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Semen-scented perfume: a fragrance too far?

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15:40 CEST+02:00

They might not be to everyone's taste, but perfumes featuring the fragrant bouquets of carrots, tar or even semen are seducing new customers with their promise of an unusual and highly original olfactory experience.

Newspaper Le Parisien reports on a series of scents to hit the market that are less traditional than some of the more classic and familiar scents, such as Chanel No 5 and Yves Saint Laurent.

Bold new fragrances include "Jasmine and Cigarette" and "Entrecuisse", which translates less elegantly as 'Crotch', by parfumier Etat Libre d'Orange, which has a store in Paris' fashionable Marais district.

"Entrecuisse has the moistness of a snooze in summer, the taste and animality of honey, the bitter sweet savour of almonds and the warmth of spices," says the company's description. "Its obsessive smell sticks to fingers and melts in the mouth."

The company also makes the enigmatically-named "Sécrétions Magnifiques" which promises that "like blood, sweat, sperm, saliva, Sécrétions Magnifiques is as real as an olfactory coitus that sends one into raptures… the slightly salty marine effect stirs, arouses and sets your mouth watering."

The perfumes in the company's range, which also include "Hotel Slut" and "Belly Button", sell for €64 ($91) for 50 millilitres. 

The company's marketing director, Amandine Cresp, told Le Parisien that the need to smell good, or at least not to smell bad, dates back to the 19th century when personal hygiene started.

"Today, even if we are still subject to this theory," she said, "perfume has overtaken the need for basic hygiene and has become something more subjective and personal."

Marina Poulvelarie, a chemical engineer specialising in perfume, agrees.

"We can find a real pleasure from smelling certain odours that might otherwise be seen as disagreeable," she told the newspaper.

Other unusual scents on the market include 'Love les Carottes' from Honoré des Prés, which promises head notes of raw carrots and heart notes of sweet orange, butter and bourbon vanilla at €76 for 50 millilitres.

Tar from Comme des Garçons offers "hot asphalt on a Roman street filled with car exhaust and the scent of fine leather-soled shoes softening on the pavement" and sells for €49 for 75 millilitres. 

"Fragrance is the only sense that speaks directly to our emotions and memories," said Marina Poulvelarie. "There's no good or bad smell. Perception is uniquely emotional and cultural."

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