12 Book-Based Perfumes We’d Like to Wear


The delightful aroma of paper books aside (and yes, there is a perfume that can make you smell like a new book), don’t you sometimes wish you could bottle the fragrance of a particularly great read? Some stories are so evocative that the scent of their distinctive settings, characters, and scenes practically wafts from their pages. We spent some time imagining how a perfume based on a book might be marketed—and it wouldn’t be such a hard sell! After all, who wouldn’t enjoy smelling faintly of The Great Gatsby?

Raven Noir (The Game of Thrones series, by George R. R. Martin)
A heady mix of boiled leather, steel, and sweat, with strong notes of agony, triumph, and restless ambition. Bottle is the shape of a direwolf for Him, a dragon for Her.

Wiz (The Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling)
The musty scent of moldering books and long unexplored stone passageways is countered by the piquant aroma of spell-casting, with just a hint of owl. Comes in a wand-shaped bottle with a unicorn-hair brush for application.

Deception (Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh)
A metallic whiff of ink overlays a bouquet of cake and milk, and the faintest trace of stuffy dumbwaiter. Comes on its own spy belt.

Fixation (The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The piney aroma of gin nearly overwhelms more subtle notes of salt air, motor oil, and quiet desperation. Bottle is carved from a giant emerald; stopper is decorated with an eye from Doctor T.J. Eckelburg.

Martyr (The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein)
A mellow fusion of spicy sawdust and damp wood with middle notes of selfish child. Bottle is carved from a stump, just to make you happy.

Mockingjay Spice (The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins)
The metallic odor of blood mingles with a woodsy bouquet of mud, wet leaves, and fear. Top notes of yeasty baking bread and sweat give it a strong finish. Comes in a Tracker Jacker–shaped bottle.

Cabin Fever (The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
A mossy blend of earth, wood smoke, and hay, with base notes of Pa, sweaty, with an axe over his shoulder, and tiny hints of maple sugar candy. Comes in a rag doll.

Barrier Street (Freedom, By Jonathan Franzen)
The tinny essence of rusting scrap metal is mixed with subtle shades of lake house and damp bathing suit, with a smooth cerulean warbler finish. Comes in a basketball trophy–shaped bottle.

Suspicion (And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie)
The acrid scent of gunpowder is offset by mellow hints of furniture polish, heavy rain, and whiskey, with base notes of guilt. Comes in an innocuous-looking teacup.

Richard Parker’s Reverie (The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel)
Of course, the dizzying aroma of sun-soaked tiger, but don’t forget an underlying fog of raw fish, ocean spray, and desperate jockeying for alpha status. Aged 227 days.

Ambition (The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand)
Hints of steel balance a tangy musk of unrecognized genius, with floral top notes of empty office. Comes in an exclusively designed, one-of-a-kind bottle. Do not bother trying to understand or emulate it.

Dauntless (The Divergent Trilogy, by Veronica Roth)
A rich, leathery blend of deep underground cavern, engine exhaust, and suppressed terror, with jarring undertones of belligerent raven. Bottle is shaped like the Sears Tower.

What book-based perfume would you most like to smell?

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