Now You Can Smell Like a Book

Paper Passion is a new scent from Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, and Wallpaper magazine, with packaging by Karl Lagerfeld. It’s one of those moments when I really wish we had smellovision, or maybe a smelloscope, since “it smells like books” can mean a lot of different things. Are we talking cheap paperbacks, limited editions with creamy paper and leather bindings, or musty old eldritch tomes bearing forbidden knowledge? I have a decent book collection, including some extremely rare editions, but I’m not sure I could identify one smell to rule them all.

Also: I get the feeling I’m supposed to know who Karl Lagerfeld, Geza Schoen, and Gerhard Steidl are, but short of a Google search, I got nothin’.

And another also: Paper Passion–bad name: sounds like a porno novel about supermarket bag boy.

In any case, at a hundred bucks a bottle, I’m unlikely to find out, but here’s the overripe description from the website:

“The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.” Karl Lagerfeld

This tells the story of a passion and a twisting plot to put the particular bouquet of freshly printed books in a bottle. Gerhard Steidl was first alerted to the importance of the smell of a book by Karl Lagerfeld, prompting a passion for paper and the composition of a scent on the pages of a book. To Wallpaper* magazine the pairing of the publisher with the perfumer seemed a natural partnership and so the idea for Paper Passion was born. Wallpaper* magazine commissioned master perfumer Geza Schoen to create a fragrance based on the smell of books to be part of the Wallpaper* magazine Handmade exhibition in Milan.

This is an opportunity to celebrate all the gloriosensuality of books, at a time when many in the industry are turning against them. The idea is that is should relax you, like when you read a book, to a level of meditation and concentration. Paper Passion has evolved into something quite beautiful and unique. To wear the smell of a book is something very chic. Books are players in the intellectual world, but also in the world of luxury.

Hidden inside the pages of a book, Paper Passion is accompanied by texts from Karl Lagerfeld, Günter Grass, Geza Schoen and Tony Chambers.

“You have a book, you open it, there’s a bottle inside and it smells of a book. It might be quirky, but the idea has a simplicity, a linearity.” Geza Schoen


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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.