Extreme Perfumes


Post by Anne-Marie


Hi all
I’m interested to know what are extreme perfumes for you? How far can a perfume push a genre for you before it’s too much?

Extreme Perfumes?

What Pushes You Over The Edge?

First Van Cleef & ArpelsVan Clef & Arpels

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Raspberry, Mandarin, Peach, Black currant
Heart: Carnation, Hyacinth, Orris root, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Narcissus, Orchid, Tuberose, Turkish rose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Amber, Oakmoss, Honey, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Vetiver, Civet

I got thinking about this when I read Portia’s Van Cleef & Arpels’ First post which, as I said in a comment, is too rich and opulent for me. No matter how I wear it or try to dress it down, it seems to demand silks and satins, furs and pearls. I might aspire to that sort of glamour occasionally, but it’s like getting mum’s old patent leather stilettoes out of the dress-up basket and stumping around the lounge room in them. Fun, but I’m not going to step out the front door. Indeed I think that on release in 1976 First took us to the zenith of the aldehydic floral genre, beyond which no fragrance has ever gone since.


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Basil, bergamot, amalfi lemon, tangerine, artemisia
Heart: Jasmine, rose, peach, pepper, white honey
Base: Oak moss, woodsy notes, patchouli, leather, Virginia cedar, civetta

The civet and oakmoss in Paco Rabanne’s La Nuit make it unwearable for me – me! A chypre lover! But La Nuit out-chypres all chypres and I’m really not surprised that it was discontinued ages ago. Were it released today on the niche market, La Nuit would be a darling of the cognoscenti.

Fracas Robert Piguet FragranticaFragrantica

BaseNotes gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Mandarin, Hyacinth, Green notes
Heart: Tuberose, Jasmine, Orange Flower, Lily of the valley, White iris, Violet, Jonquil, Carnation, Coriander, Peach, Osmanthus, Pink geranium
Base: Musk, Cedar, Moss, Sandalwood, Orris, Vetiver, Tolu balsam

Piguet’s Bandit and Fracas, now: they both take us to the edge – over the edge – in the leather chypre and white floral families, respectively. I can’t wear either of them. Bandit is too bitter and Fracas just too freakin’ weird for me. I’ve tried them, though. You need to test the boundaries, or you won’t know where your boundaries actually are.

I don’t wear orientals much, or certainly not extreme spicy or skanky ones, but I know that they are out there. Do share your experience with these. Love them or hate them?

And what about extreme powder in fragrances? Where does that take us?

Eau Sauvage Christian Dior FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon, basil, bergamot, cumin, lavender, fruit
Heart: Jasmine, rose, carnation, iris root, coriander, patchouli, sandalwood
Base: Oakmoss, vetiver, musk, amber

Ultimately I think I must believe in that old maxim: restraint in all things. It’s not just a style choice, it’s a fundamental personality trait. I rarely go to extremes in anything. I can stop at two chocolate biscuits, two glasses of wine, and one (okay two) pairs of red shoes. Cheese is harder, admittedly.
Here’s a parting thought. Are there extremes in the citrus cologne genre, or are they inherently minimalist? Dior’s Eau Sauvage (or 4711, or insert your favourite here) may be the very best citrus cologne ever, but no-one is going to back away and call the scent police on you, are they?

Most of these fragrances are available at Surrender To Chance to sample

Bye for now everyone, but do drop in a comment and share your thoughts!
Anne-Marie xx

12 thoughts on “Extreme Perfumes

  1. I love Fracas and Bandit! When I want to go over the edge though I wear Boadicea the Victorious Complex. That is a massive destroyer. I adore her.


  2. I am happy to wear the skankiest, most extreme chypre, cheese, leather, cat pee, on fire thing in the world. Bandit is a favourite for work.

    Iris though? Hates me, so even the slightest hint is enough. Sad, because I like how it wears on others. And sweet. Me wearing sweet perfumes is like an extreme sport – and I suck at sport.


    • Cheese! Now there’s a challenge. I adore cheese but for me I reckon it’s best consumed off a plate. 🙂

      Another Bandit lover!


    • Fracas must be wonderful on people who can pull it off, and it’s the sort of perfume you can stay loyal too because surely there is nothing else quite like it!


  3. Hey Anne-Marie,
    I have a La Nuit mini that you gave me. HEAVEN!!
    One that I saw over at I Scent You A Day recently that often causes polar responses is womanly, very big, unusual and long lasting. Yummy for me.
    Portia xx


  4. Hi Anne-Marie,
    Thanks for the wonderful article. I love wearing orientals, extreme dark, potent, spicy and skanky perfumes. I don’t believe in gender-bender in perfumes. So I love wearing women perfumes too. Shalimar, Cinnabar, Poison, Obsession, Aramis Aranis, Chaps, Samsara, Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant, Chanel No 5, Coco, Mitsouko, Habanita Molinard EDP and many others.


    • That’s quite a line up! YOu certainly do love your orientals. Do you wear Tabu as well? I spritzed that on a card on Saturday and I can still smell it on Tuesday. Much too extreme for me. 🙂


      • Tabu is on my want list, never tried yet. I missed a chance to buy due to short of money when I was on visit to Islamabad from Peshawar (home city). Next time will buy for sure. Opium (men & women both), Youth Dew are the others intoxicating perfumes that I love to wear.
        Thanks for recommendation of Dana Tabu.


  5. I am a huge fan of La Nuit! The skankier and more animalic the better for me and my nose 🙂
    I really like to comibination of rose/civet in La Nuit.


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