Eau de Bookstore: biblichor perfume for sexy readers

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/30/eau-de-bookstore-biblichor-perfume-for-sexy-readers.html


For the most part, the smell of old books is the smell of the wood-pulp paper slowly degrading as the paper acidifies over time. If you have ever dealt with brittle books where you can’t turn the page without it breaking it is not a happy association.

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The sweet smell of old paper is the lignin slowly changing to vanillin.
Back in the dark ages, I used to love the smell of the continuous form feed paper the line printers in the computer lab used to use.
Someone once said Le Labo 24 (patchouli) smelled like it should be worn by fiercely intellectual librarians. Not sure about that, but it is still an interesting scent.


… is also the smell of life that has been lived around those old books, particularly in libraries. Stale sweat from anticipated intrigues, the aroma of illicit love affairs, calcifying crumbs from lunches covertly eaten, cannabis ash in the chemistry section, VOC’s from sharpie graffiti, stale beer and old buildings. Maybe a hint of curry spice and very, very rarely, Chanel No 5.

Edit: Ref: Personal experience,* Main Stacks, University of British Columbia, 1980

*Illicit love affairs - sadly, observed not experienced.


I used to have a Czech friend who loved Pu Erh tea. He said its smell reminded him of antique books. (Of which there are a lot in Prague, so he should know…)

Puh Ehr smells like wet cardboard. I had a small tin of top grade stuff that I bought directly from the distributor, Teanami, and it was like 25$ for 40g. He was doing a tasting session at a local teahouse.

I really wanted to like the stuff, but the taste is too light to me, properly brewed. I’ll stick with Lapsang Souchon.

I desperately love the smell of old libraries, I’ve really been wondering about the whole cologne thing…how close are these scents to the real deal?

Leather stores are wonderful too…

There’s also:

My SO actually bought it when new. Interesting but odd perfume.


Many of the shirts in my drawers are already starting to come out smelling musty. I tried washing them all and wiping down the wooden dresser drawers but that didn’t do the trick. Though I’m a fan of old books and the smell of the antique book section of the local university library, I can’t go around with the scent attached to me.

Good on Powells, though, for innovating during these tough times for indies. Really hope they survive and I can again venture to PDX’s Burnside to haunt their aisles.

I am going to have to find an opportunity to use that soon.

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