Hello! I'm cranking up ol' KP Smells clown car again, and while I'm lubing the chassis, I thought I'd share something I wrote for the The Guardian in June.
"Bottling the Smell of Dead People Won't Capture Their Essence" concerns Olfactory Links, a French company which aims to make a perfume out of the smell of clients' deceased loved ones.
You can read the article here.
A provocative topic always results in a lively comment section, so don't miss out on a scan of the readers' musings at the bottom of the article. There's a run of ghoulish puns about halfway through. (The Brits do love their puns!)
- Charnel No.5?
- Is this a unique venture or is there stiff competition?
- I think it's a dead end.
- Only requires a skeleton staff to produce, make no bones about that.
- Bottling the smell of dead people -- I think I cadaver go at that.
- Of corpse you could...
- There's mortuary than meets the eye...
- What if you are allergic to perfumes -- and you can't stop coffin until your throat is hearse?
On a less facetioius note, I was particularly struck by this comment from "Prevellis":
"I am constantly surprised by the power of smells to trigger memories and feelings of deja vu. As a postman, I deliver to old people's homes and residential accommodation. Old people tend to use the same products now as they used 40 or 50 years ago. So I get wafts of table polish, carpet cleaner, perfume, air freshener -- all triggering memories from my childhood (1970s). The quotidian world of a postman is surprisingly olfactory."
While I was writing the piece, Perfume Pen Pal Dan Rolleri and I had an exchange on the subject. He had this to say:
"Well, I feel like it’s already been done with Frédéric Malle Bois d’Orage and my dad. But isn’t this sort of thing more abstract and elusive than their video indicates? I mean, there are certainly smells that remind us of people, but for various reasons and not simply because that’s how they smelled.
"This makes it sound like you just bring in their bath towel and, bam, there they are in scent-form. Except I’m not sure I’d necessarily associate the smell of anyone’s bath towel with the person herself. And I’d end up with a perfume that smells like a towel."
Dan tickled me with his suggestion for an alternative application for bottling the smell of a certain human being:
"What if you could bottle yourself? Would you just come across more...present? Amplified? Would someone say, 'Katie seems especially Katie-like today, do you know what I mean?' And someone else would say, 'Absolutely! It’s like she’s surrounding us!' "Would that be considered a misuse of the technology?"
Mailman image via