That New Book Smell

Images © Koto Bolofo. Left: Perfumer Geza Schoen. Right: Paper Passion.

When bibliophiles celebrate print they often talk about the weight or feel of paper, about color, binding, typeface, design… but scent?

Leave it to print purists and publishers Gerhard Steidl and Karl Lagerfeld to pay attention to the often-overlooked, olfactory component of the print experience. It was Lagerfeld who first pointed out the scent of print to Steidl, which led to a collaboration between Steidl, Wallpaper* magazine and master perfumer Geza Schoen to create Paper Passion perfume—”For Booklovers.”

The scent debuted this week at at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition in Milan, which runs through April 22 at the headquarters of men’s clothing designer Brioni, and it will be available to the public on May 30.

The perfume comes hidden inside the pages of a Steidl-published book, designed by Lagerfeld, which includes various odes to the printed page and its characteristic scent.

As Lagerfeld has said, “The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.” Backlit touch-screens may be the future, but the future doesn’t smell nearly as nice.

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