Earlier in this pandemic era, as I recall, multiple fashion/beauty magazines came out with similar listicles of the best scents to wear for imaginary travel, in the months of lockdown and pre-vaccine isolation. I liked the concept, but couldn't help noticing a certain sameness about the selected perfumes and the locales they might conjure up: waves on a tropical beach...the flower fields of southern France...the sunlight and citrus trees of the Mediterranean.
For something more "off the beaten path," in terms of scents and destinations, I'm personally turning to a handful of samples from Scent Trunk. Scent Trunk, whose tagline is "Travel Through The Senses," provides various ways to experience its offerings: an introductory Discovery Palette, DIY Bespoke scents to layer or wear alone, and more esoteric Original Edition fragrances commissioned from independent perfumers. In 2021, the latter category was expanded by the Botanical Machinist Collection, in which the perfumers were invited to evoke "a world where plant intelligence is concurrent with technology and artificial intelligence, more specifically an alternate universe where the dominant language is scent."
Aquione (shown above), for example, was created by perfumer Amber Jobin. Its imagined setting: “Neo Atlantis, a city under the sea, is the genesis of this thoroughly modern, marine perfume. . . . Leave the shoreline behind for a new world under the waves." This is not your typical Calone-and-coconut beach fragrance. Its notes include Neofolione (a Givaudan molecule also known as Melon Nonenoate), "iridescent ocean accord, sand and seaweed accord, technology and teak accord," oxygen and ambergris. Aquione starts off on the fresher side and then goes below the surface with salty green notes, a healthy dose of ambergris and something that reminds me of rusted metal. It gives me a mental image of seaweed and coral clinging to underwater ruins, as though Neo Atlantis were built on a pre-existing foundation of shipwrecks and other human debris.
For Magnolia, perfumer Rodney Hughes poses the speculative question, "What would a post-apocalyptic bloom from a Magnolia tree dating back to Eden smell like on a far away space station?" If you're familiar with Frederic Malle's Jurassic Flower candle, you may already know that magnolias are prehistoric — they evolved about 95 million years ago. This Magnolia's composition includes notes of grapefruit, sweet herbs, mint, galbanum, grey pine, magnolia, orris, papyrus, sandalwood and incense. If this magnolia is being raised in sterile solitude in a space station, then this fragrance captures its ancestral memories: vines and other greenery, an ancient forest that has been burnt out by a fire, and cool earth. It's not a conventionally floral perfume, and certainly not a "feminine" one, but more of a flower-tinged, citrus-mineral scent with a resin-y base.
Lastly, I've been spritzing myself with Celestial Gala, a fantasy of the "gossamer glow" of a dying star in the Butterfly Nebula, created by perfumer Linda Sivrican with notes of "effervescent esters (marine, citrus, white floral), lactonic dust (milky gourmand), cosmic nitro musk accord and lucent ice particles (metallic mint)." It's a playful yet smooth scent that "combines pop and punk with elusive and elegant," as the perfumer writes — sheer musk and ozonic notes, a cool mint sensation and a creamy effect that feels comforting but not too sweet. Celestial Gala makes me feel as though I've been eating mint chocolate chip ice cream in outer space, and if that were possible, I'd sign up right now.
Back on solid ground in 2022, after these subaquatic and extraterrestrial journeys, I spent more time on Scent Trunk's site to see what else was available. I wish sample vials could be purchased for the Original Edition and DIY Bespoke perfumes, but even so, I'm finding myself making a mental list of future olfactory "trips" to take.
Have you tried anything from Scent Trunk? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Scent Trunk Aquione, Magnolia, and Celestial Gala are each available in 5 ml ($16), 30 ml ($42) and 100 ml ($92) sizes via the Scent Trunk website.