Perfumes Inspired By Books
I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by and in love with books — old books, new books, antique books, rare books. The first place I remember feeling safe and inspired as a child was when I discovered the library. To this day, book and ephemera collecting is such a big part of my life. The library in my home is overflowing with books old and new, as well as a collection of rare and antiquarian books that has grown so enormous I’ve spilled some of it over into an “antique books” section on Black Baccara to make more room. So, as a lover of books and a perfumer, with a heart filled with yearning for experiences that couldn’t be had during a pandemic, it was inevitable that a trio of bookish perfumes would occur.
Book Fair was my most popular fragrance during last year’s autumn/Halloween launch. I couldn’t keep it in stock for more than a few days, and I know many people fell in love with it because I received so many requests for more of it after it had sold out for good. So, I decided to bring it back this year as part of my autumn launch. I will also make it part of the permanent collection as soon as I’m able to.
Since I’d hoped to bring back Book Fair, I made it a point to finish up the other two bibliophile blends that I’ve been working on for the last year: Occult Bookstore and Antique books. These two, plus Book Fair, make a trio of book-inspired fragrances, each completely distinct from the other.
Occult Bookstore is an atmospheric that I had wanted to capture for a long time because much like Book Fair, it represents a space where autumn and books are intertwined in my memory. Where Book Fair is cool and crisp with the tang of ink, number two pencils, and an autumn breeze wafting through an elementary school library, Occult Bookstore is warm, smoky, and eerie. It’s that first trip to Salem, Ma when the weather turns cool, picking out a new book and some incense from a charming little shop. There is a prominent ink note, but it’s the ink aroma that I associate with the smell of a new tarot deck — static-like, like the smell of electricity melded with the fresh vanillic aura of freshly printed cards. As it dries down, incense, potions, and herbs pass through.
Antique Books is the atheneum of the three. Here, I’ve bottled a tiny museum of antiquarian books, and it’s everything you think of when you think “old books.” It has its paper elements focused more on lignin, so you will pick up a slightly vanillic aged paper aroma here that isn’t present in the other two. Then there are the bookbindings, which are aged leather and suede with little ghostings of wood throughout. It’s pretty linear as a hyperrealistic old book aroma and settles down into a warm, soft buttery leather grounded by wood and paper. It’s evocative, cozy, and timeless and leans toward the more traditionally masculine of the fragrance spectrum.
All three of these fragrances will join the permanent collection. I hope that this trio of book lover perfumes inspires and comforts other bibliophiles as much as they inspired and comforted me when I was making them.