Can you bottle the scent of a city? We often talk about that scents that seem to represent certain cities but one ambitious perfumer has actually managed to capture the scent of Montreal in a fragrance. To celebrate the city’s 375th anniversary, perfumer Claude-Andre Hebert has created five scents that are inspired by different areas of the city. Spots like Ste-Catherine street, Old Montreal, the old churches and the grass on Mount Royal are the elements that the perfumer has captured in his fragrances.
“I always start with a blank page and write a story, and every word that’s important in the story is transformed into an ingredient,” said Herbert. His Old Montreal scent has a ”vintage” feel with notes of cardamom and cinnamon that are reminiscent of velvet and lace, the dust of the city streets and the smell of the nearby St-Lawrence river.
The floral Metropole fragrance references the nightlife through notes of tobacco and hops while the Mount Royal features pine and notes of the incense that wafts over from nearby St-Joseph’s Oratory.
“They talk about the top note, the base note, the patchouli… it’s like a recipe” said Hebert. “For me a perfume is much more than that.” Having worked for Thierry Mugler and Aramis among other labels, the perfumer now owns his own boutique on Montreal’s St-Denis street. He made the decision to go his own way after finding that many perfume makers emphasized the ingredients rather than focussing on inspiration.
We’re hoping this practice of city scents catches on! I’m rooting for a Parisian fragrance featuring fresh baguettes and iconic French pastries!