As we all know, perfume takes inspiration in many forms. (It also inspires incredible creativity.) So here, we’ve hand-picked our favourite perfumes inspired by novels, essays and poems – alongside the scents that have inspired great writing. We suggest you prick up both your eyes and nose for this one…
1. BYREDO and Baudelaire
BYREDO created a scent inspired by Charles Baudelaire, the famed 19th century poet, most known for his work translating Edgar Allen Poe (another perfume-inspiring author). ‘A lazy isle to which nature has given singular trees, savoury fruits, men with bodies vigorous and slender, and women in whose eyes shines a startling candor…’ It has notes of caraway, leather and papyrus.
BYREDO Baudelaire £88 for 50ml eau de parfum
2. Frapin and Edgar Allen Poe
Inspired by The Raven, a poem that Edgar Allan Poe is best known, Frapin created Nevermore. The story of The Raven revolves around someone calling for his lost love, only to be taunted by a solitary raven that haunts him retorting ‘Nevermore’. This woody scent is a tribute to Mr Poe, using spices, rose, amber and cedar to evoke an air of mystery.
Frapin Nevermore £98 for 100ml eau de parfum
3. CB I Hate Perfume and E M Forster
A Room with a View – the novel about a young woman in repressed Edwardian England (and her escape to Florence) inspired a fragrance of the same name by CB I Hate Perfume. Inspiration came from a passage at the end of the sixth chapter: ‘From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam.’
CB I Hate Perfume A Room With A View £100 for 100ml eau de parfum
4. Jardins d’Ecrivains and Colette
Jardins created a perfume by the name of GiGi, an homage to the young Parisian girl made famous in the 1944 novella by Colette. To celebrate the beautiful, mischievous heroine, Jardins D’Écrivains imagined a theme of lively and fruity white flowers.
Jardins d’Ecrivains GiGi £69 for 100ml eau de parfum
5. Maurer & Wirtz and Truman Capote
So this one wasn’t technically inspired by literature… But it was the fragrance that Miss Holly Golightly herself wore in the clelebrated book, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A masculine (well, shareable) Cologne – fresh rather than sexy – Holly was making a statement suggesting she cared for things other than appealing to men.
Maurer & Wirtz 4711 £25 for 90ml eau de Cologne
6. Jardins d’Ecrivains and Oscar Wilde
Another one from Jardins, here they took inspiration from Wilde’s famous aphorisms to express an olfaction figure of speech. According to Jardins d’Ecrivains the eau de perfume is for aesthetes who are striving to become what they are.
Jardins d’Ecrivains Oscar £75 for 100ml eau de parfum
7. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and Lewis Carroll
The intriguin fragrance house Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have created a bundle of scents encapsulating the famed Alice and all of her adventures in wonderland. Choose from Alice, Mad Hatter, Caterpillar, Drink Me, Tweedledee and many more (alas only available in the US).
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Alice $17.50 for 5ml essential oil
8. Angela Flanders and Tiffany Anne Tondut
A wonderful anthology entitled ‘Penning Perfumes‘ was compiled of poems written inspired by perfumes – one of which was Tiffany Anne Tondut‘s The Rabbit is Dancing in the Garden, inspired by Angela Flanders Ambre Noir. After hearing the poem– in which French and English lovers exchange sweet riens – Angela Flanders heartily agreed that ‘the best way to learn French is on the pillow’.
Angela Flanders Ambre Noir £79 for 50ml eau de parfum
9. Jardins d’Ecrivains and Virginia Woolf
Once again Jardins creates its own interpretation of a character – this time from a compelling Virginia Woolf fantasy: the androgynous character with eternal youth, Lord Orlando in the Elizabethan era becomes Lady Orlando in the 18th century. Orlando is an alluring unisex scent with amber, patchouli and woods.
Jardins d’Ecrivains Orlando £75 for 100ml eau de parfum
10. Maison Francis Kurkdijan and a multitude of poets
In ‘Penning Perfumes‘, that perfume-inspired poetry anthology, poets were given the scent of MFK’s Absolue Pour Le Soir and came back with a multitude of wonderful haikus, entitled ‘Manchester Haiku’.
Maison Francis Kurkdijan Absolue Pour le Soir £115 for 70ml eau de parfum
By Carson Parkin-Fairley