Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Top 13 Worst fragrances?

Uusally blogs post their Top 10 or so Best Perfumes etc etc. in a popularity stake that is easy for readers to browse through and can identify with; makes for light, pop reading. But what about a negative list? Those are less promoted by far, although far more illuminating on many levels. How does such a selection gain credence and isn't dismissed as snark, vitriol or plain ignorance? It's all very well for someone to say that they absolutely think something is stellar (no one gets offended and often the reader believes the author knows something they don't) but when someone bashes someone else's favorite scent, feelings can get quite hurt it seems!

I'm not going to attempt a Top Worst Fragrances List myself due to that very reason, but coming across one had all the right bells ringing and I thought I'd bring it for our readers for discussion: There's an article at MSN named Pe-ew! based on ratings of readers of TotalBeauty.com , comments of whom the article reiterates. The selection is rather tame (someone should send the readers some Secretions Magnifiques as a control specimen!) and the comments oscillate most often between the plain tired "old lady" (for lack of a better vocabulary) and the "heavy", while surprisingly the same things that are considered heavy to one are non-perceptible to another (or considered having no lasting power either). Makes one wonder just how our everyday choice of fragrance is really greeted by other people, doesn't it? What emerges from the poll is that under no circumstances can you:

1)Smell like a grandma (Why the hell not, if you want to? Is it a dirty thing?)
2)Smell cheap (Ditto)
3)Have something cost more than its perceived value in olfactory terms. (Blurry, but the only logical complaint and I'm afraid lots of brands and products are falling into this pit)

List of Top 13 Worst Fragrance from Total Beauty.com (in reverse order):

13. Aromatics elixir by Clinique : Predictably assumed "old lady in a bottle" and one reader likens it to "cats, mothballs and fruitcakes". Bernand Chant's bones are creaking, but no need. This is one of the MOST complimented fragrances on strangers, while it can be a bit too much on oneself sometimes. I had praised it profusely years ago and I still stand behind my credo. Personally I use the body lotion or the Sheer version; makes for less intense wearing.
12. YSL Parisienne: One reader notes the newest Yves Saint Laurent is a combination of her "grandmother and trees" (!), others find it "cheap" (can't argue) and "forgettable" and many consider it "not youthful at all". We can assume the sexy-teasy advertising missed their aim...
11. Lush Go Green: In the words of one reader "like a Christmas tree air freshener." That ties in with that green I guess!
10. M by Mariah Carey (Elizabeth Arden): Featuring a burnt marshmallow scent that is too sweet to the point of aversion it seemed condemned from the start. Proof people aren't swayed by a pretty bottle.
9. Lancome Magnifique: I had voiced my disagreement with the presentation and press about this one (basically a little misleading) but surely not the ghastly thing presented on that poll. "Cheap, incredibly strong and heavy, quickly fading": I can't say I agree with any of this. I can see how it can be polarising as a smell though; it's not among those I'd choose myself.
8. Aveda Pure Fume Essence: Haven't personally tried this one, but "musky and earthy" don't rate too well with today's audiences, at least on Beauty.com it seems. The Avedas I have tried, I wasn't impressed with.
7. Kenzo Flower : Isn't this a best-seller in the 30s-40s age bracket? The proof that powdery scents (alongside Cashmere Mist and Hypnotic Poison) are not only designated perfume solace for the elderly? I laughed with one reader insisting that she "shouldn't be hitting the bottom notes of a perfume within an hour". Really? Is this a new rule? Has she smelled any orientals? First time I hear about this concept!
6. Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds: A reader who worked at Macy's says the salespeople called it "the old lady scent." "If you needed a gift for a much older woman, we sold you this!" All right I'm perfectly willing to accept this. Yet older women should be indulged too and what is Liz Taylor if not an older woman nowadays? (embarking on her 9th marriage no less!)
5. Harajuku Lovers Lil Angel : Possibly the least disliked in the Karajuku Lovers range gets bashed ("cloying, powdery, sweet, fading"). Typical.
4. Avon Timeless Cologne Spray: I can't really criticize the tried-and-tested poisoned arrows of "heavy," "musky" and "so very old" because I was jumping up and down like a demented puppy seeing again the little roll-on bottle I was handed down as an elementary school kid! I recall really liking the -problematic to classify- scent, even then. Goes to show you... 3. Tocca Stella: Again, isn't this really popular? One reader mentions it's reminiscent of gardenia or lilac like this is a criticism. I'm rather stumped.
2. Gucci by Gucci: Obviously tastes differ, but Gucci is selling quite well, so it probably pleases a lot of people. But reading through the comments, I get the sense that the major complaint is not lasting long enough or being perceivable for the duration it's expected.
1. Gifts of the Sea Spray by Caswell Massey : I have never smelled this, but now I'm psyched to hunt it down and get a sample. The complaint seems for it to be "dull". Somehow I think that could be said about half the current market...Anyway...

So: What do you think about the above? And which are your Top Worst Perfumes?

pic via enet.gr


  1. I think this is as much a comment on anonymous reviewing practices and the paucity of language most people have when it comes to describing scent. That said, it makes me giggle that the complaint is so often that it smells bad AND doesn't last long enough!

  2. Mahora. I tried to mix it with just about anything and it's still overwhelmingly nauseating. I love the extrait bottle, which is why I have this damn scent.

  3. Anonymous17:25

    I am surprised Bright Crystal didn't make the cut... Must have got stuck at No. 14...

  4. Anonymous17:27

    Not much niche in that list, is there? I'll compensate by making my list entirely niche!

    1. Secretions Magnifique, and the rest of the offerings from ELdO. I can't stand anything this house makes. None of it is good; there is only pain, disgust, and oddness.

    2. CdG Skai is also literally painful, as it induced a migraine that held on for a few hours.

    3. Parfumerie Generale Haramens, which I believe was concocted as a joke, is like wearing wearing the contents of a hamster cage that HASN'T been cleaned out.

    4. CB IHP Under the Arbor, for the GIANT fake grape note, which I detest.

    5. SIP Lyric Rain has the biggest, petrol haze-smelling jasmine in the world. It will devour your soul, and not leave the husk of your body until a good three showers later, even on my notoriously scent-eating skin. It's so thick it singes nose hairs.

  5. For the record, I love Timeless and often spritz some on to wear to bed. I'm actually amazed it's still well known enough to make the list. Clinique AE--well, I like it, but understand its hate-ability. The rest of the list seems to be made up of completely forgettable perfumes that don't deserve such passionate dislike!

    I'd never make a "worst list" because I've learned over the years that there is no perfume that doesn't smell good on *somebody*.

  6. Anonymous18:12

    Worst? for me these are - in one way or an other , making me sick/ill/feel bad:

    1.) Samsara/Guerlain - makes me sick, even a whiff of it
    2.) Cuir Venenum/ Parf.Generale
    3.) 4711 - bad memories to a kissing old aunt, about 50 years back from today. Yuck
    4.) Bandit/Piguet
    5.)Poison/Dior and all it's offsprings
    7.)Charlie/Revlon - this is so sticky to my nose I can not bear it
    8.)Diorissimo - gives me instant and heavy headache
    9.)Violetta/die Parma - headache trigger par excellence, for me
    10.) that cheap and cloying Musk everyBODY used in the 70s

  7. Absolutely agree! :)

    I'd add one more leader to the list:

    it's the G*d awful "Angel ou Demon" (The original one)

    It is hideous!

    Oh, and "Palazzio" by Fendi should be present in this list of shame too, imho! It's a run of the mill "old lady in a hairnet on the death-bed with her poodle" scent! AWFULNESS in a bottle! >:(

  8. I'm not sure whether I should just list the ones I hate with a purple passion, or the ones I hate because I can't wear them?

    Listed in arbitrary order, since they're all about equally heinous...

    - Parfum de peau (I think it was called) by Claude Montana. This one was such a monster, back in the late Eighties, that my sister and I had to bribe our mother NOT to wear it. (She loved it!) Instead, we bought her the glorious First by Van Cleef& Arpels (I think Jean Claude Ellena was behind it), and she loved that one so much, we buried her with it.

    ELdO Secretions Magnifiques - dirty underwear, bottled at an exorbitant price.

    Calvin Klein has created some duds in his day. Among them - Eternity (major headache and nausea-inducer) and Obsession for Her. Ergh.

    One of my major perfume battle axes: Dior's Miss Dior Chérie. Why? Oh, why? Why did they murder one of the most glorious chypres ever created and then bury the body with THIS...this pale, pallid, limp and sorry excuse? Why?

    Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb. Bomb is right. A candy-floss, candy-scented, incandescent stink bomb of a scent that lasts for hours - and hours - and hours. There are those who love it. Let them, and let them please stay away from me for as long as possible. Preferably until they've outgrown it.

    Thierry Mugler's Angel. So bad, there are no words to do it the justice it deserves. Maybe it's because so many love it to death and well beyond.

    Another Dior - Poison anything. I hated it in the late Eighties, and I don't like it much better now.

    Muskzillas. I'm not big on musk. Period. Therefore...even as I am a total Serge slut, Muscs Kublai Khan, I'm looking at you. I wouldn't wear it if my arm were located in Ulaan Bator, and the rest of me in Kansas.

    Shoot me, but I'm one of the clueless who doesn't get the sheer, utter splendiference of Bal á Versailles by Jean Desprez. I don't. I don't. To me, it just...reeks of desperation, maybe? Or should I have left out the maybe?

    Youth Dew by Estée Lauder. EL has given us some amazing scents, and for all it's classic status, I still can't abide it, and I've tried. And tried. Not happening.

    It could be a long list. I could have added the J Lo anythings, the fruitchoulis, the "let's copy everyone else" launches of the past two years.

    It's gotten to the point where a perfume nutcase such as myself is genuinely blown away when something exceptional comes along.

    Among the recent ones I've tried and loved: Issey Miyake's A Scent and Via del Profumo's Mecca Balsam.

  9. I had a friend who wore Timeless really well. It was just beautiful on her. Wear it in good health, BG.

  10. The worst fragrance I can think of is Guerlain Nahema. I'm sure it smells nice on someone out there, but on me it's a horrific combination of sour, metallic rose and fake peach. Truly awful.

  11. I must add Fracas to the list.

  12. But... they forgot Bandit and "kryptonite": Miss Balmain!
    No joking: great article! It shows that beauty is in the eye of the be(er) holder. Also with pefume. Even so much more than we'd like to admit...

  13. Alyssa,

    hi there! :D Hope you had a good time during Easter/Passover.

    You're so right: Talk about an oxymoron peppered with a sense of twisted irony! (a literary feat I'm sure!LOL)

    Are you -as I am- of the opinion that "old lady" in particular is as total lack of vocabulary (and imagination)?

  14. L,

    *passes out from the sheer thought of mixing Mahora to anything*

    That's just plain wrong!!!! LOL

    Yeah, the bottle ain't half bad, it's what's inside that is terribly strong. I had a similar problem with Spellbound. It smelled overflowing from a closed drawer, boxed and surrounded by tissue paper!

  15. Jolav,

    thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Well, BC so utterly boring in my opinion they probably forgot it! ;-)

  16. Disteza,

    hello, thanks for such an elaborate and well-thought out, vivid and descriptive comment!
    Yeah, I thought the target polling participants were not particularly into fragrance only, but were general beauty-centered people. Which is fine of course. Just saying.

    You get dirty underwear from SM, then, eh? I wish I did, because all I do is bleach spilled on an operating theater and cold steel gleaming in a blinding light. Stuff of nightmares...

    I haven't tried Under the Arbor and Lyric Rain: think I should? Just kidding :-P

  17. M,

    awww...so sweet! I'd love to get my hands on some Timeless again. I recall I had cherished the little roll-on for years (even empty it retained some of the scent and it made me nostalgise) and only lost it in my 20s when moving for studies. Drats!

    And I agree with you that something has to be really bad or really polarising to garner such passion. These are mostly boring.

  18. Chatelaine,

    I love how you define your specific associations with each of your "worst" fragrances: It explains things so much better and can see where you're coming from.
    So much for once saying that no one can hate 4711 eh? It's enough to have someone shove it up to your nose all the time to have you hate it. True!

    Have to admit I like a couple off your list though! *dons naughty hat*

  19. Pobedochka,

    thanks for chimming in and goodness, you took the words out of my mouth!
    I had likened AoD to a very, very distrbing imagery in my head!

    Can't really recall Palazzo though: apart from the very evocative effect, how does it smell? (should I make the effort to get a sample again for refreshing my control specimen?)

  20. Oops, forgot to include the link to my old review of Ange ou Demon.
    Here it is!

  21. Tarleisio,

    won't hold it against you if you do either!
    Secretions Magnifiques should probably get the prize for most weirdly disgusting scent of all time. It's so ghastly and nauseating it should be the work of deliberate thinking.

    On another note, I think you've got an excellent point in listing the same old same old (isn't that endless copying a declaration of "we've screwed"); only probably due to overexposure we have become apathetic to them any more and don't curl our lip. (most of the time, LOL)
    Certainly some of those you specifically name are love-it-or-hate-it scents. Those I can easily see on a Best or Worst list.

    Sorry about the Bal a Versailles not suiting, can't say I have thought about it in such terms, but it's an interesting thought!!

  22. Karin,

    I can well believe it. It's a well-rounded, almost "classic" smelling perfume with no hard edges.

  23. Amy,

    don't let Jean Paul hear you say so! (i'm kidding of course, I admit it's not my top Guerlain either, but that has to do with not being crazy about fruity roses)

  24. ThisisKia,

    thanks for stopping by and commenting.
    Fracas is certainly polarising and its sheer magnitude can easily become too much too soon!

  25. N,

    hello darling, how are you?
    LOL!!! I should borrow the excellent saying "beauty is in the eye of the be(er) holder"! So very apt.

    I think Bandit and all of the Piguets really are coinnoisseurs' fragrances and are deliberately intense/love-it-or-hate-it affairs, but apart from the more well known Fracas (thanks to an intense mid-90s re-introductory marketing) the rest are rather kept as an inward secret for perfumephiliacs. So I wouldn't expect them to end up on such a poll.

    As to Miss Balmain, that bad eh? :P Is it the leather note in both, I wonder? Or something else?

  26. Mystic Knot02:11

    I really don't understand the old lady and grandma smell comments. I agree with some of the scents mention but not about others eg. Aromatics Elixir.
    Anyway, I want to smell like an old lady . :) Old lady rules ! *LOL*

  27. Okay, I've got to say it right off the bat. I've got a partial "pimped out bottle" (Turin's words) of Gucci by Gucci. With the stripe and the buckle. And a happy hound I was when it arrived, 1 1/2 years ago. I thought it smelled good, and good on me. It still brings me happiness to see that bottle.

    Is my perfumista in training card revoked?

    Plus, I've got an Aveda on my shelf. From early in scent wearing. PureFume. A friend gave it to me when she heard I was getting into perfume. I remember not being offended.

    AE I, of course, will defend openly. Street cred comes with that one. :)

    Okay, candidates my own Top Worst:

    Sienne d'Hiver. Yup, I dare risk my cred again. What is *with* that stuff? It's all about being difficult, as far as I can tell. And teases you with things that could be "interesting," but then slaps yo' face with stuff I don't really want to know about. I am SO confused; don't a ton of people like this one?

    The previously mentioned: Fracas. It's a ruckus, all right. And Mahora. Mess.

    Kingdom. Denyse's gusset is my nose full of panty.

    I'm sure there are others...I think my brain is cringing...must take a break...

    But, it was fun. :)

  28. Hehehe,glad I did. High time smn said the truth about the over-rated AouD. *knods with content*

    Oh, by no means, get "Palazzio" sample - it'll haunt for weeks! *starts to have a nervous break down* ;-P

    P.S. I'm keepin' my partial devotion to the original(original only!) "Angel" by Tierry Mugler. :-) I belong to the majority and I adore it as a perfume for special occasions or elegant nightouts. <3 somewhat strong magical scents like this sometimes. ;-)

    P.P.S. I enjoy this blog so much! *cheerfully presses the post comment button*

  29. This is so funny! and that list is bizarre

  30. I blieve I have a pretty high tolerance with perfumes. I even sek out weird perfumes, or perfumes which are constantly given a bad wrap. And a rarely feel the need to scrubb something off. My worst experience with a perfume was Amouage Gold Men. Extremely vivd old lady immagery.

  31. Helg,
    Regarding Mahora, it's a well done... tuberose weapon of mass destruction. My line of reasoning was that if it's a well composed perfume, all it needs is to shift it to a level I'd find wearable. I'm conducting some experiments and I'll publish the results someday.
    But, should you want a decant of Mahora, I have plenty.

  32. I'm not experienced enough to have a list of "worst" fragrances, only a list of those I don't "get". Topping that list would be Feu d'Issey. I know, I know, people love this one. To me is smells of pepperoncini juice and Vick's cough drops. By the way, I quite like Fracas!

    To MysticKnot: I'm with you, gal, on the old lady thing. I do think that when people say "smells like old lady or grandma" they are showing an irrational fear of maturity.

    Beauty is in the nose of the besmeller! My phrase. You are all welcome to use it. Just stop calling those classics "old lady". Unless they really are bad, but why blame older women?

  33. MK,

    who can argue with that? :-)
    I think it's a lack of vocabulary that makes for all those non-sensical comments about old ladies etc. What does one mean exactly: are they referring to pleasant grandma associations, stink of incontinence or sophisticated style of "perfume-y" scents? It could be anything! So it ends up giving no clue whatsoever!

    I'd say some older ladies wear lovelier things than younger lasses these days. And things are marketed differently, which makes the young-aimed things of old smelling like "old lady" today. Irony, eh?

  34. Anonymous13:55

    Here are the worst ones I can think of:

    Quelque Fleurs
    Iris Silver Mist
    Aromatics Elixir
    Miss Dior Cherie
    Mor Marshmallow

  35. S,

    I have to say Purefume I've heard mentioned positively, but I can't vouch with a personal opinion having never tried it. Is it the same as the hair products? (herbal etc)

    I agree with several of the point you make (very honest, thanks!): I think sometimes us perfume lovers and collectors end up being lured by the different for the sake of difference, or probably due to the ennui deriving from the sameness of the market...
    Only I really like Kingdom, don't find it dirty at all! ;P

  36. Anonymous14:03

    Dear Helg,
    The perfume thing is complicated. Usually the most potent fragances come first when it comes to the list of worst,because they are nauseus when they dont work with body chemistry. My personal worse is JUNGLE by KENZO.I cannot stand it I tell you. But,one day I was at a bank and came in a lovely old sophisticated lady wearing this. Instead of the usual nauseus smell , a devine smell came out through her. Then I came to the conclusion it has all to do with body chemistry. Another point is bad memories. A bad memory connected with a fragance=worster Fragance Unforunately!!!

  37. Pobedochka,

    thanks for your kind words on Perfume Shrine, happy to see you here too!

    LOL, OK, advice taken, won't pursue a sample of Palazzo after all. I bet it's that bad if it makes you that passionate in reverse ;)

    As to Angel, I agree that it's a spectacular perfume in concept which takes quite some getting used to, only we have been so bombared with imitations that we've become somewhat repelled by the ubiquitousness. Familiarity breeds contempt? Or in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre "hell is other people"? Something along those lines...

  38. Peggy14:06

    Forgot to tell you I am Peggy!:)

  39. K,

    it does make a bizarre list, doesn't it. This is why I decided to comment upon it and open it for discussion.

  40. CPK,

    thanks for commenting, very interesting. I'm with you, most things don't seem that ghastly that one would be cutting off their arm to avoid them. They're totally annoying/boring sometimes, but that's another issue.

    So weird though, I would have expected a masculine fragrance to at least smell like old men!! LOL!

  41. L,

    oh, please no need to send me any more Mahora, I know full well the nuclear potential it possesses!! (Insolence is like that in strength, only I rather like Insolence).
    I've come to the conclusion that it's the strongest things that are either loved or hated. And there's no guarantee on which side the pendulum will slide. The subtle things go unnoticed so often.

  42. Queen cupcake,

    oh dear, no, I don't think people love Feu d'Issey!! (I personally find it innofensive and not that revolutionary either)Plenty of people dislike it. And good on you on Fracas: a single drop on someone who suits it is lovely.

    Wonderful coinage of phrase, it's a fact that people interpret smells differently although we all smell the same way, which opens up an interesting discussion on what is nature and what is nurture of course...

    I can't understand why older women are so demonised either even though I'm rather young myself; you don't hear the term "smells like old man" quite as much, do you?? It's probably a whole shifting of the axis on youth adoration in the last 30-40 years, I guess. Youth is all very good (it has always been), but old isn't that bad, especially in our times when older people have so many choices, amenities/opportunities. I just don't get it!

  43. Anon,

    ISM in there too, eh? I guess it's a violent iris. Marshmallow sounds ghastly, one might roll in a bed of Lucky Charms and get their fix, one'd think!

  44. Anon,

    very true! Potent just has the potential to be very much on the conscious and therefore it illicits strong responses (which in reverse I guess justifies why most compliment-getters are strong things to begin with). And totally agree on memories and associations; see above my comment to Chateleine et al. It's the pits when that happens with something that was previously a favorite though, isn't it! (someone you dislike starts wearing it and you get to hate the scent)

    What a lovely story about Jungle, I had a similar one with Amarige (a frag I abhor). To further your thought, I think it also has to do with application and dosage. Using too much can be lethal, using a drop can become alluring.

  45. And oh, nice to see you Peggy! Hope you're well and had a wonderful Easter!!

  46. LOL...I shall spritz *you* with my Kingdom, should ever we meet!

    I like to joke that it is a darn good thing one fans Poison is another's poison...variety is the spice of life, no?

    And of course I am honest. Even with my fickleness. Just had to eat my words on SL Tuberose Criminelle. That one would have been on my list above had I not by some fluke sprayed it *that very day* and been having the out of body experience of enjoying it. Erik Erikson was right; evolution happens throughout the lifespan... :)

  47. Anonymous15:27

    Dear E,

    Thank you as usual for a provocative and highly amusing post. I can't say I have ever thought about the worst perfumes as it would always come down to personal taste. I will offer Fruits and Passion's Peach Obsession (a recent sniff)as rather ghastly (anti-bacterial, public bathroom handsoap to my nose).

    What I really wish to express, however, is my eternal thanks that my paternal grandmother did not wear scent and that I do not remember what my maternal grandmother smelled like. Even if I did, I do not think I could ever consider smelling like my grandmother to be a negative. My grandmother was hellaciously chic and stunning so when I consider a beloved perfume, I often do so because it is something she WOULD wear. I see her in Bandit (a personal favourite I wear) or anything dry and almost masculine. Off topic, I know, but I really wanted to defend that whole "smells like my granny" issue as it seems prevalent.



  48. Anonymous20:19

    I'm glad it is not just me having problems with "Parisienne": I tried it in the airport recently out of curiosity - mouldy roses in a fruit-stocked compost heap can't be what they were aiming for, can it?

    Luckily I had a "Wild rose in jojoba oil" about my person, to help me recover and obliterate all memories of "Parisienne". How could they do that to "Paris"?

    Dear oh dear.


    Anna from Edinburgh

  49. Love this post and love your blog. I always learn something reading it.

    Some of my less favourite scents are

    Giorgio, although everytime I smell it, I got memories back from my life in the US. Urbana(IL) mall smelled of Giorgio and cinammon buns.
    Lou,Lou by Cacharel. Yikes!
    Carolina Herrera. It's my mom's signature scent, and I like my mother very much, really. But, what I don't like is that she marinates herself in that juice....
    And then many of these flankers or flunkers (whichever is the word in English) they get out of scents like Paris or Mis Dior.



  50. Hmmm...I haven't smelled them all yet! And I'm sure there will be more. But:

    Dan te Bras (repeat 10 times) Not really, just that I can't imagine wearing this and, as I remember, it got quite a few raves;

    Giorgio: a roommate I once had who was noisy and obnoxious wore lots & lots of it.

    Charlie: Yuck. Hated the advertising too.

    Love in White. So synthetic.

    Tribu by Benetton. An even uglier bottle than Tocade's and a smell like fruity bathroom spray.

    Iris Silver Mist. On me it's just dirt.

    Beautiful. Just too, too too much. All Lauder scents should be applied with a Q-tip, imho, except for Tuberose Gardenia (which I love).

    I can't think of any more right now, but I'm sure there will be some in the near future.

  51. Dear Helg,
    Our like/dislike, love/hate to perfumes changes not only over the years and experience, but sometimes over night. Impressions from first sniff can be changed dramatically after a night with a perfume. I also can change my attitude after I walk the perfume in different weather. Of course there is love from the first sight that seems to be everlasting – Sonia Rykiel’s Woman comes to mind. It seems there is also eternal hate or rather intolerance – Habit Rouge edc on skin is vomit inducing to me, regardless of the plush rose it exhibits on paper. On the other hand Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent is dirty and nose crunching, but keeps me curious and agitated.
    Mahora was mentioned several times – well, it is poisoned gas to me on me, but to others it adds huge dose of femininity that my unscented personality is lacking.
    As for the “old lady” cliché – it’s a lazy fraise, a shortcut of description, but it works – you know what it means. Its negativity though shouldn’t always be implied - a friend of mine is particularly fond of grandma’s, old fashioned smells.
    Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma will be my personal addition to hate/intolerance list – it suffocates my in powderness, while pushing big white flowers in my nose. It jumps from a distance and is suddenly all over you, without a hint of warmth, obnoxious and overbearing. It makes me feel like a maid in the commanding presence of “Gosford Park’s lady of the manor.

  52. Anonymous13:25

    1.aromatics elixir....100% old lady sweat
    2.poison-absolutely horrible
    3.youth dew -probably the worst of all
    4.coco mademoiselle-old,old,old barbershop with dirty cheap lotions
    5.opium- why the heck people ever bought that???

  53. S,

    I will gladly capitulate to the Kingdom spritzes if we meet (which is something I'd very much like to do!)
    You're absolutely right: People do evolve all the time and it makes for an enriched experience. Who can predict how we will respond? ;-)
    (I think Tub Crim is gorgeous!!!!)

  54. Thank you Natalia for your compliment and so glad that so many have enjoyed the article, even with the little snark in it.

    How lucky of you to have had a grandmother of exquisite taste! A perfect role-model, that ritual of following in the footsteps of a classy relative is so much a rite of passage for girls....
    And yes, mine was that way too and I ALWAYS think of her and her scents fondly. Apparently, there are grandma scents and "grandma" scents and we shouldn't all "bag them all together"! (or so, whatever way that expression goes)And besides, shouldn't grandma stand for comfort and love and pleasant associations? It's a bit jarring when I see it negatively used in a fragrance description!

    Fruits and Passion's Peach Obsession: Luckily this is the first I hear of this!! :P

  55. Anna,

    I can't really understand what they were thinking either! Both perfumers working on this are very knowledgable, Grojsman's triumph is IMHO Paris exactly (lovely no matter which side one sees it from), so I am hypothesizing either budgeting sufficient to foot a mass-market fruit flavor for 2nd class juice or else a challenged concept-team at the helm.
    OK stop me, I'm being vitriolic. ;P

  56. MJ,

    thank you so much and welcome, so glad you're enjoying it here. Please feel at home!

    I can see the 80s with their bombastic sillage-monsters have left a lot of scars to many people's memories. No wonder!

  57. P,

    to smell everything would be more than an Herculean feat I suppose. It's close to an impossibility, like some university research done stating that the average person cannot in their lifetime even complete reading all the literature classics.

    I'm amazed you remember Tribu, that was vile I recall. And it was marketed as "fresh". Come again??

    I agree that the Lauders have an amazing throw that necessitates the Q-tip application (LOL!!) Some are very competent and very nice, if applied in such moderation.

  58. Idomeneus,

    welcome, what a LOVELY username! An opera fan or a Crete fan? You just brought a smile on my face!

    You raise valid points and I agree on several of them. Perhaps the familiarity with a fragrance on oneself is what makes it well-tolerated while the ubiquitousness of it on others makes it unsupportable after a while? That would explain a few things, it seems.
    Your examples are interesting to think of! Especially the Iris Nobile one, hadn't thought of it that way and the class/caste distinction reminds me of a review I had read about a scent not befitting the lady of the house, but the governess even if she's getting her PhD in the process.(smart review)

    There is a small club of us who like several "grandma" smells, probably because we had glamorous grandmas to begin with! But sometimes when someone uses the phrase I can't discern whether they mean it positively or negatively (maybe it's just me): It seems to be dependant on other phases to clarify it and nuance it further.

  59. Anon,

    I can think of several reasons one would capitulate to Opium myself :P but I had to laugh with your Coco Mademoiselle descriptor: From what I have noticed, even though marketed to the 20-something group, it's actually women in their 40s who buy it in droves in my experience. Isn't that funny in a way? (tells a lot about marketing gone awry at any rate)

  60. Nancy C.15:58

    I'm surprised no one's mentioned Pink Sugar. That stuff is nauseating. There are two kinds of bad perfume...the kind that just stinks and the kind that's poorly composed. Pink Sugar is both.

    I have to agree on Fracas and Mahora. Tuberose scents are difficult because tuberose isn't a "pretty" scent. When it's all up in your face like Fracas it's like being confronted by a redneck with road rage or a Tea Partier with a Obama as Hitler sign. You just want to know when is it going to stop. LOL

    As much as a worst scent list is, I'd love to see a list of the top ten most boring scents. Now that would be an argument worth having!

  61. I think it's funny that quite a few in the comments I own, wear, and adore (Opium, Poison, Aromatics Elixir, Fracas. oh lord!)

    I just can't stand the way overly sweet things smell. If it smells like a marshmallow, it makes me light headed.

    Ugh! The "old lady" tag. Even my own mother is guilty of using that phrase. I wore Arpege one day and she told me I smelled like an old woman. Oh, I smell like elegance, class, and beauty? Well I am perfectly content to smell like "old lady" then! I just don't like what's marketed to my age group (I'm 25). It all smells awful. Miss Dior Cherie? Parisienne? No thank you.

    1. Anonymous19:59

      Old lady smell is that of disease and decay being coveted up by something Luke baby powder, and possibly cat urine.

    2. How kind!



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