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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

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