Last year I sought to take advantage of the association perfume has with Valentine’s Day by creating a set of distinct perfumes, each describing a star sign:
But these perfumes were far from a commercial cash-in. Instead, my aim was to highlight how fragrance can accommodate narrative and interaction; I encouraged the audience to smell the perfume connected to their lover’s star sign. If they did not have a lover, then the scent of Ophiuchus – a long-regarded ’13th star sign’ – made for a suitable facsimile.
There was, however, a twist in the tale. The perfume of Ophiuchus did not actually contain any fragrance; it was merely a jar of almond oil. The moral of the story – rather cloyingly – is that there is no substitute for love. Whether you agree with such a sentiment or not, the fact that fragrance can house a nuanced and multi-faceted story does reveal an alternative perspective for perfume this Valentine’s Day.