These Perfumes Smell Just like Old Books
You’re in a used bookstore and uncover a dusty novel. You crack it open and lean in, inhaling deeply. Ahhh…that book smell. It’s intoxicating. Now what if I told you that you could wear it as a scent, or mist it on your clothes? Yep, that’s right—there are perfumes that mimic the smell of old books.
One of them is called Dead Writers: developed by Sweet Tea Apothecary, the scent is a blend of black tea, vetiver, clove, musk, vanilla, heliotrope, and tobacco. Sweet Tea Apothecary also carries other unique scents, including their Historical Gents and Historical Ladies lines. The perfumes are inspired by famous figures of times past, like Beatrix Potter, Marie Antoinette, King Henry VIII and Archibald Menzies.
Another scent is Paperback by Demeter, a fragrance company known for their unconventional, highly specific scents. The cologne spray is described as “sweet and lovely with just a touch of the musty smell of aged paper…with a sprinkling of violets and a dash of tasteful potpourri.”
There’s also Book by Commodity Goods, an “exciting mixture of Spicy Cucumber and Torchwood that tips its hat to the fellow Hemingways and Fitzgeralds of the world.” They also have one called Paper, a lighter scent that is described as an “invisible chameleon.”
via Commodity Goods
And then there’s In The Library by CB I Hate Perfume, which gets into the nitty gritty of bookish smells—it even aims to capture the glues and leathers of different bindings.
The story behind the scent tells it best: “…to an avid reader and collector like myself, these smells are as magical as the bouquet of a great wine is to a connoisseur—a sort of literary terroir. These scents mean Excitement, Adventure, Discovery, Enlightenment and Knowledge. Of course my deep love of reading is exactly what lead me in the first place to begin capturing the scent of books and of the libraries where they live. That’s what this perfume is all about.”
So why exactly do books take on that unmistakable scent over time? It all comes down to the chemical—the cellulose and lignin in paper gradually breaks down, releasing certain volatile compounds like toluene, vanillin, and benzaldehyde, which just so happen to smell amazing. This graphic from Compound Image explains it all:
So, would you buy any of these perfumes? Or are you happy just knowing they exist?
Featured image by @irenekly via Instagram
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