I had to laugh on hearing of a new aftershave that's just been launched in Britain.
Translated, literally, as ‘skin of the beast’, Peau De Bête aims to capture, of all things, the animalic smell of horse sweat. The press blurb, with descriptions of hands brushing against hot, still damp horse necks, is positively Equus. “A hot, enveloping and sensual fragrance through its fusion of animal and human,” it says. Imagine riding through the forest, bareback, possibly butt naked and you’re three quarters there.
It’s not all about horse though. If you’re wondering what the ‘human’ bit of the fragrance is, well – and there’s no polite way to put this – it’s pretty much the unmistakable smell of man bits (“ball musk” if you will), an odour recognisable to all men (and plenty of women) and one whose ‘attractiveness’ divides opinion even more than current series of the X Factor.
“Yes, it does kind of smell that way,” says Philippe Di Méo, who set up Liquides Imaginaires with perfume distributor David Frossard, when I pluck up the courage to mention it to him. “It alludes to a combination of nature, sweat and animality,” he says.
. . .
And whilst it has a raft of familiar ‘notes’ found in other men’s fragrances, like patchouli and black pepper, it also features a veritable orgy of musky, sweaty ‘animalic’ ones rarely used quite so overtly in commercial perfumery. Included are civet (originally obtained from the scent glands of the civet cat but now used in synthetic form) and castoreum, a synthetic version of the pungent aroma extracted from beaver scent glands which adds a sensual, leathery, slightly tar-like and odour.
If that wasn’t enough, it also features and ingredient called skatole. Don’t know skatole that is? Well, you’re probably more familiar with it than you realise because it’s the molecule which gives faeces it's characteristic smell. Yep, Peau De Bête’s secret weapon is the smell of a number two.
. . .
Certainly the women who’ve smelt Peau De Bête on me were intrigued, describing it, variously, as “intense”, “compelling” and “having a certain something” (I didn’t mention the skatole). Di Méo's take on it is a little more up-front: it’s a fragrance, he says, that “arouses a fantasy of flesh and sensuality, encouraging nudity and wild instinct.” Which can’t be bad if nudity and wild instinct are what you’re after.
At £230 a bottle [about US $350] it’s certainly not cheap - but then the niche, £200+ fragrance sector is booming at the moment (sales have increased four-fold in the last five years).
There's more at the link.
I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to smell like that . . . but then, I can't imagine why anyone would want to waste their time reading erotica or pornography, either. Clearly, I'm out of touch (and sympathy) with more than a few modern tastes.
Even so, I can't help reflecting that this stuff would make you smell more like a rapscallion than a stallion . . .