Smell is one of the most powerful senses in the human body and can spark vivid memories of nostalgic moments that you may have forgotten–reminding you of the places and people in your life. When a loved one passes, what remains, aside from memories, is their belongings containing scents that are unique to them or a moment in time.
Like many struggling to get over the death of a loved one, French insurance saleswoman Katia Apalategui’s mother held on to her late husband’s pillowcase to keep the memory of the man she loved alive through smell. Katia used that experience and began to think up ways to capture and preserve a person’s individual scent so people in her position would never have to long for the scent of their loved one again. After years of knocking on doors to try and develop her idea, Katia was put in touch with the University of Le Havre, which has developed a technique to reproduce the human smell.
“We take the person’s clothing and extract the odour–which represents about a hundred molecules–and we reconstruct it in the form of a perfume in four days,” Geraldine Savary of the University of Le Havre explains
According to notes from the International Business Times, this isn’t the first time someone has attempted to replicate the smell of a deceased person–the processes for those previous attempts were a bit less romantic. In fact, one method devised at Doane College in Nebraska, used two of the three chemicals that create the aromas responsible for the foul odour of putrefying flesh and contribute to bad breath.
Katia’s version will be offering vials of a late loved one’s scent through funeral homes, she told The Mirror. Eventually, she hopes the perfume will expand to replicate the scents of living loved ones as well–which could be pretty useful for those in long-distance relationships. The perfume will be selling for about €560 or $800 CDN.
While it’s appealing to have those memories at your fingertips, it’s also a little creepy too. Share your opinions in the comments below.
Looking for other unique scents? Try a cologne that makes you smell like a Whopper.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.