Success is a Smell in the City

Um, Toronto smells bad. I got T.O. love, it’s nothing personal; generally, big cities just have a less than pleasing scent. Garbage, the lake, sewage (ew), cuisines from A-Z and almost three million people combined with the August heat make for a constant nose-wrinkling olfactory overload.

Toronto skyline

Sure, I love the delectable smell of the french fry trucks at Nathan Phillips Square, the fresh, green scent of High Park and the drool worthy waft of cookies near the Kraft cookie factory, but above all, I adore the smell of perfume. I fully credit my French-Moroccan grandmother for this; my mother handed me down her trick of soaking a cotton ball in perfume and tucking it into the centre of your bra to emit fragrance all day (how chic!).  Obviously, my love of perfume runs deep in my veins (and down my shirt).

Admittedly, I’m not a loyal lover of fragrance. I’ve worn everything from Prada’s powdery Infusion d’Iris to the spicy and famed Poision scent by Dior and nearly everything in between. I’ve even been known to wear cologne from time to time, with a particular fondness of CKIN2U or a small spritz of Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren, my Dad’s signature scent, when he’s away and I’ve missed him. Oftentimes, I’ll spray something on in the morning and touch up midday with an entirely different scent. Many perfumers have created scents meant to be layered, and I’m intrigued. I really love the idea of ingredients and notes mixing together harmoniously and balancing each other out.

One mix-master perfumer I’ve recently been introduced to, Carlos Huber, specifically creates his scents to evoke a time and place in history. By expertly combining ingredients native to their origin and adding some notes to carry you to that time period, the fragrances build on the idea that a scent can not only conjure memories, but history.


A more modern line, Bond no. 9 created an entire fragrance collection also based on a time and place: present day New York City. With over 40 iconic NYC destinations, each fragrance elicits distinct notes pertaining to its hood. For example, SoHo’s West Broadway scent stirs up a sexy mix of lime, sheer musk and lily of the valley that’s as crisp as it is  saucy. Now if Queen West only smelled like that.