Friday, May 7, 2010

Bottle Design Meets Olfactory Genius

The creepy perfume bottle prototypes pictured here are from the Scent Stories project by AhandOh design studio in Poland.  [Via package design website TheDieLine.]

Perfume packaging design and the concept of the perfume were always our dream project. So we took men’s fragrance as our challenge.

We found inspiration in the great, dark literature and distinctive, strong characters. We tried to describe the dark sides of men’s nature with line of scents named after famous writers.
At last! A shop that can handle the bottle design for our I Smell Dead People EDT.

We especially like Ahandoh’s choice of George Orwell. His novel 1984 is suffused with odor. There’s the dank and dreary background scent of life in the dystopian, totalitarian future of England:
. . . on the table there was a litter of dirty dishes and dog-eared exercise-books. On the walls were scarlet banners of the Youth League and the Spies, and a full-sized poster of Big Brother. There was the usual boiled-cabbage smell, common to the whole building, but it was shot through by a sharper reek of sweat, which-one knew this at the first sniff, though it was hard to say how was the sweat of some person not present at the moment.
But there is also the nostalgic and liberating scent of genuine goods filched from privileged Party members: 
‘Half a second,’ she said. ‘Just let me show you what I’ve brought. Did you bring some of that filthy Victory Coffee? I thought you would. You can chuck it away again, because we shan’t be needing it. Look here.’ 

She fell on her knees, threw open the bag, and tumbled out some spanners and a screwdriver that filled the top part of it. Underneath were a number of neat paper packets. The first packet that she passed to Winston had a strange and yet vaguely familiar feeling. It was filled with some kind of heavy, sand-like stuff which yielded wherever you touched it. 

‘It isn’t sugar?’ he said. 

‘Real sugar. Not saccharine, sugar. And here’s a loaf of bread proper white bread, not our bloody stuff — and a little pot of jam. And here’s a tin of milk — but look! This is the one I’m really proud of. I had to wrap a bit of sacking round it, because -’ 

But she did not need to tell him why she had wrapped it up. The smell was already filling the room, a rich hot smell which seemed like an emanation from his early childhood, but which one did occasionally meet with even now, blowing down a passage-way before a door slammed, or diffusing itself mysteriously in a crowded street, sniffed for an instant and then lost again. 

‘It’s coffee,’ he murmured, ‘real coffee.’ 

‘It’s Inner Party coffee. There’s a whole kilo here,’ she said.


Nathan Branch said...

I was always impressed by Orwell's ability to beautifully evoke an atmosphere of bleak despair. The bit about the smell of coffee is fantastic, because there's nothing quite like the smell of real, fresh ground coffee.

And I think a First Nerve fragrance series is a must! I'll pass on the "Dead People" iteration, however!

BitterGrace said...

Wonderful Orwell quotes.

I love the packaging concept, tho' I would have liked to see a raven for Poe. Then they could have saved the skull for your ISDP frgrance.

Avery Gilbert said...

Nathan Branch:

What interests me is that Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 and Orwell in 1984 both use joyous, natural smells as markers of freedom and liberation.

Don't be put off by the ISDP fragrances. We'll start out easy, maybe with Great Grandfather's Library or Aunt Edna's Cupboard. Then an EDT called Cobwebs.

The cadaverine top notes emerge later in the series . . .

Avery Gilbert said...


Speaking of "saving the skull": in graduate school I was boiling a specimen rodent skull from Costa Rica on the stove when a buddy of mine came over. For some reason he would never eat at my place again.

Too sensitive.