Perfume Pen Pals: Jardins D’Ecrivains / Junky and George


Have you tried anything from Jardins D’Écrivains? Its perfumes are said to be inspired by great writers and literary movements and based on the two I’ve tried, they seem additionally inspired by soap.

First is Junky, after William Burroughs (you finally made it, Bill), which is not nearly as complex as its long list of notes (hemp, rosewood, iris, violet, gardenia, cedar, Japanese vetiver, cashmeran, moss, etc.) would indicate. Instead it smells like a stale bar of soap left out in the unused room of a dingy old motel near the Oregon coast.

One of these days, some bikers will need a few hours sleep and afterward they’ll go to the bathroom to freshen up and they won’t end up feeling fresh at all. Still, how do you complain about soap in a $39 motel room?

Sparky and Gary feeling not-so-fresh.

You complain because we’re not in a motel room, KP, and the soap is actually perfume and the perfume didn’t come with a room and it didn’t cost $39, it cost a hundred dollars! I paid a hundred dollars to smell like stale soap. Which in itself is sort of fascinating, yes?

Jardins D’Écrivains puts out another perfume, George, named after George Sand, and that one also smells like soap. But good soap, specifically Caswell Massey Number Six, which is the best-smelling warm-citrus soap your father probably never wore but you imagine him wearing every time you smell it.

George is a pleasure to wear and yet I’ve worn Junky more frequently because I just can’t believe how bad it is. George smells good, George wears well, now let’s put George over there and go back to figuring out what the hell the perfumer was thinking with this Junky garbage.

I love the things I hate more than I love the things I love and one of these days I should bring that up in therapy.


Bikers photo: 'Sparky' and Gary Rogues Schererville, by Danny Lyon 1965


  1. Spray, sniff, scrub, repeat. Yes. I know the drill. I am now compelled to look for a sample of Junky.

    1. Haha! Some time later, Dan wrote to me: "God, I hated Junky. I finally ended up selling it and I may have included an apology to the buyer. I think it’s one of the worst perfumes I’ve ever purchased."

      I'll bet you're even MORE interested now, Melissa!

    2. Reading this back makes me regret having sold Junky. Because wouldn’t you want to *keep* the worst perfume you’ve ever purchased? It’s the same reason I never got rid of my copy of Zabriskie Point and now, recognizing that Junky is the Zabriskie Point of perfumes, I realize I’ve made a terrible mistake. *Two* terrible mistakes (the first one was buying it originally).

  2. I never understood the hook on this line - "gardens of the writers". BUT...Orlando is a fantastic scent. Guiaic wood for days in all its smoky caramellic glory.

    1. Junky seems to fall more accurately into the “bathrooms of the writers” category.

      I believe I have a sample of Orlando, Stefush, because I have a sample of everything. Will look for it and report back.

  3. KP, does Dan have a blog? I could read his misfortunes on perfumes or publications all day.

  4. This is Dan's sole outlet for recounting of misfortunes, and as you can imagine, I have a backlog. I'll hustle some more out for you shortly.