Scent Of Horror – Review: Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifique

Inspired by The Candy Perfume Boy’s review, here is my take on this lovely perfume from the archives of Olfactoria’s Travels.

Today’s star in the horror scents series (click here for part 1) is the champion of horrible fragrances, the master of yeuch, the one that sends all, but the most hardcore perfume lovers for the shower in under two minutes is…..(drum roll, please!)

Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques

What else did you expect! (If you had something else in mind after that buildup, please let me know in the comments, so I can include it in this series).

This scent has a reputation preceeding it, that is almost as bad as the scent itself. If you don’t know it and think, how can she slag that poor perfume so much, then, well, you don’t know it. But the clou here is, it is not badly made. There are plenty of perfumes that aim to smell good and fail miserably, which is worse in my opinion. Most of these are easily found at the department store.

And then there is SM (see, even the abbreviation has a meaning totally fitting the theme). It is not made to please, not designed to smell good in the least (well, maybe for vampires, and they sure are an up and coming demographic!). What it is meant to do, is conquer through shock and awe.

Notes are iodine accord, adrenaline accord, blood accord, milk accord, iris, coconut, sandalwood and opoponax. Perfumer Antoine Lie created this gem in 2006.

Etat Libre d’Orange is known for its propensity to provoke and Secretions Magnifiques is the star pupil of this concept.

So what does it really smell like?

I wish I didn’t know. I wish I could unsmell it somehow…

It is the equivalent of your first horror movie, the one you are really to young to watch, but you sneak into the cinema anyway, you try to be brave, but you wish you were at home with Mommy. Some of the images stick with you for the rest of your life.

It is the equivalent of the screeching brake of a train, that desperately wants to stop but still crashes into a car on the tracks, just imagine that sound of the brake and the crash followed by silence…

It smells like the inside of a wastebin in an operating room after the operation.

It smells like a pale, sweaty, pimply youth the morning after his first major drinking binge.

It smells like misery and despair.

Now you know what I mean about wanting to unsmell it. I had a very strong reaction to it, although I went in with open eyes. How it would hit someone who is unsuspecting, I don’t know.

A scarily beautiful review of Secretions Magnifiques is to be found on Perfume Shrine, including one of those images one rather not see before breakfast.

You have to see the wonderful Katie Puckrik’s review Secretions Magnifiques for a visual input as well. Her reaction perfectly shows what SM does to people, but watching Katie’s sunny personality takes out the grimness.

The moral of the story: There are things I just don’t have to experience. When I was younger I had an almost masochistic need to expose myself to all kinds of scary or repulsive things, probably in an attempt to harden myself against the sometimes cruel world, to inoculate myself against pain. Now I know that is not the way to go, some things I can choose to stay away from, to stay sensitive to the things where my compassion is really needed.

Smelling Secretions Magnifiques was a relapse of sorts. I’m done now.

Image Source:, some rights reserved, thank you!

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40 Responses to Scent Of Horror – Review: Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifique

  1. I agree with you: there are some things in the world that you really don’t have to experience to live a happy life. Dare-devilism affects food lovers too. I once got in a heated argument with someone about how I would never, no way, no how, drink any kind of freakily distilled liquor from rural China that had the still beating heart of a SNAKE floating in it.

    I’m pretty adventurous, but I feel no need to prove my food cred by eating or drinking something gross when there are so much better things to ingest. Same for fragrance! I can go without SM. There are lots of other things to sniff 🙂

  2. andreawilko says:

    I too wish I could unsmell it. It made me gag and almost vomit, my daughters reaction was to scream and my sons reaction was to gag also. Words cannot describe how utterly vile this is but I do have to say projection and sillage are amazing. Shame though that in this instance that is not a good thing.:-)

  3. Tara says:

    I love the way you relate this to how we sometimes have a tendancy to experiment and take risks in our youth for no good reason. I did feel like I should try this one day but now I feel I can live without that nnique experience. The thought of the operating room waste bin was stomach turning enough!

    I think you make an excellent point though, that SM really achieves its goal. You have to respect it for that.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It does achieve its goal indeed, and I’m sure it helped a good deal in putting EldO on the map.

      I count that among the few nuggets of wisdom, age has brought me so far – it’s okay to stay away. 🙂

  4. SMrules says:

    I think all you all would jump off a cliff together if the first person in line had enough guts to leap. This is great perfume, it could only change your life for the better…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Now that’s a thought…
      Perfume has changed my life for the better in many ways, just not this particular one. 🙂
      But as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We like what we like (and the other we around).

  5. myrrhemaid says:

    I bought this for my fiance recently for his birthday. This is one of the most amazing perfumes I have ever smelled! I can’t honestly say I like it, but it had the ability to evoke in me sheer unadulterated terror. Any fume that can achieve such a strong emotional effect shouldn’t be so readily dismissed! A work of genius, in my opinion.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I wouldn’t say I’m readily dismissing it, since I spent time with it and wrote about it…
      Doubtless this is a perfume that evokes strong emotions of every kind. 🙂

  6. Zubi d'Nova / Melissa de Blok says:

    Hahaha! Your – and Katie’s – review has made me WANT a sample.. And cheered me up in a bit of a frustrating/sad time. Thank you!

  7. Nina says:

    I have to admit, and maybe it’s just me, that I was really underwhelmed by this. I braced myself for utter disgust, first gingerly tipping the vial onto a cottonball, then my wrist. Really, to my nose, this was a faint monochromatic floral, with a seriously off salty-sweaty-metallic note that feels over done and kind of takes over. But I honestly didn’t smell blood, semen, milk, or anything particularly disturbing. But now my interest is once again piqued, and I am going to try it again!

  8. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Never ever been tempted to try. Now even less. I mean, there are lots of lovely things (i.e.) Amouage Attar Asrar 😉 ), why spend time & energy with annoying ones … Katie P’s testing on YouTube is cute, though.

  9. Haha – I love this review! It does indeed smell of “misery and despair”!

    Thank you for the linkage 🙂

  10. masha7 says:

    I must admit, it was a lot of fun to read such a negative, and funny review this morning! Maybe I am a gloomy person by nature, but most the perfume blogs have been so laudatory and positive the last few months, I’d almost given up on them…. Then I found this, brilliant!

  11. Lyubov says:

    You should try +MA (a.k.a plUsma) from the blood concept series – I’suppose there is something really strong in common with SM… (which I haven’t sampled already but I terribly wish to…)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Well, to be honest, I don’t have the slightest desire to try something even remotely similar to SM. Blood notes are not something I want to wear. 😦

  12. Kate’s review is one of the best video reviews of any fragrance. So entertaining to watch. I enjoyed your review, too. This fragrance is one that will remain unsniffed by me for the foreseeable future, despite my curiosity.

  13. Alexandra says:

    After reading both your review and the Candy Perfume Boy’s review I just had to go back and revisit my sample and yep it really is as awful as you describe, and as I remember. That first whack of metal actually makes my stomach churn – hideous but just a tiny bit clever, and can you imagine the creation process?!?!

  14. arline says:

    I am still feeling a little nauseous after your description. I don’t do well with disgusting smells. Not at all!!!

  15. Joan says:

    Brilliant way to segue from perfume to a life moral. This post reads a little like a fable.

    And now, of course, more people are going to seek out Secretions Magnifique, including me.

  16. fleurdelys says:

    I get a kick out of reading all the blog reviews of SM; it’s the perfume we love to hate!! I was never so daring as to try it on skin. I removed the cap from the tester, took a cautious sniff at the nozzle, my stomach churned, and I quickly put it back on the counter. That was enough for me!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Many of us seem to love to hate it! But I also often hear impassioned defense speeches for SM. It definitely keeps us puzzled in any case. And with that EldO have reached their goal, I guess… 😉

  17. Philipp says:

    Granted, I samples SM only once (two years ago), but I did not find it that bad. Ugly and unbearable maybe, but not so disgusting to warrant all the exaggerated negative reviews one can find on the internet.

    I think ELdO would sell more bottles if they limited this fragrance’s distribution… making it hard to find and therefore a collectors item.

  18. Pingback: Strange, Sensational or Skanky: A Selection of Perfume Presented by Nick Gilbert at Perfume Lovers London, The New Cavendish Club, Thursday 30th January 2014 | Olfactoria's Travels

  19. Pingback: Secretions Magnifique by Antoine Lie for Etat Libre d’Orange 2006 « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

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