I printed a big pile of documents this evening, and when my son picked up the warm stack of paper he commented on how oddly nice it smelled. I agreed — I've always found the odor of laser toner kind of enjoyable. It's like the odor of productivity.
Then I wondered — huh, has anyone ever tried to make a perfume out of it?
I couldn't find anyone who'd quite done that, but I did find this fascinating 2013 article on colognes crafted to smell like ink — specifically, "2 Man" by Comme des Garçons and "Encre Noire" by Lalique.
As the author notes, writing of "2 Man" …
… this cologne really does smell like Japanese ink. For those of you familiar with the scent of Sailor's Kiwa Guro Nano Black, the scent can be picked up almost immediately when smelling them side by side. I always enjoyed the scent of the Kiwa Guro, and when it occurred to me to smell these two together, it just made the experience that much better. The scent of the Kiwa Guro can be a bit overwhelming, but 2 Man takes influence from the inky scent without being overpowering. While it's predominantly a woody incense fragrance, if you know what the ink smells like, you can definitely pick it up. I'm finding it hard to explain, but if you get the chance to compare the two it really stands out.
Apparently "Encre Noir" is less obviously ink-like — it's more sort of ink-adjacent …
While this does not smell as much like actual ink as the CdG does, it's meant to evoke the darkness in a black ink … Unlike the CdG, this fragrance is way too heavy to be a year-round scent. I usually wait until the weather starts cooling down in the fall and retire it when it starts warming up. While the Encre Noire doesn't smell like ink, it's a dark, woody, earthy scent that certainly evokes the feel of black ink. Even the bottle, which is black glass with only a hint of transparency reminds me of J. Herbin's 1670 ink bottles. The cap is a dark brown wood, hinting at what the scent inside is like … Fragrantica lists the notes as follows: Top note is cypress; middle note is vetiver; base notes are musk and cashmere wood. It's heavy on the dirty, earthy vetiver which I happen to be a big fan of.
So, if you want smell truly like an ink-stained wretch, here's your hookup.
Previously on BB, perfumes that try to capture the odor of old books, and of American paper currency.
(The CC-2.0-licensed photo of "2 Man" above courtesy the Flickr account of Luke Roberts)