Memory TYPE

30th September, 2011

Creating perfumes based on physical locations isnít a new idea. There is no shortage of fragrances on the market that already base their compositions on locations dear to the perfumersí heart, but there often seems to be something missing from these formulations: an access point for your own memories to inhabit the fragrance.

The concept of capturing the fragrance of a location is fascinating; imagine smelling of that pine forest you trekked through instead of just a market standard aromatic based on a pine forest. Blending and balancing the numerous obvious, and not so obvious notes of a location is a precise science, and weíre not just assuming that by including materials that are typical of a location will result in an accurate snapshot of it. It takes a little more imagination than that.

One of the best examples currently available is from Christopher Brosiusís range CB I Hate Perfume, titled Black March. With notes of raindrops, leaf buds and wet twigs, this fragrance was a startling discovery amongst a market of stereotypical compositions. Although based on a favourite poem of Brosiusí, Black March managed to bottle a scent that allowed many to explore wet childhood afternoons and walks in the rain. Unbelievable as it first seemed, this perfume, whilst composed for different reasons, left space to spark personal memories unique to all that smelt it.

Where some of these bottling experiments fall short, the debut range of fragrances by Danish designer Henrik Vibskov, like Black March, succeeds in capturing its source material whilst giving the wearer enough space to furnish the locations with their own memories.

The Eau de Toilettes in the range - TYPE B (Berlin), TYPE C (Copenhagen) and TYPE D (Damascus) - may take inspiration from global destinations, but the aim of the collection, which was developed by Givaudan in Paris, was to create a snapshot in time of a location, not to focus on a personal memory of Vibskovís. By approaching the composition of the fragrances in this way, TYPE succeeds in offering the stimulus for wearers to wander these locations through the use of their own memories and not the designers.

Trialing them on the skin itís easy to pick out the elements within the fragrances that draw them to a particular location, but the surprise comes in where they end up taking you: TYPE Bís sulphur match, birch and coal tar suggesting second hand leather jackets, open fires and camping trips as well as the concrete winter streets of Berlin: TYPE Cís uncanny capture of Copenhagenís harbour, or any harbour ever visited, salty and solar facets, seaweed and citrus blends in a unique tonic thatís a bottled boat back to Iceland and childhood holidays in Cornwall: TYPE Dís blend of pink peppercorn, ginger bread and styrax wood is a travelling holiday from Syria to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, not limited to one location, itís scent is sight across the desert, lying on warm sands during the call to prayer.

The experience of recalling memories has been long documented as having therapeutic properties and is one of the most common reasons that people choose to wear a particular fragrance. For everyone, the memories will be different, but TYPE B, TYPE C and TYPE D demonstrate how effective location capturing can be when you leave a little space for the wearersí mind to arrive by its own means.

In the UK, TYPE is available exclusively from Liberty with all bottles priced £85 for 50ml.

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About the author: John Francis Bowyer

John is an emerging writer based in London, who enjoys exploring scents connections to conscious and sub-conscious memory. As well as writing for his own blog ( he has also contributed to VICE, Wallpaper* and Ape to Gentleman. He is currently drafting his first piece of fiction


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    • odysseusm | 1st October 2011 13:56

      Very interesting! I like the concept, though I have found most of CB's scent are strong in concept and weak in execution. The phrase " imagine smelling... that pine forest you trekked through " pretty much sums up my holy grail scent. I appreciate hearing about this range of scents and look forward to trying them.

    • ozebarjadi | 2nd October 2011 02:56

      I know one thing about odysseusm: that he's a pine head...

      type B -- second hand leather jackets, open fires and camping trips -- sounds very promising

    • Ronald | 2nd October 2011 21:03

      MPG Route de Vetiver used to do this for me before the formula changed - a perfect recreation of the smell of damp woods and earth from my youth...

    • michailG | 9th October 2011 12:22

      Pine head or not I have to agree with odysseum. I tried the three frags and they all seemed somehow “familiar” but one was almost a clone of CDG’s Ouarzazate. The knitted bottle-warmers (?) by Vibskov are there, I think, to justify the hefty price tag (100€/50ml in Helsinki 10!). ... What crisis?!