Scenting Characters: What would ‘X’ wear?


Post by Liam


Good evening fragrance aficionados!

Scent associations fascinate me. Most pertinently, when watching film and TV I often find myself scenting fictional characters. The way certain actors and actresses portray a character astounds me, and sometimes I wonder how they would smell considering their personalities.

Scenting Characters: What would ‘X’ wear?

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991):

Intellectually staggering; an enigma wrapped in multitudes of haunting mystery. Hannibal Lecter, despite his cannibal tendencies, is an upperclass gentleman with a great disdain towards bad manners!

Bal a Versailles Jean Desprez FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

For Lecter, I choose Jean Desprez floriental “Bal a Versailles”. Totally classical in its composition, I am reminded of scenes when Lecter draws pictures of Clarice whilst listening to classical music. Bal a Versailles is textured wonderfully, expensive (rare), and most importantly for those with great taste! It is exotic, yet grounded by an impression of properness and prissiness. Perfect for Lecter.

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk in Monk (2002 – 2009):

OCD-ridden, Adrien Monk is a delicate creature and a brilliant detective. Often when watching I find Shalhoub delivers a very tangible human quality to the character, verging innocuous yet persistent as his OCD often gets in the way.

Escentric 01 Escentric Molecules FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

I particularly love the ‘square tomato’ scene and another when he meticulously gets his haircut. But, considering this, I don’t think the character would wear perfume because he would find it both interfering and may never find something he loves! Therefore, I choose Escentric Molecules “Molecule 01”. The ISO-E Super is something I cannot smell on myself, which I feel would be a feature Monk would appreciate. Molecule 01’s subtle woody and cedar-like aroma is clean and clinical, much like the character.

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada (2006):

Powerful, important, and amazingly dressed (the way she tosses Prada bags and expensive coats carelessly – wow!). Clad in the most amazing garments (I consider this film as the impetus for my fashionable awakening), Priestly is the epitome of a contemporary ‘Boss Lady’. She demands respect and universally sets the tone.

Infusion d'Iris Prada FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

I was tempted to give this character Mitsouko, but given her haute position as the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine she needs to be ‘with it’ as well as timeless. Thus, I choose Prada’s “Infusion d’Iris” for her in work mode. Sleek, slightly cold, and very professional. It is discrete elegance, remembering that iris is very expensive! Opening with citruses, then layered with soft incense and resins on a bed of cedar.

Rod Taylor as Mitch Brenner in The Birds (1963):

Rod Taylor portrays the male hero in Hitchcock’s suspense horror “The Birds”. Whilst the character is firmly placed in a heroic role protecting Tippi Hedren from vicious birds, we also view a romantic tale. The film features really dark and challenging undertones, including the idea of uncertainty and a supernatural-esque danger. Rod Taylor’s character requires something strongly grounded, yet delicate and romantic up on top. Often he is well dressed, donning typical duotone suit outfits for work, with tweed blazers and white sweaters for relaxation.

Chanel Sycomore Chanel  FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

I think Chanel’s “Sycomore” is most appropriate. The mild flounce and tendency to be cheeky is expressed with an amazing violet note, grounded in a vetiver and tobacco accord (a bit like wood varnish) also calling to mind the classicism of Guerlain’s Vetiver.

All these fragrances can be sampled at Surrender To Chance if you’d like to try them

Your turn! How would you scent the following?

Norman Bates – Psycho

Mildred Pierce – Mildred Pierce

James Bond (Sean Connery)


12 comments on “Scenting Characters: What would ‘X’ wear?

  1. Greg says:

    Great article Liam.

    Norman Bates, with his mummy fixation, would doubtless wear the same perfume that his mother wore. Something big and bold from the early 20th Century: Guerlain Mitsouko.

    Mildred Pierce is a tough one for me, not having seen the show. I have seen the classic film starring Joan Crawford. Since Crawford also played a perfume sales girl called Crystal in The Women, I reckon Arrogance Fleur de Crystal sums things up nicely.

    According to legend, James Bond wore Floris No. 89. Ian Fleming certainly did.

    I played a similar game elsewhere when The Great Gatsby came out. We concluded that the social climbing Jay Gatsby would definitely wear a cologne favoured by upper class British gentlemen: Blenheim Bouquet.

  2. Caroline says:

    Totally agree with Rod Taylor in Sycomore. I picture Norman Bates in Brut or Old Spice.

  3. willa says:

    Hi Liam,
    Norman Bates – will wear his mother’s perfume. Something from Coty or Revlon.
    Mildred Pierce – I picture her in Caron. En Avion.
    Sean Connery as James Bond – Floris definitely!

  4. poodle says:

    Norman would wear his mother’s perfume in private and I imagine it might be something like Emeraude. In public I see him trying hard to seem like an average guy and imagine he’d probably just stick with after shave and it would be something easily found at the drugstore like Old Spice or Aqua Velva.
    I imagine Puredistance M would be good on any version of James Bond.

  5. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Heya Liam,
    Norman Bates: Loves Baby Soft
    Mildred Pierce: Shalimar
    James Bond: Daniel Craig: Chergui
    LOVE these posts.
    Portia xx

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