Not Even For Free


I LOVE this story, you guys. So every day we put a “scent of the day” outside the shop. Last Wednesday, that scent was CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves. Towards the end of the day, two mischievous teenagers stopped in front of the scent of the day.

“Let’s just take it,” one of them giggled. “I’m gonna take it,” the other whispered back. (Note to mischievous teens: our shop has unusually good sound acoustics.)

Eventually, it occurred to our daring duo that they might want to actually try the fragrance they were about to run off with.

“Ugh!” Blonde Teen screeched. “I don’t want that! Who would want that?”

Our discerning critics immediately took off, leaving poor, rejected Burning Leaves safe and sound.

That exciting caper got me thinking: are there any fragrances you wouldn’t wear even if someone handed you a free bottle? My personal “not even if you paid me” would probably be Gorilla Perfumes Lust. There’s nothing objectively wrong with Lust, but that heady jasmine is completely overwhelming to me.

24 thoughts on “Not Even For Free

    1. It’s so weird- I know I’ve smelled Miel de Bois at least twice, but I don’t remember it at all. Maybe it was so traumatic I repressed the memory??

  1. I had a student who was an intern for a big fashion magazine. One day, her boss handed her this giant bag full of Taylor Swift fragrances and told her to take them because they needed space in the beauty closet. Out of a class of 28 (29 including me), she couldn’t even give one bottle away.

  2. unfortunately, all too easy to answer: Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea, a.k.a how I learned (the hard way) that while I love to eat honey in all forms, smelling a cloyingly sweet cloud of it inspires nothing but nausea. I still have sense memory of it years later….in all the wrong ways.

    1. Between you and SuzyQ, we have a lot of honey-related trauma on here today! I don’t think I ever tried that particular Aqua Allegoria- maybe it was for the best!

  3. Probably TABU. I can’t remember what it smells like, but my girlfriend has nightmares about working at Osco Drug in college and there was a customer there known as “Tabu Lady” because she stockpiled it, and, of course, reeked of it. If I came home smelling like that I’d probably find myself out on the street pretty quickly.

  4. Hey ari,
    There’s a Dana fragrance called Ambush. there’s a note in it that I am hypernosmic to and it beats me over the nose for nearly 24 hours. I thought it may have been a fluke when I first wore it and so went back for a second attack. BLEAUGHHHH!
    Interestingly, I gave it to a mate and I love to smell it on him.
    Portia xx

  5. Easy-peasy. In fact, TOO easy, and therefore I have several candidates 😉
    Opium. Youth Dew. Tabu. Angel. Thank you, no.

    1. Poor Tabu and Angel are taking a beating today! Probably only fair, since they’ve delivered a few olfactory beatings in their time.

  6. Ahem if ever you do find an opportunity to be paid to wear Lust, please contact me immediately! 🙂

    As for my pick. I should probably re-test this before I commit to this denunciation but…if I can trust my recollection, I wouldn’t wear the current formulation of Diorissimo if you paid me. In fact it made me think I hated all lily-of-the-valley fragrances, until I tried…vintage Diorissimo, now one of my favorites of all time. But yeah, I tried them in that order, it’s really not just a matter of thinking its former glory has been diminished: I just plain hate the current one, on its own terms. Sob.

  7. Sob indeed. There were rumors a few years ago that Frederic Malle was going to do an homage to Diorissimo, but it seems to have fallen through. I bet they would have done the original justice!

  8. Clinique Happy. My sister used to wear this in excess when she was in junior high. It smelled like pungent deodorant and dirty gym socks on her. This was likely because at 13 she was trying to mask the smell of the cigarettes she was smoking, but that stuff is repulsive. What’s worse is it was at one time the highest rated perfume on Sephora, and considered among one of the world’s most popular fragrance. Toss it in the bin. Vile. That said, Burning Leaves was gifted to me by Alex last Christmas–which of course you know as he bought it from you. I love it. I can finally be the embodiment of a Type O Negative song.

  9. Fracas, and most other tuberose-centric perfumes. And (though I loved it years ago) YSL Paris is just TOO.MUCH.

  10. I would go even farther: there are perfumes, for which I would pay not to wear them if it came to that 😉 Examples? Most of the so-called “natural” perfumes. I won’t name names but I think that the qualifier “most” covers that.

  11. Oh, easy : everything containing tuberose… But the last scent I had to scrub off very quickly was Elie Saab (since then I don’t spritz anything on my skin before trying on a blotter first)

  12. I know I’m late to the game, but D&G Light Blue smells like lemon Pledge furniture polish. Just vile, at least to me. And I’ve yet to smell anything by Versace that I’d wear.

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