If you were to draw the Venn Diagram of interests of all of the writers and editors of CaFleureBon the one obvious space of overlap would have the word perfume within it. The less obvious phrase in that shaded area of overlap is that we all enjoy an Urban Fantasy author or two or twenty. For those unfamiliar with this genre of fiction it is most easily summed up as if the creatures of the night existed in current times. Depending on the series they can be known to the public at large or hidden just on the outskirts of revelation. Many of these authors use very descriptive olfactory phrases to describe their characters. Perhaps that is why this group of perfume bloggers also enjoys reading these novels. For All Hallow’s Eve Eve here is how some of the authors within the genre describe the smells of the supernatural and the perfumes which might live up to those words.
Jean-Claude by Brett Booth
Dracula had a one word description of his sillage; Bram Stoker wrote he smelled “nauseating”. To see how far we have come Stephanie Meyer describes the vampire from Twilight, Edward Cullen as smelling like, “lavender, freesia, and sunshine”. Which probably makes Vlad an Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifiques lover and Edward would sport Caron Pour un Homme or should that be un Vampyr? The real forerunner to the popularity of Urban Fantasy came through two series which prominently feature vampires, although almost every series has one as a recurring character. Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries which are the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood and Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter. Ms. Harris’ lead vampire is ex-Viking Eric Northman and he exudes cool and aloof and so his scent also matches that Nordic genetics as I see him in the Norwegian inspired perfume Geir Ness. It is a unique mix of spices and wood from that region. Jean-Claude the Master vampire of the city of Saint Louis in Ms. Hamilton’s novels comes from France and so underneath all of his leather he would wear the perfume rumored to be inspired by Marie Antoinette, Lubin Black Jade. Black Jade’s core of cinnamon and incense is a common description of many of the vampires throughout Urban Fantasy and if you need a couple of suggestions along those lines; Tom Ford Sahara Noir or Eau D’Italie Baume du Doge would also fit the bill.
Mercedes Thompson by Amelia Woo
Werewolves are nearly as ubiquitous as vampires in almost every Urban Fantasy series as well. I always joke that if there isn’t a werewolf in the first book it won’t be long until one shows up. Two series which feature werewolf lead characters are Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty series and Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson books. When it comes to werewolves authors have a fair amount of unanimity about their odeur. Ms. Briggs writes, “And suddenly I could smell him, mint and musk that told me werewolf”. That mint and musk plus the woods they run through in wolf form is captured by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Grain de Plaisir perfectly. Lanvin L’Homme and Lorenzo Villoresi Vetiver will also fit the woods, mint, and musk vibe as well.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without witches and Urban Fantasy also boasts its share of witches. As with werewolves there is one common overlap to almost every author’s description of their witch, sandalwood. In Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series Rachel Morgan is the half-demon/half-human witch main character and her scent is described as a mix of sandalwood and burnt amber. Prada Amber pour Homme has always been my sense of what Rachel Morgan smells like. My favorite description of what a witch smells like comes from Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy as her vampire Matthew Clairmont describes what Diana Bishop the witch smells like, “You smell of willow sap. And chamomile that’s been crushed underfoot. There’s honeysuckle and fallen oak leaves, too,” he said softly, breathing out, “along with witch hazel blooming and the first narcissus of spring. And ancient things—horehound, frankincense, lady’s mantle. Scents I thought I’d forgotten.” There are few fragrances which use willow but the one which comes close to this description is Crabtree & Evelyn Somerset Meadow. It has the floral and the willow along with the oak moss.
Of course the devil makes his way through many of these novels and for a denizen of the underworld there would obviously be a swirl of brimstone. The most brimstone fragrance I know of is Henrik Vibskov Type B. This is a tar pit fragrance releasing sulfurous spurts at regular intervals. The devil’s minions otherwise known as demons seem to be described most commonly as being surrounded in a cloud of burnt amber. Neil Morris Fragrances Burnt Amber lives up to its name and then some.
So before you put on your costume and makeup for Trick-or-Treating don’t forget to get into character by adding a spritz of something appropriate.