I’ve never tried Secretions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d`Orange, but a few years ago it was a popular discussion topic at Basenotes.net. Perhaps it would have been better to market something apparently so “experimental” as a sample rather than in large bottles, but I have no idea how their business model works and this scent may have been quite successful, at least in terms of expectations. My thought is that it would be best to create several different “oddball” scents and sell samples as a “collection.” Then the company could also sell bottles (let’s say 50 ml), which they would fill up when an order was placed, rather than spending a whole lot of money on bottles that are sealed up (meaning they can’t be used for whichever scent becomes popular), along with fancy labels and boxes. They could use very plain labels and bubble wrap, which might become part of the attraction. Instead, it seems that (or at least ELdO)) wanted to be odd in a way that is appealing to those who view themselves as “hip” (or whatever).
Interestingly, I created a very strange scent unintentionally, though it smelled reasonably good to begin with, several years ago. It began with a purchase of a tomato leaf accord, and I don’t even remember exactly what I was thinking when I bought it. Then I tried combining it with a strong amber scent, I think Casmir. I then forgot about it for several years, rediscovering my concoction recently. I didn’t even know what it was, because the label had fallen off, but as soon as I opened it I could recognize the tomato leaf accord. It was in a small glass bottle that I wanted to use for something else, so I dumped this mixture out into the sink (there was probably no more than a couple of ml in it), then ran the water for several seconds. I quickly realized that it didn’t smell quite right, though the strength of it was amazing (and I’m pretty sure I followed the directions, in terms of how much to use).
Coincidentally, I also invited a couple over to the house that day, and when they arrived the whole house smelled like the weird concoction. The husband hated the smell but his wife thought it was nice (at first), though strong. Perhaps an hour later she said that it was beginning to irritate her. I didn’t know what to make of it, because there was something about it that seemed to cause pain to the nose, yet the notes seemed about right (I’d say there was at least a somewhat metallic quality to it, though). Needless to say, I don’t want to repeat this “experiment,” and I just threw that bottle in the garbage, though in retrospect I should have screwed the cap back on and put it somewhere for a few months and then tried it again.
By contrast, I began using a smock type garment while making up samples and decants because I hate getting a little bit of this and a little bit of that scent on my clothing when I do this. I guess one would call this inadvertent layering, but it generally results in an unpleasant olfactory experience. However, the other day, when I went to retrieve the smock to make up some samples, I noticed that it smelled very nice. It was a little sweet, a little powdery, perhaps at touch spicy, but very rich and “full,” though otherwise it was difficult to make any notes out clearly. It reminded me of what Luca Turin said in his “Perfumes: The Guide” book (co-authored by Tania Sanchez): “The difficulty with this kind of composition is that it works only if the raw materials are of exquisite quality. Nothing is harder to do on the cheap than diffuse, soft-focus luxury.”
On at least some level, the smell emanating from the smock has this “diffuse, soft-focus” and luxuriant quality. It reminds me of some very old scents I’ve encountered (marketed to women), but those tend to have poor longevity and don’t feel as rich or full. I’ve made samples of new scents that possess strong “synthetic” qualities, so I am surprised that the smock doesn’t have an unpleasant odor that is similar to the one I created with the tomato leaf accord. I do remember getting some of a scent on clothing for the first time and thinking that something was very wrong. One example is Cuba Gold. On skin I liked it, but when I got some on my shirt, it seemed like a sweet “synthetic” quality emerged perhaps an hour later, sort of like an attempt at a new candy flavoring that failed badly. Generally, I seek dynamism, and what’s on the smock doesn’t seem to possess much of this quality, but for some reason it never gets boring, though I haven’t yet tried sitting for a while with it on my lap, to see if it maintains all its good qualities without taking on any negative ones.
If there are any “new developments,” I’ll update this post.