I smell London, I smell France. And, if I shell out $45 per bottle, I can get a whiff of Miami, Munich, Tokyo and 14 other cities.
A new line of city-centric scents, identified by their airport city codes — CDG (Paris), LHR (London), DXB (Dubai) — and packaged in slender bottles with labels that look like checked baggage tags, are available at some duty free shops in international airports and a few beyond-the-airport-boutiques.
Scent of Departure is advertised as “the essence of a city in a bottle.” Each 50-milliliter bottle (about 1.7 ounces, which means it won’t be confiscated by TSA) is collectible, offbeat and wearable by men and women.
“The packaging is great and they each smell like that city in a weird way,” said Jessica Richards, co-owner of Shen Beauty, a boutique cosmetic and beauty shop in Brooklyn. Richards prefers the DPS scent (Bali), a city she’s not yet visited. Tourists are coming in to buy multiple bottles of the NYC fragrance as mementos of their trips, she said. The scent is designed to “recreate a walk in the middle of Central Park” and smell “crisp … with sparkling and sourish notes of apple,” according promotional materials.
“You’re like, ‘Ew, New York City. What comes to mind are rats and the smell of nuts, hot dog stands and other street meat,” Richards said. “But the NYC scent doesn’t smell like trash at all. In fact, you’d never imagine that New York City smelled that good.”
Scent of Departure isn’t the first company to link scents to a city. “I definitely think of fragrances when I think of a place,” said David Klass, co-owner of Archipelago Botanicals which has an Excursion candles collection bearing the names and evocative scents of destinations such as Havana, Kashmir, Istanbul and Charleston.
“I like the association of the name of the airport with a fragrance,” he said. “I see CDG and I don’t think of just the airport. In my mind I’m in Paris, France. And that evokes very specific meanings in terms of what I will feel like when walking around that city. I think Scent of Departure will be successful, especially if the fragrances are true.”