Pseuds Corner: The language of perfume

Back in 2007 I commented on the pretentious language of wine reviewers with their overblown phrases such as ‘dried cherry, pebbles and black tea aromas’ and ‘roasted red cherry, warm oak to round the edges’.

I’ve now discovered a topic even more worthy of inclusion in Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner — the language of perfumiers.

BibliothequeThe Weekend FT Fashion pages list a half dozen new fragrances for Spring. The reviewer shares that the Jo Malone’s Whisky and Cedarwood cologne “is part of a collection of five fragrances that evoke a lily pond at dawn, linseed oil, and waxed wood floors.” Flower by Kenzo, Eau de Lumière eau de toilette “is aimed at capturing the sensation of light” while Byredo’s Bibliothèque eau de parfum “suggests a traditional library”. Herbe PerfumeNot to be outdone, Hermès Eau des Merveilles Bleue eau de toilette “bottles the spirit of childhood summers and the escapism of the ocean” and Atelier Bloem’s 1614 eau de parfum “replicates the olfactory experience of Amsterdam’s floating flower market”.

Quite how the specificity of these descriptions is beyond comprehension. Does anyone know what a lily pond smells like a dawn, versus mid-day or dusk? Do all traditional libraries smell the same? Was everyone’s childhood summer spent escaping on the ocean, and does Amerstandm’s floating flower market not have notes of diesel from the barges mingled with the blossoms?

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