Fragrance references in fiction books or films

Marais

Semi-Retired Member
Basenotes Plus
Nov 2, 2011
Watching a re-run of British classic serial 'Never the Twain', I think I glimpsed a bottle of Mandate in Oliver's bathroom. 'Ringo!'
 

uhbhatti88

Basenotes Junkie
Jan 13, 2012
Screenshot from American Psycho.

I remember seeing a bottle of Kouros in the movie too (suitable choice? not sure)

In 2007's American Gangster, Denzel Washington's character has a dressing table made for his mother from memory, on it stands a bottle of Shalimar (extrait or parfum, not spray)
 

TheAntagonist

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 17, 2006
One of my beloved references within the film, of which also includes Willem Dafoe's trenchcoat!

Fortunately or not, this fragrance is not so "fictional" anymore (but non-commercialized), the nose behind it is Mark Buxton.

"a blend that includes aldehyde top notes, which, Cloutier laughingly admits, traditionally appeal to the older women who are Gustave H.’s most beloved guests."

Top: basil, bergamot, mandarin orange, petitgrain and green apple.
Middle: jasmine sambac and rose.
Base: amber, castoreum, cedar, oakmoss, patchouli and musk.
larose-paris-x-nose_fy2.jpg

I wish I could get my hands on this. :(
 

Andyjreid

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 27, 2008
Hannibal Lecter - '... sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps - but not today' to Clarice in Silence of the Lambs.

Everyone remembers this one however the one that sticks in my mind is the references to the balms and ointments from the Santa Maria Novella in Mason Verger's house. Then later in the book there is an extremely descriptive passage where Harris/Lecter describes walking into the Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella on Via della Scala Florence.

Having been there myself I can tell you that the description hits the nail on the head

Dr. Hannibal Lecter came in early from the noisome street to the Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, one of the best smelling places on Earth. He stood for some minutes with his head back and eyes closed, taking in the aromas of the great soaps and lotions and creams, and of the ingredients in the workrooms. The porter was accustomed to him, and the clerks, normally given to a certain amount of hauteur, had great respect for him. The purchases of the courteous Dr. Fell (Lecter) over his months in Florence would not have totalled more than one hundred thousand lire, but the fragrances and essences were chosen and combined with a sensibility startling and gratifying to these scent merchants, who lived by the nose.

In was to preserve this pleasure that Dr. Lecter had not altered his own nose with rhinoplasty other than external collagen injections. For him the air was painted with scents as distinct and as vivid as colours, and he could layer and feather them as though painting wet-on-wet. Here there as nothing of jail. Here the air was music. Here were pale tears of frankincense awaiting extraction, yellow bergamot, sandalwood, cinnamon and mimosa in concert, over the sustaining ground notes of genuine ambergris, civet, castor from the beaver, and essence of the musk deer,

Dr. Lecter sometimes entertained the illusion that he could smell with his hands, his arms and cheeks, that odour suffused him. That he could smell with his face and his heart.

For good, anatomic reasons, scent fosters memory more readily than any other sense.


Sala_vendita_ritocco-pavimento3_rid.jpg
 

Buysblind

Basenotes Institution
Jan 21, 2011
I'm glancing through a copy of "The Swiss Family Robinson" that my niece had taken out of the library tonight and I come across a page describing the civet cat, its relation to perfume, and a pretty detailed account of the civet extraction process. The whole page involved a dinner convo about musk.


And last week I was watching Colors, when Sean Penn who plays a cop nabs this gangbanger and says, "Man you stink! What are you wearing? Eau de Doo Dah Day?"
 
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Marais

Semi-Retired Member
Basenotes Plus
Nov 2, 2011
A vintage bottle of Hai Karate went for £20 on Dickinson's Real Deal earlier. Now that's what I call a real deal!
 

Q. R. Crumm

Super Member
Oct 1, 2014
Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (the book) states on more than one occasion that one of his friends "reeks of Xeryus".

I think Paco Rabanne gets a mention too but can't fully remember.
 
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gimmegreen

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 20, 2012
The denouement to Asghar Farhadi's Le Passé (The Past) hinges on perfume - I've probably said too much already for those who haven't seen it but want to...
 

Marais

Semi-Retired Member
Basenotes Plus
Nov 2, 2011
Watching the 1958 Hammer film 'Dracula' - Dr Van Helsing advises Mina's maid to apply eau de cologne to her fevered brow, to relieve her vampiric ague.
 

MFfan310

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 19, 2004
Former My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way's new solo album "Hesitant Alien" has a track called "Drugstore Perfume".

The bad news: There are no other fragrance references on this track.
The good news: It still is a great song.
 

ColdSteel

Super Member
Jul 6, 2014
It's not visible in the earlier screenshot from American Psycho, but there is a bottle of Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui on the upper shelf.
 

Dorje the improbable

Basenotes Member
Sep 4, 2014
"You say you'll give !e anything to make my life a feast.
But you don't give !e anything, not even Arpège, you beast..."

Eartha Kitt, "Champagne Taste"
 

Ken_Russell

Basenotes Institution
Jan 21, 2006
While uncertain whether commercials can be seen as fiction, saw a bottle of Eau d'Orange Verte by Hermes (never named, but easily recognizable due to the iconic shape of the green flask) in a recent German commercial for bathroom furniture by IKEA.

Unsure as to how a Hermes fragrance can match the rather utilitarian, stark and no-frills brand image of IKEA, but the marketers behind this must have their strategies.
 

Marais

Semi-Retired Member
Basenotes Plus
Nov 2, 2011
Spotted a bottle of Charlie on our Sandra's dresser, on a re-run of The Liver Birds.
 

Ken_Russell

Basenotes Institution
Jan 21, 2006
Re-watching the 2011 film adaptation of "In Search of Lost Time", a glimpse of the iconic "bee bottle" by Guerlain can be seen in the main character's/narrator's bathroom.
The historical accuracy is remarkable, since in Proust's age Guerlain was not only established as one of the major fragrance purveyors of Parisian high society, but also the famous bee bottle already existed.
 

panope7734

Basenotes Member
Oct 14, 2014
Hello Kaern and all,

I love this topic!

Liliana Cavani's film The Night Porter, 1973-ish, (NSFW) featuring Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Borgarde, has a scene that goes something like:

Kurt (I think? I don't recall the character's name):...And that perfume she wallows in is muck! Look, it may be some fancy brand but it makes me vomit. Really!
Max:..Well, at least she doesn't smell of fried food like you do; or, uh, 'mouthwash'.
Kurt:...I don't smell of mouthwash. I'm dripping with Helena Rubenstein's 'Eau de Cologne for Men.' For men of distinction!
Max:...Bah!
 
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Zilpha

Basenotes Dependent
Aug 7, 2008
Welcome, panope7734!

I wouldn't have thought that anybody wearing Helena Rubenstein would be in a position to criticize someone else's perfume choice, even back in 1973. I guess that was the joke.
 

Glamis

Super Member
Dec 7, 2014
In the film"Julie & Julia" (2009) you can spot a bottle of Guerlain's Heritage.
In the movie "Swim Fan" (2002) theres a bottle of L'instant de Guerlain standing on a dressing table
 

Rüssel

Basenotes Institution
Dec 23, 2010
In The Family Man Cage seems to sniff Dana's English Leather to take him back to olden days.
 

DaveStPaul

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 22, 2012
In "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) there's a great perfume scene. Fred -- honored bombadier in the war, but back home now, and has to take a low-paying job at a drugstore counter -- tries selling perfume. A very central-casting middle-age woman comes in:


Woman: "l've seen advertisements about this: 'Night of Bliss.' ls it all that they say it is?"
Fred: "Uh, what do they say it is? [looks at label] 'Haunting, provocative, languorous.' Oh yes, l'm sure it's all of those."

Woman: "Ooh, 'Seduction'. How much is that?"
Fred: "lt's quite expensive. lt's $16.50. But it's a good, safe bet."
Woman: "Just what do you mean by that?"
Fred: "Well, l mean it's . . . it's a perfume that fits any mood."
Woman: "Oh! All right, l'll take it."


:lolk: Don't know how it comes across in writing, but on the screen it's very funny.
 

Denovo

Super Member
Feb 15, 2011
More Sopranos, this time from Season 2

Carmela: Did you hear about Ralphie Ritaldo... the brazilian he keeps on the side...she had a baby
Tony: And Christopher is in the hospital and this is on your mind now!?
Carmela: Maybe it has to do with the CK one stinking up your shirt last Wednesday night
Tony: Oh its over! Months ago!
Carmela: Yeah, right

Too funny!
 

ColdSteel

Super Member
Jul 6, 2014
In the novel Comes A Horseman by Robert Liparulo, protagonist Brady Moore gives himself a spray of Lagerfeld Photo.
 

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