From The Guardian:
“Smell being the most evocative of the senses, it is not surprising that literature is full of aromas. Now an Italian perfumière, Laura Tonnato, has tried to do justice to the olfactory imagination of some of her favourite authors, concocting five scents to match five odorous moments in classic novels.” She chooses the good bits, for the most part: Proust’s madeleine, Oscar Wilde’s “violets that woke the memory of dead romances”, with only one truly nasty surprise: the “stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women” from Patrick Susskind’s Perfume.
Ha. If Tonnato wants a real challenge, she should try replicating this scent, from Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children:
“Formlessly, before I began to shape them, the fragrances poured into me: the mournful decaying fumes of animal faeces in the gardens of the Frere Road museum, the pustular body odours of young men in loose pajamas holding hands in Sadar evenings, the knife-sharpness of expectorated betelnut and the bitter-sweet commingling of betel and opium: ‘rocket paans’ were sniffed out in the hawker-crowded alleys between Elphinstone Street and Victoria Road. Camel-smells, car-smells, the gnat-like irritation of motor-rickshaw fumes, the aroma of contraband cigarettes and ‘black money’, the competitive effluvia of the city’s bus-drivers and the simple sweat of their sardine-crowded passengers… Mosques poured over me the itr of devotion; I could smell the orotund emissions of power sent out by flag-waving Army motors; in the very hoardings of the cinemas I could discern the cheap tawdry perfumes of imported spaghetti Westerns and the most violent martial-arts films ever made.”