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Strange Smells: Seven Odd Fragrances

Ever get caught in an elevator or a full subway car next to a man or woman wearing a really rank cologne or perfume? Just be glad he or she isn’t sporting one of these pungently peculiar scents.

Have It Your Way

1 / 7

The aroma that comes out of the fast-food joint across the street from where I work is one of the most tantalizing odors I’ve ever smelled. As I walk past, I have to envision ten more pounds on my hips and clogged arteries to keep myself from stopping in for a greasy burger, fries, and a milkshake. Walking quickly out of the range of scent is my only hope for keeping the craving at bay, so let’s hope no one I know starts wearing Burger King’s Flame meat-scented men’s body spray. The way to the heart may be through the stomach, but I know for sure that the way to the stomach is through the nose. _($3.99, "Fire Meets Desire":

Scent Memory

2 / 7

What did your childhood smell like? For me—and for most other post-1950s kids—the sickly sweet, plasticlike odor of Play-Doh is a big part of that scent memory. Demeter Fragrance Library has bottled this whimsical bouquet reminiscent of grade-school art projects. _($10, "Demeter Fragrance":

Blood, Sweat, and … Er …

3 / 7

With notes of blood, sweat, saliva, and sperm, Sécrétions Magnifique has received a reputation as the most controversial scent on the market. Fragrance blogger Katie Puckrik calls it “the perfume equivalent of a whoopee cushion.” Antoine Le at, however, pronounces it “as real as an olfactory coitus that sends one into raptures.” I guess, like pheromones, it either works for you or it doesn’t. _(€64 [US$93], "Etat Libre d’Orange":

Intimate Odor

4 / 7

As Sarah Silverman instructed us in her infamous public service announcement on Conan, if you’re smelling something … down there … you should probably see a doctor. Companies offering vaginal deodorant products capitalize on our fears about our girly parts reeking like a sardine factory. But good V-box smells are a powerful attraction, according to the makers of Vulva Original (and every man I know). _(€24,90 [US$36], "Vulva-Original":

It Smells Like Death in Here

5 / 7

Fortunately, rotting flesh isn’t one of the notes in this aromatic celebration of mortality. Demeter Fragrance Library describes the scent as “a blend of classic white flowers, [including] lilies, carnations, gladiolus, chrysanthemums with stems and leaves, with a hint of mahogany and oriental.” In other words, the Funeral Home fragrance and some black clothing are all you need to rock that morbid miasma. _($10, "Demeter Fragrance":

Reek Lobster

6 / 7

The smell of fresh-from-the-sea lobster coated in melted butter recalls late summer dinners, when you can sit out on the porch and watch dusk fall before mosquitoes chase you indoors. Still, I’m not sure I want to walk around smelling like shellfish. Should I change my mind on that count, however, Demeter offers Lobster cologne, which it urges customers is “not for the faint of heart.” _($10, "Demeter Fragrance":

Personal Scent

7 / 7

Research shows that pheromones—those fingerprinted smells secreted naturally with sweat—are more attractive to a potential mate than anything you can buy in a bottle. That’s why My DNA fragrance offers swab kits to formulate your unique exclusive perfume. The manufacturers swear that My DNA is “customized individually for you … from your DNA genetic code” and that “no two fragrances smell the same.” It even boasts skin-healing properties. _($119.99, "My DNA Fragrance":

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