Words – the syntax of scent

Literature and scent have a long history together, and it all began with the Madeleine Effect, which was originally described in the 4,000-page classic novel In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. In this iconic scenario, the aroma of a madeleine pastry dipped into a hot cup of tisane infusion conjures up the first-person narrator’s memories of his or her early years.

Many perfumes have been inspired by or named after notable writers and their works as proof that the inspiring impulse works both ways. We asked longtime contributors, photographer Maciek Miloch, and art director and set designer Anna Nizio, to produce a series of still lives exhibiting the most exquisite and fascinating fragrances associated with the world of reading.

The names of the fragrances and their olfactory pyramides, the abstract patterns of fanned-out book pages, the grainy structure of seasoned printing paper — these mesmerising images entice you into a cozy world of words and imagination, making you want to pick up your favorite book and re-read it in just one night. Enjoy!


PHOTOGRAPHY: Maciek Miloch, @miloch_com

ART DIRECTION & SET DESIGN: Anna Nizio, @anna_nizio


Perfume & literature …

… have a long history together.


01. Les Bains Guerbois: 1900 L’Heure De Proust

le bains guerbois 199 l'heure de proust

“And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane.”

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust


PERFUMER: Jérôme Epinette
YEAR: 2018




02. Histoires de Parfums: 1804 George Sand

Histories de Parfums 1804 George Sand perfume editorial

“We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.

—George Sand


PERFUMER: unknown
YEAR: 2001



03. Ormonde Jayne: Gatsby 22

Gatsby 22 by Ormonde Jayne literature inspired perfumes

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


PERFUMER: unknown
YEAR: 2022



4. Parfumerie Particulière: Typewriter

Parfumerie particuliere in a perfume editorial by Maciek Miloch

“I’m totally in control of this tiny, tiny world right there at the typewriter.”

—Joan Didion


PERFUMER: Amélie Bourgeois, Anne-Sophie Behaghel
YEAR: 2016



5. Frédéric Malle: Portrait of a Lady

portrait of a lady by Dominique Ropion for frederic Malle

“I’m yours for ever — for ever and ever. Here I stand; I’m as firm as a rock. If you’ll only trust me, how little you’ll be disappointed. Be mine as I am yours.

Portrait of a Lady by Henry James


PERFUMER: Dominique Ropion
YEAR: 2010



6. Akro: Ink

ink by akro perfume

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

—Ernest Hemmingway



PERFUMER: Olivier Cresp
YEAR: 2022



If you enjoyed this post you may also like this perfume editorial by the same photographer and creative director. 


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