Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jammie Nicholas Surplus: Feces Scent to Drive Men WILD!

Just when you thought you'd seen it all in fragoland, a new ~euphemistically called?~ fragrance arrives that promises you what you had been dreaming of all your life I'm sure: smelling of feces and dirt! "Gee, your hair smells like shit!" Is there a line more delightfully received by a female from a male admirer? Careful what you say or you'll risk having your perfumista card revoked...
London-based artist and self-proclaimed perfumer Jammie Nicholas, who proclaims "The Sun is But One Anus" and "Curiosity Castrated the Cat", named this controversial fragrance Surplus, "made from the excesses of the body" perfectly suited to the concept which should have every dog out there sniffing wildy: "I didn’t want to be like all the other schmucks and translate something from English into French just to sound glamourous", says Jammie. "Surplus carries the same meaning in both languages, which negates the romantic connotations of the French language."

A loaded meaning indeed. Well, no one knows about the joys of dirt like the French who doused themselves in vats of perfume in centuries past to cover up the stink of bodies unwashed since their own christening, using pleasant smells to cover up non pleasant ones. So now, the tables have been reversed and unpleasant smells will (?) be put on some of the "edge" back on our super-clean bodies.
I can hear the perfumista cries in my head right now:

~"Have you heard about that new extra-limited exclusive scent called Surplus? It's supposed to have a dirty smell"

~"Dirty as in indolic, you mean?"

~"Hmmm, don't know about that but it's supposed to be fecal, rather beyond indolic. Hard core stuff."

~"Oh my, fecal! Gimme some! I want to embrace my and the artist's innnermost effluvium so badly! It reconnects me with my core center"

~"Fecal does that to you, doesn't it. I bet it will drive all the guys WILD! I hear it's extra limited distribution, only 85 copies in existence and then no more!"

~"Oh dear...LEMMING!!! Who sells it?"

~"Not sure. I have heard of a niche new retailer who call themselves "The Worshipful Society of Toilette Apothecaries", they're supposed to have a very exclusive art salon, located in a seedy banlieu in Paris...or is it London, I don't recall".

~"Goodness, how can anyone take advantage of such an opportunity, though, without a ticket to Paris or London?! Clearly I must befriend the artist on Facebook and ask him to reserve at least three bottles for me and another ten for my innermost circle of friends who can appreciate this art level."

~"It takes quite a bit indeed to appreciate this sort of stuff. It's not just for the hoi polloi, you know. You have to make yourself known for having your nose firmly up your butt, so to speak. Not be repelled by what mommy told you back then when you potty trained..Not being so very anally retentive when wiping after doing your business you know...."

~ (pensively) "Assuredly...yeah...Now lemme look..." (contemplates purchase and contacting Jammie on Facebook)

What inspired Jammie Nicholas for this coprophilially embracing project, apart from any potty training misadventures that is? A book by the late Dominique Laporte called History Of Shit. (while you're at it check out this and that too). In it, the social historian analyses the theoretics of feces, down to its social implications and the role the dirty smells play in the construction of cosmetics.

Thankfully Jammie Nicholas has his head on his shoulders at least some of the time and is charging economic prices for something that is meant to be a cuiro purchase anyway: Surplus is available as a limited edition 60 ml of Eau de Toilette in 85 copies priced $40.
The site is at surplusperfume.com. Bon voyage!

pic via fragrantica


  1. Anonymous11:39

    Loved your in depth look at Surplus. For me, famously anal retentive as I am, it is a definite "No, thanks!" though. ;)

  2. HA, HA, HA! Hysterical. Well, I've changed enough diapers, thank you very much! Perhaps men like this smell more than women...so this might be better marketed for man-on-man. But I won't go there...

  3. LOL

    Why would one spend $40 when they can produce it the natural way?

    Hmmm, which means we can sell our....?

  4. Go far enough to any extreme, and you find yourself so far gone you have plunked down in the mainstream (wastestream?), in general or in fragrance. We can reach even beyond History of Shit to that modern era children's classic, Everybody Poops, to see this circle in action.

    Uber edgy, or the one thing that unites us all?

    Amidst my chuckling, I'm realizing where this all goes: the next generation of feces perfume, the anti-perfume version, titled "My Sh*t Doesn't Stink."

  5. When I wished on a falling star for a perfume backlash to all those fruity-sweet and clean musk perfumes... this is not what I meant. Sorry everyone.

  6. I do know one thing; this is one perfume I do not want to smell, ha!

  7. dleep16:47


  8. B,

    obviously even non anally retentive are welcome to eschew the concept :-)
    Still, it was the belly laugh I needed when I found about it and I admit that I prefer a self-parody than a Tribaufourian (ahem!) magnum opus ;-)

  9. TFC,

    indeed the poopy experienced might give it a pass! :-D

    Now, don't give them all Tom Ford like ideas, now!!...I DREAD to see what TF'd do with such a concept; I see sleek, sleak hands resting atop hairy butt-cheeks, I see the bottle resting atop strategically places, I see said part of anatomy going all...urgh...let's not get there!


  10. Shahlab,

    evidently we're missing on one of nature's biggest investments: cash in on one's own poo! After all a whole book has been written about how it's a revenue industry.

    I kinda think that it would be LESS ridiculed if it cost more, you know. Charge it 500$ a bottle, front it with perfumer-extraordinaire Tribaufour and embottle it in Bacarrat crystal and the dialogue I devised might not be that fictionary after all....

  11. S,

    EXACTLY!!! As always you seem to "get" it totally and go into the heart of the matter. Where's that thin line that differentiates the "in the know" from "in the bowl"?..ooops, there goes that poopy thought again!

    Everybody poops. I almost hear REM singing:
    Don't let yourself go...Cause everybody poops....some days...when they're not constipated...
    When you think you've had too much (curry)....no, no, you're not alone....
    cause everybody poops, take comfort in your friends...

  12. S,

    forgot to say (seriously now):

    There is obviously a market ripe for "art" concepts in olfactory terms. The rest of our senses have been relentlessly assaulted (think of extreme performance artists such as Otto Muehl, Bob Flannagan etc.) via performance art, music clips, gropping "plays" in avant-garde theaters etc. Only our nose remained more or less uncharted territory. Now it's going to be milked for all it's worth, I guess.

    The idea of an anti-scent, a scent that eliminates all humanity offers in the stinky department is both our century's triumph and demise: Civilization and sanitization, hand in hand. And a few bouts of coprolagnia for good measure.

  13. K,

    And you have the balls missie to admit it publicly? See what you've done??? Now go there and grab every bottle on the self and bathe in it! You stinky perfumista, you!!

    ~just joking of course! :P

  14. Stelma,

    careful,careful, you'll have your perfumista card revoked. Oh shoot, it's things like that that give a bad name to perfume collectors: people will think we're loonies.

  15. Dleep,

    apparently there are real, all natural, all bubbling absolutes used!


    (if I haven't completely disgusted you and you stayed the course fot the end the comment, yeah, poor model is what I thought when I first laid eyes on that pic!)

  16. Finally, an eau de toilet!

    I don't think I need to sample this one.

  17. well, honestly, there are all sorts of pissibilites, opps, I meant possibilities. Imagine the many notes that one could touch on: sick poop, vegetarian poop, vegan poop, paleo-diet poop, spicy poop, raw diet poop, scared as s*** poop, family signature poop scent...ohhhh dear the list goes on and on. Hey this guy might be onto something!

  18. Amy,

    the idea gone to the extreme edges of its name!

    Come to think of it: If there is actual poop entering the formula, how can it pass regulations for hygienic products etc? Of course it won't get sold beyond art collectors and the like, so one might argue it's of no concern, but surely some legislature would exist covering such projects. I wonder now.

  19. E,

    Back on the serious track...yes, indeed, there is a market for "art" concepts in perfumery. And, as you already well know, I additionally tend to think there is a place where art and perfume intersect without the need for quotation marks.

    I'd submit as corollary to the anti-scent elimination of humanity you mention the prediction Octavian offered in a recent post: that in the future, room/environment scents will predominate. Which is frightening to me for similar "where is the humanity" reasons...layering ourselves with virtual reality that real reality is displaced to (or beyond) the margins. I would be comfortable in a place where I could not gather real olfactory input...and don't like the implications of leaving our olfactory input to market research panels and laboratory noses.

    Gives a renewed emphasis on the line Luca Turin referenced in The Guide--what was it--"un peau de merde, please?" I'm not fond of it as contrived posturing or room smell, do I do appreciate why it might be important to the overall experience.

  20. Anonymous00:46

    ha. LEMMING indeed - yes, the boards will be alight with them. this is funny. someone please sniff and report!


  21. This has got to be a joke. Why would anyone want to smell like feces? I just can't wrap my head around this one.

  22. I was having dinner and browsing your interesting blog. I had to put my food away cant eat and read this time.

  23. Anonymous07:26

    huh... interesting this... you might want to read this post on I Smell Therefore I Am, http://ismellthereforeiam.blogspot.com/2011/02/introducing-ultra-exclusive-limited.html , which is basically what Mr Nicholas ended up doing. Only this project must have been long in the making, and then to read this blog is just weird. Perhaps the time was just right? Who knows.. huh, again... cheers, Wendy

  24. Anonymous08:35

    2011 is really turning into the Year of Extreme Perfume. First, Atlan's extrait that smells like a woman's thang after sex. Now, poop! Maybe there's something to those end-of-the-world theories after all....

  25. S,

    I'm afraid we do leave our olfactory input for market research panels and lab noses, even by discussing these issues. If the axiom of low-quality TV-channels "this is what people want" (aka, "here, take this and shut up") applies, then we might give the industry ideas as to what appeals reaaaaaally. But I'm afraid my personal belief falls in the camp of "they're shaping us" rather than vice versa (Just like those lowly TV_channels)

    It's scary to think that superimposed scent, a virtual landscape fused through huge woofers emiting fake smells is looming in our future, but vast research is being conducted into this alas and it's being effectuated by companies in order to calm people down, make them more industrious, make them buy more...I had devoted a post on this in a previous post in the past on electronics companies.
    The prospect of application of the Ludovico Technique does not have me enraptured, I can tell you that!

    Ha, that line referenced by Luca did make sense in the context of too much beauty is bad for the digestion (It needs a little smashing up to be truly appreciated for what it was; I'm coming up all Bataille today, but I digress).
    Anyway, surely that perfumer referenced didn't have in mind such extremes as this "fragrance". Or did he?

  26. J,

    careful: there is one fatal mistake in the presentation. He's saying that it's made of stinky, unpleasant stuff. If he had said that it was recreated to only smell like stinky stuff, oh what a world of difference! Then the boards would truly be alight with lemmings ariot.

  27. Eld,

    pssst: shock value factor gets you precious (free) lines in the press.
    Legit, I suppose.

    Can't wrap my mind around it any other way.

  28. Taffy,

    ooops, sorry, I ruined your dinner and your reading this time. :-( We will revert to pleasanter subjects as scheduled now, don't worry.
    Unless of course the industry suddenly decides to bombard us with fecal stuff -funny picture that- but I really don't give much credence to that latter scenario myself... ;-)

  29. Wendy,

    thanks for the thought: I had read it and it's stellar. In fact I DO believe Brian is an insider in the fragrance industry with a book deal in the works, who knows all sort of interesting little tidbits that he's revealing in a gush-forth of comedic style. :p

  30. Masha,

    best line I could read, thank you!!! Huge belly laugh.

    Yeah, makes one wonder: First Japan, now this...where is the world going anyway?

  31. Anonymous08:35

    how does it actually smells like compare to the "real thing"? is it smells sythetic or quite real? I'm curious.

  32. Shelley beat me to the Everyone Poops reference, one of my kids' favorite books that drives me nuts to read, over and over.

    So, I laughed all the way through this. I'm curious, though, as far as I can see, you haven't smelled this gem? Not that I'm criticizing. I won't be buying it!

  33. Anon,

    I have been adventurous enough to chew the musk candies and to order the civet-poop coffee (incidentally very good indeed) but I think putting on skin someone else's amalgam of bodily excesses somehow reaches a hygiene level even I am not ameanable to. I reseve judgement on actual "juice" so to speak. If they send stratch & sniff cards, though I will give it a try! :-)

  34. March,

    honey, thanks for laughing along with my attempt at satire!

    I suppose having kids makes one less likely to be shocked by the sense of poop and the book reference is one which is of course a classic.

    Like I answered above, no actual sniff yet, only critique of the concept and way of communicating (isn't it great that I estblished a tradition on these pages so we can safely dissect these without having collateral olfactory casualities?), but if the artist sends me along a scratch & sniff card and it proves to be something surprising (either way) I will try and write about it ~assuming I survive.

  35. "scratch and sniff" made me laugh for all the wrong reasons... also, I just noticed the image! I mean, really looked at the ad. I'm equal parts amused and disgusted. But I still didn't whip out the credit card.

  36. M,

    I thought it would :-D

    Oh boy, now your retinas are burned! Of course I know that it's probably some St.Tropez lotion muddy just out of the bottle or something...but it does hint at "delicious"...effluvia...Gotta love her expression!

  37. Just found this blog after watching a slot with the artist on TV. It doesn't actually smell of poo, just made with. Apparently active compounds in poo are the same as in white flower scents, just at very much higher levels. He's tweaked it around that's all and produced a fragrance that is a fragrance not a stink. Oh well. Art students have to do something hey?

  38. Lin,

    how very interesting! Apparently a controversial idea gives air-time. Not that I'm surprised. Nor should he be.

    Yes, everyone reading here knows aboutindoles, only the notion of mixing someone's poo in something someone is going to wear on their own skin does bring out some repulsion in most people. Can't reaaaaally blame them, even though I like to think of myself as quite open-minded.
    Like you say, art students have to do something indeed. I am really curious to which direction his projects will take him next.


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