Despicably Me

Grimly Feendish“Try the hot pockets. They’re breathtaking!”

Dr. Evil.

If you think about it, not too many other animals worry about the nature of their scent signature in the way that most of us do.  It’s a uniquely a perfumista (er) concern.  We are identifiable by the way in which we always carry breath mints (because we can smell halitosis in millionth parts of any atmosphere, and therefore fear we’re spreading it, and therefore, carry mints). 

Or you can spot us by the tiny glass vials rolling around in our hand bags, refrigerators, or bathroom cabinets, sometimes labeled, sometimes not, though the most common symptomatic action of the perfumista is the wrist sniff.  Sometimes this behavior is surreptitious and sometimes, having become reflexive, quite unselfconscious, but we all share it.

But we are quite harmless. Any scheming we do is largely concerned with obtaining a sample, or possibly a decant of something we really, really, really want that particular week, and is not of the world dominating sort.

However, if there were evil perfumesters, the Dr. Evils of the scent world, what would they wear?  What does Mr. Supervillain spritz himself with of a morning?  I would love to know.

If I personally have to supply an answer, then I’d say one candidate is Mark Buxton’s MB03 from parfumkunstwerke.*  Now that is an evil laugh of a perfume.  MB03 is related distantly to big bad animalic orientals, like Tabu, or Bal a Versailles, but is more spicy than Bal, covered by a coating of black pepper with some touches of vanilla and incense in the initial phases of the perfume.

Buxton characterizes the fragrance as “the dark side of power”, but the scent is elegant, surprisingly so, a Nehru jacket of a perfume on a bad lad, and when I compare it to another Buxton creation, Cologne Noir for Van Cleef and Arpel’s high end collection, MB03 is more nuanced and has a better, less harsh smelling dry down, although both have this same black pepper opening.

Is there some Animalis in the end?  I don’t think so, but there is a dirty musky note that will suit those who like to advertise their walks on the wild side.  At the same time, MB03 is obviously an art collector, with a civilized sensibility.  Don’t you jostle his Rothko’s on your way past his shark tank (ok, sea bass tank, but they are ill-tempered sea bass!)

If the Hub ever takes to crime in this delicate and ultra refined manner, I shall certainly recommend this scent, guaranteed to suit plutocrats, private equitists, Russian oligarchs, super villains, oh and warlocks and witches, very, very well.

* My sample was courtesy of the distributors of Parfumkunstwerke.

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13 thoughts on “Despicably Me

    • Speaking of fun reviews, I’m still charmed by the elephant who wanted to be a Bollywood star! That one really made me smile.

      MB03 is actually better than I had any right to expect, seeing as how I had not had much luck with previous Mark Buxton creations.

  1. I planned to test mb03 this week but after reading your review I think I need to prepare myself more ;) In my universe a supervillain would be wearing Carnal Flower or Fracas.

    It was a very enjoyable review.

    On a separate note, just for the record: with me nothing is rolling around any of the places you’ve mentioned. All samples are packaged/boxed and labeled; all decanting supplies are stored in one place and I have a neat bag with empty vials and labels in my purse – if for nothing else then to see what an SA can come up next after “- Can you make me a sample? – We’re out of vials… – I have some empty vials with me”

    • MB03 was a very civilized super-villain fragrance, and only animalic at the end, so fine if you’re in the mood for a little Youth Dew- OK, Youth Dew in a leather jacket, smoking clove cigarettes.

      Your idea of carrying clean empty vials with you is a good one. I shall have to try that the next time I am in NYC.

  2. I’d like to try MB03, but I have to be honest and say that Cologne Noir was very disappointing on my skin. It was so subtle and soft, bar the brief peppery opening, which is a shame, as I thought it had potential. I hope you are going to tell me that MB03 has more oomph?

    • Yes I’d say that MB03 is more substantial than Cologne Noir. I tried it against ELDO’s Rien, and Muscs Khublai Khan in order to get a feel for its notes and strength, and it was not so strong as Rien but the equal of Khublai, though not quite so elegant.

      Know what you mean about the Van Cleef Collection series, they really are colognes. At least Cologne Noir is up front about it.

  3. Fun review! I haven’t tried MB03. I tend to love animalic scents and peppery scents, so this sounds like something I need to sniff, soonest.

    Your illustration has made me smile. Since you posted, I’ve thought about what Dr. Evil or a supervillain or even a very powerful businessman would wear. . . Intriguing thought. Anything he wants, like a 500 pound gorilla was my first thought. You are on to something with the idea that choosing to smell bad could be an expression of power. A cumin-laced fragrance was my first thought (Eau d’Hermes). A note that can be off putting, but that no underling would dare to mention. As you and others point out, similarly strong animalic musks or leathers might be good contenders.

    What is the female equivalent? The overpowering floral? The dark chypre? Just musing aloud here–I chose to wear three spritzes of Carnal Flower in 100+F heat today, but I’d never wear that to work, where I have to assume a more conservative (or sometimes even subservient) role. It’s way more fun to be witchy :D Be well.

    • Three spritzes of Carnal Flower when it’s a 100? I’ll bet no one messed with you today! As to female villains, I’m not sure what they’d wear. The evil Queen in Snow White must have worn something high pitched and powerful, Amarige dialed up?
      Wallace Simpson wore L’Heure Bleue and Mitsouko at the same time. She was merely an adventuress though.
      MB03 is a suave villain’s scent. It has a definite incense note to it as well and there is some patchouli in there. Curious fragrance really.

  4. “That smells nice,” Mss Lark said, sniffing in Rosemary’ direction. “What is it?”
    “It’s called ‘Detchema,’ ” Rosemary said.
    “It’s a big improvement over your regular, if you don’t mind my saying.”
    “That wasn’t a cologne,” Rosemary said. “It was a good luck charm. I threw it away.”
    “Good,” Miss Lark said. “Maybe the doctor will follow your example.”
    Rosemary, after a moment, said, “Dr. Sapirstein?”
    Miss Lark said, “Mm-hmm. He has the after-shave. But it isn’t, is it?…Anyway, he has the same smell once in a while, whatever it is, and when he does, I can’t come within five feet of him.”

    • Detchema should be pretty suspect then, if the Moms to be of little devils wear it. At least Rosemary could wear perfume. Heck if I could while expecting!

  5. Well, the really nasty smelling stuff that Rosemary quit wearing was some sort of fungus called tannis root, which Ira Levin conjured up out of thin air. It probably smelled like sulfur and rotting flesh.

  6. Well, the really nasty smelling stuff that Rosemary quit wearing was some sort of fungus called tannis root, which Ira Levin conjured up out of thin air. It probably smelled like sulfur fumes and flayed sinners.

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