Scent and the City: Fragrances from Around the Globe

by  Maryrose Mullen | Mar 21, 2013
Perfume / Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock

Happy National Fragrance Day! Since many perfumes draw inspiration from places around the world, we thought there was no better way to celebrate than finding fragrances that best evoked their respective locations. Want to smell like a spring day? Maybe you're more interested in evoking the romance of Paris at night? Either way, we’ve put together a list of fragrances that pay tribute to some of our favorite places in the world.

New York
Ask a native New Yorker what they think the city’s signature scent is, and the answer is likely going to be unsavory. But you don’t have to spritz on Eau de Hot Garbage: Bond No. 9 is an entire fragrance collection that pays homage to the city that never sleeps. The collection includes scents for men and women inspired by favorite neighborhoods and landmarks (Central Park West, Bryant Park, and Little Italy to name a few), as well as scented candles, body washes, and lotions (prices vary).

Egypt was the birthplace of perfumery, and so it’s and obvious choice for this list. Un Jardin Sur Le Nil (The Garden on The Nile) by Hermes is a unisex fragrance that smells of mangoes, lotus, and frankincense – reflecting the cool, refreshing atmosphere that banks the Nile River (from $90).

Perfume may have originated in ancient Egypt, but France was – and remains – one of the premiere perfume manufacturers in the world. Field Notes From Paris by Ineke brings to mind an autumn stroll through the city ($88), while Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris (from $65)  smells like the city of lights in the spring.

Ancient East Asian perfumes were based around incense. Today, Comme des Garcons' Incense Kyoto isn’t far off with an earthy scent: The fragrance transports wearers to respected temples, where incense was burned to honor ancestors ($85). Taking its cue from the lush springtime blooms the country has to offer, Sake by Fresh combines notes of fruits and florals, such as white peach and lotus, to create a light and sweet mixture (from $38).

Scent of Departure
Can’t pick your favorite destination, you’re in luck. The Scent of Departure collection by Gerald Ghislain and Magali Senequier, allows travel lovers to traipse across the world, without leaving their vanity. The collection has 20 fragrances, each emulating a different location and embodying that city’s essence. Dubai, Milan, Seoul, and Munich are among the options, with a 50 ml bottle priced at $45. You may not be able to escape to your favorite cities on the regular, but at least you can smell like you do.

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