I've had hay fever for the past few days and thus my capacity to smell things has been severely limited - everything - rose, new car, baby, sardine - smelling of the metallic nastiness of mucus. It has been very unpleasant.
But I can smell again now, so I thought I'd write up a review of a scent I tried out yesterday: Invasion Barbare by MDCI.
In other reviews I've read that this fragrance ultra-masculine, but a kind of rugged, muscular, barbarian-like (in a Schwarzenegger sense) masculine, which evokes bronzed bodies, animal hide and unrealistic muscles. But I feel these reviews are largely missing the point of Invasion Barbare - that is, it still smells like a torrid, sword-wielding fight, but one done through a certain kind of aesthetic, largely contrary to the aforementioned image.
To me, Invasion Barbare, with its musk/vanilla/leather base and lavender/grapefruit tops, smells of exquisite flesh. It is fresh, clean and sun-soaked flesh. It is lavishly smooth flesh with all the spicy notes (ginger, cardamom) playing finely nuanced supporting roles.
Because it is really an imagined, idealized flesh, it has the effect of being something quite familiar-yet-strange. It becomes the concept of flesh rather than anyone's actual flesh, but in doing so, highlights the nature of flesh to a degree that disembodies it. It is too beautiful a flesh to be actually attached to any living thing, it is rather flesh which is just kind of floating there in mid-air. Much like Luca Turin talks about fruit scents evoking giant imagined fruits, this fragrance evokes a giant hunk of flesh. Now, a giant piece of fruit is all very well and good - this in itself is desirable and playful. But a giant hunk of flesh? No matter how beautiful, there is something violent about it. And no doubt, this is a violent fragrance.
The name is the first give away: Barbarian Invasion. More than enough sliced, disembodied flesh in those two words. Then, there is the slightly carrion-like smell that just juts under everything else - it is not sickly though, but utterly entrancing. Like a slight fecal smell can make a floral scent narcotic, the slight smell of death here makes this all the more desirable. It ends up then being not-unlike a Japanese envisioning of a beautiful, aesthetic death, with its puzzlingly alluring dismemberment and spurts of blood on rainbow arcs. It is truly the most romantic, divine death imaginable.
There is a particular way it blends with your sweat as well that is very clever, but I'll talk about that another day (when I talk about M.Micallef's Gaiac, another tremendous masculine scent). This is really one of the best fragrances I've ever smelt.