You Can Now Make Perfume That Smells Like Your Dead Loved Ones

Because it’s no longer acceptable to lovingly embalm your dead and keep them secretly entombed in your home, a new company has created something that’s almost as good: a perfume that smells like the living body of your dearly departed. It’s called Olfactory Links and isn’t half as creepy as you’d think.


As The Guardian points out, humans have a history of attempting to preserve the dead to honor their memory and provide comfort. And while making jewelry from the hair of those passed or pressing their ashes into a diamond may no longer be in fashion, many are still looking for a way to remember a loved one in a more active fashion than occasionally visiting their cemetery plot, or looking at their urn of ashes.

Enter Katia Apalategui, a French woman with a background in insurance sales and a tremendous amount of grief over the death of her father. Inspired by her mother, who tried to preserve the smell of her husband via his pillows, Apaletegui decided to find a way to make her father’s scent even more accessible.

From The Guardian:

As a more benign version of the serial killer in Patrick Suskind’s Perfume, who seeks to capture the physical odour of his victims, Apalategui rallied scientists at Le Havre university to her cause. A high-tech variation of boiling dad down to a reduction sauce was developed, utilising the person’s clothing and a four-day distillation process. Along the way, approximately 100 molecules of an individual’s unique bodily odour are reconstructed into perfume.

A bottle of Olfactory Links’ scent costs around $781. The company is also looking to expand beyond the smell of the dead. According to the Guardian, they’re also exploring ideas such as bottling the scent of a baby for working moms and creating colognes based on the smell of a beloved pet. But while Olfactory Links is the first company that’s all about personalization, they’re not the first fragrance producer to focus on the smell of flesh, bone and bodily secretions.

In fact, people-niff has been explored before, notably by the French brand Etat Libre d’Orange. Their Sécrétions Magnifiques faithfully evokes blood, sweat, breast milk and semen (but not urine or faeces, perhaps considered not suitably magnifique). Even closer to Olfactory Links’ turf is My DNA Fragrance, a Beverly Hills firm cooking up scents infused with genetic material from the likes of Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe.


You may be thinking this all sounds a bit creepy (and I agree about the Michael Jackson thing), but since smell is such a powerful emotional trigger, it makes sense that one can derive comfort from being able to smell someone they love in a socially acceptable way. Plus, it’s got to be somewhat satisfying to reply to the question of “What are you wearing?” with “Mom.” (Dark.)

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I was sorting out an enormous yarn stash the other day and came across a big bag full of my grandmother’s yarn that was passed down to me, along with a lot of midcentury furniture, last year when she died. I just quickly opened the bag in a very businesslike sorting frame of mind, and promptly had to sit down. Oh my god, the smell. I was transported. It was wool and Chanel No.19 and fresh washing and roast chicken and roses and pledge and ritz biscuits and lemon zest and hessian and love. It was my grandmother. My husband found me crying. It was such a rush of grief.

I don’t know if I would ever get anything done at work if I had something that smelled of my loved ones there.