Scents for Swedes – celebrating Sweden's National Day

06th June, 2014

Today is Sweden's National Day, so we're celebrating by choosing fragrances for some of Sweden's most popular exports.

Greta Garbo


Ah, Miss Garbo; a reluctant star, but a brilliant one nonetheless. I would have liked to have scented Miss G with something brilliant – full of personality and life – however, I have it on good authority (The ever-brilliant Mr James Craven) that she only wore light eau de colognes. According to Mr Craven “She loathed anything heady, heavy ‘feminine’ or seductive.”



So, Greta Garbo gets Guerlain’s Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat – light, clear and on the masculine side.



HOWEVER, the rumours of her affair with Marlene Dietrich persist and as such I imagine there could have been traces of something else lingering on her person. As a young woman Marlene favoured a violet fragrance, before moving on to Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew as she grew older.







I must confess, I am not much of an ABBA fan, but damn it that will not stop me from choosing them a fragrance. So, what do I know of ABBA? Camp? Yes. Colourful? Absolutely. A little hint of darkness/melancholy underneath all of the sparkle? Of course.


So we need something opulent and fun with a dark side. Luckily, Penhaligon’s have just released EXACTLY THAT. Tralala begins all soft violets and bright aldehydes, and maintains it’s brilliantly colourful softness pretty much throughout, but that leather… that incense… there’s something sinister lurking underneath.






Dolph Lungdren



Dolph. Tall, blonde, handsome Dolph. I fell a bit in love with Dolph while writing this piece. DID YOU KNOW that he has a masters in chemical engineering? And speaks 5 languages? And only got into acting because he just happened to meet GRACE BLOODY JONES. He learned karate in his teens so that he felt strong enough to stand up to his father, and thank god that he did. That physique – an example of the extreme masculinity that doesn’t seem to exist since the 80s (Honourable mention to Peter Andre for trying.)


Dolph needs something exaggeratedly masculine, but at the same time refined. I’m going for Tom Ford’s Italian Cypress, or perhaps Kouros from Yves Saint Laurent. Both are almost absurdly masculine, in the traditional sense, but carry something a bit weightier hidden beneath the rugged exterior.



Ace of Base



Base! A veritable Swedish institution! With two girls and two boys. And then two different girls. And all of those songs! All that She Wants! Cruel Summer! The Sign! And others, probably!


I’m basing my decision here based entirely on the fact the euro-reggae feel of AoB’s songs. Close you’re eyes while listening to them and you could be on a distant, tropical shore. A tropical shore, surrounded by Swedish people.


Coccobello from Heeley, it is. While certainly a tropical fragrance, with coconut and palm leaves, this scent is definitely grounded in Europe. Figs, gardenia and a pinch of sea salt to stop it becoming too sweet.




Lisbeth Salander



Our first fictional candidate, Lisbeth is brilliant, dangerous, has great hair and is generally a bit good. I like her a lot, but I get the feeling that she probably wouldn’t spend too much time choosing which fragrance to wear. Probably a quick bit of deodorant and off she goes to mutilate another misogynist (YAY)


But, I suppose I am here to scent the idea of Lisbeth, and therefore I’m choosing Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection from Etat Libre d’Orange. Beautiful, but with a sharp, slightly uncanny edge to it. This is also a fragrance that a friend of mine swears by, claiming that “You cannot have a bad day in Rossy de Palma.” And I want Lisbeth to have good days, so there you go.





Swedish Chef



Mainly included because I wanted to use the gif. I will leave this up to you lot to decide. What fragrance would match Swedish Chef?

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About the author: Callum Langston-Bolt

Callum Langston-Bolt worked for several years in fragrance after accidentally landing a job in a perfume shop while studying English. From the West Country he has been settled in London for seven years. His interests include fragrance, film, wine and dogs. He helps run the monthly fragrance meet-up Perfume Lovers London with Odette Toilette and Laurin Taylor.


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    • nucker | 6th June 2014 19:50

      Blu Mediterraneo Ginepro di Sardegna

      This is the scent for the Swedish Chef. With notes of nutmeg, allspice and black pepper, this could just as well have been a recipe for swedish meatballs.

    • 4160Tuesdays | 8th June 2014 13:19

      The Swedish Chef wears Bois Farine by L’Artisan Parfumeur.

    • Lila Das Gupta | 9th June 2014 20:19

      Bois Farine! Excellent choice.

      I suspect the Cookie Monster is also partial to 'Like This' by Etat Libre d'Orange - all gingerbread cookies and warm pumpkin pie.