This Box Set Contains Scents Inspired by Classic Albums

Stop and smell the music

What does music smell like? For $200, we can find out.

To promote and benefit non-profit radio station dublab and the Institute for Art and Olfaction, bighouse created Nose Music, a box set that contains no music. Your nose, however, will be put to work.

Ten different scents, inspired by 10 classic albums, are available for purchase today.

The set contains:

  • Alice Coltrane's World Galaxy (1972) with perfume by Ashley Eden Kessler (Studio Sentir)
  • Augustus Pablo and King Tubby's King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown (1976) with perfume by Saskia Wilson-Brown (Institute for Art and Olfaction)
  • Brian Eno's Another Green World (1975) with perfume by Ashley Eden Kessler
  • Fela Kuti's Upside Down (1976) with perfume by Saskia Wilson-Brown, with assistance from Adedognin Abimbola and Anahita Mekanik
  • Kraftwerk's Computer World (1981) with perfume by Ashley Eden Kessler
  • Nina Simone's Wild is the Wind (1966) with perfume by Lakenda Wallace (Modern Peasant)
  • Os Mutantes' Os Mutantes (1968) with perfume by Maxwell Williams (UFO Parfums)
  • Prince's Purple Rain (1984) with perfume by Rubia Homa
  • Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life (1976) with perfume by Dana El Masri (Jazmin Saraï)
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico's eponymous debut (1967) with perfume by Julianne Sieun Lee (Sieun Scent)

"Perfumer George William Septimus Piesse suggested that there could be an 'octave of odors like an octave in music.' Many folks have paired scents and sounds together since, now Nose Music is presenting an entirely speculative relationship between music, visual art, and perfume," says Andrew Courtien, head of business development at bighouse.

So what does music smell like?

Kraftwerk's Computer World, for example, has notes of circuit boards, heated metal and LED lighting. The Velvet Underground's album boasts overripe banana under a hot halogen light, with acrid cigarette smoke and a touch of black leather. (The LP famously features a banana cover, courtesy of Andy Warhol.)

"We hope that people can use this as a tool to take time away from doom scrolling, algorithm controlled playlists, and sit (alone or with friends) and enjoy and be present with this multi-sensory experience," Courtien tells Muse. Inspire art. Inspire curiosity. Inspire creativity. Inspire confusion. Inspire people to think about things differently."

Each box also contains a booklet of quotes on the relationship between sound and original artwork from renowned visual artists and illustrators including Umar Rashid, Dave Muller, kozyndan, Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson.

Per Courtien, the scents should not be worn, and instead be experienced on paper strips. "We'd ask that smellers don't spray them on their skin, babies, pets, plants, in their mouth, or anywhere near a flame."

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