Is Chandler Burr’s “clean anus” simply delicious ?

On pages 248-249 of the book, “The Perfect Scent,” by Chandler Burr, we are told:

It is one of the most astounding smells you will ever
experience. It is, to put it most precisely, the rich,
thick scent of the anus of a clean man combined with
the smells of his warm skin, his armpits sometime
around midday, the head of his ripely scented
uncircumcised penis (a trace of ammonia) and the
sweetish, nutty, acrid visceral smell of his breath.
There is simply no other way to describe it…

The smell of clean anus turns out to be extremely
helpful in perfume. In trace amounts it deepens and
enriches floral scents, fleshes out green scents.
Jacques Guerlain…famously said that all his perfumes
contained, somewhere inside them, the smell of the
underside of his mistress. He was referring to all three

First, I’m surprised these comments have been discussed as much as at least I would have expected (and I’m generally a low expectations kind of person!), especially considering how much online chatter there has been about scents like Muscs Koublai Khan and Musc Ravageur. And this is Chandler Burr, not some guy calling himself Bigsly with a small fragrance blog! Now I (and others) have pointed out that some “dirty” notes strike me as more “foody” than “dirty,” such as cumin, but I simply can’t relate to these claims. And I don’t think it’s because I’m apparently more “Puritanical” than Burr, not having engaging in any “ass play” in my life, but instead that I don’t associate “human smells” with these largely synthetic olfactory concoctions. Yes, MKK reminds me a bit of something one might encounter from an underarm area, but that was long ago (that I sampled it) and I can’t remember another scent that had that quality for me, other than Carlo Corinto (when I was newbie, and I have only a very vague recollection of it now).

So, perhaps this is due to sensitivity levels and/or one’s sexual lifestyle, but where things get very strange is when one uses the phrase “clean anus.” Let’s be blunt here, if you take a “fresh” scent and spray someone’s anus with it, what have you created? The point is that this seems to be Burr’s notion of what that might be like (though of course he may have tried it), and he seems to be talking about evocation rather than the perception of something that actually exists (since what one of these concoctions evokes for him, perhaps mostly in the top notes, seems to be a lot more important to him that to me). And I wonder what all those people who have been using the word delicious in their scent reviews would make of this! Can an anus be delicious (let’s assume you are not an “ass play” person and generally don’t go poking your nose in such places)?

My major criticism of Burr’s reviewing style, aside from putting too much focus on evocation, is that he isn’t specific about his tastes, and that can lead to misleading reviews. By contrast, I am very specific, having said on many occasions, for example, that I try to largely avoid any fleeting top notes. One major thing I always think about when reading a review is whether the reviewer is what I call a “top notes person.” If he/she is, then I know not to place much weight in it, in terms of making a blind buy purchase. Can anyone think that not only would he/she enjoy a “clean anus” scent, but also know that Burr’s notion of what this coincides with is what his/hers would be? Burr seems to be either a bit naive in terms of how much variation there is in the perception of these concoctions or he is trying to “make a name for himself” with such statements. Can you think of another possibility? If so, please leave a comment !

If nothing else, I think the “delicious people” and the “clean anus people” (however few there may be of the latter) demonstrate that it’s crucial to consider the way perhaps a majority of people perceive these concoctions. On the one hand, using the word delicious suggests a gourmand scent, whereas many if not most would likely avoid a “clean anus” scent, though some might be made more curious by such a remark, just as talk about Secretions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d`Orange seems to have led many (at least in the online fragrance community) to feel compelled to sample it. You may have a social circle in which describing things (that are not food or body parts) in terms of deliciousness or anal cleanliness is common, but do you really think this applies to the majority? Why not ask yourself if your description would make sense to your grandmother before writing up reviews that are going to reach those of many different demographic groups? You don’t want to make a “horse’s ass” of yourself, do you?


Filed under Criticizing the critics.

2 responses to “Is Chandler Burr’s “clean anus” simply delicious ?

  1. nirvanabear

    I love the smell of clean anus and ripe, uncircumcised penis! Why hasn’t anyone made an anus and smegma-centric parfum yet?

    • Many years ago (before I had internet access, so that would be early 90s or earlier) I remember reading that there is wide variation in taste and smell during sexual activity, with some people not liking either or both to be part of it whereas others are on the opposite end of the spectrum (most being somewhere in the middle).

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