Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Recommended Reading: Custom Scents for Dead Celebs

If you skip all the vanilla-is-sexy-talk and hidden-advertising of some new celebrity scents, and go straight to the very bottom of this article, you will find a few ideas that famous noses have come up with in response to Marian Bendeth request to "If they could choose any deceased personality and create a custom blend for that person".

While I had hard time connecting to most of the ideas brought up by these noses (Marlene Ditrich wearing a woody floral with strawberries, and an aquatic floral for Marie Antoinette!), one idea particularly caught my attention - Maurice Roucel brief for Julius Caesar's fragrance:

"(Julius Caesar) was a true sportsman overseeing the Olympic Games (...) I would want this to be the smell of a winner (...) I feel the Mediterranean Sea and the Olympic Games, where laurel-leaf and olive-leaf crowns were handed to the winners as symbols of masculinity(...) It would be an aromatic fragrance centred around an essential note of laurel leaf. Then I would add outdoorsy notes based around woody scents -- chypre (sandalwood), oak-moss, fougere (fern-like) -- with touches of spicy, herbal and fresh essential notes of rosemary, basil, thyme, hyssop and artemisia".

Perhaps I am too biased, being a natural perfumer, to understand the rationale behind using aquatic notes for a fragrance for a lady who wore wigs as high as her palace, and has been the one to dictate fashion trends, including wearing plenty of violet, orris and musk.

Perhaps I also need to hear more specific notes in order to fully understand how a scent will smell, rather than just fragrance categories. To me, the particular notes make all the difference in terms of being able to smell a scent in my imagination...

I would love to hear what you thought of those briefs, and especially - what do you think of the idea of Jesus wearing a powdery floral comprising of heliotrope, violet, orris and woods (also Maurice Roucel's idea, which most likely will mean that I would wear this perfume, regardless of my religious views or non-views).

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At August 30, 2007 3:51 AM, Blogger helg said...

Incredibly interesting idea (and I agree about Dietrich not being fit for the designated fragrance, exactly because of her style/image).

And as much as I hate to correct mr.Roucel, olive branches and wreaths were presented as symbols of peace, not of masculinity. After all a goddess, Athena, is the patron saint of the olive tree.
(Laurel of course stands for glory).

At August 30, 2007 9:39 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

You're right, olive branches are a symbol of peace and have nothing to do with winning or glory (except, of course, that we will all win if there will ever be peace!).

At September 08, 2007 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just to clarify, Jean-Michel Duriez's take on Marie-Antoinette was based on Sofia Coppola's movie version of the character and not the original Marie-Antoinette, who Francis Kurkdjian recreated a perfume blend that she wore. The proceeds will go towards purchasing Antointette's original toilette case for the Palace of Versailles.

I can only assume that Duriez wanted to update and modernize her persona.

The blends were directed for the reading public and not perfumers so everyone could have a better understanding. Hope this helps.

Marian Bendeth

At September 10, 2007 5:07 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Dear Marian,

Thank you so much for visiting Smelly Blog and taking the time to comment!

Although I enjoyed Sophia Coppola's film Marie Antoinette I still imagined the heroine played by Kirsten Dunst to be wearing lots of powdery violet and musk scents... A fruity floral marine scent would have just ruin it for me (if I could smell what she's wearing throughout the movie, that is). Perhaps it is because there are so many fruity florals out there. Or else - I am just narrow minded when it comes to scents that represent an era so significant in perfumery ;)

I hope to see you here in my internet "home" some time soon!




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