In 1989, Bic, makers of pens, shaving razors, and, of course, lighters, launched Parfum Bic. I really like the packaging inspired by cigarette lighters! Maybe the original idea was that the scent would cover up the stale funk of cigarette smoke. Weird Universe found this bit from a Detroit Free Press article at the time:
Made entirely in France and packaged in little portable spritzers that look more than a bit like Bic lighters, Parfum Bic will retail for just $5 a quarter-ounce, one-tenth the price of a typical French perfume. Parfum Bic already is selling briskly in Europe, the company reports. Already, cocooned in decidedly downscale blister packs, the product is hitting the speed racks of American supermarkets, drug and variety stores. With this product, Bic hopes to create a whole new low-price perfume category by advancing the notion of perfume as a product that can be bought and used spontaneously.
"Bic Perfume" (Weird Universe)
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Long the province of manly mens' colognes and deodorants, the fashion for smokey, woodsy scents has come to the perfume aisle.
Log Cabin Perfumes, as I have taken to calling the growing category of scents that evoke a cold snap all year round, are fairly new to the market. A decade ago, only a few niche fragrances prominently featured notes like Scotch pine, birch tar, gunpowder, palo santo and wood smoke. In 2009, Serge Lutens released Fille en Aiguilles, a cult hit that smells like a Christmas tree farm, and slowly the hibernal trend began to trickle through the indie perfume world. Now, the demand for wearable wintry mixes has exploded.
All these fancy Eaus with their camphor notes and sage fundamentals, yet no mention of the Demeter Fragrance Library's Bonfire Cologne.
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New research suggests that dentists may unconsciously smell fear and that their patients' anxiety can hurt their performance. How did the scientists control for the fact that a patient's anxiety in the dental chair is pretty obvious? First, Valentina Parma and her colleagues at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy collected t-shirts worn by students who had sat for a difficult exam or a calm lecture.
From New Scientist:
The team then doused the T-shirts with a chemical that masks body odour, so that it wasn’t possible to consciously smell any body odour on them. When the T-shirts were presented to a different group of 24 dental students, they said they couldn’t detect any difference between those taken from the stressful or the relaxed situations.
Next, mannequins were dressed in the donated T-shirts, and the second group of students had to perform dental treatments on them. Each student was graded on their performance by examiners – and they performed significantly worse when treating mannequins wearing T-shirts from people who’d been stressed. Mistakes included being more likely to damage neighbouring teeth, for example.
Parma thinks the scent of anxiety could be triggering the same emotions in those who subconsciously smell it. “It’s quite fascinating,” says Pamela Dalton at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “It helps us understand how we can communicate without language.”
"Smelling Anxiety Chemosignals Impairs Clinical Performance of Dental Students" (Chemical Senses via Weird Universe)
image: David Shankbone, CC
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Demeter, the fragrance "library" that famously released a cologne with the smell of used paperback books, now offers a Kitten Fur scent. It's available as a cologne, body lotion, shower gel, and other toiletries. (Note: Wow, that's one tiny kitten next to the one ounce bottle in their product photo above.)
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Cats. Love them or hate them. There is no in between. But everyone loves Kittens! Now after 15 years of effort, Demeter has captured the olfactory essence of the warmth and comfort of that purrfect spot, just behind a kitten's neck.
What does money smell like? Chemist and perfumier Marc vom Ende was commissioned by artist Mike Bouchet to create the well-known but hard-to-describe smell, and it turned out money smells like America itself: Read the rest
Flying Tiger Motorcycles offers this curious "Two Stroke Smoke Candle" that is made from two-stroke oil and "high-octane fragrance" to give your home that singular bike bouquet. It's $20 and comes in a metal can. Read the rest
Liquid ASS is described as smelling like a fine combination of "butt crack, kind of a sewer smell with a hint of dead animal." It is arguably the worst smell in the world. High school prankster Allen Wittman invented it man years ago from ingredients in his chemistry set. Now it's used by the US military in war simulations to get medics used to the smell of a torn intestine with wasting spilling into the abdominal cavity. 99% Invisible tells the story of Liquid ASS and it's new application to help save lives.
You can also buy your own bottle for $10 on Amazon.
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Smell of Books is an amusing selection of imaginary fragrances for bilibiophiles, with names such as "classic musty" and "eau you have cats."
"Have you been avoiding e-books because they just don’t smell right?," the site asks. "…all of that is changing thanks to Smell of Books™, a revolutionary new aerosol e-book enhancer."
If you're wanting the real thing, though, count yourself lucky. The Demeter Fragrance Library, a selection of novelty perfumes and colognes, sells a scent called Paperback in all sorts of different product variations.
There are also, allegedly, scented candles to help evoke the high of the smell of old paper.
Lignin is apparently the magic ingredient: The chemical composition of
"Old Book Smell" Read the rest
Ambergris in Morecambe, England. [BBC]
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A man from Morecambe believes his dog has found a rare piece of whale vomit while walking on the beach. ... Mr Wilman said: "When I picked it up and smelled it I put it back down again and I thought 'urgh'.
Pizza Hut Canada produced a limited-edition perfume. Apparently, Eau de Pizza Hut has "“top notes of freshly baked, hand-tossed dough." I guess it beats smelling like pepperoni or anchovies. (TODAY, via NextDraft) Read the rest
Expect America's malls to soon become orange-scented. A new study by Washington State University researchers suggests that "simple scents" -- they tested orange -- can stimulate a bump in retail sales. This is compared to no smell or "complex scents" like an orange-basil-green tea blend used in this study. From WSU:
The researchers say the (simple) scent is more easily processed, freeing the customer’s mind to focus on shopping. But when that "bandwidth” is unavailable customers don’t perform cognitive tasks as effectively, says (Eric) Spangenberg, (dean of the College of Business)...
"WSU researchers tie simple scent to increased retail sales" Read the rest
A peculiar smell filled the sinister expanse of our basement. We loaded the Victorian-era sinks to clear anything stuck in the drainage traps, disposed of old paints and chemicals, and inspected the closets and boxes for culprits. Nothing.
Weeks passed, until the odor began to permeate upstairs into the house itself. Leaving no corner unexplored, we finally lifted the toilet lid in the basement's ancient, haunted lavatory. Floating, face down, was a massive drowned rat. Underwater, the fur remained; in the air, it had delaminated. An island of smooth, naked ratskin rose from the water, bordered by a grayish crown of putrefaction.
Nearby, the remains of a fly. Read the rest