (and a great way to plug the shop in your article, you're shameless)..

    • Gblue (article author) | 22nd February 2012 23:24

      Haha ;) thanks Danny. The Idole is great - as is the Guerlain! Let me know what you think next time you're in!

    • Hanz Medina | 23rd February 2012 05:23

      Hilarious! I should make one for you so dirty, that your fetish will surrender! Great read!

    • Kagey | 23rd February 2012 06:36

      Hello and thanks for that post. I will definitely go try Kinski next time I have some time to spare in London.

      By the way, next time you're in Selfridge's, check out the Dior Leather Oud if you haven't already. It's quite skanky after about half an hour.

      And I've been on the fence about Idole for months now. You may have pushed me over the edge, but I will go and smell it yet again!

    • Chris Bartlett | 23rd February 2012 18:02

      Good article Nick, I wish I’d read it in time to call in . . . next time.

    • Primrose | 23rd February 2012 20:02

      Thank you for sharing, Nick--stalking the rare and skanky beast. In a morass of squeaky-clean, soap-scented aquatics, it's nice to find fragrances that challenge our noses.

    • rednails | 24th February 2012 21:04

      Thanks, Nick. For a real dirtfest, order yourself a sample of Providence Perfume Co.'s Indolice. Really, check it out -- if you dare!

    • Gblue (article author) | 24th February 2012 23:01

      Rednails - thanks, I'll check that one out! (Is that a double dare?!)

    • Ivan D' Great | 29th February 2012 04:34

      Thanks much for the tips!

      +1 for Diors Leather Aoud, from my short experience it's so dirty and I enjoy it very much.

    • Beranium Chotato | 29th February 2012 15:52

      No mention of the Kinski drydown? It's so much more than skank.