The Electric Perfume Acid Test


Val the Cookie Queen


“She comes in colours everywhere, she combs her hair, she’s like a rainbow ..”  1967.  The Rolling Stones.

Hey Happy Trippers

Perfume is my drug of choice, these days at least.   As I was writing up my recent psychedelic special in Strange Tales Part II,  I got to thinking about what fragrances I consider as trippy.

Do colours smell?  Are they light, or dark, or sparkly?  Do they appear in layers?  Do they move?  Can you taste them?

The Electric Perfume Acid Test


“Better odour recognition in odour-colour synesthesia …. People who see colours while perceiving smells are better at distinguishing between different smells and different colours, and are better at naming odours, compared to a group without synesthesia.”  Science Daily 2017

I have odour-colour synesthesia.  But don’t assume this makes all perfumes psychedelic, it most certainly does not.

Le Maroc Pour Elle by Andy Tauer 2005  

This is a trip in a bottle.  Patchouli, sandalwood, rose, jasmin, amber, incense.   Crimsons, pinks, purples, golds.  It is the smell of the free festivals in the seventies, of the Welsh teepee people, in their velvet clothes, soaked in patchouli and jasmin oils, woodsmoke in their hair;  appearing to me as mystical and otherworldly.  My love for these rich notes remain with me to this day, and nothing comes close to Le Maroc Pour Elle.  It stains my skin with beauty and invokes deep memories of long summers spent at Stonehenge.  The California Sunshine of the perfume world.


Kiki EdP by Vero Kern 2010

A vivacious warm trip, tinged with sensuality.  Lavender, bergamot, lemon and passionfruit pull us joyfully in, escorting  us to the tranquility of caramel, patchouli and musk.  Swirling colours;  lavenders, deep amethysts, royal purple, golden yellows and shades of white.   The Purple Haze of the perfume world.  A calm and harmonious experience.  I am on my second bottle.


Patchouli is a crucial material in a trippy perfume for me, showing clearly what generation I come from.

I guess it is no coincidence that with Albert Hoffman, founder of LSD being Swiss, that it would take two Swiss perfumers to turn psychedelia into a fragrance.


Do you have any trippy perfumes?

Psychedelic Bussis










27 thoughts on “The Electric Perfume Acid Test

    • Hey Brigitte! Dark patchouli – ohhh yes. That does it huh? I will dig mine out tomorrow. I have a bottle of Il Profumo`s Patchouli Noir Osmo – something like that. It is an oil. And I have had it for at least ten years. I can only wear the LMPE in the summer, but then again “trippy” is really for summer. Peace and love 🙂 Val xxxxx

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  1. Great post concept, Val.
    Some perfumes conjure up colours in my mind but I’m not sure that is strictly synesthesia. No idea how it actually works. I did hear Michael Stipe say the other day that he sees music more than hears it.
    Funnily enough, I see Mito in colours of white, bright green and neon pink. Another one is Angelique by Papillon which is in pastel shades of blue, green, white and pink. I wonder if indie perfumers tend to use more of a distinctive palette whereas most mainstream – and a lot of niche – output smells like a mish-mash.

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    • Tara THAT is such a great theory. Absolutely right on. 🙂 Indie perfumers probably do use a more distinctive palette. I nearly added to the post yesterday, that the mainstream scents do not explode into colour in the same way, although I do still feel them in colours. …… I see Mito in exactly those colours too, and agree on the colours of Angelique, the only one I have. It is shades of pastel. Fascinating. xxxx

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  2. Put it this way: I had to change my scarf yesterday because the fabric clashed with my perfume.

    Actually, it’s not straightforward colour-scent matching for me, it’s texture-and-colour or even a specific material/object. The perfume I’m wearing now*, for example, is an old sponge-bored flat oyster shell. I don’t think it’s full on synesthesia, though. It’s only some scents that have a specific and immediate link.

    I love hearing about the cross-wirings people have between senses–and how they experience scent in different ways–so thank you for explaining yours. And If you want strange twist on synesthesia: my sister maps scents spatially.

    * Iris Nazarena, in case you were wondering.

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    • Hi Crikey! Oh yeah, I am also very aware of what material I am wearing with my scent, although I do not like perfume on any material to be honest. I know people spray their scarves but that would be a big no from me. I put my perfume on and let it dry before putting on my top. Wearing shoes of course ….. Yeah – it is totally interesting as to how people experience scent. It would be a good topic of discussion for crazy perfumistas. Of course some people do not experience at all, which must be why Axe/Lynx is so popular. Hahahahahaha. Your sister sounds quite out there ….. 🙂 I hav a sample of Iris Nazarena somewhere. Lost probably. xxxxxx


    • OMG I have totally done that! It’s a weight, texture, color thing for me. Also degree of formality. And it’s not about spraying the scarf, it’s just about the scarf – or other item of clothing – not ‘matching’ my perfume. So totally with you there.

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  3. This is a really interesting subject. Wonder how many people have this particular quirk? I don’t generally get any colours when I spray perfume – except for one house. Papillon perfumes flash up as very very dark green, almost black.

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  4. Hey Val,

    They do come in colours, although I don’t usually pay much attention to that. Shalimar is golden, Rouge d’Hermes, ironically enough, is green. Wow, I really should be more attentive!.

    PS The new Joy, however, is not like a rainbow, at all 😦 Boo!


    • Shalimar is indeed golden. Have not tried the new Joy and highly unlikely that I will. I don’t think a Trippy Perfume is something you can buy. I bet you have some anyway, and don‘t realise it. “You lot“ – Hahahahahahaha.


          • Val, I’ve always thought it was a friendly expression – which I obviously meant, – but the Internet says:””You lot” is a mainly British colloquialism for “You people”, but perhaps with a slightly greater sense of defining the people addressed as subordinate to the speaker.” Thanks for reassuring me, however, this fear of saying the wrong thing or using the wrong register might never go away (not that it should, lol)! XX

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            • But we are “you lot“ and you did use it correctly. It was so British – that was exactly why I thought it was funny. Your English is perfect. No need to think twice. ❤️


  5. I am terrified of tripping! Too much insanity of the non-metaphorical sort in my genes. But I love the mild trip of many perfumes. I am bad at ‘notes,’ better at recognizing mood and colors. Right now I am wearing Masque Milano’s Tango, the smell equivalent of a dark honey brown. But that one is too easy, as it’s actually the color of the juice!


  6. Hey Amy! Well, being terrified of tripping is a good reason to seek other pleasures! Oooooh. I haven’t tried their Tango. Mood and colours are an equally, if not better, way to describe scent. Xxxx


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