Perfume from the scent of your dearly departed: It’s now possible

Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be difficult to deal with, and since pictures and home movies sometimes just aren’t enough, a French perfume company has come up with a new way to keep the memories alive: by turning their unique smell into a personalized fragrance.

According to AFP and Discovery News reports, the concept for “Eau de Parted” (not actual name) first came to 52-year-old insurance agent Katia Apalategui after she dealt with the loss of her father seven years ago. She even found herself missing the unique way he smelled.

She mentioned this to her mother during a conversation, and found that she, too, was having a similar experience–finding it difficult to wash her husband’s pillowcase, hoping to keep a reminder of her beloved’s scent.

Extracting the scent molecules

Her mother’s confession inspired Apalategui to think of ways that the individual scent of a man or woman could be captured and preserved so that people mourning the loss of a loved one could have a way remember that individual using their olfactory sense.

“Scientists have long known that smells are linked to the part of the brain that regulates emotion and memory and have the ability to propel you back to a specific time, place or person,” the AFP and Discovery News report explained. “The retail industry often takes advantage of this powerful psychological power, using various odors in stores, cars or restaurants to lure customers.”

Apalategui eventually got in touch with Geraldine Savary, a research chemist at the University of Le Havre. Savary and colleagues in her laboratory used a technique to reproduce human smell by extracting the molecules from clothing and reconstructing as a perfume. Savary would not reveal the secrets of her team’s method, but said that it take four days to create the fragrance.

Scientists have long known that the sense of smell is powerful and plays an key role in memory, and Apalategui said that the perfume provides “olfactory comfort” to mourners similar to photos, videos and other mementos left behind by the dearly departed. She and her son, who is currently in business school, plan to commercially launch their service by September.

Each bottle will cost around $600.


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