I've been talking a lot about ambergris lately, which can smell a little (or a lot) like barnyard animal poop. Enter Peety by Italian perfume house, O'Driù, a self-proclaimed "pleasure factory". Here's a perfume that smells outrageously good on its own (a bottle of the wonderful perfume is +$200 USD), but there is also an option for you to "personalize" it with 10 drops of your own, unique liquid (i.e. pee). There's so much fun to be had in the magnificent world of perfume! Just think of the possibilities, since the scent of urine changes all the time. Would you have curry that day, or maybe sushi? One thing is for sure: I would neither drink too much water (bland) nor take any vitamin supplements beforehand. But that's just me.
My top 10 faves at the moment, in no particular order:
1. Fiore d'Ambra by Profumum Roma - The smell of sweetened skin
2. Ambra Aurea by Profumum Roma - Smoked woody amber and vanilla salt water taffy
3. Bubblegum Chic by Heeley - Money don't buy you class; loud white florals and lip-smackin' pink bubblegum
4. Vanisia by Creed - Top quality amber and muted spice crafted into a conservative, polished juice
5. Anubis by Papillon Artisan Perfumes - Ancient Egyptian temple ceremony
6. Fate Woman by Amouage - Time to come up for air and have a shower, way too much sweaty sex
7. Jubilation 25 by Amouage - Made for a queen; a grandiose, animalic, incensey chypre
8. Encens Mythique d'Orient by Guerlain - Sweet whale's breath and salty sea spray shimmering under the sun
9. Chinatown by Bond No. 9 - Smoke suspended in the still air inside a Buddhist temple
10. Leiber by Judith Leiber - Not a masterpiece, but I can't get enough of the prominent creamy pineapple
The theme here is clearly ambergris and incense, except for Lieber, the wild card. And just my luck--a bottle on eBay for $500. No thanks!
You can check out some of these perfumes and buy samples and bottles at www.luckyscent.com
I guess ambergris just means gray amber, although it is not even really amber at all…but to some degree it is similar because it takes so many years for it to become useful to us humans. It is some kind of digestive waste product that comes from sperm whales, and from what I know of it, it smells a bit like poop. Who would have guessed that whales have played such an important roll in the history of perfume?
Why on earth would people want to smell even remotely like poop?! Why do people eat thousand-year-old eggs? Why do Italians eat cheese with live maggots? Why are such disgusting things considered to be delicacies? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but what I CAN say is that ambergris is indeed an olfactory delicacy.
I am eager to continue exploring the note. So far I have enjoyed it immensely in Guerlain’s Encens Mythique d'Orient as well as Ambre Aurea by the Italian niche house Parfumum.
To me, ambergris smells like the breath of a whale. Maybe one that has not brushed its teeth :P It smells a little funky and poopy; a little bit like the taste of sea water–saline, translucent and sheer; and a bit sweet too. I don’t quite know what it is about the stuff that drives me and many other people into a frenzy, but one thing is for certain: you will not find this note in mainstream designer perfumery! As we discussed, this is an acquired taste, but I will say that it is by far my favorite animalic note in all of perfumery, after suede (which is actually a synthetic accord).
And who can resist that gorgeous bottle? Well if you don’t like Ambergris, Guerlain has bottled two other juices in the same bottle, so you might try your luck with one of the other perfumes in this series.