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.