Who doesn't love the comforting aroma of a real book?
There's something special about the scent of paper, the ink, the leather binding, that can transport us to another time and place.
Perfumes That Smell Like Books - Prologue
Many perfumers have tried to capture the essence of the printed page in their fragrances, creating scents that are both familiar and intriguing.
The science behind this is based on the volatile compounds that are released as the chemical compounds in the books begin to break down. A key element is Lignin - found in almost all wood-based paper - that is chemically close to vanilla. There are also grassy notes which add a hint of acidity. These are underlying elements used in book-evoking perfumes.
From classic scents to new releases, discover the fragrances that capture the essence of the printed page.
Whether you're a bookworm or just love the comforting aroma of paper and ink, these unisex fragrances are sure to captivate your senses!
OUR TOP PICK
Biblioteca de Babel was designed by Fuegueia as an ode to Jorge Luis Borges’s The Library of Babel.
This scent is crafted with a blend of notes that evoke the scent of an old library - the fragrance of old books, aged paper, and polished wood.
This unisex fragrance features notes of cedar, leather, cassis, ylang-ylang, ink, cinnamon, and a hint of tobacco.
This perfume will have you feel as though you’re browsing the tomes found on a massive carved bookshelf.
It's perfect for book lovers who want to carry the aroma of their favorite reading spot with them all day long.
Book represents the American variant of literature lovers - Commodity say it was designed to "tip its hat to the Hemingways and Fitzgeralds of the world."
Book is blended with a combination of bergamot, eucalyptus, and sandalwood.
While these are the main notes, they're built around the fresh yet warm scents of sandalwood and cedarwood, before infusing it with black tea and musks.
One thing we love about this scent is that Book comes in a variety of different aspects: personal, expressive, and bold. The main difference between these is the lighter fragrances focus more on the floral notes, with the bold emphasizing the musks.
As a unisex perfume, Book is a great gift to your literature-loving friends.
Dead Writers was designed to evoke the same emotions as sitting in a library as you leaf through the pages of classic literature.
Designed by Sweet Tea Apothecary’s founder: J.T. Siems, Dead Writers was inspired by many visits to the library and is a part of a fragrance line inspired by different historical figures, from Henry VIII to Marie Antionette.
Despite smelling timeless, you would not get a stale vibe when you wear this perfume.
Int has a prominent note of clove that helps to balance the hints of vanilla and tobacco that are infused in the fragrance.
You won’t only find those in there, but notes of heliotrope, black tea, vegan musk, and vetiver.
Dead Writers is a brilliant perfume that is designed for men and women, and it’s easy to feel as though you should get out a book and read (or maybe write your own) while you wear this.
Note: This micro-perfumery specializing in historically inspired, handmade perfumes has now rebranded as Immortal Perfumes.
In the Library is part of Christopher Brosius’s “I Hate Perfume” line - made by finding cruelty-free perfumes that would evoke nostalgic memories.
In The Library is a unisex scent that he designed based on the scent of his favorite novel, but not just any scent.
He chose to base it on a signed 1927 edition of a specific novel!
Now, that's dedication to the craft...
In the Library represents the dusty scent of yellowing pages and ink. But it also offers the warmth of a library with hints of wood polish, leather, and paper.
Many book lovers adore the scent of old books, especially as most passions for reading start by being taken to the library or even exploring the shelves of older relatives - memory is a huge part of why certain scents just "work".
M/Mink is a collaboration between BYREDO and the creative studio M/M in Paris.
When thinking about books it’s easy to forget about one vital ingredient: the ink that words are typed or written.
M/Mink was inspired by the distinctive scent of an Asian block of ink.
Evoking the same feeling as opening a bottle of ink for calligraphy, writing, or art in general, M/Mink is a little different to the scents we've covered earlier.
M/Mink has a strong hint of Adoxal, which is often used in perfumery to create a fresh, clean, and transparent scent. Adoxal has a unique scent profile that can be described as citrusy, green, and slightly floral.
It is then followed by clover honey, dark amber, as well as patchouli. But once it dries down, it loses the strength of the Adoxal and soon becomes much more intriguing.
While this scent isn’t for everyone - if you have friends who appreciate the scent of ink, this may be an excellent choice of gift.
This is another scent that will transport you to your favorite reading spot.
It's a perfect blend of woodsy and musky notes that evoke the aroma of a secondhand book. The fragrance opens up with a fresh and crisp top note of violets, which is then followed by a warm and earthy scent of cedarwood, musk, and sandalwood.
One of the things we love about Demeter Fragrance Library is that they create their scents using only high-quality ingredients. All their fragrances are vegan, cruelty-free, and are made without any artificial colors, parabens, or phthalates.
Replica by Maison Margiela is a line designed to evoke specific scent memories. Midnight in a jazz club. A walk on a beach. Sitting by the fireplace.
Or, a day spent in a library full of ancient books. Dust motes visible in the shafts of afternoon sunlight illuminating the walls (but heaven forbid - not striking the books, they need to be protected).
A part of the Replica collection from Belgian perfume designer Maison Margiela, Whispers in the Library is a great way to round out this list.
While Whispers in the Library starts out as a sweet perfume, with hints of vanilla and pepper taking charge, it changes as it dries down to allow the warm cedarwood to come through.
Find yourself wandering in the books that surround you, and get lost in the stories you find.
Before You Go...
We hope you found inspiration in this list! The scent of old books and libraries can be hugely evocative. But we're not done here! The smell of leather bindings feature in a lot of booklike perfumes, so make sure to check out our next article:
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