Bruce LaBruce Obscenity ~ new fragrance

Bruce LaBruce Obscenity

Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce has launched Obscenity, a new limited edition fragrance inspired by the Canadian customs officials' practice of seizing his works at the border and marking them OBSCENITY.

To me, it has become a badge of honour. For one man's obscenity is another man's art. Or romance. Or sensibility. Or scent.

Staring at OBSCENITY, eventually I came to realize that the the word SCENT is contained within it, and thus came the first inspiration to develop a fragrance of the same name. A fragrance in flagrant disregard of the pejorative insinuation of the word. In flagrante delicto: caught in the very act of committing a misdeed or offence. In fragrance delicto! Exhibiting a collection of my photographs in Madrid several years ago at La Fresh Gallery - photographs that examined the delicate intersection between religious and sexual ecstasy - I first recuperated the word Obscenity as something sensual, erotic, and beyond the judgment of society or religion. Against storms of protest, the word for me transgressed its etymological origin as something offensive or filthy. It became instead something mysterious, martyred, and carnal. Carnal knowledge is power.

What does obscenity smell like? To explore this question, I had to consult a professional. Enter Kim Weisswange, perfumer extraordinaire. Meeting the formidable woman in the flesh in Hamburg, I explained to her my history with obscenity, and the feelings the word invokes in me. The synthesis of the religious or the spiritual and the sexual is a potent one, and requires a potent fragrance. I left this alchemical olfaction to the expert.

Obscenity is an amber fougère; the notes include honeysuckle, bergamot, plum, orange, asafoetida, cumin, ginger, bay, tarragon, heliotrope, cyclamen, fir, geranium, rose, tobacco, patchouli, carnation, jasmine, frankincense, amber, vetiver, tonka bean, cedar, sandalwood, benzoin, labdanum and oud.

Bruce LaBruce Obscenity is $500 (size and concentration unknown) and includes an Obscenity brooch; 100 numbered editions were made.

(quote via, additional information and found via tmagazine.blogs.nytimes)

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  1. kindcrow says:

    I haven’t heard Bruce’s name since college. He collaborated with Screeching Weasel on a great song — “I Wanna be a Homosexual.” We have the single.

  2. floragal says:

    Obscenity = $500 price tag (who cares what size!)

    • Robin says:

      Well, it’s meant as an art piece, not really a commercial fragrance. But I wouldn’t spend that either :-)

    • melissa says:

      But just think, that means you can drop $200+ on the Sarah Horowitz below with impunity — it’s a bargain!

  3. AnnS says:

    Amber fougere makes me think naughty thoughts all the time.

    I read this and think it must be some “kids in the hall” sketch joke…..

    • Robin says:

      Could completely be a comic sketch! and maybe it is :-)

    • AnnieA says:

      Amber Fougère is a perfect name for a burlesque performer.

      • Uday Parfoom says:


      • AnnS says:


      • AnnE says:


      • kindcrow says:

        To create your own name, I think that you are supposed to use the name of your first pet and the name of the street that you lived on as a child. One of my co-workers came up with Frisky Mariposa. : -)

  4. caffeinequeen says:

    I bet Etat Libre is kicking themselves for not grabbing this name first!

    • Robin says:

      Seriously doubt it’s trademarked, so they can probably still have it :-)

    • AnnieA says:

      Even teenage boys have to have some downtime for snacks, etc. They will be back with obnoxious ad copy and perfume names at any moment…

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      It makes me want to come out with a scent called “Expletive.”

      • Lindaloo says:

        And then a “light” version of the scent called Expletive Deleted?

        • Marjorie Rose says:


          And the youthful blue sport version would be “Bleep?”

          • AnnE says:

            And then “Midnight Profanity?”

  5. Dilana says:

    Or perhaps the guy just wants to get in on the exploding perfume market.
    Which I wouldn’t mind; Salvador Dali used his art work to design bottles and then licensed a perfume line to go with the bottles. Bond’s Warhol line has more do with Warhol’s visual designs than any claim to being a perfume nose.
    Both those artists (or maybe it’s Warhol’s estate, rather than him personally), however, kept their actual fragrance products within normal perfume bounds of pricing. (Don’t cite Rojasto me: those import prices are not within the normal bounds and supposedly are based upon his talent as a perfumer).
    And for heaven sake’s if you are going to claim to crossing from art photograph to perfume as scent, at least have some respect for perfumery. A fougere, is no more a random collection of notes, that a portrait is a random photograph. Each is a genre with a specific set of elements and a history within the art form. A fougere should at least have lavender, just as someone should be somewhere in a portrait.
    As for the claims that this scent will represents some convergence of religious and sexual ecstasy, well that’s a nice claim, really it is. However, I can imagine the same claim being made in a Lutens press release or being depicted in an ad for Gucci Guilty, or any number of other pieces of advertising by those already in the perfume industry.

    • Merlin says:

      I can’t imagine the same claim being made by Gucci for Guilty, (or any other mainstream brand) but I can see Lutens invoking all the same concepts. Still, invoking the same concepts is quite far from developing the more-or-less cogent argument that’s here.

      As to the price – maybe that gold figurine kneeling in orgasm/rapture at the top is in solid gold, lol!

      • mals86 says:

        It took me a long time to notice that thing. Just not much of a bottle hound, me.

        • Merlin says:

          And strangely enough that figure reminds me of Lady Gaga!

  6. ockeghem says:

    I need to develop my own fragrance called “Duty” or “Amount Owed”, because that seems to be what all my shipments come through with from Canadian customs. ;-)

  7. des esseintes says:

    Sounds like there is some though behind this fragrance. It doesn’t sound dumb. Not what I’d expect from a producer of porn.

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