Italy, Sweden, Hong Kong: What Different Countries Smell Like - Perfumers Tell

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Italy, Sweden, Hong Kong: What Different Countries Smell Like - Perfumers Tell
Italy, Sweden, Hong Kong: What Different Countries Smell Like - Perfumers Tell
Video: Italy, Sweden, Hong Kong: What Different Countries Smell Like - Perfumers Tell
Video: If Countries would have a Smell 2023, February

The same things in different parts of the world not only are named, but also smell differently: some "smell of the earth after the rain" for a Londoner and a native of Bangkok will mean not exactly the same thing. At our request, perfume critic Ksenia Golovanova talked with professionals of aromatic sciences, but not about work, but about what the places where they were born smelled like, and selected perfumes and eau de toilette that were suitable for the descriptions.

Text: Ksenia Golovanova, author of the telegram channel Nose Republic


Nick Steward

creator of Gallivant


I am from London, my roots go back to its eastern part, the East End - you probably know that this is where the historical core of the city is located. For me, England smells like Victorian mansions: humidity, rain-soaked earth, wet bricks. And a little dust, because these old houses are packed to capacity with equally old books.




Roses, an old leather jacket and a lawn that is squishing the day before yesterday's rain.

£65 for 30 ml

Devil's Nightcap


Druidic sage and oakmoss potion - brings prophetic dreams.

RUB 3200 for 30 ml in Lush stores


Celtic rose

Alexander McQueen

A green, thorny, peppery rose from the wreath of the Celtic ruler Budikka.

12 710 rub… for 75 ml


Francesca Bianchi

perfumer and creator of Francesca Bianchi Perfumes

I was born and raised near Florence, in rural Tuscany, and now I am an expat in Amsterdam. For this reason, my memories, including olfactory ones, are somewhat embellished: all emigrants keep in their hearts the ideal image of their country. The first thing that comes to mind when I remember my native place is the sweet, intoxicating smell of chamomile fields not far from home, we made tea from its flowers. As a child, I often went with my grandmother for wild herbs for cooking, and the main trophy was fragrant fennel: they used it to fill a rabbit, which in the Tuscan dialect sounded like drogare la carne, that is, literally “stuffing meat with drugs” - it’s even more fun, I think. The smell of santo wines was also completely narcotic (a Tuscan dessert wine made from raisinized grapes. - Approx. ed.), which even four-year-olds were treated to by the padre during the morning mass: the children were given cantucci macaroons soaked in it. I still remember how my knees trembled after a couple of such cookies.


Under my skin

Francesca Bianchi Perfumes

Leather, powder, old wood and crumbling flowers - the smell of an old Florentine palazzo.

€98 for 30 ml

M4 A Room with a View

CB I Hate Perfume

"Room with a View" overlooks the Tuscan hills - black, greasy soil with violets, pale fennel and wild grapes.

$25 for 2 ml




"Che fico" - say Italians when something they think is definitely cool. Because figs, that is figo, never disappoint, especially when they are good. This one is excellent: elastic and plump, like the gluteus maximus in Michelangelo's male models.

RUB 16 650 for 100 ml in Articoli stores


Nicholas Gleber

art director at Friendly Fur Berlin

Berlin smells like something dry and dusty - old buildings with wooden floors and heavy velvet curtains. This scent is mixed with the smell of plastic that exudes exhibits in modern art galleries, club smoke and strong sweat of night owls in Berghain, the scent of clear water and flowering trees in parks along the Spree, smog and gasoline fumes over the asphalt in hot summers. Roof gardens also contribute: in mine I grow buddleya and fragrant gardenias. The mixture of Berlin smells seems to be uncoordinated, disorderly, but take one thing out of it and the whole structure will fall on its side.


Goetze gegenwart


German designer Zissi Götze creates beautiful Berlin minimalism in shades of gray and beige; the same palette for Gegenwart perfume - smoky violets behind a veil of rain.

4350 RUB for 15 ml

Leder 6

J.F. Schwarzlose

A dedication to Berlin fetish culture - the smell of rough leather, incense and vanilla cigarette smoke.

12 900 RUB. FOR 50 ML


Unter den Linden

April Aromatics

Unter den Linden, as the name suggests, smells of linden blossom - as well as magnolias, mimosa and flower honey.

€142,02 for 30 ml


Janne Rainer Vuorenmaa

founder of Visiteur

Once we had a wooden blockhouse in the Finnish wilderness - it stood on the shore of a small black lake. In this house, our family spent most of the northern summer, with its cool days and bright, endless nights. I remember how my father and I ran out of the house naked, rushed through the wet grass and jumped right into the cold dark water. For a couple of moments, the world became silent and impenetrable, but when I emerged to the surface, the subtle smells of algae and wet pebbles seemed more pungent. Then we went to the sauna, melted with resinous birch wood, and the birch broom, touching the hot stones, filled the steam room with a deep green aroma. We repeated this procedure - a cold lake, a hot sauna - until exhaustion, and then, late in the evening, we rested on the open terrace. This is what Finland smells like to me - the pure warmth of our skin and the green freshness of birch leaves.


Thousand Lakes


“Thousand Lakes” - the famous nickname of Finland - is dedicated to the aromas of the Finnish sauna: heated resinous wood, scalded brooms, the cold depth of the pond behind the trees.

price will be announced later



The smell of a living, warm man who ran headlong through the forest, crushing grass and trampling moss, towards the water.

RUB 5750 for 50 ml


A midsummer dream

Roja dove

Mossy forest, sap of pine, pale flowers in the emerald twilight - a dream of the northern summer.

£35 for 7.5 ml


Johanna Venables

perfume and creator of NOT Perfumes

If they ask me what Sweden smells like, I answer: coffee. This smell catches you already at the entrance to the airport, and then - when you cross the threshold of a Swedish home or office. But for me personally, Sweden is, first of all, the smells of nature, their constant renewal in accordance with the change of seasons. I was lucky, I spent my childhood in the wild wilderness, which you may know from the drawings of Jon Bauer. My first fragrant love was yarrow, the smell of its leaves crumpled in my hands - then I was two, maybe three years old. Another smell that I associate with Sweden is juniper (the Swedes make furniture and knives from juniper wood, which they use to spread butter on bread. - Approx. ed.); its aroma, rich and resinous, shimmers with dark, deep shades. Birch buds in spring, a blooming mock-orange in the garden of our summer house, my father's hand-rolled cigarettes - all this is Sweden.



NOT Perfumes

Dedication to the Vikings - the smell of pine, birch, wild mint and wet, salted wood from the North Sea.

€138 for 15 ml

Suède de suède

Mona di Orio

"Swedish suede" smells like a vintage boutique in Stockholm Södermalm: the inside of a leather jacket, soft felt, old floral cologne.

RUB 17,500 for 75 ml



Santa maria novella

The smell of the golden Swedish south is honey, dusty, slightly acacia gorse.

RUB 9920 for 100 ml


Ruta Degoutite-Humphries

creator of Art de Parfum

One of the first pictures that appear in my head when I think about Lithuania is the bright, spacious Baltic coast. Especially the Curonian Spit is a ribbon of white sand folded by wind and sea into an intricate dune pattern. This is a land with a fragile ecology, unique flora, cute summer houses, small cafes and fishing boats. When I walk barefoot on the sand along the water, I feel calm and well: the air is clean and filled with salt and special bitterness, which, as it seems to me, determine the smell of the sea. Another place that occupies an important cell in my olfactory "database" is the Baroque Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Vilnius: I remember how the candlelight was reflected in the varnish of my polished shoes when I stood at the service with my grandmother, enveloped in a cloud of her Arpège … Elegant French perfume, mixed with the solemn scent of incense and cold marble floors - this charm is always fresh in my memory.


Sea foam

Art de parfum

Clear water, the iodine spirit of the sea urchin, the coolness of a damp beach towel - the delicate aroma of the Baltic seaside.

RUB 11,900 for 50 ml

La Liturgie des Heures

Jovoy paris

Incense, myrrh, candle wax and cypress beads - evening church.

RUB 7900 for 50 ml




Buckwheat flour, apples, milk and vanilla - the warm spirit of lacy pancakes in countless cafes of Old Vilnius.

$65 for 100 ml

Hong Kong

Victor Wong

creator of Zoologist Perfumes

Show me a snapshot of a Hong Kong street and I’ll immediately tell you what it smells like in life. If there is a 7-Eleven supermarket in the photo, the mint aroma of wet wipes immediately pops up in my memory - this is almost the most popular product, we all use them here, because it is very hot in Hong Kong. If, instead of a shop, there is a small restaurant run by a local family, I imagine the smells of noodles with canned ham dipped in monosodium glutamate broth and Darjeeling with classic Carnation condensed milk creeping out the door to the street. An old Chinese pharmacy? It smells pungent and salty-bitter - of sun-dried marine life like scallops and galliots (edible molluscs often called abalone. - Approx. ed.), herbal remedies, tree bark.

Before Hong Kong was flooded with international brands and shopping malls that look the same everywhere, local merchants loved to stick together: the city had artisan streets filled with goldfish, parrots, sneakers and electronics, each smelling differently. I myself was hanging out in stores that sold computers and pirated cartridges for Nintendo - I remember that motherboards exuded a strange scent, which, as I later learned, resembles the smell of vetiver. Now, whenever I wear a vetiver scent, I feel like a transformer.


Play green

Comme des Garçons

Mint chewing gum, menthol napkins, lime soda - a tropical stifling survival kit.

RUB 9100 for 100 ml

Esprit du tigre


Mint, cassia, ginger and cloves - tiger balm as a remedy for all ailments, including bad mood.

RUB 10,980 for 100 ml




Burnt plastic, milk and banana - a keyboard filled with a fruit neck.

$96 for 30 ml


Pissara Umavidjani

perfumer and creator of Parfums Dusita

I grew up in Bangkok, in a house with a beautiful garden, and my first fragrant memory is the smell of wet leaves after a tropical downpour, dew on the grass at half past five in the morning. All the main discoveries of childhood are associated with the smells of our home: ylang-ylang flowers outside the window, fresh mango, freshly cooked jasmine rice and an old-fashioned Tao brazier with coals, on which all Thais used to cook.


La Douceur de Siam

Parfums Dusita

"Siamese tenderness" smells of tropical flowers: champaca, ylang-ylang and frangipani.

RUB 15,050 for 50 ml

Chaopraya sunrise

Pryn Parfum

Morning market on the great Thai river: tangerines, pineapples and the best mangoes in the world roll from boats into the hands.

5500 baht for 50 ml


Fils de Dieu du Riz et des Agrumes

Etat Libre d'Orange

Glutinous rice, coconut milk and pandanus leaf are all you need for a classic sticky rice.

€135 for 100 ml


Tomoo Inaba

journalist and perfumer

Japanese culture, including aromatic, is very special - it is based on the dream of harmony. And to maintain harmony means, first of all, not to interfere and not to violate the existing order of things. For example, strong scents: the Japanese prefer to use delicate, barely noticeable perfumes or avoid them altogether. It is considered good form not to smell anything at all, so deodorants are sold here at every step.

The "classic" Japanese scents that any tourist is likely to encounter are the fresh, slightly hay scent of tatami mat, the aromas of yuzu citrus, cherry and plum blossom, wasabi, siso, osmanthus, fragrant daphne, sugi laurel, hinoki cypress and hiba tuevik, gemmaitya tea, incense, onsen. A more exotic, but equally recognizable spirit for the Japanese is the sweet oriental scent of bintsuke wax (it is extracted from the fruit of the sumac tree. - Approx. ed.), which sumo wrestlers use to lubricate their hair, it reminds me very much of Labdanum 18, Le Labo. Japanese calligraphy ink smells like patchouli, udon noodles smell like iris root, and for the smell of matsutake mushrooms, spicy, earthy and very umami, perfumery even has its own special name - mushroom alcohol. Japanese cuisine owes its special smells to many specific broths: we make them from kombu seaweed, miso paste, tuna chips, small sardines and shiitake mushrooms. But the most vivid Japanese smell for me personally is the smell of air after a typhoon, aquatic in half with broken greens.



Zoologist Perfumes

A pink chypre about the Japanese spring: the ume plum blossoms, the hanami-dori nightingale sings, women wear purple kimonos.

$145 for 60 ml

Labdanum 18

Le Labo

An amber-musky scent of oriental powder - should lie in a carved casket along with tortoiseshell combs and a silk shibari rope.

12 550 rub. for 50 ml


Un Matin d'Orage

Goutal paris

Wet magnolias, ruffled osmanthus bushes, mossy dampness - a Japanese garden after the rain.

€75 for 30 ml


Sultan Pasha

creator of Sultan Pasha Attars

My parents and I lived in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and our summer home was in Habigange, in the east of the country. I remember a lot of country smells: tea plantations and jungle on the way to the village, dew on the petals of white roses in the garden, hay in a large barn, malt - it was added to the feed of cows, ripe mangoes and guava in the crowns of trees teeming with poisonous caterpillars. In the morning, when my late grandmother made us breakfast, it smelled like a wood-burning stove; in the evening, it smelled like stink beetles, mosquito spray, and incense and myrrh incense that our Indian neighbors always burned at sunset. And after the juma namaz (Friday prayer. - Ed.), There was a smell of roses around the mosque: attar merchants vied with each other to offer us their fragrant goods, and sometimes my father bought me the coveted bottle.


Al hareem

Sultan pasha attars

Rose, oud, butter and again roses - and all in the concentration of attar.

£88 for 1 ml

Kenzo jungle homme


A Bengal tiger, if he went to work, would wear this "Jungle" - the ginger-cardamom spirit of the jungle in which big cats prowl.

6445 RUB for 100 ml



Neela vermeire creations

This is how the rasmalai dessert smells - curd balls soaked in saffron, rose water and almond essence.

RUB 19,900 for 60 ml


Saskia Hayvekes

founder of Grandiflora

One of the most important memories of my Australian childhood is the scent of the harrow that bloomed around our home outside Sydney. Its complex scent, mixed with the spirit of resin, wood, sandstone and eucalyptus, was the constant value of this world. I remember how dry eucalyptus leaves crunched in mossy clay under my feet as I went swimming in the river after school, picking off lemon myrtle branches along the way and rubbing the leaves in my hands - its citrus scent was fresh and intoxicating. Another plant whose scent touches me very much is kunzea: when I visit my sister in Tasmania, I always collect her fragrant flowers and arrange them in the house. One of our essential oil companies, Essential Oils of Tasmania, gave me a bottle of Cunzea oil, and now I take it with me on my travels - it smells clean, fresh and slightly pharmacy, with a touch of spice. This is the scent of our harsh southwest.




If in nature Boronia smells like that - tea, tobacco, suede, prunes and immortelle - Australia should be considered the most fragrant country in the world.

$145 for 50 ml

Every storm a serenade

Imaginary Authors

Needles, eucalyptus, ozone and salt spray - a storm in the roaring forties.

$38 for 14 ml


Bois d'Ascese

Naomi Goodsir

The smell of a fire in the Australian bush - endless expanses, yellow rocks, smoky wood, dried up by the sun.

RUB 12 900 for 50 ml

Photos: Gallivant Perfume, Lush, Harrods, Essenza Nobile, Cooper Hewitt, perfume history, 10 Corso Como, Cosmotheca (1, 2, 3, 4), April Aromatics, Fragrantica, Nordstrom, rojaparfums, NOT-Perfumes, BeeFlower, Amazon, fifi. ru, Rive Gauche, Storm, blackbird, Indigo Perfumery, pryn parfum, HBB24, Zoologist, The Whale & The Rose, Goutal Paris, Sultan Pasha Attars, Basenotes, Fragrantica (1, 2, 3), Libertine parfumerie

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