Smell Like Jizz, Cocaine, or Tennis Balls

Give the gift of weird this holiday season with these strange perfumes and odd fragrances.

By Annie Walton Doyle

Why smell normal when you can smell weird? (Photo:  rawpixel )

Why smell normal when you can smell weird? (Photo: rawpixel)

‘Tis the season for giving and what better gift to give than a unique smelling perfume? Treating your loved ones doesn’t have to mean gifting them with something obvious like a bottle of Chanel No. 5, Dior J’Adore, or Kim Kardashian’s KKW fragrance. Instead, you can do the opposite.

Delve into the world of weird perfumes for a more memorable gift — they may never use it, but they’ll certainly never forget it. With scents increasingly inspired by the strange and disturbing — toothpaste perfume, anyone? — watching your mom unwrap her eau de toilette under the tree just got a whole lot more interesting.

Dirt by Demeter

Demeter is a well-known perfume pioneer, with hundreds of strange-smelling scents, from Holy Water to Kitten Fur, in its self-described “fragrance library.” Dirt is a classic Demeter scent, and one of the brand’s best sellers. It has an undeniably earthy aroma, like freshly tilled fields and mud-caked hiking boots, with a sweet and hypnotizing undercurrent. Being dirty never smelt so good.

From $6 for 30ml cologne mini splash.

Cthulhu by Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs

Inspired by an ancient, tentacled sea god from an H.P. Lovecraft story, this perfume claims to have “a creeping, wet, slithering scent, dripping with seaweed, oceanic plants, and dark, unfathomable waters.” It’s actually very interesting — salty and musky, but also clean and fresh.

$19.50 for 5ml full size perfume oil blend.

Lipstick On by Maison Margiela

This Maison Margiela fragrance is scented with rice powder and iris and, according to the bottle, is designed to evoke feelings of a 1952 Chicago woman’s vanity. It really does smell like lipstick, with its sweet, slightly plasticky fug that fades down to a clean, watery floral after a while. It walks the line between weird and just-about-wearable, particularly for beauty lovers.

$126 for 100ml eau de toilette.

White Chocolate Delight by Opus Oils

This sweet and creamy scent smells like pure white chocolate, and will invariably give you an overwhelming impression of an indulgent, melty dessert. While undeniably delicious, it’s a slightly odd experience to wear on the body because its saccharine scent is very strong. It’s not for the faint of heart, and is probably best suited for a gourmand.

From $25 for 1 dram eau de toilette roll-on.

Book by Commodity

Any bibliophile will tell you, the musty smell of a book’s pages is almost erotic in its power. Commodity’s take mixes that old-glue-and-dust aroma with cucumber and vetiver — a grass native to India. It’s a convincing scent, yet still a very odd olfactory experience — clean, yet slightly damp; fresh, yet slightly sour.

From $26 for 10ml eau de parfum.

Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre D’Orange

This odd fragrance by the boutique French perfume house Etat Libre D’Orange is formulated — believe it or not — to smell of blood, sweat, spit, and cum. Most people who’ve tried it describe it as unwearable, but I think we can agree wearability is probably not the main aim of this fragrance. It’s extremely manly, and just a tiny bit disgusting.

€85 for 50ml eau de parfum.

Vulva Original by Vulva Original

The name of this weird scent says it all, meaning there really is a fragrance out there that smells like the juice of a woman’s loins. Of course, the company itself does not consider it a perfume, calling it, instead, an “erotic product” that mimics “the exuding irresistible smell of a seducing vagina.” In other words, this is more of a scent designed to get one in the mood, not freshen one up before going to work. We’re not sure if the product contains actual vaginal fluids, but if you’re curious to find out, you can buy it on Amazon where the company promises you it will be delivered in “discreet packaging.”

$35.90 for 1 fl oz.

Dirty by Lush

This scent is designed to smell like an “Italian Shower” — think yesterday’s clothes, a few sprays of cologne, and a quick go-around with the toothbrush. Its slightly exaggerated cleanness (thanks to the spearmint and lavender) gives way to a musty, sweaty smell. Despite this ruggedness, it’s sexy.

From $39.95 for 1 fl oz

Ceniza de Coca by Fueguia

This Italian creation is based on the scent of the coca leaf — the raw form of cocaine. But rather than smelling like the drug — or the substandard nightclub bathrooms where many people imbibe it — it has a warm, woody, and incense-heavy fragrance, inspired largely by traditional South American medicine.

From $224 for 50ml perfume

The Soft Lawn by Imaginary Authors

The Soft Lawn, named after the 1916 LeCoq novel of the same name, is inspired by WASP-y, uppercrust society. It combines traditional notes like vetiver and moss with weird-but-wonderful hints of tennis balls and clay courts, to create a stunning and surprisingly wearable scent that will help you blend in perfectly at any country club or resort.

From $38 for 14ml traveler eau de parfum

Eau De Parfum from 2011 by Comme Des Garçons

Many of Comme Des Garçons’ fragrances are designed to celebrate the artificial and manmade, but none did this quite so effectively as its 2011 fragrance. It combines light, airy florals, like saffron and hawthorn, with base notes of manila envelopes and industrial glue. The effect is intoxicating, fascinating, and also quite pretty. It’s hard to track down these days but we did find a lone bottle at Barney’s.

$140 for 100ml eau de parfum at Barney’s

Rain by Clean Reserve

Ah, the vague and ephemeral smell of rain. Everyone loves it and yet no one can quite describe it. Clean’s attempt to capture this scent for its Reserve line is definitely close to the real thing with light, floral whiffs, the sense of some disrupted earth, and the freshness of rain.

$95 for 3.4 fl oz eau de parfum

Room 237 by Bruno Fazzolari

At first sniff, this fragrance might remind you of a freshly cleaned hotel room, with its green, floral notes. Smell more carefully and you’ll notice an incongruous and creeping hint of … vinyl shower curtains. Surely you wouldn’t expect anything less from a perfume inspired by Stephen King’s The Shining, right?

$110 for 30ml


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