I thought the world of software was crazy, but it’s positively grounded compared to the business of making smells. New York magazine has an article about Christopher Brosius, “the perfume world’s Willy Wonka” and his work on an “invisible perfume”: one that only certain people can smell.
In one part of the article, author Geoffrey Gray tries on CBMusk, a cologne created by Brosius, and presents it to a scent critic (I had no idea such a job existed). Gray wrote that Brosius had never smelled a musk deer, but designed the scent around what he imagined a musk deer would smell like. The result is, to my mind, hilarious:
I sprayed on the fragrance for Chandler Burr, a former scent critic at the Times. He grabbed my wrist, pulled his nose close, and began to tickle my skin with machine-gun-like bursts of air: sniff, breathe, sniff, breathe. I could see the muscles on Burr’s face tighten and contort into the shape of raw disgust, as if he’d just been forced to slowly chew through a dozen rotten eggs.
“Have you smelled this?”
Of course I had.
“Do you like it?”
Kind of. Yeah.
“Are you straight?”
I nodded. Why?
“Because that smell isn’t musk. It’s not even close to musk. That …” He looked back at my wrist. “That is the smell of man’s anus—a very clean man’s anus.”
Well, at least it’s clean.
Brosius’ response is not surprising: “I can see where he would get that. That is exactly what musk is designed to do. It is designed to be an erotic perfume.”
Check out the article, and I’ll see you at the cologne counter. Or maybe not.