The Library of Fragrance is a US brand which does a great job of capturing today’s emerging culture of sensory experience.
It offers around 150 different fragrances – single-note scents reflecting an incredible range of experiences. These include tomato, grass, chocolate, coconut, birthday cake, almond, apple tree and amber amongst many many more.
So what is this brand getting right? We can take from it three insights highly relevant to personal care today.
The brand does away with traditional distinctions between scents – ‘earthworm’ sits alongside ‘earl grey’; dregs’ alongside ‘daisy’. There is no separation between pretty and ugly or between categories of experience: food, fantasy, flowers and chemicals all furnish inspiration.
This is important as in sensory experience we are moving beyond what is ‘pretty’, ‘appealing’ or ‘sexy’ in the traditional sense. The idea of exploration and discovery is becoming more important than self-adornment or aesthetic enhancement in the world of the senses.
Reading the book of the senses
The brand name itself is spot on with regard to emerging sensory culture. Culture now puts a higher value on sensory experience than before. All our senses matter now – with a culture of education, learning, exploration springing up around them.
Think about artisan coffee and the precision of the discourse surrounding that – tasting notes and endless subtleties. The Library of Fragrance suggests something similar for fragrance: that it can lead us on a journey in which we can cultivate our sense of smell, refine it, expand it and educate it.
Follow the trail into other worlds
There’s also something magical about the idea of the Library of Fragrance. Not only is it a place of education – it is a place of wonder, a portal to other worlds, like a Borges-style library in which each book opens onto a universe.
This idea reinforces the new prestige accorded to sensory experience – it’s not just nice, pleasurable or indulgent. It’s a way to travel in time and space, and to expand experience beyond previous parameters. So fantasy references are key to the brand. We don’t know what Moonbeam, Angel Food or Russian leather smell like, but we can imagine.
The Library of Fragrance hits exactly the right note when it comes to new and emerging perspectives on the sensory. We learn and imagine through our senses – just like in a library. And, just like in a library, there are no limits to the travels and dreams waiting for us.