How important is the story of a perfume to you?

Does the story about a fragrance make a perfume more appealing to you?

Some perfume houses have a very clear story to tell about a fragrance. Like the Canadian perfume house Zoologist Perfumes and the British perfume house Penhaligon’s Portraits series, both are inspired by animals in a way.

Zoologist Perfumes and its owner Victor Wong have a very clear story by taking its inspiration from interesting animals ranging from bats and civets to hummingbirds. Not only does the perfume house have a clear image of a dressed animal on the bottle. The scent itself is inspired by this animal as well. I really like this idea as it is original, daring and the fragrances themselves are all worthwhile to try. As far as I know perfumes have never been presented this way.

Penhaligon’s introduced a very exciting imaginative tale last year about an aristocratic British family and the intriguing stories within this family. When visiting a Penhaligon’s store last year in London I was very impressed by the history of this family presented as The Portraits Series with beautiful animal head bottle caps on the perfume bottles. These animals are said to portray the persons they represent.

The story of a Lord (The Tragedy of Lord George), a bored Lady (The Revenge of Lady Blanche) and an illegitimate son  (Roaring Radcliff) is fun and the bottles with the animal head bottle caps are very impressive. But unfortunately the fragrances themselves are somewhat disappointing. To me the scents do not fit the glamorous presented story. Too much emphasis is placed on the bottles and the story and too little effort on the fragrance itself. The scents (I tried the first 4 launched in 2016) are not very distinctive especially given their presentation and price tag. This is a real pity as the bottles themselves are a real addition to anyone’s perfume collection and the whole story of an aristocratic family with all its intriguing relationships are a fabulous way to present a perfume line as well.

Bottom line  A story behind a perfume can be important in inviting us to try and buy a fragrance. In the end however, the scent must be worthwhile as well. Both are crucial: the story and the scent. They must be a good fit. As much as I like these Penhaligon’s bottles and their stories I would not buy any of them as I was disappointed in the fragrances but I am tempted to buy a bottle of Zoologist Bat or Hummingbird as I find the combination of the story of the animal and the fragrance capitivating. The story and scent are a good fit.

How important is a story behind a perfume to you? Have you ever been tempted to buy or try a fragrance inspired by its story?

Disclosure: Photographs taken from the officials websites