Smell Bent is a quirky, Indie brand based in Los Angeles that has produced over 100 fragrances, many of which are already out of production. They are quirky, fun, and inexpensive. The illustrations and perfume names are sometimes hilarious and can also be very appropriate. The brand started in 2009 and the nose behind all is Brent Leonesio.
I procured 15 samples from Mercari in Japan recently, and was saddened that there was only really one slight standout scent for me, and I list that one first. Only the first three are still in the brand’s scent library.
1) Horny Little Devil is a spicy oriental contains amber, black pepper, musk, and cardamom. It’s a dirty spiced musk in a red dress tap dancing on cedar root floors. This is Big Red chewing gum in a perfume, and it’s more of a conceptual scent.
2) Florist’s Fridge is simply orchid and hyacinth – that’s all! And the name says it all, too. I can imagine, cool refrigerated air hitting my nose at the same time as these flowers do when I open the cool room door of a florist’s shop. The scent is part of a collection called “Frankensmellies.” It’s nice, but boring.
3) Jasmine Tobacco is a floral woody musk with jasmine, sandalwood, tobacco, and musk. I don’t get much tobacco in this, and the musk has a cat urine vibe to it. The jasmine is there, very indolic. For this one I see myself covered in earth planting flowers out in the garden when the neighbour’s cat decides to pee on your overripe jasmine. The scent is also part of the “Frankensmellies” Collection. Yes, it’s a Frankensmellie, in my opinion. (DISLIKE)
Everything that follows is discontinued. Perhaps it was a lack of popularity that lead to the demise? I’ll just list them in order of order of preference (umm, preference is a strong work for me here) along with their notes and a quick comment.
Prairie Nymph: clemetine, carnation, musk, beeswax
- Powdery sweet honey sticking to carnations spritzed with orange juice
Gimme a Break: patchouli, jasmine, musk, wood, honey, beeswax
- Behive +alpha: bees, beeswax, honey, and glandular sweat
Cocoa Rose: rose, chocolate, patchouli, cloves
- Dank, dusty roses sprayed with coco powder and summer sweat
Gardenia Oud: Gardenia, agarwood, patchouli, dark woods
- Rich, composted soil with fresh gardenia
One Day: white flowers, green notes, pine, cedar, vetiver
- Dog pee on the hardwood floors hastily removed with a floral & pine-scented wipes
Ice Station Zebra: fir and musk
- Winter car spray (DISLIKE)
Père Noël Coward: sweet immortelle, Atlas cedar, fir balsam, pinon pine (2009 holiday ltd. ed.)
- Cleaning products sprayed on a straw wreathe (DISLIKE)
Dr. Dreidel 3000: oud, sandalwood, gaiac wood, hiba (Japanese cedar), musk, vetiver, amber insence (2014 winterific ltd. ed.)
- Sour wood and house cleaner (DISLIKE – maybe my sample had gone off?)
Never say Never: sandalwood and musk
- Sharp, light chemical woodiness (DISLIKE)
Mirror Ball: incense, woody notes, hyacinth, jasmine
- Sharp green aquatic hyacinth (DISLIKE – like Lush’s The Bug?)
I couldn’t tell you what was in the remaining two samples I had – Musk and Dry (couldn’t find the note breakdown on either Smell Bent’s site or Fragrantica). All I can tell you is that they were really bad. But in all fairness, since I did purchase these samples second hand and some of them are indeed older perfumes, it’s quite possible that they had gone off, and THAT is the main reason I don’t like them. It doesn’t matter to you because they are not longer sold, anyway.
So, my overall impression of this brand? I love the quirky branding and the use of wordplay and illustrations. None of the fragrances were love at first sniff and I was ready to discard almost all of them, but after several more sniffs I began to appreciate many of them more – a few are conceptually interesting – in the way that fragrances from Lush are. But the packaging is very anti-luxe, and the compositions ultimately very simple. I definitely wouldn’t buy any of these, sadly. None were earth-shattering, wearable artworks to me.