The weird & wonderful world of novelty fragrances

Did you know that many companies have created novelty fragrances to promote anything and everything from fast-food brands and Stilton cheese to Captain Birds Eye fish fingers? (Yes, really!)

Fragrance is such an individual choice, don’t you think? We all have completely differing reactions to certain notes or combinations – what’s one person’s yum is another’s yuck, and that can be based on anything from childhood memories and cultural or long-buried associations to the simple fact of personal preference. What’s more, there are scents that may remind us of favourite foods or sweet treats we enjoy – the Gourmand family of fragrances have held sway since the 90s.

It would take the concept of ‘niche’ to a whole new level, however, for fragrance fans to actively seek out scents that smell of fried chicken, pizzas and sprouts – no matter how much we might love munching them. Well… you’d think so, wouldn’t you? But increasingly, brands are latching on to the power of perfume to promote their products.

Have YOU tried any of these, or purchased one as a joke gift for a friend…?

 

 

Birds Eye recently offered consumers the chance to win a limited edition eau de toilette inspired by Captain Birdseye himself – played by Italian-born actor and seafarer Riccardo Acerbi, who was unveiled at the start of 2018 as part of an £8m marketing campaign for the brand. ‘We know the British public have a soft spot for our captain,’ explained Birds Eye spokeswoman Annalisa Fanali, and so they gave him his own signature scent, ‘inspired by the hypnotic and evocative power of the high seas.’

Named Ahoy! the fragrance promises top notes of grapefruit and mandarin with patchouli, thankfully nothing fishy to smell here. Fifty bottles of the scent were up for grabs in the competition, which ran on Birds Eye’s Facebook page in the run-up to Christmas. If you weren’t a lucky winner, one imagines you wont be able to pop down the shops and pick yourself up a bottle in the immediate future, which is a shame because it sounded rather appealing. Unlike some of the previous novelty fragrances, below…

 

 

In 2012, having revolutionised the pizza world with stuffed crusts, the fragrance world was perhaps not ready for Pizza Hut Perfume. What began as a joke on their Facebook page escalated to an actual scent being created, which they temptingly described as ‘boasting top notes of freshly baked, hand-tossed dough.’ The limited edition perfume was designed to commemorate Pizza Hut Canada, and only 110 bottles were produced and shared with fans. ‘Will we be seeing Pizza Hut perfume in department stores any time soon?’ their press release asked. ‘Only time will tell.’ Spoilers: nope.

 

 

Currently showcasing their vegan-friendly range, those missing their whiff of something meatier were recently offered a unique opportunity to ‘fill your home with the scent of Gravy’ in a KFC Candle. Another limited edition (no, really?) candles were limited to only 230 editions and again, used as a competition prize on social media. We cannot comment on the authenticity of the gravy scent, sadly, but certainly the wax colour looks… somewhat disturbingly… realistic.

 

 

Now this will raise eyebrows (or twitch nostrils), but I don’t think this next one’s as crazy as it perhaps sounds. Eau de Stilton was launched to promote the cheese as part of a marketing campaign all the way back in 2006, and apart from genuinely loving the bottle design, while the sound of a blue cheese-inspired scent might seem off-putting, I think certain undiluted jasmine oils smell like strong cheese – due to the huge amounts of ‘indoles’ found in the aromatic molecules, which to some noses even smells sightly fecal. It goes to show, it depends how something is described before we actually smell it. I’d have given this one a go!

 

 

Those fast-food chains really love their fragrances, it seems, because in 2015 we saw Japan promoting a Whopper-scented Burger King Perfume. Alas only available for one day, reportedly, it’s another meaty scent I cannot report first hand (or nose) on, and I will have to try and get over the huge disappointment of that, somehow.

While the majority (if not all) of these are novelty items – released in strictly limited editions to create a media buzz around the brand – it’s an interesting concept that engages us in a different way, and the fragrances will still have been created by a perfumer working to a brief (albeit rather more bizarre than they are used to!) Of course those highlighted above are to be taken with a pinch of salt (and vinegar, as far as the captain’s concerned), but it will be fascinating to see if any other brands pick up on the perfume buzz and create their own ‘scent of’.

What would you like to see (and smell) next…?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

6 cocktail-inspired scent trends you have to try

Sitting in the sunshine and sipping a glass (or three) of something thirst-quenching is just the thing – and perfumers seem similarly inclined. If you’re planning a holiday, or simply enjoying our own (currently clement!) weather, this is definitely the time to change-up your fragrance game and perhaps consider one of these cocktail-inspired scents…

We might as well start as we mean to go on, so fancy something fruity? Zara have added three new fragrances with a Cocktail Collection (how apropos), encompassing three favourite tipples: Cherry Sling, Peach Margarita and Sweet Daiquiri. Peony, peach and pear; melon, rose and musk or nashi pear, bamboo and lotus: whichever you choose, these are joyfully exuberant (and very pocket-friendly!) ways to wear the trend.

Zara Cocktail Collection £9.99 for 200ml eau de toilette
Buy them at zara.com

For those who prefer their snifters a bit more straight-up, the cool, clear crackle of ice in a crystal tumbler is wonderfully evoked by perfumer Sidonie Lancesseur. A side order of chilled cardamom and coriander fizz pleasingly with aldehydes as bitter rhubarb accord, a splash of clear rose and lily of the valley swirl with leather, sandalwood and oakmoss. Distinctly dashing.

By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks £215 for 100ml eau de parfum
At bykilian.co.uk

Peach schnapps with lychee and crystalised rose petals? Lalique‘s Rêve d’Infini sees us sipping iced martinis in a fabulous Art-Nouveau hotel. Love a drop of rum? Swashbuckler’s should head for the exotic Atkinsons Pirates Grand Reserve, while those more clasically inclined may wish to wear a Chambord and Champagne-like mix in Vince Camuto‘s Amore. Explore all of these (and many more) in this unashamedly decadent Discovery Box…

The Velvet Collection £19 (£15 for VIP Subscribers)
At our shop

Many perfume-lovers seem to share a love for gin – perhaps it’s the wonderful array of botanicals that are now being used to infuse various small-batch brands, so reminiscent of the way fragrances are made? For fellow gin-lovers, this is now an absolute classic – a crisply refined cocktail on a pleasingly debauched base of black cherry, soft leather, crytalised brown sugar and exotic amber. To be splashed with abandon and relished at leisure.

Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling £100 for 50ml eau de toilette
At penhaligons.com

Visiting the Kilchoman distillery on their beautiful remote island inspired a scent that captures not only the rich flavours of the golden liquor, but hints of hedgerows and the windswept, rugged mosslands for which they’re famed. Galbanum brings to mind bright yellow gorse flowers, bergamot and orris mirror the citrus-floral notes found in the whiskey itself, while a cade oil and patchouli create a peaty accord that’s reassuringly (and literally) grounding.

Floris Islay £180 for 100ml eau de parfum
At florislondon.com

Thirst-qunching Watermelons with the freshness of green mandarin, notes of green tea and cooling vetiver; Blood Oranges bursting with vibrant, long-lasting citrus, and Framboise Noire succulent with black raspberries and ripe forest berries with a deep undertone like that of an ultra-smooth red wine… Fruit punch, claret, gourmand liqours, watermelon martinis? Allow yourself to be utterly transported by all in this deliciously curated collection.

Shay & Blue Precious Miniatures £65 (VIP price £55) for 5 x 10ml eau de parfum
At our shop

Pssst! Had your cocktail curiousity piqued? Our Subscribers were the first to be invited to our exclusive Sip & Sniff evening at Jovoy Mayfair (so you’ll need to be signed in to view this invite) on June 20th – where experts will be pairing six scents with matching drinks. But we’ll be giving you more details about this tomorrow, so watch our Events section for news!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How can you improve your sense of smell? Watch this cute cartoon and book our 'How To' workshop!

Are perfumers possessed of magical noses gifted to them at birth – with a heightened sense of smell beyond the reach of mere mortals…?
Well, there’s an argument to made that perhaps some of the ‘noses’ behind our favourite fragrances are somewhat naturally gifted, but my goodness they had to work to get where they are. Perhaps also some of them grew up in perfume-y places – like Grasse – where the culture, history and even the streets themselves are awash with scent. But the truth of the matter is, they had to start somewhere. And those of us lucky enough to have a working sense of smell can undoubtedly go about improving that sense – and thereby enhancing every aspect of our lives.
We couldn’t resist sharing the wonderfully incisive (and undeniably cute) cartoon, below, that does a great job of explaining how important our sense of smell is in everyday life, and the basics of how one might begin mastering the sense of smell.

Apart from simple practice, practice, practice – the most important aspect, we have gleaned by interviewing those famous perfumers over the years; is learning to “fix” a smell in your head by creatively describing it in terms that are absolutely and entirely personal to you. And how on earth do you go about doing that? By attending one of our regular How To Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops
These fun, informal (but totally informative) sessions are held in groups, some people liking to bring friends along others preferring to sniff solo, and during which you will be taught how to start building your very own volcabulary of scent – pinning those intensely personal memories and emotions that are automatically triggered the second you smell something (good or bad!) and using that to invesitage – and vastly improve – your sense of smell. We’re not pretending you’ll come out as a fully fledged perfumer – and neither is this the reason we set up the workshops. But we can gurantee you’ll not only experience your favourite fragrances in a whole new way – you will appreciate your nose like never before.

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[Photos by Essence PR]
So, do you fancy a morning or afternoon of sharing fragrances, laughter and learning to improve your sense of smell – with a fragrant goody bag at the end of it and as many biscuits and tea (or coffee) you can drink in-between? Of course you do!
Come and join us for the next How To Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshop in London on Saturday 4th February. Not a Londoner? Look here to find (or request) your nearest workshop.
How do you join in the fragrance fun? It’s simple:
How To Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops cost £10 for VIP Subscribers – which is 100% redeemable against any box purchase on the day of the workshop
Want to bring a guest? (it’s even more fun with a friend!) £20 for Guests of subscribers or non-VIP Subscribers
Maximise the opportunity by choosing to become a VIP with your booking for £35 to include a one-year VIP subscription to The Perfume Society, £10 of which is redeemable against box purchases on the day of the workshop.
Want to read a review from a happy attendee of a previous workshop? Cosmetic Candy blog waxes lyrical about attending one of our Manchester workshops, and Samantha Grocutt, MD of Essence PR describes her experience, here.
Workshops are generally hosted by Senior Writer of The Perfume Society, Suzy Nightingale within the London area, and co-founder Jo Fairley further afield.
Simply bring along a favourite fragrance – and your nose – and we so look forward to meeting you there.
Book your tickets here.
Written by Suzy Nightingale