02 August 2011

Smells like Lithuania

Three enterprising Lithuanian entrepreneurs have created a scent as an olfactory reminder of Lithuania. Reported in the Guardian
Developed by Rutkauskas and two other Lithuanian entrepreneurs and produced by the French perfumery Galimard, Lietuvos Kvapas – literally, "the scent of Lithuania" – is an attempt to create a positive national brand.

"If I say chocolate and watches, what do you think? Switzerland. If I say Guinness and leprechauns? Ireland. Fish and chips? England. But here in Lithuania we don't have an internationally recognised symbol of our identity," said Rutkauskas. Since the £25 scent went on the market earlier this year, 1,000 bottles have been sold – mostly, said Rutkauskas, to local tourist offices and businessmen keen to improve Lithuania's image abroad.

The prime minister's chief of staff ordered bottles to give to the heads of other Baltic states at a recent summit, and the foreign minister sent one to every foreign ambassador in Vilnius, the capital.

The defence minister even flew 20 vials out to Afghanistan to give Lithuanian soldiers a reminder of home.
Read more. See also the Daily Telegraph. From www.lietuvoskvapas.lt
Scent is a strong emotional factor which invokes memories and associations. Therefore, there are no bad or good scents until the moment we grant them a meaning and relate them to our experiences. Our memory can preserve separate scents or their combinations and sequences. Most people can recall the scent of their childhood, homeland, heroic adventures or first love. Scents can remind us of the countries we have visited, the people we have met and the experiences we have had.

When creating the Scent of Lithuania, our goal was not only to impersonate the fragrances of the country, but also to tell a story about its cities and villages, its nature, ancient traditions and cultural heritage, the character and the achievements of its people: everything what we are justly proud of and respected for.

This is how the Legend of the Scent of Lithuania emerged and inspired the Galimard perfumers to select the distinctive scents and incorporate them into the fragrance. Only natural essences and components tested in authorized laboratories were used in the production of the Scent of Lithuania. This finest quality three-note perfume is designed for ambient scenting.
Characteristics of Lithuania are revealed in the perfume notes
Top note
Bergamot, note of wild flower bouquet, ginger, raspberry, note of red berries, grapefruit

Middle note
Lily of the valley, lilac, rose

Base note
Amber, tree moss, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, note of tree smoke
If other countries 'bottled' a characteristic scent, as an olfactory reminder, it would be interesting to find out what they choose.

There is a particular tropical smell that is characteristic of places like Bangkok and Singapore upon arriving at their airports. It's a thought to consider the next time you arrive in a new place. Close your eyes and take in the smell.

There was an interesting piece by Jason Logan in the New York Times in 2009 about the smells of Manhattan.

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