Unexpected Celebrity Perfumes, Five Ways

Eddie Pensier writes:

Every celebrity has their own fragrance nowadays. And frankly, those of us who appreciate the art of perfumery generally don’t think much of star-hyped scents: the lion’s share of their budget tends to go toward packaging and marketing, while the juice in the bottle is generally done on the super-cheap, and smells like it. (There are exceptions.) And who outside their teens would admit to wearing Justin Bieber or Britney Spears?

But for those who don’t mind their celebrity scents a bit outside the mainstream, here are some unusual selections.

Klaus Kinski


For your next trip into the Peruvian Amazon jungle, try this scent licenced by the late actor’s estate. Contains notes of vetiver, juniper and (uh-oh) marijuana.

Pope Pius IX

“Just a little behind the ears…”

Hey, everyone wants to smell like a movie star or a musician or an athlete or a billionaire. But it takes a serious hardcore history geek to admit to wanting to bathe in the aura of a 19th-century Vicar of Christ. It is claimed to be an eau de cologne with notes of violet and citrus. People might kiss your hands for altogether different reasons if you wear it.

Rossy de Palma

Fit for the Almodóvar heroines she’s famous for playing, Rossy’s namesake fragrance is a deep and rich rose scent without the damselish connotations rose usually carries. It’s created by lurid French fragrance house Etat Libre d’Orange, which also has celebrity scents inspired by Tilda Swinton and legendary gay artist Tom of Finland (and also, regrettably, gave us the infamous sperm-and-blood fragrance Sécrétions Magnifiques, beyond a shadow of a doubt the most loathsome thing I have ever smelled). Vixenish, powerful, and there’s a cool dragon printed on the bottle. Will it send you to the verge of a nervous breakdown? Let’s hope not.

Why does she have a rose in her mouth? Why is her head shaved? Because she’s Rossy de Palma, and therefore need not explain herself.

Alan Cumming

The Cabaret and Goldeneye actor came out with a mainstream scent a decade or so ago, called, straightforwardly, Cumming The Fragrance. (Insert ejaculation pun here.) It was discontinued but was recently re-introduced, with some tweaks and edits, by Christopher Brosius’ niche line.  The new name? 2nd Cumming, of course. It plays up Cumming’s Scottish heritage with notes of  Scotch pine, malt whiskey,  and heather. Plus burnt rubber and white truffle, if that floats your boat.

Fabio Luisi

The principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Vienna Symphony has not merely one fragrance, but an entire niche line favoring natural ingredients. He also has a bespoke fragrance service, if the Maestro’s offerings don’t suit you or if you just want something completely unique. Personally, I’d like a line of opera-inspired fragrances:

Carmen: notes of oranges and cigarette tobacco.
Adriana Lecouvreur: a topnote of poisonous violet.
Der Ring des Nibelungen: loud, dramatic, and the drydown lasts for 20 hours.

About Eddie Pensier

Television junkie, opera buff, connoisseur of unhealthy foods, fashion watcher, art lover and admirer of beautiful people of all sexes.
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3 Responses to Unexpected Celebrity Perfumes, Five Ways

  1. Miss Conduct says:

    Didn’t know there was a fumehead amongst this bunch over here. I have been very interested in 2nd Cumming. I’ve yet to meet a pine fragrance I didn’t like. They all seem to be unisex, not that I care about gender marketing but that note just appeals to men and women alike. This summer I’ve been wearing Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles a lot, even in the Texas heat, and my second next full bottle purchase will be Byredo Gypsy Water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Gypsy Water but it’s far too ephemeral for me to spend $200 a bottle on. The only Byredo I currently own is Pulp, although Seven Veils and the ouds have been tempting me for a while now.

      As for Serge Lutens, I’m a crazed devotee of many of his scents, admittedly the ones that stay within his Moroccan/Arabian wheelhouse. Arabie, Ambre Sultan, Fumerie Turque, Jeux de Peux, and Musc Kublai Khan are staples of mine.


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