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Someone made a Berghain-scented perfume and it does not smell good

Berghain is known for many things — quality techno, outrageous lines, a terrifying doorman — but smell is probably not one of them.

If you’ve ever spent time in Berlin’s techno temple, you’d know that its scent is a heady combination of human sweat, cigarette smoke, alcohol… and a host of other things that we probably shouldn’t mention here. It’s not exactly a pleasing odour, but that hasn’t stopped someone taking it upon themselves to try and bottle the scent.

35-year-old DJ Isabel Lewis teamed up with Norwegian chemist and artist Sissel Tolaas to create a fragrance based on the club. It was initially made for Lewis’ Berlin events series ‘Occasions’, with the aim being to bring her audience back to their “own sensory perception and thus their own body.”

Nailing Berghain’s specific scent involved spending a lot of time inside the club: “I went this particular night and decided I’m not going consume any alcohol,” she says. “I’m just going to go with my nose switched on. And that was, I am telling you, the trippiest time I’ve had at Berghain.

“Putting the attention on the sense of smell was so intense. You can smell 30 years of partying coming from the downstairs, you’re smelling huge waves of smoke, you’re smelling the spilled alcohol on the floor, body sweat, hairspray, cheap cologne.”

She admits that the smell isn’t supposed to be pleasant, but “women often like it, men don’t.” And if it smells familiar? “The strongest note is probably male body sweat,” says Lewis. “And it has these other notes of perfume, cologne, alcohol, burnt tobacco. It’s a very earthy, heavy, pungent smell. Pleasantness is not what we’re going for.”

Unfortunately — or fortunately? — the perfume isn’t actually available for purchase yet, meaning you’ll still have to hop a plane for Berlin to get a whiff of the real thing.