Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Poll: Worst Perfume Ever!

I haven't really had a ready post for today (well, not the way I like them to be) as I had my hands so full of things to do, but I wanted to draw your attention to a very very interesting discussion I came across on another board where people discuss the "worst perfume ever!". Apparently sacred monsters of our fragrant universe (such as the famous Tubereuse Criminelle by Lutens) and more expected controversial/polarising specimens (Womanity or Angel anyone?) are being mentioned. There are a few factual errors too, but it's nevertheless fascinating to see the responses of what appears to be average folks to our little hobby.


So an idea of a poll came to me: What do YOU consider the worst perfume? Which criteria do you apply to this judgment? And should we even assess something fragrant on an axiomatic scale like that? (after all, fragrance is conceived to smell rather nice, so "worst" becomes a subjective term)

Let's hear it in the comments section!


  1. Chanel #5. It smells like industrial waste to me. Absolutely revolting.

  2. The perfumes that I hated the most on my skin and scrubbed off the fasted were vintage Dioressence and Balienciaga Rumba. So nauseating! I also really, really hate L'Eau D'Issey and Clinique Happy, both of which I wore in high school of course...

  3. (Make that "fastest")

  4. Prince Barry21:38

    I would have to say Sécretions Magnifique. To me, it is more of a novelty fragrance where the description sticks in everybody's mind and they think they can smell bodily fluids, when to me, it's just very iodine heavy and not something that could be worn for pleasure.

  5. Umm...

    My ears are all pricked up at the mention of 'factual errors' what has caught your eye in these polls that claim to dish the dirt on the worst?

    Yours ever

    The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Anything "gourmand" makes me sick to the point of nausea, so I'll nominate Angel.

    When I was a teen my father wore Kouros and I absolutely hated it; but that was many years before I developed a taste in fragrance, and I now wear scents such as vintage Opium and MKK with ease. I might try to smell it again sometime to see if I still dislike it now that my sense of smell has "evolved" (assuming it hasn't been reformulated beyond all recognition).

  7. To me it's a toss-up right now between Versace Yellow Diamond and Isaac Mizrahi Fabulous, because both are the most boring, designed-by-committee-and-made-in-a-factory-without-a-lick-of-attention, phone-it-in fragrances I've ever smelled.

  8. Giorgio Beverly Hills. It's been said that this histrionic little number was banned in restaurants for being so offensive and overpowering.

    1. Anonymous17:54

      I agree with Giorgio Beverly Hills. When is first came out in the 80's I loved it as did everyone else. Now I find it revolting. I also dislike YSL Champagne. I sat next to a woman who took a bath in it on a trans-continental flight and that did it for me.

  9. Great responses! Keep them coming!


    without too much scrolling you can see Ysatis mentioned as made by YSL for instance (click the link within the article to read)

  10. The worst perfume ever in my life was 100% Love by Sophia Grojsman (S-Perfume). On my skin it was definitely smelled like berry-chocolate baby vomit...Off course,I tried to wash it off,but oh nooo!!!...this terrible disgusting smell just absorbed deeply in my pores and it remained on and lingered around for looooong hours after I almost scrubbed my skin off from my hand...I've never had such experience like this with any perfume before,but this one really could turned up my stomach.:S Only two words come to my mind whenever I hear this name 100% Love: extremely pervert.:D

  11. I'm so busy laughing at the comments on the site that I can't come up with anything original. Here's a good one: "After smelling Catalyst I stuck my nose in my cat's litter tray for olfactory relief.
    That perfume smelt so bad I wanted to slap it's face."

  12. Anonymous22:45

    Michael Kors for Men and Gaultier Cockoriko Dior Poison all banned at work for causing nausea and building evacuation Yuk !

  13. pfffff, it is so hard to say , of course there a few not very good frgrance...Versace Yellow Diamond could be...

  14. Agree with Madarasz above. 100% Love is 100% Nasty. Smells like the outhouse.

  15. I'm always reluctant to air my opinion. A perfume might be awful to me but great to someone else, so is it really bad? But since it's already been mentioned, I heartily agree that 100% Love is 100% hideous.

  16. Dolce and Gabanna The One for Men.

  17. annemariec01:09

    'The worst perfume ever' is not the same as 'the perfume I hate the most'. The latter question is mostly the one people are answering.

    I happen to loathe Red Door, but plenty of people like it enough to buy it. Does that make it a 'good' perfume?

    The real question is: are there any objective criteria for judging perfume? Or does it all come down to individual taste?

    Here are my criteria for what is 'good' for me:

    - the perfume does not have to be highly original but it must hold my interest and not bore me;

    -it must have at least half-day longevity (this excludes a lot of natural fragrances from my collection) and enough sillage that I can smell it without cramming my wrist to my nose 10 minutes after I have applied it;

    - it must hold itself together and not collapse into a base of boring musk after half an hour;

    - ideally it should not be dominated by a single note or accord that prevents me smelling anything else;

    - I must like how it smells (entirely subjective;

    - I must find it wearable (ditto). I may like the grassy, petrol-y, earthy smell of a lawn mower once it has been used to cut the lawn, but I don't want to smell of it myself.

  18. Miss Heliotrope01:17

    I dislike foody smells - vanilla &c, but know lots of people like them. Being a chypre/leather/green tending person, I've come across a lot of people not liking those, and tend to assume it's just people's taste.

    My more specific dislikes are to do with attitudes that are part of the marketing - the perfumes that are "not stinky like the others" or that this one is "feminine", meaning no other is - nobody is making me wear the ones I dont like, so why should I fuss?

  19. Anonymous02:56

    Cabotine took out the prize for me , although I love it as a room spray !? I can't work it out either!

  20. Interesting link, a combo of "old lady" and powerhouses (like Angel or Poison). As usual, "old lady" is apparently a killer, whatever it means.

    As for me, I have a huge aversion to certain woody ambers and to marine notes. So my horrors include Light Blue, Tirrenico, Voramar, Ambrarem, etc. To the point that, with a casual partner who happened to have lightly sprayed himself with one of them, I couldn't perform.


  21. If you like Giorgio, you'll love Primo! And if you hate Giorgio...

    There was something truly awful about the sharp inconsistencies of knock-off body sprays from the 80s--copies of scents that were too powerfully acrid to begin with--and these were aerosol, to boot. You know, meant to be sprayed head to toe.

    When were nitromusks banned? I think I acquired a permanent, neurotoxic twitch from them. I'm almost not kidding.

  22. claude04:35

    Zegna, Essenza di Zegna, or Zegna Intenso, I think it was called. Horrorshow musk that drove itself into my brain like a railroad spike and stuck to my skin like greek fire. It was like being followed round by the moans of the dead for 36 hours.

  23. Kartoon06:11

    The worst perfumes to me usually come from those celebrity labels ...
    Justin Bieber, Sean John, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears ...

  24. Anonymous07:49

    The latest version of Shalimar. The vintage is heavenly. The stuff being sold now, which I think should have been renamed, remlnds me of the scent dog groomers spray on poodles (no offense to poodles or to people who like this).


  25. Anonymous08:52

    Oh my goodness! Reading the comments on that site really opened my eyes as to what people who don't live in our perfume world think of some of my favourite fragrances. I found some of the vitriol quite funny, but I think I have been spoilt by our wonderful perfume blogs and the usually well considered remarks of commentors. There was one shining light - a knowledgeable poster who wrote well and seemed to calm the mood!

    As I've got older, I think (well, like to think) that I don't hate with such force any more and find I can appreciate even the perfumes I used to loathe, I reckon the blogs have educated me, and I suppose my taste has changed.

    The one thing I can't stand, though, is the smell of the detergents/fabric conditioner on people's clothing. Now, that is something truly awful to my nose!


  26. Solanace09:23

    Escape, l'eau d'issey and all the mellons and cucumbers that came after them.

  27. Anonymous10:53

    Sécretions Magnifique, Reformulated Chanel No 5, Poison, Reformulated Opium, Muscs Koublai Khan, YSL Champagne, Escape and all those melon/cucumber L'eau d'issey type fragrances as somebody has already mentioned on here.

    I agree with Kartoon’s comment about the revolting fragrances issued under celebrity labels like Justin Bieber, Sean John, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, etc. I also agree with the comment about the latest reformulated version of Shalimar smelling like dog groomer’s spray. Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll add the latest version of Mitsouko (especially the EDT – so pissy and watered down) – what Guerlain has done to it is beyond blasphemous.

  28. Anonymous12:10

    I agree with anonymous re; fabric conditioners especially those containing Karanal which degrades with Slow Drying to 'eau de pewk' the worst odour to encounter on the london underground in winter

  29. pretty much anything victoria's secret has churned forth lately. and by lately, i mean ever...

  30. Anonymous12:56

    Tommy girl by Tommy Hilfinger and Cool water by Davidoff. Good for toilets but not for my perfume collection... :)

  31. Worst ever for me is By Killian Pure Oud. It smells to me like a heavy roiling cloud of black smoke from a haystack-size pile of burning black licorice. I am phobic of licorice and anise notes to begin with. I keep my tiny sample rolled up in a plastic baggie in a corner of my perfume box, and I am afraid to disturb anything near it. I do know there are people who love it, though--I am sure it is well crafted!

  32. Astrid13:43

    Fleur de Cabotine - a chemical horror and the only scent I ever took the trouble to return to TJ Maxx.

  33. I cannot stand CK Eternity, so much so that when I smell it I can't focus on anything else. Also on my 'worst' list: Obsession, Giorgio, Issey Miyake (men's and women's), anything by Paris Hilton, Calyx, Mitsouko (sorry, it's awful and swampy/cat pee on me), Red Door, Poison Tender.

  34. I like all perfumes; I see the perfumer's dream, and I am taken by his/her sensitivity at the moment of creation. However, there are some I wouldn't buy. These are:

    L Eau d' Issey
    Dolce e Gabbana D&G
    Clinique Happy
    Coco Chanel Mademoiselle
    Dolce Vita
    Dolce e Gabbana Feminine
    Gabotine Gres and I really don't like
    Chloe Eau de Parfum

    I confess that I had most of the above perfumes. A proof that as time passes by we change; what seems to be perfect for now, might not work in the future. And that includes people too :-)

    Big hallo to all of you!

  35. Sandy Cain14:34

    I worked with a girl who OD'd daily on Giogio. It was a dental office (!), and between the typical dental office smell (eugenol), and the toxic waste spill of Giorgio, the office smelled like a $2 whorehouse turned into a weapon of mass destruction. OMG....I can never get a whiff of Giogio without wanting to puke. (and flashing on the sound of the drills...)

  36. Anonymous16:46

    The worst fragrance I have smelled thus far is the reformulated Bal à Versailles EDT.It is absolute garbage. It starts off loud,sharp and spicy, then dries down to a powdery mess. Don't get me wrong, I like some powdery aspects, but this was way too much. Not only that, the pungent notes at the top never let up. This is what makes it so bad. The civet, leather and incense that make the vintage edp so incredible are nonexistent. In contrast, while the vintage edp is velvet, thick and luxurious; the watered down reformulated EDT is so pathetic it's ridiculous.

  37. class flirt18:46

    although i consider myself an iris-lover, Chanel 28 La Pausa has me fighting off a wave of nausea even as i write this comment. i want to like it. i've given my sample of it 'one last try' at least 5 times. and yet...ick. that said- would anyone out there like to take possession of this damned stuff? first person asking is welcome to it.

  38. rickyrebarco20:01

    Worst excuse for a fragrance ever is Bluegrass by Elizabeth Arden. What was the perfumer thinking???

  39. Anonymous21:13

    (hope this posts, had trouble with my last post)

    I read the Mumsnet forum thread on perfume a while back because I was looking for views on Amaranthine and reviews of it there were hilarious.

    It just goes to show it's true that many people are anosmic to certain musks - if they experienced what Amaranthine smells like to me, there's just no way they could like it. To me it's the B.O. of a lifelong alcoholic. I know that smell because I worked for a few months in a drop in centre for people with addictions. Not only that, after the BO has kicked in, rancid milk appears, mixed up with strongly fecal lily. I deserve a medal for seeing it through to the bitter end though, where my bravery was rewarded with a squirt of ammonia so intense I seriously worried about the lining of my nostril membranes.

    Others are Fracas, Poison (don't enjoy tuberose) Clinique Happy (don't enjoy lemon scented oven cleaner). Eternity was quite a finite experience for me, and Coco Mademoiselle smells like greasy hair that's had cheap orange cream sweets rubbed into it.

    Apologies if anyone likes any of the above!

  40. PBlaha21:17

    So funny! For me thats Amarige by Givenchy. Anything with prominent Ambra Ketal/Ambrocenide.

  41. Narcisee by Chloe and White Oud by Montale smell like dog's halitosis which lingers and permeates my sense of security.
    Angel nauseates me and makes me rub my skin with bleach and dare I say I prefer the smell of bleach than that of Angel near to my human radius.
    Ormonde Jayne Woman smells like a dream in the bottle but on me it smells like the aforementioned Narcisee so dog's halitosis with tears n my eyes for having such a troublesome skin.
    Le Labo Rose 31 smells hideous to me, like a musty pantry full of smelly ghosts.
    Santal Blanc and Un Bois Vanille just turn my stomach. Any sweet perfume in general makes me sick so walking around Sephora generally gives me a nice fruity punch in the head which I endure, of course, for the sake of curiosity and a bit of masochism.
    Aquolina Pink Sugar makes me go blind. I want to rip my eyes out and feed them to the dog's with halitosis. Add to Aquolina Betsey Johnson's Too Too Pretty and I will drink bleach to cleanse myself and I dont even want to venture in the realistic rose mindscape because I will just drown.

  42. Anonymous02:41

    Obsession, Stephen Jones by Comme des Garcons, Giorgio, Diorissimo, Red Door. You can wax poetic lyrical all you like about Tubereuse Criminelle but it's nothing but horrible. It's like a warped type of burnt tyre rubber cross antiseptic mouth wash and it makes me feel like throwing up every time I smell it.

  43. Donnatelle02:46

    rosestrang, your comments on Amaranthine are quite possibly the best thing I've read on the internet all week!

    I hate the latter day incarnations of Chanel No.5. No way would I pay hundreds of dollars to smell like Femfresh.

  44. Anonymous08:54

    Many heartfelt thanks, all of you! Now I know exactly which perfume to buy. I use perfume to set myself apart. I do not mean to please.

  45. Womanity, but maybe that one's too obvious. The flacon is also horrifying.

  46. Merlin16:36

    i assume by 'worst fragrance', that perfume that I most dislike - nothing to do with structure, objective merit, etc - just a matter of taste. So for me: Secretions Magnifique gets the trophy but Womanity, Angel, Aromatic Elixir and Magie Noire (at least on MY skin) are contenders. I don't think celebrity scents are in the running at all because they are formulated to be pretty and non-offensive and I think most of them succeed when used in low doses. Being in a cloud of Bieber all day would of course kill me!

  47. The one I actually scrubbed: Rume by Slumberhouse, it just smelled like urine and rotting hay. But that was most likely a chemistry failure and I did enjoy the idea behind the scent and it certainly was an experience to wear it, so it is not the worst scent ever!

    The ones I actually hate with a burning passion ar so many that I can´t actually name them all. They are the girly summer florals, the clean and fresh non-perfumes, the harsh and synthetic male scents... If I had to name just one all time hate I guess it would be Fresh Laundry by Clean. Utterly pointless and revolting scent!!

  48. Anonymous19:52

    When someone said Cabotine, I screamed. Truly, better left unremembered! I've disliked many different perfumes in my life and have rescinded on most of them. This is where subjectivity comes into play. My ex mother-in-law wore Youth Dew and slathered it on even when we went to the beach! You wouldn't have fond memories of it either.
    I just revisited my Marie Gray's St. John and I would love to get that peach note in some of my own perfumes. There is always something to like even when you dislike something. Okay, maybe not always.

  49. Anonymous22:25

    Deciding what's good or bad in perfume is subjective, and based on so many things including personal taste, allergies, one's body chemistry, connotations of a particular smell, etc. But I agree with annemariec's criteria above, all of which I've used for judging a perfume.

    To answer your question, I'll define "bad" perfume in a couple of ways. One, a bad perfume is derivative, boring, uses cheap ingredients, has a structure that quickly falls apart, and has no lasting power. Two, a perfume can be bad in a "why would you want to smell like that" way. In this category I would put Secretions Magnifiques, Byredo's M/Mink, and Le Labo Oud 27.

  50. Anonymous22:25

    I almost passed our when I smelled Le Labos Rose 31. Drunk hobo in super dirty underwear was all I got.

  51. I have read this blog for quite awhile but have never commented. I've often wondered why I can't stand some very well known perfumes and thought that I must be off. After reading the comments I feel liberated ... I can actually say that I really don't like Chanel #5. It makes me gag. And, men wearing Aramis, although I like it, it sucks the oxygen out of the room and gives me a headache!

  52. Anonymous22:18

    I don't know about "worst perfume ever" but we wre in Paris, making my pilgrimage to Serge Lutens purple shrine, and I was in sniffing heaven. My husband was sipping tea when I asked him what he thought of Muscs Koublai Khan. He leaped back with this horrified look on his face. In the interests of ever having sex again, I regretfully left it behind.

  53. Anon,

    that's a very cute story on the Lutens MMK!! :-D
    Don't despair though, many people find it unpalatable (and me and you don't know what they're talking about!)

  54. Ruthie,

    liberation, isn't it grand? :-D
    There's absolutely no reason not to dislike something that others like/respect. It'd be a numbingly dull world if we were all the same. Even if sometimes one does respect
    something from a critical point of view but still doesn't like it enough.

    Welcome on board and hope to see you commenting again.

  55. Anonymous23:47

    Angel! I hate it. Stop wearing it everyone!

  56. Anonymous19:06

    Paris Hilton perfume smells like a urinal cake

  57. Anonymous20:20

    The worst? Red Door. Bottega Veneta. And every men's fragrance except Guerlain's Vetiver.

  58. Anonymous23:56

    Police - To Be. TRULY the grossest perfume i have ever smelled. i hate it.

  59. Anonymous20:31


  60. Anonymous08:42

    Tresor La Nuit. Disgusting gourmand sweetness. I'd put up with Panache for the rest of my life over that La Nuit. Bleugh!

  61. Worst perfumes/cologne ever in my opinion
    1. Poison by Dior. Absolutely revolting!
    2. Angel by Mugler. The stuff is disgusting.
    3. Eternity for women. They call it that, because it never leaves the room.
    4.Any perfume by Versace. All smell like baby powder for prostitutes.
    5.Lagerfeld. My grandpa wouldn't wear this crap.
    6.Lady GaGa FAME perfume. Absolutely vomitous.
    6.Grey Flannel. This stuff is old man nasty.
    7.Fahrenheit Dior. Oofa...someone open the door.
    8. Cool Water DAVIDOFF. Smells like a male hooker.


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