Some perfumes are meant to smell pleasant and good and beautiful. They’re easy to wear, they evoke something nice, and often smell of flowers or forests or fruit. Then there are other perfumes that, frankly, aren’t so easy. These perfumes convey an aesthetic of standoffishness and sometimes alienation, more thought-piece than accessory. Cool in their own right but not entirely suitable for a subway ride.

But, dear PAPERMAG readers, there is a third way. The artist, Sacre Nobi, famous for his multi-sensory sculptures, has created a perfume house that caters to just this sort of fragrance. S-ex, one of three scents currently produced by S-Perfume, is the epitome of such a fragrance. It is an exquisite and rare perfume that somehow manages to capture the essence of the avant-garde while still remaining both wearable and breathtakingly beautiful.

Slightly sweet, somewhat kinky, and entirely elegant, S-ex is the creation of bad-boy perfumeur Christophe Laudamiel. It’s spiked with a heavy dose of what he calls “spirit of life.” Hm. Isabella Rossellini recently said, “sperm are cheap, eggs are precious.” To put it bluntly, Laudamiel pulls off the remarkable feat of being both cheap and precious. Couple this with a strong underpinning of dry, taught leather and a subtle, synthetic accord of rubber or plastic, and you have a full-on evocation of kink. Layers of animalic musk, crystalline in clarity and unlike any other I’ve encountered before, underlay and pass through the development of S-ex. And then comes the salt -- strange, you might think, but smooth and restrained and powerful. It’s the smell of dried sweat on skin, a slightly malodorous representation of that remarkably sexy part of body odor. Luca Turin, who gives it his highest mark of five stars, calls it “space leather.” Space leather be damned -- this is ozonic S&M.

Or maybe it’s the memory of it. All of this happens transparently, so to speak. There’s nothing flagrantly raunchy or vulgar about S-ex. It develops without ever collapsing into the brusque or bawdy, and something about it keeps it squarely within the realm of sophistication and austerity. It’s kink at a distance, wearing close to the skin but staying on like gangbusters. There’s really nothing like it, and no other fragrance has elicited so many comments from friends and strangers alike. You’ve got to try it for yourself. Run, don’t walk, to The Shaping Room.

S-ex is available in 2 oz., 18% concentration, for $120.