Secretions Magnifiques – A Satirical Courtroom Review

Jane Doe [class representative, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated]  v. Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques– Case # 13-527319-CA

[The Bailiff]: “All rise! The Court is now in session, The Honorable Michael Marx presiding. On the docket is the class action lawsuit, Jane Doe [class representative, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated]  v. Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques– Case # 13-527319-CA. The complaint alleges sexual harassment hostile work environment, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Please state your name and business before the Court.”

[A small, dainty, very conservatively dressed blonde woman rises]: “I am Prudence Prim of the firm of Proskauler Rosybanks on behalf of the Plaintiff class.”

Saul Goodman. Source: Tv.com

Saul Goodman. Source: Tv.com

[A dandified man with a bad comb-over and a garish suit rises, and gives the jury a big grin]: “I am Saul Goodman, or, as you may know me, “Better Call Saul” representing the Defendant, Secretions Magnifiques from the house of Etat Libre d’Orange.”

[He points to the table where a balding, heavy-set man sits in a tight-fitting, food-stained Hawaiian shirt that barely holds together over his enormous, hairy stomach. His arms are covered with sailor tattoos, his legs are aggressively splayed apart, and his fly is open to reveal a lack of underwear. He belches, wets his fat lips, and blows a kiss to the attractive Juror #9 who visibly recoils in horror.]

"The Good Wife" snapshot via articles.philly.com.

“The Good Wife” snapshot via articles.philly.com.

[Judge Marx addresses the jury]: “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. The Court thanks you for your time. You are here today to hear the civil class action complaint against Secretions Magnifiques. This is an employment law case. You cannot consider the role of Defendant’s employer, Etat Libre d’Orange, who will be tried separately. Also, I know it’s been impossible to sequester you against the recent media storm regarding the criminal charges being filed against Secretions Magnifiques for public lewdness and indecency. You cannot consider those issues. I repeat, you cannot. I will give you further instructions at the end of the trial. The Plaintiffs may now proceed.” [Bangs gavel.]

THE CASE FOR THE PLAINTIFFS:

[Prudence Prim rises]: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. He is the most notorious man in the niche perfume world. This is not hype. This is not a lawyer’s hyperbole. Secretions Magnifiques is notorious. Say his name to any even moderately knowledgeable perfumista, and watch them pale. His legend is such that people nickname him Secretions Gag-nifiques,and see how long they can take his scent before they run to vomit or scrub him off. Yes, some people actually do become physically ill from this vile wretch. We are here to seek justice from Secretions Magnifiques for his tortious conduct in rendering the environment around him hostile to all who have the misfortune to be in his presence. We seek compensation for the pain, suffering, and the nights in which a husband wearing Secretions Magnifiques lost the chance for consortium with his wife because she locked him out of the bathroom. Help us heal the emotional wounds left by this heinous man.

Source: ichetkar.fr

Source: ichetkar.fr

Let us start at the beginning. Secretions Magnifiques was created by Antoine Lie and was released in 2006. Etat Libre, in a statement that will fully damage them in their own lawsuit, confesses flat-out to his lewd, indecent, and morally repugnant nature. Their description brazenly and blatantly talks about sperm! Blood! And all sorts of other things that fine, upstanding citizens should not be subjected to in their workplace. How brazen are they, you ask? In their manufacturer’s sample, Etat Libre’s description of Secretions Magnifiques actually comes with the image of an erect penis spraying out semen! [Crowd gasps and starts to whisper. Secretions Magnifiques smirks, and rubs his crotch.]

That’s not even the half of it! This is Etat Libre’s full description of the fragrance:

Like blood, sweat, sperm, saliva, Sécrétions Magnifiques is as real as an olfactory coitus that sends one into raptures, to the pinnacle of sensual pleasure, that extraordinary and unique moment when desire triumphs over reason. Masculine tenseness frees a rush of adrenalin in a cascade of high-pitched aldehydic notes. The sensation of freshness is gripping. Then the fragrance reveals a metallic side, precise and as sharp as unappeased desire.

We are on a razor-edge… skin and sweat mingle, and tastes of musk and sandalwood. The slightly salt marine effect stirs, arouses, and sets your mouth watering. Tongues and sexes find one another, pleasure explodes and all goes wild. Confusion reigns supreme. A subversive, disturbing perfume. It’s love or hate at first sight. Sensuous jousting is rarely satisfied with half-measures…In between Don Juan and the Woman who offers herself, arms are laid down…who will be the first to surrender?

Sexual harassment I tell you, sexual harassment! And how does all this occur? Well, Secretions Magnifiques’ parts, according to Luckyscent, consist of:

Iode accord, adrenaline accord, blood accord, milk accord, iris, coconut, sandalwood and opoponax.

Secretions Magnifiques’ character is revealed from the very first moment he sidles up against your skin. I won’t give you my take; just read the company’s own admission against interest about what he smells like. It’s their words, not mine, when they talk about “blood, sweat, sperm, saliva,” and metallic notes. Still, there is plenty of testimony from those in the class who have suffered from Secretions Magnifiques.

Source: nitestar.de

Source: nitestar.de

[She nods to the bailiffs who helps several pale, wan, witnesses from Fragrantica walk, one by one, shakily to the witness stand. Many are covered with clothes stained by vomit, or have bile encrusted on their face from their bouts with Secretions Magnifiques. Some look green, a few are dry-heaving even as they give their statements. One witness had to be revived by paramedics after collapsing in the hallway outside Courtroom 3A.]

  • I have never smelt something more disgusting than this scent. It’s blood and metal and illness.
  • Blood and just unpleasant.
  • Mostly seaweed to me and dirty seawater. Tried to wash it off and its not coming off. I smell like I took a dip at the sea and have not showered in a few days. My fiancée told me I’m not allowed to sleep in bed tonight.
  • I have to join the legion of those who wish this concoction had never seen the light of day. Honest to gods, I violently wretched. An eggy, razor-sharp whiff that made me recoil and run for the toilet. Perhaps it’s the smell of fear, whatever. Sadistically, I swabbed my partner with it to test the reaction with his chemistry as we are rather different… same dismal result, with extra grudge!
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Source: DenofGeek.com

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. Source: DenofGeek.com

  • Biggest mistake ever!!! This literally worked like a whisk in my stomach and for the very first time in my life I had to jump up and run to wash it off. I don’t get any of the notes listed, probably just a tiny bit of seaweed due to the aquatic fishy smell. It doesn’t smell like blood, saliva, sperm or sweat but all these blended together and preserved in a sealed jar for a century. [¶] Every home should keep a small vial of this as a first-aid emetic in case someone in your family had food poisoning. Also girls who want to shed a few extra pounds, look no further: use this on a daily basis will definitely suppress your appetite to none because it not only lingers on your skin but also in your mind. 
  • WARNING: Do not sniff this if you are pregnant or you will vomit. […]  it started smelling like urine. It reminded me of my little cousin who used to wet the bed. Now, it smells just like a neglected child who is forced to wear her mother’s generic hooker perfume to cover up the fact that nobody has given her a bath or washed her clothes in a very very long time. To add insult to injury, the child has been eating wet catfood straight out of the can and has some of the food stuck in her hair. […][¶] Calling this perfume “disgusting” is an understatement. It’s actually depressing and exploitative to the point that the stench made me want to call Child Protective Services. I won’t be letting my husband smell my hand; I love him too much to expose him to something this disturbing and putrid.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, there are dozens more witnesses from Luckyscent who have similar tales. Take, for example, an experienced nurse who could not handle the flashback to the worst of her experiences in the health care field:

This reminds me of my days of working at the local public health hospital where I was tasked with the dubious honor of assisting those who were homeless and in need of medical care. The stench of this thing they call a perfume is just like the whiff i would get when my patients would peel off their pants. Smegma, body odor and yeast. […] RUN away!

I can see from your faces that you don’t believe me, that you think it couldn’t possibly be that bad. Well, I’m sorry to have to do this. Guards! Bring in the testers!”

[The guards set up two, tiny canisters at each end of the room. The jury shifts in their chairs nervously. A small phalanx of the judge’s clerks tiptoe in and discreetly set up small garbage cans at intervals along the gallery and the jury box. The Plaintiff’s attorney takes a deep gulp of air, holds her nose, points to the guards and nods.

Pfft. Pfft. Pfft.

Abstract Black Smoke via mobile-wallpapers

Three small whiffs of scent are released from each of the two canisters. The notes dance burst out like ghosts to hover in the air with a cold metallic clang as the room gets chilly. The notes hover there, white spectres who line up before the jury and wait for their scent to carry across the room. Very soon, half the jurors pale. Juror #3 starts to violently gag. The other half, however, merely stare back at the hovering aromas, fold their arms nonchalantly, and shrug. The ghosts look frustrated and disappointed. They lunge at the unimpressed jurors, one of whom distinctly mutters “eh” and yawns. The Defendant smirks, and scratches himself. 

His Honour, the Judge, decides enough time has passed for evidentiary analysis. He orders the ghosts back into their canisters, the windows opened, and the two solitary buckets filled with some dribbles of vomit to be removed. As a precautionary measure, he has the bailiffs hand out Pepcid anti-acid pills to everyone in the courtroom except the Defendant — whom he orders to zip up his fly and to stop adjusting himself. The Plaintiffs rest their case. The Court convenes for lunch, and then, upon its return, the Defense presents their case.]

THE DEFENSE:

Saul Goodman[The defense attorney, Saul Goodman, rises, points a finger at the jury and says]: “Piffle! Yes, Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that is my response to the Plaintiffs’ case. PIFFLE! So my client doesn’t smell of roses and vanilla. Big whoop-di-do. So he’s different, original, obnoxious, extremely weird, and sticks to your skin forever. Is that a reason to sue him and ask for half a billion dollars in damages? Ha! Ridiculous. No, Secretions Magnifiques sucks, but he’s hardly as bad as the legend. 

[Judge Marx interrupts him:] “Mr. Goodman, is your defense essentially that Secretions Magnifiques … er… “sucks,” as you put it, but he simply doesn’t suck that much????!”

[Saul Goodman:] “No, your Honour, not exactly. Well, yes, I am saying he doesn’t suck that badly, but my main argument is that the evidence presented to the court cannot be considered reliable because it is the result of mass hysteria driven by preconceptions that have conditioned the subjects to smell what they were told to smell. In short, it’s all Etat Libre’s fault for creating this ridiculous legend in the first place, and my client is not to blame for the social conditioning.”

[The Judge blinks, takes a closer double look at the huckster facade put up by Goodman, then nods at him to continue.

Source: Amazon.uk

Luca Turin. Source: Amazon.uk

[Saul Goodman gives him a small wink and grins:] “I call my first witness, the Honourable Luca Turin, perhaps the most famous, respected fragrance critic in the world, to repeat his 5 Star rave of Secretions Magnifiques in the perfume bible, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide:

  • Stupendous secretions! The Dada name has me drooling. The fragrance is both less and far more than I expected: It’s not an animalic (supposedly) raunchy thing that works on the assumption that we collect soiled underwear or frequent the same nightclubs as cats and dogs. It is, however, an elegant fresh floral in the manner of Parfums de Nicolai’s Odalisque, given a demonic twist by a touch of a stupendous bilge note, which, my vibrational nose tells me, can only be a nitrile. I remember years ago mounting an impassioned defense of a forgotten Quest material called Marenil, which smelled just like that: oily, metallic, entirely wrong, and begging to be used intelligently. I’m delighted to see it was possible.

Now, I can see my learned colleague yearning to make some objection about how Luca Turin’s views are purely academic and involve intellectual nostalgia about certain unusual synthetics. So I will call to the stand the perfume blogger, Kafkaesque, who has often disagreed with Mr. Turin’s views on fragrances.”

[Witness is sworn in, and Goodman starts the direct:] “Kafkaesque, let me ask a simple question: Do you agree with Mr. Turin in light of your experience with Secretions Magnifiques?”

Source: wallpaper.metalship.org

Source: wallpaper.metalship.org

[Kafkaesque]: I don’t agree with Mr. Turin’s gushing rave, but I share his view that Secretions Magnifiques is certainly much less than I expected, and hardly the scent of soiled underwear or urine. I didn’t experience the bilge or sea-water note that he describes, but I did detect a nitrile aroma similar to that which Mr. Turin says was used in Serge LutensIris Silver Mist. To quote his review of that fragrance, he wrote that the Lutens’ fragrance was dominated by a “seldom-used brutal iris nitrile called Irival. The result was the powderiest, rootiest, most sinister iris imaginable[.]” Secretions Magnifiques, on my skin, has a metallic, clanging, chilled vodka and powdered floral note that is extremely similar to what I experienced with Iris Silver Mist, and it is a large part of Secretions Magnifiques for me. 

Source: free-background-wallpaper.com

Source: free-background-wallpaper.com

But let me start at the beginning. Secretions Magnifiques opens on my skin clanging of steely metal with a floral, powdered undertone like iris. It is followed by more metallic blood, then a milky note that is chilled and alcoholic, as though iced vodka had been swirled in, along with some sweetness. It is all cold steel, cold vodka, cold milk, blood, and floral sweetness, in an extremely off-putting, unpleasant mix. But it also made me think, to use your terms, “Big Whoop-di-do.”

Source: wallpaper.metalship.org

Source: wallpaper.metalship.org

The metallic notes are the most interesting, the floral ones are a bore, and my real problem with the fragrance is something else entirely: Synthetics. The least offensive are the subtle aldehydes lurking about, undoubtedly from that mis-named “adrenaline accord” referenced in Etat Libre’s statement. They describe it as “a cascade of high-pitched aldehydic notes. The sensation of freshness is gripping.” As usual, Etat Libre goes too far. It’s not “high-pitched,” and the sensation is hardly “gripping,” but then, they always exaggerate. Plus, they may like aldehydes more than I do. 

Bounce Fabric SoftenerMy bigger problem lies with the white musk in Secretions Magnifiques’ base. It combines with the aldehydes to create a clean, almost laundry note, along with a slightly fresh sweetness. Eventually, it starts to become one of the most prominent parts of the scent, smelling much like Bounce fabric softener sheets that you throw in the dryer, though it also has a horrible, metallic hairspray undertone. I cannot bear any of it. That said, the freshness of the aroma seems like an ironic opposite to the lewdness of the spraying semen pictured in Etat Libre’s imagery, and certainly contrary to the accounts of dirty “smegma” and urine offered by some of the Plaintiffs’ witnesses here today.

Thirty minutes in, the cold, clean synthetic freshness of Secretions Magnifiques mixes with the metallic notes and a milk aroma that starts to feel a little sour and curdled. The result does churn my stomach a little and it does render me a little queasy. Strangely enough, the part of my arm where I applied the fragrance almost feels cold. Perhaps I’m a little suggestive, but it feels as though the chilled metallics and the nitrile’s vodka-like feel have cooled my arm. The power of imagery only goes so far, however. I am known to be an extremely suggestive vomiter who will start heaving even at a mere mental visual or image. And yet, I hardly felt like vomiting over Secretions Magnifiques. To paraphrase your comment, it sucks, but it doesn’t suck that bad.

Part of it may be a question of skin chemistry. I don’t smell semen or seawater, though there is something slightly salty about the concoction. The blood isn’t hugely significant on my skin, and feels more like the drop you’d have in your mouth if you accidentally bit the inside of your cheek. There is no coconut, though there is that milky aspect to which I referred earlier. As for the purported “sandalwood,” it’s wholly synthetic — a subtle haze of beige, generic woods that doesn’t even rise to the level of ersatz, wannabe Australian sandalwood. 

Source: overstock.com

Source: overstock.com

In less than two hours, Secretions Magnifiques turns into a synthetic, sweet, floral, aldehydic, woody musk. The blood note largely vanished after 90-minutes, the metallic element warmed up and became softer, and the whole fragrance turned smoother. It’s soft and sweet with the milky note having deepened into cream, backed by those abstract, amorphous beige woods and an equally abstract, chilled, floral note that vaguely resembles iris. It’s well-blended, but the whole thing smells simultaneously cheap and somewhat like refined, fresh, clean soap with — as Mr. Turin noted — a somewhat demonic, metallic twist thrown in for shock value.

Secretions Magnifiques remains that way for hours and hours. The reports of the fragrance’s frightening longevity are completely accurate. Secretions Magnifiques was still going strong on my perfume-consuming skin at the 13th hour when I gave up out of sheer boredom and washed it off. It seemed quite capable of lasting another 10 hours on me — and smelling of clean, fresh Bounce laundry sheets with abstract, sweet, slightly milky, woody floral musk is not my cup of tea. All in all, it’s an unappealing scent, but Secretions Magnifiques is hardly as vile as I had expected.”

[Saul Goodman:] “Then, how do you account for all the negative reports?”

[Kafkaesque:] “There are a few things to consider. First, for all the negative reports on Fragrantica given by the Plaintiffs, there are at least as many indifferent and underwhelmed reviews, if not more so. A few madmen even think Secretions Magnifiques is a beautiful masterpiece that they love, but I personally think that goes too far. The thing to consider are the many, many reports that essentially mirror this comment from a Fragrantica poster:

How terrible is this fragrance? To me, it’s nothing on par with some of the horror stories written below. I don’t really care for it, but that’s because it just smells awkward. These notes do not compliment one another and don’t make for a particularly nice perfume.

The other thing to consider is skin chemistry. Some people’s skins will bring out the more unpleasant sides. Yet, I firmly believe that a tiny portion of the negative reviews might be very different if the fragrance were smelled blindly. If people did not know they were testing Secretions Magnifiques — with all the visuals and legendary horrors surrounding that name — I think they’d find the fragrance to be merely an extremely unpleasant scent. They wouldn’t be driven to vomit, or to perceive semen.

Our brain filters aromas through a host of different factors, including imagery and pre-set knowledge. If you’re absolutely convinced that you’re going to smell urine and semen because that’s what you’ve been told again and again, then you may well end up doing so. However, if you go in with a blank slate, I suspect that some would get primarily a metallic, slightly salty, synthetic, fresh, abstractly floral fragrance that was extremely weird, unappealing, and mismatched, but nothing to actually gag over. In short, for some, the aroma may be a snowball that turned into an avalanche because of Etat Libre’s presentation and because of the subsequent social conditioning. It’s partially Pavlovian conditioning due to (not so) subliminal messaging, and partially an issue of the Collective Consciousness Theory. Again, I stress, this does not apply to everyone because skin chemistry does play a role, but I think social conditioning may apply to some of the people who have issues with the scent. They smelled what they expected to smell, and what they were told they would smell. A self-fulfilling prophesy turning into perceived reality.”

[Kafkaesque steps down, and Saul Goodman turns to the jury.] “Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to put aside your preconceived notions, and to really think about what you smelled in this courtroom today. Think about prophesy, social conditioning and mass hysteria as an explanation for some of the testimony you heard from the Plaintiffs, and discount their claims. Yes, my client is an ass, and a cheap, vulgar, synthetic lout. Yes, he sucks, and I wouldn’t want to smell like him. But, really, Whoop Di Do! There are a lot of unpleasant fragrances out there on the market. Don’t believe the hype, and let your verdict be a clear message to others that a perfume company’s marketing is not the same as reality. By all means, have them stay far, far away from Secretions Magnifiques. I certainly would! But objectivity and fairness require that you find him innocent of these extreme charges. Thank you.”

[The Defense sits down, the Judge gives his instructions, and the Jury leaves for its deliberations. They return six hours later, and a tired Jury Foreman (who has drenched himself in an entirely different fragrance, perhaps as a shield against the smell of Secretions Magnifiques) hands the bailiff a slip of paper.]

THE VERDICT:

Judgment for the Plaintiff.

Compensatory Award: $4.75, or the starting price of a sample test vial of Secretions Magnifiques from Surrender to Chance.

[The decision was 5 to 4: five jurors voted to convict the very second they set foot in the jury room. They refused to even try on the perfume for additional tests, and couldn’t get past the witness accounts. The legend was just too great. However, four jurors agreed with the “Whoop di Do” theory, and found the evidence against Secretions Magnifiques to be largely self-fulfilling prophesy. They didn’t like the fragrance and certainly would never wear it, but they simply didn’t think it amounted to the level of a vomitous, social nightmare. They won out in the discussions of the jury award, refusing to award serious damages, let alone half a billion dollars worth.]

*   *   *

Disclosure: This is not intended to be a proper depiction of a trial, Legal Procedures, or the law. It is a parody that is meant only in fun, though the essence of the perfume is accurate.

Perfume Review: “The People v. Xerjoff Zafar” – Prosecution & Defense

The People v. Xerjoff Zafar– Case # 13-276891XZ

[The Bailiff]: “All rise! The Court is now in session, The Honorable Charles Highblossom presiding. On the docket, The People v. Xerjoff Zafar, Case # 13-276891XZ. The charge is olfactory assault and battery. State your name and business before the Court.”

[A small, goat-like, balding man rises]: “I am the District Attorney, Luke Sneering.”

[A tiny, dark woman wearing a custom-made Chanel suit rises]: “I am Loverly Limburger from the firm of Wealthy Lawyers, Screw Them, & Howe representing the Defendant, Sheikh Zafar of Xerjoff.”

Source: "Black Gold" movie still.

Source: “Black Gold” movie still.

[She points to the table where a young, handsome Arab man sits with his dark beard, long robes, piles and piles of heavy gold chains, and a peculiar collage of rubbery pink bandages on his arm.]

[The white-wigged judge bangs his gavel]: “The Prosecution may proceed.”

THE PROSECUTION:

Source: CaFleurBon

Source: CaFleurBon

[The D.A., Mr. Sneering]: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. We are here to convict Zafar of Xerjoff with olfactory crimes. The case before you is limited only to the criminal issues of assault and battery. You may have heard in the news of the civil suits brought by the Blue Cheese Industry and the Barnyard Manure Lobby for defamation and misrepresentation, respectively, but you cannot consider those issues. All you are allowed to decide is whether Zafar is an assault on your nose.

oud_zafarpackLet us start at the beginning. Zafar, along with his siblings in the Oud Stars collection, was let loose upon the unsuspecting public in 2012. He comes from the prestigious, exclusive, uber-expensive Italian perfume house of Xerjoff and is the creation of Sergio MomoSonia Espelta and Laura Santander. His parts, according to Luckyscent, consist of:

Rose, Green Apple, Black Pepper, Neroli from Morocco, Oud Laos, White Flowers, Cedar, Incense, Vetyver Haiti, Musk.

Blue cheese close-up via Flickr.com

Blue cheese close-up via Flickr.com

Zafar’s character is revealed from the very first moment he sidles up against your skin. There is a blast of cheese. Specifically, the Italian blue cheese of his homeland, Gorgonzola. It’s oddly sweetened, yet also a little off, and quite rancid. Veins of metallics and pepper run through, with just the merest hint of florals. The whole thing sits atop a foundation of extremely rubbery, pink bandages — the sort you’d cheaply buy from a drugstore — and a strong tinge of rubbing alcohol.

By all accounts, Zafar then shifts into something even more frightening. I did not experience it for myself, but plenty of people have. You see, the blue cheese is but the start. Soon, within less than 10 minutes, Zafar takes you to the barnyard to roll around in sheep and horse manure. 

Source: Flickr.com

Source: Flickr.com

I see the look of skepticism on your face at the thought of rancid but slightly sweetened blue cheese and pink rubber, drugstore bandages being followed by wet mounds of animal feces. Well, let me present as witnesses some posters from Fragrantica.

[The court security guards escort in some very pale, wan looking witnesses, some of whom are still holding onto small buckets reeking of vomit. In between dry heaves, they vow to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,’ so help them God. And then they testify.]

  •  this is a roller coaster ride through the farm I think. This begins with a cheesy note and then goes right to the barnyard with a totally fecal smell. Sorry, folks, but that’s what it is. I grew up on a farm and I know that smell-this one is somewhere between horse and sheep manure. It lasts for almost 15 minutes, then the juice smells like maybe flowers growing in the manure, and then like rotten fruit left in the garbage too long. Manure
  • A blast of smoky agarwood opens this terrific composition bringing to mind of creamy bluecheese and animalic secrections. [¶] … It’s an assault to your senses in the meaning that unless you’re completely aware of what you’re just about to smell, you’ll probably be disgusted.
  • Strap yourself in and prepare for a bumpy ride.lol…… This opens with a strong smell of cheese in a barnyard with a peppery apple freshness. […] this is imo definitely one for the Oud connoisseur as I cannot see many people getting past the first half hour.

The final testimony is that of the Complainant, a perfumista who shall only be known as “Kevin” and whose experience with this perfume led to the present court action. Unfortunately, “Kevin” has since suffered a complete black-out on this issue. His deeply traumatized mind refuses to return to the scene of the crime, if you wilI, so I will read to you his sworn testimony that was presented to the Grand Jury:

Upon dabbing on my sample of Zafar, I wretched. Audibly and continuously. Never in my life have I smelled anything so repulsive, and I have worked as a janitor and have performed animal dissections on week-old pigs.

Picture if you will, a filthy, heinous, broken and nightmarish Penn Station toilet. Then, picture filling it with pounds of the most rancid, pungent blue cheese you can imagine. Now picture blending the filth with an immersion blender and heating it on a stove. You now have only an inkling of the atrocities of Zafar.

Zafar struck a fear in me that made me doubt all perfume.  How could something so expensive, from such a prestigious house, smell so outrageously bad? […]

If there were a challenge to which required me to create the most outrageously bad perfume, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the horrors of Zafar. It is truly that repulsive. And while many claim perfumes shouldn’t be judged on their opening, there is no way any sane person could withstand the opening for a drydown that is only better in the sense that it doesn’t make you wretch, cower, and want to crawl out of your own skin and wish you had no sense of smell whatsoever.

You don’t believe Kevin, I can see it in your eyes. Well, we shall prove it to you. Guards! Bring in the testers!”

[The guards set up two, tiny canisters at each end of the room. The jury shifts in their chairs nervously. A small phalanx of the judge’s clerks tiptoe in and discreetly set up small garbage cans at intervals along the gallery and the jury box. The District Attorney dramatically puts on a giant gas mask, akin to those used by soldiers in the first Persian Gulf War when there were fears of Saddam Hussein using chemical warfare against American troops. Mr. Sneering points to the guards and nods.

Pfft. Pfft. Pfft.

Abstract Black Smoke via mobile-wallpapers

Three small whiffs of scent are released from each of the two canisters. Massive chunks of veiny blue cheese leap out, followed closely by limburger cheese in a slightly sweetened white robe. Rubber bandages dance around, one by one, on their bendy pink tails. Pink rubber bandaidCorked bottles of black pepper and rubbing alcohol run up to the jury — and explode in their face. A simpering rose swirls up like a pink genie to hover in the background. Awaiting its eventual turn in the spotlight, hours later, is a very gaunt specter of Incense robed in smoky black. Meanwhile, horses, cows and sheep run amok, their hooves dripping manure on the courtroom’s impeccable floors. One cow decides to defecate right before the Jury Foreman who turns his head and vomits into the lap of Juror #2 beside him. Who then promptly faints.

Incense stick. Source: Stock footage and Shutterstock.com.

Incense stick. Source: Stock footage and Shutterstock.com.

There is an audible gasp from the gallery. A few women reach hurriedly for the vomit pails lining the aisles. But not everyone has turned green with horror. A few men can’t see the animal specters at all. There is no manure whatsoever to their oblivious nose. They have a blissfully happy expression as they sniff the woody base. To them, Zafar is a wonderfully true, authentic oud with luxuriously strong black incense, peppery cedar and a whiff of florals. They don’t mind the medicinal nature of the agarwood and they admire the earthy vetiver, alongside that primal “noble rot.” Zafar sees their face and gives them a wink.

His Honour, the Judge, decides enough time has passed for evidentiary analysis. He orders the olfactory notes back into their cannisters, the windows opened, and the rather large piles of unpleasant droppings to be cleaned up, before banging for a recess. He contemplates ordering a Gorgonzola salad for lunch, but decides that may create an impression of bias. 

After lunch, the court reconvenes, and the District Attorney continues with the People’s case.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise most profusely for subjecting you to those horrors. And before lunch, no less! But you needed to experience Zafar for yourself. My final point about Zafar is this scoundrelly knave’s cost. Not only is he battering you with olfactory misery, but he’s fleecing your wallet while he’s doing it! Do you know how much he is charging your for this foray into trauma? Almost $400 for a small bottle! To be precise, $395 (before tax and/or shipping) for a 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle of eau de parfum. You can order it from Luckyscent or MinNewYork if you have money to burn, but would you really want to? To quote “Kevin” and his testimony to the Grand Jury:

The fact that Xerjoff dares to price this product of chemical warfare at $395 is absurd. It should be priced at $1 billion so that no one ever has enough money to smell it. In fact, making someone smell Zafar should be sufficient to get one charged with a war crime.

But we are not here to convict Zafar of being massively over-priced; grand larceny is not one of the charges, though perhaps it should be. No, we are here to judge Zafar on the merits, and the evidence clearly demands that you convict! Save the people of the world, leave blue cheese where it belongs, eradicate manure from perfumery, and CONVICT!”

THE DEFENSE:

[The defense attorney, Loverly Limburger, Esq.,rises and speaks]: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to be here today and to help settle this incredibly unjust charge against my client. You know, if I were just to listen to the District Attorney, I would convict too! But he has presented an extremely one-sided version of Zafar. In fact, I would go so far as to say his intentional omission of some key facts should warrant investigation by the Bar Ethics Committee!

Take, for example, the witness testimony from Fragrantica. My, my, what selective cropping and editing. What Mr. Sneering failed to add was how almost all of those comments ended with positive appreciation of Zafar’s luxurious nature. For example:

  • Finally after much patience, a pleasant oud, woody fragrance emerges, really smelling like fresh cut wood. To my utter amazement it was nice. This is definitely a man’s fragrance, but if any of you guys decide to wear this, please warn your significant other that this one will take a while before it smells good.
  • This takes at least thirty minutes to calm down into something acceptable and when it does a incense accord comes to the forefront with that apple freshness. Then woods and some florals start to come through the peppery incense apple freshness. In the drydown the woods & vetiver start to dominate over the incense accord. […] The ingredients are top notch as you would expect from Xerjoff and this does have real Oud in all its skanky glory.

No, the District Attorney has presented a very lopsided, distorted picture of Zafar. He even conveniently leaves out the positive reviews from sites like CaFleureBon and Perfume-Smellin’ Things. I call to the stand as an expert witness, Mark Behnke, the Managing Editor of CaFleureBon!

[The Bailiff administers the oath and the witness settles in to provide his testimony.]

This. Is. Oud. Period. If you have come to appreciate oud in all of its qualities and subtlety Zafar is a fragrance you must try. Not only is it Laotian oud it is Laotian oud from Malaysian Agarwoodold trees over 15 years old. That extra age adds a more resinous quality to what is already an intense note. If that was the only jewel on display in Zafar that would be great but a truly spectacular incense from Oman is also present to take the resinous quality off the scale, in a good way. Zafar opens with a rose note sprinkled with black pepper to accentuate the spicy. The old trees Laotian oud takes over the middle of Zafar and the incense then swirls out of the oud. In the middle part of this development I felt like I was in a meditation garden surrounded by the most expensive incense sticks ever. It truly felt like a religious experience for me. Eventually vetiver and cedar break the spell but not for a long while. The two stars of this Oud Star take hold and try not to let go.

Now, I can just see the D.A. spluttering in his chair about the nature of CaFleureBon as a site that never (ever) has one bad thing to say about any perfume, including cheap celebrity creations. I can see Mr. Sneering struggling to contain himself about how they are a site that caters to advertising dollars and PR teams, so they cannot be seen as anything but biased. Perhaps. That will be for you to evaluate. But, lest you think it’s just CaFleureBon, let me present to you another witness, the respected blogger from Perfume-Smellin’ Things:

“Zafar” means “victory” in Arabic and Xeroff has certainly succeeded in creating a perfume that is as sensuous, multifaceted and provocative as many of the Arabian perfume oils that are popular in the Middle East. Oud really stands out in this blend. No attempt has been made to tame or disguise it so its primal energy is unmistakable. To combine it with rose and musk is very much in the “Arabic” tradition, and for that reason this perfume seems especially “authentic”. The animalic snarliness of oud and the sweet earthiness of patchouli are the most prominent components of the scent, however they aren’t so strong as to obscure the crimson headiness of rose, the heavy sensuality of white flowers or the cool, herbal breeziness of vetiver. I began this review by saying that “oud can be challenging”. “Zafar” is a challenge worth meeting head on- it’s dark; it’s bold and it’s daring. Xerjoff has earned the laurels for creating this perfume, but I intend to share them by wearing it!

It’s a very different take on Zafar than what the District Attorney presented, no? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you that this is the true picture of Zafar. Ignore the allegations of barnyard turds or rancid, heated Gorgonzola. Focus instead on the fact that this is not only the very rare Laotian oud, but super-aged rare oud at that! Consider the fact that genuine agarwood is meant to smell a certain way, right down to the rubbery pink bandages, and that this is meant to be a truly Arab fragrance. You can hardly blame Zafar for that, can you? He was born that way. There was no intent to batter you. And, without mens rea, there can be no crime.

In short, you must acquit!”

[The Defense sits down, and the jury leaves for its deliberations. There is no word from them for two days, until finally a message arrives that they are hopelessly deadlocked. The Judge even gives them an Allen Charge to make them try to resolve their differences. Then, finally on the third day, they return.]

THE VERDICT:

Hung jury.

[Six jurors voted to convict the very second they set foot in the jury room. They refused to even try on the perfume for additional tests. The seventh was persuaded to their side after an extra-long bout with incredibly antiseptic, medicinal, rubbery, peppery oud that remained on her skin until the perfume faded away.

However, five jurors held out, stubbornly ignoring the issue of the rancid, moldy blue cheese. They didn’t want to blame Zafar for being, perhaps, what he was meant to be. Three of them actually enjoyed the fragrance after that difficult opening. None of them, however, were willing to spend $395 to buy it. ]

***

Disclosure: I am an attorney and former trial lawyer, but I never practiced criminal law, only civil. This is not intended to be a proper depiction of a trial or of the law. It is a parody that is meant only in fun, though the essence of the perfume is accurate.

“The People v. Amarige” – Prosecution & Defense

The People v. Amarige – Case # 13-92745B

The Bailiff: “Oyez, Oyez, the Court is now in session. The Honorable Judge Charles Highblossom presiding. On the docket, The People v. Amarige, Case # 13-92745B. The charge is olfactory assault and battery. State your name and business before the Court.”

[A small, balding man rises]: “I am the District Attorney, Luke Sneering.”

[A tiny, dark woman rises]: “I am the Public Defender, Grace Hopeless-Causes, representing the Defendant, Amarige de Givenchy.” [She points to the table where Amarige sits. She is enveloped in the most luxurious white furs, drips gleaming diamonds, and wears the largest, frothiest hat this side of a royal wedding. The defendant’s chin is raised defiantly, her eyes staring straight ahead, but she nervously fingers her diamond choker.]

[The white-wigged judge bangs his gavel]: “The Prosecution may proceed.”

THE PROSECUTION:

[The D.A., Mr. Sneering]: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. We are here to convict Amarige, from the house of Givenchy, with being the most heinous perfume in the world. Countless have fallen prey to her horrors. You will hear testimony from asthmatics whom we will wheel in from the Intensive Care Unit where they landed after a mere whiff of her olfactory napalm. You will hear of her ubiquity in the 1990s, Amarige 1990sassaulting you from every magazine perfume strip, invading your home through your mailbox, until there was no escape. You will hear from Luca Turin, the perfume expert, on how she is “truly loathsome,” a perfume he rated one-star, and which he hates the most in all the world. And, in the end, you will do the right thing: you will convict her of assault and battery, even though what we really should be charging her with are crimes against humanity!

Let us start at the beginning. Amarige was let loose upon the unsuspecting public in 1991, a fruity-floral Frankenstein created by the legendary nose, Dominique Ropion, who really should have known better! Her parts, according to Fragrantica, consist of:

top notes are composed of fresh fruit: peach, plum, orange, mandarin, with the sweetness of rose wood and neroli. The floral bouquet, very intense and luscious, is created of mimosa, neroli, tuberose, gardenia and acacia with a gourmand hint of black currant. The warm woody base is composed of musk, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, Tonka bean and cedar.

In those long-ago days, as the perfume blogger The Non-Blonde states so well, there was no escape from her fumed tentacles. You didn’t have to buy it to wear it.

[You] didn’t have to: you could go into a public building, a friend’s home or get on a bus and emerge with your hair and clothes smelling of it. Amarige was so recognizable and obvious that even I, lover of assertive perfumes, couldn’t deal with it. Not to mention the fact that it’s so very peachy you could feel the juice dribble on your chin.

The Non-Blonde may have had a baffling change of heart on Amarige, but she was right when she said that “women who maintain the old habit of marinating themselves in Amarige should have their noses and sanity examined.” (Frankly, I think the Non-Blonde should have her sanity examined for her sudden appreciation of Amarige. No, time does not heal all olfactory wounds!)

I said at the start that what we should be charging Amarige with are crimes against humanity. The world agrees with me. I present as witnesses, some posters from Basenotes.

[The court security guards wheel in the witnesses that they have ferried over from the Intensive Care Unit. From their gurneys, they feebly lift their heads to take the vow to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,’ so help them God. And then they testify.]

  • Tuberose’s reputation has been damaged almost irrepairably by this most horrid affair. If I were her I would sue.
  • Truly, truly awful. Radiates out to the orbit of Neptune. Causes asthma, retching and a stampede for the exit. Frightens children and pets, ruins dinner-parties, restaurant meals and plane journeys. Could be used to eradicate vermin from silos and warehouses. [..] Please people, stop buying this hideous juice so Givenchy will stop making it. It’s an abomination, a crime against humanity. I can’t understand why any woman would want to smell like this, or why her significant other would want to smell it on her. A chemical disaster of Chernobyl proportions.
  • this Perfume is a migraine in a bottle. […] The absolute worst fragrance I’ve ever smelled.
  • I own a bottle of it due to my initial attraction to its smell in small quantities. Wearing it, I feel nauseous and completely unable to eat anything. I tried to scrub it off in the shower but it won’t die. I haven’t eaten anything all day. I think this toxic odor could be useful as a diet aid.
  • Horrible, HORRIBLE soapy smell broadcasting out to the planet at gigawatt levels. I made the mistake of spraying this onto my wrist and I thought I’d never be able to remove it. This smell made me feel nauseous and headachey.

The final witness comes from Fragrantica:

If I had to describe this perfume in one word it would be ‘haunting’ because it’s unpleasant and, like the eerie warnings written in blood on the walls, impossible to scrub off.

‘Blood on the walls.’ Blood on the walls, people! The eerie warnings come, in part, from tuberose, one of the most indolic flowers around. What is an idole, you ask? I draw your attention to Exhibit 3, the Glossary of perfume terms. It is something found naturally in many heady, white flowers — like tuberose. In excessive amounts, it can lead to a feel of extreme full-blown, over-ripeness. In cases of fragrances like Amarige, it can turn to an aroma of sourness, even cat litter feces, plastic flowers, urine,  garbage heaps of rotting fruit, or all of the above. At best, Amarige is a fetid, rotting stinker that will turn from over-blown flowers to pure sourness and cat urine. At worst, it will choke up your airways, prevent all breathing and render you utterly unconscious. All in just 2 small whiffs.

You don’t believe me, I can see it in your eyes. Well, we shall prove it to you. Guards! Bring in the testers!”

[The guards set up two, tiny canisters at each end of the room. The jury shifts in their chairs nervously. A cordon of security blocks the doors. The District Attorney dramatically puts on a giant gas mask, akin to those used by soldiers in the first Persian Gulf War when there were fears of Saddam Hussein using chemical warfare — or Amarige — against American troops. Mr. Sneering points to the guards and nods.

Pfft. Pfft. Pfft.  

Three small whiffs of scent are released from each of the two canisters. White flower after white flower suddenly fills the room. They flit here, they flit there. They are omnipresent. There is a smell of orange, orange blossom, more orange blossom, and still more. It spreads its powerful molecules around the room like a carpet unfurling a wave. Little spectres of happy yellow mimosa flowers dance along the orange carpet. There is a shadow of some silken amber rising up, peeking its eyes above the wave of orange. Peach makes an appearance, adding to the orange haze filling the room and cocooning the white ghosts of tuberose and gardenia. The powerful ghosts dance merrily up to the District Attorney and punch him in his gas-masked nose. He falls back, but rises with a glare.

There is an audible gasp. A woman in the far back of the visitor’s gallery clutches her throat and gasps for air. Juror #4 faints completely. Jurors #6 and #9 have a look of rapt enchantment and glazed joy on their faces, much to the disgust of the District Attorney who sneers at them. In her seat, Amarige smiles faintly. With an almost imperceptible flick of her dainty chin, she tells the ever-growing, large white ghosts of tuberose and gardenia to move near Juror #5 who told of her upcoming wedding in Voir Dire. They move and the Juror suddenly sits up straighter in her chair, dreams of her wedding day and of Amarige trailing behind her in a billowing cloud of white.

The Jury Foreman has been watching these proceedings with unease. When Juror # 2 keels over beside him, begging for medical help and saying she is dying, he starts to back away. Quietly, he inches towards the door and then flees outright, only to head straight into a wall of security. The gas-masked police officers grimly shake their heads. He looks at them pleading. “I can’t take it any more. Get me out of here,” he whispers. “It’s in my nose, it’s burning my skin. There is so much fruit all of a sudden. I’m surrounded by peaches and a whiff of plum. It’s cloying, synthetic and artificial. And it’s covering every inch of me, like fruited animals devouring my skin. I need a shower. Please, have mercy.” They sympathetically shake their heads again and drag him, kicking and screaming, back to his chair.

The Judge has had enough of these theatrics. He orders medical attention for the gasping or collapsed bodies, lying crumpled like rag dolls throughout the room. He orders all the windows opened and the room to be fumigated before the court will reconvene the next day. He contemplates also ordering psychiatric evaluations for those jurors who had beatific, hypnotized, enraptured smiles on their faces, but decides he cannot seem biased.

The next day, the court reconvenes and the District Attorney resumes his case.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for subjecting you yesterday to the horrors of Amarige. But, I had to give you the chance to decide for yourself. The People’s case will conclude with our expert, Mr. Luca Turin, the most famous perfume critic in the world. Before you is Exhibit 4, an excerpt from his book with Tania Sanchez, Perfumes: the A-Z Guide. Note the categorization of Amarige as ‘Killer tuberose.’ Killer. Not extreme but ‘killer.’ The one-star review reads as follows:

We nearly gave it four stars: the soapy-green tobacco-tuberose accord Dominique Ropion designed for Amarige is unmissable, unmistakeable, and unforgettable. However, it is also truly loathsome, perceptible even at parts-per-billion levels, and at all times incompatible with others’ enjoyment of food, music, sex, and travel. If you are reading this because it is your darling fragrance, please wear it at home exclusively, and tape the windows shut.

Ladies and gentlemen, the People rest their case.”

THE DEFENSE:

[The Public Defender, Grace Hopeless-Causes, rises and speaks]: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am here for one reason and one reason only. To represent the shamed, silent, closeted minority of women who adore Amarige and feel she has been most unjustly accused of crimes against perfumery! She has been vilified for far too long and it’s time for the Amarige lovers to defend her!

The weight and power of Luca Turin’s reputation has added the final, unjust nail in Amarige’s coffin. It is not tuberose who should sue Amarige, but Amarige who should sue Luca Turin for defamatory libel!

Don’t believe the District Attorney. He has presented only one, very slanted, side to the story. Did you note how he had only one witness from Fragrantica? Why is that, do you think? I’ll tell you why: because that was the sole, truly harsh review of Amarige. He didn’t tell you of all the others which spoke of the joy, the happy, dancing aura of Amarige, the image of beautiful wedding days, or posts writing of “sumptuous” finishes, of “sophistication” and “class.” There is no mention of how it is addictive, of how you can’t stop sniffing your wrists, of how intensely feminine it can make you feel.

And there is not a word about how it can drive men wild.

No, the District Attorney has presented a very lopsided, distorted picture of Amarige. Even when he quotes Luca Turin, he leaves out the words of his co-author, Tania Sanchez, who wrote in that same book:

Amarige is a genius work of perfumery, utterly recognizable, memorable, technically polished and spectacularly loud.

The D.A. quickly brushed over how they wanted to give it four stars. FOUR. And there is not a peep out of him over the fact that the very book he quotes as expert opinion actually lists Amarige in their top 10 BEST list at the back! It is in their 10 Best Loud Perfumes list, next to the 5-star Fracas, 5-star Angel, and the 5-star Lolita Lempicka perfumes. Strange for a perfume that Mr. Sneering and Luca Turin would have you believe is a crime against perfume humanity, no?

amarige1998Yes, Amarige is loud and a diva. Yes, one big squirt can blow your head off. But no-one ever said you should bathe in it, for heaven’s sake! Plus, don’t let the opening blast fool you. Amarige has average sillage and longevity. After the first ten minutes, it can fade to a much tamer level. If you don’t believe me, read Fragrantica, Basenotes or MakeupAlley, and see similar comments for yourself.

To all those who have had asthmatic attacks as a result of encounters with Amarige, I apologise. She apologises. Truly. But the same thing could happen from Lolita Lempicka, Angel or a whole host of perfumes. Why have they not been brought up on charges? Why does Luca Turin adore and worship the brilliance of Angel — a scent which many have compared to toxic nerve gas — but not the admittedly “genius,” “technically polished” masterpiece of Amarige? And, in all cases, isn’t it the fault of the wearers who spray on too much? Blaming Amarige for medical injuries triggered by over-use is akin to blaming a car manufacturer for accidents that may arise from someone texting while driving.

Where we concede and confess fully is the charge that Amarige is a diva. Yes. Yes, she is.Maria Callas Amarige is Maria Callas, the legendary opera singer, taking center stage under the bright white lights, and showered with diamonds by billionaires like Aristotle Onassis who loved her more than he ever did Jackie O. Amarige is not meant to be a simpering, quiet wallflower, sitting in the corner, awaiting a man to ask her to dance. She will push her way to the center of the floor and dance by herself, mesmerizing a room — public opinion be damned!

As for the charge that she is a cloying monster with some potentially synthetic undertones, we plead the Fifth. Even if true, and we are not saying that it is, many other perfumes are too. And, yet, do you see them in this courtroom? Speaking only for myself, I do not find Amarige to be synthetic. I think she is exactly what Givenchy and Dominique Ropion meant for her to be. As Fragrantica explains:

The name of the perfume ‘Amarige‘ is an anagram of the French word ‘Mariage.’ That is why this fragrance is as intensive as a strong feeling, merry, juicy and unforgettable as a moment of happy mariage. It is so opulent and floral that it seems like its composition includes all the beautiful flowers that exist in the world.

The Amarige woman is graceful, playful and charming, a real French woman in love. She radiates joy and gives a happy smile.

Maria Callas Tosca

Maria Callas in “Tosca.”

Despite her opulence and diva status, Amarige can be a cheap date. You can find a 1 oz bottle on Kohl‘s for $50 or on Sephora for $49. A 1.6 oz bottle costs $67 on Sephora, and much less on eBay. Compare those prices to more reputable white floral or tuberose scents: Robert Piguet‘s Fracas starts at $95; while Frederic Malle‘s Carnal Flower starts at $230 at Barneys.

Whatever she is, I realise this is the most hopeless of all lost causes. Amarige’s reputation has been destroyed beyond all measure. I can sit here and talk to you about her lovely white femininity, her peach exuberance, that dry-down of spice and amber, and it will make no difference at all. There is simply no hope of restoring her good name.

But I make this plea to you, ladies and gentlement of the jury: do not let the perfume world’s easy, facile dismissal of Amarige influence you. They are not objective and they have followed Luca Turin like sheep. After all, they proudly admit their love for Fracas, another white flowers explosion that make people gasp for air.

Admittedly, Fracas is a much more elegant creature than the brazen hussy, Amarige. And, yes, hard as it is to believe, Fracas almost seems like almost a quiet, shy child in comparison. But are they really so different as to warrant Fracas’s triumphant twirl in the spotlight as a cult favorite and legend, while Amarige wilts in the wilds of guilty obscurity? Again, Fracas may be of slightly better quality and there is not a hint of anything synthetic about it. But it too is an over-blown indolic scent that can turn sour or lead to thoughts of rotting fruit. Amarige is more fruity than Fracas, true, but there is luscious peach, orange and amber in Hermès‘ sophisticated 24 Faubourg, after all.

Unlike 24 Faubourg’s sophisticated woman, however, Amarige is like a happy child, all yellow, orange and white dancing flowers, full of exuberance and femininity. It is not a scent for those who like discreet, quiet, unobtrusive fragrances. It’s not for those who can’t stand heady, narcotically powerful ones, either. And it is most definitely not for those who can’t bear white flowers.

But if you love Amarige, I beg of you: do not go quietly into that good night, hiding your face in shame and covering your scarlet letter, that “A” which marks you as an A-marige lover. Rise up and defend her name. Admit your folly and sins. Admit she is glorious. Don’t wear her only in the privacy of your own room with the windows duct-taped shut. And find her not guilty of crimes against perfumery!”

[The Public Defender sits down and the jury leaves for its deliberations. There is no word from them for three days. Then, finally, they return.]

THE VERDICT:

Hung jury.

[Nine jurors wanted to convict.

Three held out, utterly in love, and on their way to buy a bottle for themselves.]