In regards to the sensory overload that is Berghain, smell might be the most overlooked of the five senses. Though the vast majority of attendees have probably experienced the sensation of having their noses clogged up with a medley of substances, the fragrance of the venue is not usually what one looks back on after a long and debaucherous weekend of dancing in Berlin’s most legendary nightclub.
So how does one describe the mishmash of smells that waft and linger in electronic music’s loud and sweaty Mecca? 35-year old DJ, artist and dancer, Isabel Lewis, has taken it upon herself to tackle the challenge.
Fixing up various concoctions in a lab in Berlin with Norwegian chemist and artist Sissel Tolaas, the duo went through the painstaking process of developing what they believed was the best imitation of Berghain’s aroma. The purpose of this experiment, which was presented at her own curated ‘Occasions’ event, was to engage with her audiences physically and to “bring awareness back to your own sensory perception and thus your own body”. The fragrance is not for sale (unfortunatly), but was rather created to be used as an evocative and powerful tool in the gallery spaces where these ‘Occasions’ tend to take place.
“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."
If you have a sincere desire to get into Berghain and experience the real life fragrance for yourself, check out 28 tips that might help you get past the club’s infamous bouncers.