Monday Question – What Is Your Attitude to Skank In Perfume?

By Tara

How do you feel about perfumes featuring sweaty cumin, indolic florals, beastly musks and animalic ouds?

What are your favourite skanky perfumes?

Do you love an all out skank-fest or do you prefer something with just a touch of naughtiness?

Do you have reservations about wearing your skank laden perfumes in public?

Or do you have zero tolerance for anything remotely filthy in your fragrance?


My Answer:

I have very limited tolerance for skank, especially when it comes to cumin notes that mimic body odour. However, I can appreciate the following perfumes which have varying degrees of skank-factor.

L’Artisan Parfumeur AmaranthineThis milky floral has a dirty little secret.

Vero Profumo Rubj EdPDo I want to smell like a ravished ballerina? Maybe…

Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Oud : In an over-saturated market, this animalic oud still stands out as the real deal.

Do share your skanky loves (or hates) in the comments please.

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113 Responses to Monday Question – What Is Your Attitude to Skank In Perfume?

  1. Hey there Tara,
    Sometimes I triple spritz Bal a Versailles Vintage EdC while around the house just for the sheer pleasure of the naughtiness. Also I have the Oud Caravan set from La Via del Profumo and some vintage Femme for moments needing a skank attack. Have you tried SOIVOHLE’s Harbinger? That one goes completely dirty on me, outrageously so.
    Portia xx

    • Tara says:

      Ha ha, Portia, love “skank attack”!

      You can’t do better than vintage Femme or Bal a Versailles for classy, old school skank so you’ve started right at the top of the shop.

      I’ve only tried one of Solivohle’s perfumes and it wasn’t Harbinger. Bet it’s great on you.

  2. downunder says:

    the ultimate ‘skank’ i still love…even at my age….YSL KOUROS

  3. Azar says:

    I love earthy perfumes (I don’t like calling them skanky)! The barnyard in some Hindi ouds, heavy musky scents, ripe, indolic florals are all redolent of life and earth. The only time my perfume turns heads (from either amazement or disapproval) is when I’m not afraid to wear my darkest Al Hind or the super saturated indolic experiment of a perfumer friend of mine. My advice to all “skank-o-phobes” is to just BE BRAVE and see where it takes you!

    • Tara says:

      Azar, I think you’re right. One person’s skanky is another person’s earthy. Different parts of the globe have different attitudes to this kind of thing. I also love how you relate indoles, over-ripe notes etc to nature and the life-cycle. It’s so true and a nice way to look at it.

      Great advice to be brave and push out of your comfort zone now and again.

  4. cookie queen says:

    Heading to my cookie lab with a couple of spritzes of MKK, bra still smelling of Oud. Rubj was made for me; it is exquisite. What was the question again? 😉

  5. Laurels says:

    My first real perfume was Tabu, inherited from my great-grandmother, which I wore through most of high school and college, so my perspective may be skewed. I’m a newbie, and so far I have yet to smell anything I felt was really dirty. (I have a sample of Bal a Versailles waiting, so that may change.) A couple of times something with cumin or cardamom has gone a bit “sweaty,” but that stage doesn’t seem to last very long–with Rochas Femme (modern), for instance, which I tried for the first time today, it was the merest whiff. I’d much rather smell of “skank” than like I have a fabric softener sheet pinned to my arm.

    • Tara says:

      Good point, Laurels. I think a lot of perfume lovers would take a touch of skank over a laundry musk any day.

      How lovely that you inherited Tabu from your great-grandmother. That’s very special.

      Modern day Femme is a million miles away from the vintage stuff. Hope you enjoy your smaple of Bal a Versailles.

  6. Jordan River says:

    Black Afghano = Luxe Skank.
    I like Azar’s earthy definition, redolent of life and earth. I say it is the smell of Mother Nature regenerating if I am describing a barnyardy Oud. Tara be braver, you ravished ballerina you, it is time to take a journey on the Oud Caravan; destination unknown as you traverse La Via del Profumo.

    • Tara says:

      Ha! Very nicely done, Jordan. You skank-lovers are really making me smile this morning.

      I agree, “Mother Nature regenerating” is a lovely way of looking at those earthy, almost decaying, notes.

      I did try Black Afghano and it didn’t scare me at all, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

  7. Chris says:

    I am a huge fan of skanky perfumes. Amoung my favourites are Musk du Roi by Visconti – Complex by Boadicea the victorious – Onda Extrait by Vero Profumo – Absolue Pour le Soir by Francis Kurkdjian – Miel de Bois & MKK by Serge – Saffron Rose by Grossmith – Musk Aoud by Roja Dove – Zafar & Alexandria by Xerjoff – Oud Caravan’s 1,2 & 3 by Abdes Salaam Attar.

  8. Vanessa says:

    I am tentatively coming round to skank after being in the Anna Malick wilderness for five years (‘Anna Malick’ is so great – thanks, Siri!), that I shall just leave it…

    After being ‘VM I hate civet’ on Basenotes for all this time, I am now appreciating civet and castoreum and generally louche musks in small doses eg in Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, La Perla, vintage Femme(!) and Bal a Versailles.

    Actually the latter is the exception that proves the rule, because I always quite liked that even when I was anti-Soviet everywhere else. Sorry – Siri up to its tricks again. I mean ‘anti-civet’.

    • Tara says:

      Vanessa, Anna Malik for animalic is just too good, but anti-Soviet for anti-civet cracked me up! Siri is good entertainment value.

      You are proof that anyone can change their skank-averse ways. You miss out on a lot otherwise.

  9. Nadja says:

    I am a fan of the old school skank of Bal a Versailles and I do love animalic notes. Most of my animalic loves are more barnyard than true skank though… Hay and feces rather than sweat and sex (not that I avoid the latter I just haven’t found that many great sexy skank scents, apart from Bal a Versailles)… Tropic of Capricorn by Olympic Orchids is one barnyard favorite! I’m not a fan of urine in my perfumes though. Nasty public restroom scents like M/Mink or sour notes of rot and urine like in Slumberhouse Rume are not my thing.
    I have no problem with wearing skanky scents in public as I am of the opinion that what I wear is my business and everyone has the option of just leaving if they hate my scent that much… And I really don’t care what people think of my choice of perfume, or what they think of me because of it!
    Now I’m off to put on my poor forgotten sample of Bal a Versailles!

    • Tara says:

      Nadja, you are right that there are so many different types of “skank” that just because you are OK with one doesn’t mean you like them all.

      I wish I got on with barnyard notes so I could have fully appreciated Dzing! while it was around. It was certainly a great perfume.

      Enjoy Bal a Versailles!

  10. We were on a Basenotes walking tour of London once and I put on Miller Harris L’Air de Rien. Danielle Osborne announced “Ooh, the skanky ones smell good on you!” (Sales assistant slightly taken aback.) So maybe I like them for that reason. But I like skank “lite”: vintage Miss Dior and Bal a Versailles. I love my oakmoss. I like my dirt earthy not sweaty.

    • Tara says:

      Nice to see you here, Sarah.

      It’s a great compliment to have someone say that skanky perfumes smell good on you. I can understand that it would make you more drawn to them. I’m with you on the “skank lite” though. Earthy is good but bodily secretons are tough for me.

  11. poodle says:

    I like some skank but I draw the line at walking around smelling like I had an accident. Fecal and urine smells in any significant intensity are not appealing to me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve worked in nursing homes, but smelling like you’ve lost control of bowels and bladder is not for me. Someday it may be an all too sad reality and I prefer to not smell like that for as long as I possibly can. Smelling like a ravished ballerina is okay I don’t mind some sweatiness but the all out pee in a bottle perfumes, not so much.

  12. Ines says:

    I think my attitude might be summed up as: Yes, please. 🙂
    I like skank – I don’t wear it much because of everyone else around me, but I have a rather high tolerance for it.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Ines,

      Yes I know this about you! You’re not afraid of a fragrant cumin-fest 🙂

      Nice that you’re thoughtful about wearing it though.

  13. Asali says:

    Very good question Tara, I was just talking to Natalie about civet tolerance. I must say there are skanks and skanks, I generally have a very low tolerance on cumin and low on indoles ( exemption to the rule Nasomatto Nuda- which I love). I like and wear civet and animalics well; so Miel du bois, vintage Joy, Teatro alla Scala, Mouchoir de Monsieur, vintage Dioressence etc YUM!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Asali!

      You know I still miss Natalie. There definitely are many different kinds of skanky perfume. Cumin is generally a deal-breaker for me if it’s prominant but I’m not too bad with moderate indoles. I need to experiment more with animalics. You don’t come across them too much in modern perfumery. Lucky you to have some vintage Dioressence!

  14. Woodgirl says:

    Favorite skank fumes are: Bal a Versailles – the vintage edp I do find skanky and love it; MKK and Miller Harris L’Air de Rien just smell nice and cuddly to me. A strange on that I absolutely love is Hina Attar by Attar Bazaar. Skanky like you knocked over an ancient outhouse mixed with dry, crumbly earth. I picture old mummies. And I love it in cool weather. Go figure.

    • Tara says:

      Bal a Versailles is proving to be a skanky perfume favourite today.

      Lavanya mentioned on her blog that L’Air de Rien reminded her of shops selling wooden wares in India. I got a sample and had my mother try it as she’s from Bangalore. It reminded her of the wooden chest her mother used to store linen in.

  15. Annina says:

    Now that you mention it, I guess my tastes have definitely changed, and I do appreciate many types of skank. I recently fell in love with swampy Mitsouko, after never ‘getting it.’ I adore Musc Ravageur. I bathe in cumin-laced MFK Lumiere Noire Pour Femme. Kai in oil form is an skanky indolic gardenia on my skin. X-Ray Lacquered Rose has a very stinky oud that is tempered by rose. There is also something in my beloved Futur that is skanky, not sure what note. Anyone know?

    Perhaps there are more I need to explore!

    • Tara says:

      Annina, it’s interesting to learn how your tastes have changed. Musc Ravageur is great and more sexy than skanky in my book.

      Not sure what’s going on with Futur, as green fragrances aren’t generally known for their skankiness. Could it be a dark green earthiness you’re picking up on?

  16. Olfactoria says:

    My tolerance for skank has certainly expanded over time, but I’m still on the wimpy side . 🙂
    My concern is that even if I like and appreciate the skanky part of a perfume, the people around me who are not used to smell something like this, will not. And frankly, I don’t want to be perceived as unwashed even if the perception isn’t real. Like I said: wimpy. 😉

    • Tara says:

      Well, you and I will sit in the wimpy corner then B. If I did find a skanky perfume to love I might not want to actually wear it out for fear of what others thought.

  17. Suzanne says:

    As you know, Tara, I love most of the perfumes that fall under the skanky category, and in truth, if I wasn’t trying to parse the notes for writing purposes, I’m not sure I’d ever even notice the skank in them. I love cumin, civet, and naughty honey – and when I have other people smell my scent, up close, and ask them if it smells dirty, the answer is usually a perplexed no. I typically get lots of compliments when I wear MKK Absolue Pour le Soir.

    I think the only perfume that I found was so barnyard on me that I hesitated to wear it in public was Mona di Orio’s Nuit Noire. But oh, I adored it in private!

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Suzanne, I love most of the earthy skanky stuff too, especially in cooler weather, but that Mona Nuit Noire exceeded tolerances in this household. My husband’s response when I put it on (no more than a couple of dabs) was “WTF!” I’m afraid that it struck me much the same way. Can’t imagine wearing it in public, but I am secretly fascinated with it and plan to try it again sometime when I’m alone and see what happens as it develops. I’ve ordered a decant of her Cuir, which I think is a little less animalic.

      • Suzanne says:

        FeralJasmine! Just last evening I read a review your did at APJ a short while back on the original Gucci by Gucci, and it was both moving and very true to the perfume. Loved it.

        That’s so funny, your husband’s response to Nuit Noire. 😀 I have to say that Cuir is one MdO that I don’t care for (but it has lots of fans, I believe). I’d have to put it on again to recall exactly why I didn’t like it … it’s not really that I viewed it as dirty, but it’s mix of notes was oppressive. I felt like this perfume was into S&M or something, and I was the captive (and yet, it wasn’t due to a sexual smell … can’t really explain it. Hopefully you’ll have better luck with it.)

        • FeralJasmine says:

          Thanks for your response to my review. I’ve become interested in how perfume choices change by life situation, and will probably write more about it at some point. I do hope I have a better experience with the Mona Cuir, because I don’t want an S&M perfume experience! I also splurged for a tiny decant of the Mona Oud, which I’ve heard is quite animalic. I’m looking forward to trying them, and if they’re too oppressive, I can always list them or swap them.

    • Tara says:

      Suzanne, I was thinking of you when writing this post. You have skank-taming skin!

      I associate MKK and APLS with you. I think Katie Pukrik is a fan of Nuit Noire. Why not enjoy it in private if you love it?

  18. FeralJasmine says:

    Several of the AbdesSalaam scents are dear to my heart for their animalic undertones, especially Tawaf and Feromone por Femme. They have poor longevity on me, but these are among the few scents that I will bother to carry around and reapply. The perfumer seems to have a strong sense of just how much humanity to put in each scent. MKK is a beauty in cold weather. Many ouds have a lovely earthy undertone. I have a small precious vial of an old scent called Moss, full of real oakmoss, which I sometimes dab to accent other scents and give them some base.

    • Tara says:

      With a screen name like Feral Jasmine I’d be disappointed if you didn’t like animalics!

      Putting humanity in a scent is a great way to describe it.

      Your vintage Moss fragrance sounds amazing.

  19. Lavanya says:

    I never sought out skanky perfumes when I started ‘perfume sniffing’, but I found over time that I liked/loved perfumes that fell into that category. I do have sweet amping skin that lightens the ‘dirt’ in many perfumes, sometimes to my annoyance..:) If not for perfume blogs, as Suzanne said, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the skank in many of the scents. For e.g- I probably would never have called Mona’s Oud . Skanky on my skin or not, I can safely say I like perfumes with earthy/animalic notes. Sometimes I need to spray a perfume on my husband’s skin to truly smell the earthiness (as Azar rightly put it). I would do that more often if he let me. From the top of my head, Shalimar parfum and vintage Miss Dior are perfumes in this category that I enjoy.

    But one perfume that seemed high on the musky/earthy scale, even for me was Amouage Al Shamouk (Suzanne, please note..:)). I didn’t like it the first time I smelled it but I enjoyed it the other day when I wanted a warm, protective blanket of a perfume (Just one teeny teeny dab tho’).

    I really need to do a proper testing of all the Vero Kern perfumes.

    • Suzanne says:

      Note taken! ❤ 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Hi Lavanya,

      It’s so interesting to hear how skin chemistry has a large part to play in our appreciation of animalic notes. So funny also that you use your husband as a “control”!

      Shalimar parfum has an animalic side to it, I’d forgotten that. More so in vintage versions I’m sure. I’m guessing Al Shamouk is one of Amouage’s attars. I must get to know those myself. I dare say you will get on well with Vero Profumo’s Onda once you give it a proper try.

  20. Connie says:

    I’ve been lurking for a while, and now that it’s about skank I feel I must weigh in. 🙂
    For a while I really loved skank in perfumes, but as my affections in the past few months have slowly been moving from the powerful and statement-making to the more more subtly beautiful, skank and I have been on the outs. That said, there is nothing in the world like the Guerlain skank, which I’m sure I will never tire of. The ones I have loved and continue to love to a lesser degree are L’Air de Rien, Patchouli 24, Oud Ispahan, Vintage Schiaparelli Shocking (and it’s modern-day cousin, Gold Man).

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Oud Ispahan is a beauty, isn’t it? There is a whole subset of fragrances in the “subtly earthy” category and that’s certainly one. For my taste, The By Kilian Amber Oud and Rose Oud are in that subset too in that nobody would call them skanky, but they have a definite human, animal, and earth content that is just enough to ground us but not enough to clear elevators.

    • Tara says:

      Welcome Connie! I’m very happy you de-lurked. Especially as we haven’t heard from anyone who has gone in the reverse direction – from loving skank to shying away from it. However, I’m glad it hasn’t put you off some of your favourites. Guerlain do the classiest skank around!

      I’ve never thought of P24 as skanky so will think of that next time I try it. It’s a birch tar leather to be reckoned for sure and I do get skank from Cuir de Russie so I can seethe connection.

      • Connie says:

        Thank you, Tara! I think as I’ve gotten more comfortable and confident with experiencing perfume, I’ve felt more able to go toward more subtle and less outspoken scents without fearing that I will miss something or be unable to grasp the nuances.

  21. The first time that I was introduced to Bal a Versailles was at the perfume counter at Neiman Marcus. There was an elderly man buying it and showing the other people at the counter how marvelous it was. I’ve used it ever since, especially in the late evening. I have also developed a love for Mona de Orio’s Oud, so I guess your category is one that I like.

    • Tara says:

      Anita, you’ve mentioned an old animalic classic in Bal a Versailles and a new one in Mona’s Oud. I love the story about the elderly gentleman at the perfume counter. What a great introduction to a perfume.

  22. ringthing says:

    You know, I’ve been at this perfume thing for a long time and I don’t really notice skank much. I like some perfumes that I know others consider skanky but for the most part, cumin and animalic notes are things I seek out. I’ve not noticed indoles in florals but I know that some people do. Maybe I smell skanky and I don’t realize it? My husband is my best perfume critic and he’s only complained if he gets a (bug spray) note. I hope I’m not running around offending people at the grocery store, but I always think I smell great 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Ha! I’m sure you smell great ringthing.

      Maybe you just have skin like Lavanya and Suzanne that dampens down skankiness in perfume.

  23. lila says:

    Zero tolerance here. I work very diligently at trying to maintaining my own personal skank to the lowest level that is humanly possible and I use perfume as a tool in that daily maintenance. I do not need to buy skank. I certainly don’t want to smell it on other people, either. I kind of wish I did like it. There are some awesome perfumes that I love aside from their offensive qualities, such as Musc Kublai Khan (I-haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-a-week) and Carons Muguet de Bonheur (I-just-peed-my-pants).

    • Tara says:

      lila, I’m with you. Skank is turn-off for me but I do feel like i’m missing out on some great stuff as a result.

      Love your skanky perfume descriptions!

  24. patricia says:

    Oh my gosh,too funny i have so much to learn! I could be a skank lover and not know it-the horror!

    • Tara says:

      patricia, today’s MQ has been so funny and a real eye-opener.

      Try some of the perfumes that have been mentioned and find out if skank is for you!

  25. Ana says:

    I worship skank!It just feels so alive,so warm,so human,and most of all so darn sexy!My favorites so far are Absolue pour le soir, Rubj EDP,Dzing!,Musc Tonkin, Kouros, Oud Cuir d’Arabie,Mona di Orio Oud for an elegant skank,L’Air des Rien, ELdO Rien,Shalimar and L’Heure Bleue parfum,MKK,The list could go on and on

  26. lila says:

    This discussion reminds me of a sweet lady who went to my church when I was young. She was an enigma to me b/c she was always beautifully dressed, perfect hair/make-up and had a great personality BUT she had a skank about her. I wasn’t the only one that noticed either. I had such a hard time wrapping my brain around the thought that she wouldn’t take the little bit of extra effort to bathe. I now realized that it must have been her perfume! I believe part of my aversion to skanky perfumes may stem from this little antidote. I don’t want the misinformed talking about my poor hygiene.

    • Tara says:

      That’s a great story lila. I’m sure it was her perfume. Maybe she wore vintage Femme or Bal a Versailles. I can certainly understand how it would put you off skanky perfumes though. It’s not nice to think that others are assuming you’re a soap dodger 🙂

  27. Jim G. says:

    I love Dzing! and Caron’s Yatagan, both of which can elicit some pretty strong reactions, both positive and negative.

    • Tara says:

      I really need to try Yatagon, Jim G. It’s impressive that both these perfumes provoke such strong reactions. It proves they have such distinctive personalities.

  28. lila says:

    Exactly! It might be a good way to get people to give me soap and shower gel, though.

    I would actually love to know what she wore b/c she was such an interesting and sweet person so her choice of perfume intrigues me now. I think I would recognize it if I ever come across it. I’m not familiar with Bal a Versailles but from the stories I’ve heard about vintage Femme, you might have guessed correctly!!!

    • Tara says:


      Vintage Femme might be a good fit. I hope you manage to get hold of a little so you can see if that’s the answer to your mystery. She sounds like quite a lady.

  29. While I don’t wear skanky fragrances most of the time, I hate clean fragrances with a passion.
    Bal a Versailles, Ubar, vintage Femme and Rubj are skanky beauties I can wear.
    I get some beautiful skank from Opus III (I read it as a horsey vibe) and also enjoy Nuda and Cuir de Russie…and Jubilation 25…and The Party in Manhattan…
    Thank you for this post, Tara! It will remind me to wear skanky scents more often.


    • Tara says:

      Thank-you, Caro.

      I’m glad the post has inspired you to wear your sknaky beauties more often. The ones you’ve named are all super sophisticated. I didn’t know Opus III had a horsey vibe. Interesting.

      I’m sure many of those who are adverse to skank-laden perfumes are not too fond of “shower fresh” perfumes either.

  30. Tara – I love some good skank…VP Rubj and MFK Absolue Pour le Soir are a couple of my favorites!!!

  31. Undina says:

    Nope, not for me. Having come from a country with poor hygiene habits I think I got enough of the offensive odors to serve me… until the time I have no choice due to my health conditions.

    • Lavanya says:

      Undina- I can identify with that statement haha (to clarify- I’m referring to the public hygiene in the country I come from rather than people’s homes)..but again I think many people seem to perceive your faves such as Ubar and Miss Dior as skanky which again makes me wonder how much of my own tolerance for skank is because I don’t perceive it as such…:)

      • Undina says:

        I was so surprised to see Miss Dior and Ubar in the list that I started questioning my own perceptions as well 🙂

        • Vanessa says:

          Undina, if I may join in I also perceive Miss Dior and Ubar as pretty skanky! Not sure if they would be fine for me now. I recently embraced ‘Y’ by YSL, which I am sure I previously described as having a mushroom cloud of civet, so the odds are good!?

        • Tara says:

          Maybe your skin chemistry doesn’t play up some kinds of “skank” molecules? I remember that on occasion you haven’t registered any sweetness when others have. I’m sure it’s more likely to be your skin rather than your perception.

      • Tara says:

        I wonder if if’s the same when you and Undina test Miss Dior and Ubar on paper? I guess that would solve whether it’s skin chemistry or your perception.

        • Lavanya says:

          Vintage Miss Dior does have animalic elements to it (on skin) and that certain ‘disturbing’ quality that I really like. Ubar I didn’t perceive as animalic at all- but it had a note (that I call a purple or cola note) that I don’t always get along with- maybe that note is the one you are referring to?
          We need a ‘dictionary of skank’ just to make sure everybody means the same thing when they say skank lol.

          • Tara says:

            Lavanya, a skank dictionary, brilliant! That is defintely an issue. Skank covers a multitude of sins 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Totally understandable, Undina. Our backgrounds do have a part to play.

  32. Joe says:

    I love a bit of skank when I am in the right mood for it. I am lucky enough to own a 1950’s bottle of Shalimar parfum. The top notes were broken so I had to slowly bleed these of and now it close to being fixed and my god is it a beast.
    It starts with bergamot that hits your head like jet fuel followed by a roller coaster moment as it plunges deep into a chasm of skanky musk, civet and opoponax and finally the plush vanilla cushions are brought in to cushion your impact.
    Its so wrong that its surely right.

    • Tara says:

      Wow, Joe. That vintage Shalimar sounds amazing and even “dirtier” than I thought it would be. Your description of that roller coaster is wonderful. How brilliant that you’ve managed to more or less fix it.

      When it comes to skank, I think being in the right mood definitely helps.

  33. I find some skanky perfumes to be very attractive indeed. Those mentioned before, like Dzing, Femme in both iterations, and of course Bal a Versailles, which I was lucky enough to be gifted with a vintage PdT of . I am surprised no one has yet mentioned vintage Jicky, or Piguet’s Bandit, or even Jolie Madame or Miss Balmain in vintage format.. These are some loves of mine. Not certain that I worry much what others think though, and I have received many compliments on these. But then, I also love Montale’s Black Aoud.

    • Tara says:

      Georgette, many thanks for adding some more “skanky classics” to the list, especially vintage Jicky. Even the modern version is too musk heavy for me.

      I bet your vintage PdT of Bal a Versailles is very special. I got on surprisngly well with Black Aoud funnily enough. Guess I like my skank with plenty of rose.

  34. laniersmith says:

    I love a sniff of civet, a sprinkle of cumin, and a flourish of an insolent indolic. I go all oh la la for a ripe oud and I get misty over a masterful musk. I am with Portia on the Bal a Versailles and any of the greats of that era. Joy, Femme, and my new love Shalimar parfum.

  35. Figuier says:

    I have a high tolerance for barnyard notes of the literal variety – notes of livestock, hay, rotting wood and foliage etc., even hints of manure: childhood spent next to a working farm 🙂 So ripe florals (incl narcissus and cassie), and oud in all its forms, are often barely skanky to my nose.

    Other forms not so much: Absolue Pour le Soir is my ‘absolute’ nemesis (it’s the way the skank combines with the laundry-ish drydown eek), and cumin in general is a no-go. I love the Guerlain civet in theory, in practice not so much, so now I just admire Shalimar et al from a respectful distance…

    • Tara says:

      Figuier, how nice that growing up next to a farm means that perfume skank has nice associations for you, rather than being off-putting. I know some people are fond of the smell of manure. I guess because you grew up with these smells they seem more “normal” to you than to others.

      I often also have problems with the kind of musk Guerlain use, which is a real shame but it gives me a headache.

  36. BritGal says:

    Am I too late to the skank party? Please say it aint so! I don’t know what’s wrong with me – sigh. Apparently unbeknownst to myself, I’ve been wearing skanky perfumes for decades – Tabu, Shalimar, Jicky, Joy, Cuir de Russie, Kouros (I used to knick it from the then love of my life in the 80s) and my absolute fav – Bal a V.
    but… BUT!! they don’t smell what everyone describes as skanky on me. For instance Bal exudes richness, ambery resin, powdery sweetness – very creamy and warm. Sounds good yes? Well – yes. but… BUT!! I can’t believe I’m going to type this – I want the dirty undies, the cow pats, the cat pee, the “I smell like I’ve just been bonked into next week” notes that your noses can all pick up. Am I a totally lost cause??

    • Tara says:

      Hi BritGal, no you’re not too late to the skank party!

      There is always hope in Perfumeland but for that extra dose of skank you may need to seek out the more hard to find/expensive perfumes out there. I’m assuming from your screen name you’re British but don’t know if you’re near London. If you can make it here try Oud 27 by Le Labo and L’Air de Rien by Miller Harris at Liberty, Oud Ispahan at the Dior perfume section in Selfridges or Absolue pour le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdijan at Space NK. Or go online and find samples of Serge Lutens skank-
      fests Miel de Bois and Musc Kublai Khan.

      If all else fails go to Les Senteurs and try Secretions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d’Oranger, although that one is more like a crime scene 🙂

      Good luck!

      • BritGal says:

        Hi Tara,
        Yes I’m a Brit, but I live in the US. However I do have family in London and can send them looking for me (I’m imagining how this conversation is going to go with my sister when I ask her to go on a skank hunt for me). Right then – I’m going to search out Lutens and Musc KK first – thanks so much for your help!

  37. Cybele says:

    For me it’s Le Labo Oud 27, Yatagan, Rien ELO, and sometimes Eau d’Hermes.

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