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Perfume Baby Names: Names that make scents

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Let’s all take a deep whiff as we join Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel as she explores the perfume counter to  find some fragrant name inspiration.

Perfume is nearly as old as civilization itself, a luxury found among many an ancient tribe.  It has evolved into a billion-dollar industry, with certain scents tied to famous figures or specific eras.

There’s a science of scent, with a complex system to characterize each perfume, a system that owes something to music (floral notes) and something to taxonomy (the aquatic family).

Little wonder that many fragrance names are simply botanicals or other names borrowed from the natural world.  Yet for every Bluebell, Iris, or Cool Water, there’s an intriguing name with a story to tell.

Giovanni Farina left Italy for Germany in the 1700s, where he would establish Europe’s first dedicated perfumery, and launched a revolutionary fragrance: Eau de Cologne, named after his new hometown.

Of course, no matter how much you love Poison, it isn’t an option for your child – though Yves or Laurent might be.  Britney and Paris have their signature scents, but their names don’t make you think of perfume.

Most of these are better suited for a daughter.  If you’re determined to find an unexpected option for a son, there’s always Creed.  Before he was a character on The Office and a rock band, Creed was – and still is – a storied perfume house established in London in the 1700s.

Here are some of the best choices from the world of fragrance:

Amaranthine – From Penhaligon’s, an English perfume house that once served Queen Victoria.

Ambra

Anaïs

Artemisia

Calandre

Calyx

Caron ­­– The French perfumer first opened shop in 1904 by Ernest Daltroff, with former dressmaker Felicie Vanpouille designing inventive bottles and packaging.  Few of their fragrance names would wear well, but the company name might.

Castile

Chantilly

CharlieRemember Shelley Hack as Charlie, the ultimate modern woman in Revlon’s campaigns from the 1970s?

Chiara

Chloé

CocoCoco Chanel is famous for fashion, and her No. 5 fragrance is equally iconic.  Her first and last names have graced perfume bottles, too.

DiorMiles of style, and a modern sound, too, but perhaps Dior is too much luxury brand to put on a child.

Estée – Her eponymous company has three fragrances inducted into the Fragrance Foundation’s Hall of Fame.  Ms. Lauder’s given name – a French spin on Esther – has graced a perfume bottle, too.

Fifi – Not a scent, but the fragrance industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.

 Imari

Ivoire – Said to be inspired by a woman wearing a white dress on the steps of the Paris Opera House, Pierre Balmain’s 1979 creation was worn by the legendary Audrey Hepburn.

Jicky – Either a nickname for Jacques Guerlain, or possibly the name of a girl who broke the heart of another Guerlain.  Launched in 1889, Jicky is one of the first unisex fragrances in the modern era, and remains in production a dozen decades later.

JoyJean Patou launched this expensive scent in 1929, as an antidote to the doldrums of the Great Depression.  Despite its hefty price tag, Joy remains a favorite indulgence today.

Liu – A 1920s scent from Guerlain, or a modern spin on Leah and Louise.

Lou Lou – Another repeating name from Cacharel, famous for Anaïs Anaïs

Nahema

Noa

Samsara – An exotic sound with the friendly nickname Sam, Guerlain named their 1989 fragrance after a Hindu and Buddhist term to describe the circle of life.

Septieme – Sonia Rykiel named one of her scents Septieme Sens – seventh sense.

Tabe – Half-Iranian, half-Finnish socialite Tabe Slioor had a signature fragrance named after her in the 1960s.

Terra

Violetta

VitaAs in Dior’s Dolce Vita.

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