Narth’s Musings: Whom do you love? And what do they smell like?

No, I am not talking about a personal lover – rather which celebrity, musician, scientist or astronaut do you admire, and what do they smell like?

My favourite musician is John Grant, an American polyglot artist and amazing lyricist living in Reyjavikk, Iceland. I’ve seen him twice in Melbourne, and the intimacy and joy of his performance has moved me to tears. When I first discovered John Grant, it was akin to the experience of being shocked that you could fall in love again. What could this fabulous, creative man wear as fragrance? I had to know! He has said his favourite scent in the world is Russian Olive trees, referencing them in his song Pale Green Ghosts. His lyrics often paint strong psychological pictures using the minutiae of everyday life. From a listener’s perspective he feels simple moments deeply and revels in overthinking for the pure pleasure of it. He must like perfume I told myself, he MUST!

John Grant

I have David Nyholm to thank (deeply) for granting my wish to know. He started a wonderful fangroup for John Grant that has been lovely to read, and he came through for me with John’s current favourite fragrances.

He “especially loves” Hermés Eau d’Orange Verte and also loves Jo Malone Lime Basil. In the 80’s, he was a Kouros man (weren’t we all?), but I’d imagine he applies it with a lighter hand these days. And, for extra excitement, the niche horse in the pack is the Icelandic house Fischer‘s fragrance No. 23. Fischer was started by the singer Jónsi of the band Sigur Ros.

Have any of you tried the perfume house Fischer? Because the descriptions are wonderful, “a beached whale about to explode”, yes please! This is the first I’ve heard of them.

I was very chuffed to learn what my favourite musician wears as scent, and I’ll be splashing on the Eau d’Orange Verte in the future when I’m having a John Grant listening session.

Interviewers often ask people their favourite music, food or place to visit, but it’s a rarity for someone to be asked about their scent. Of course, if we in perfume land were journalists that’s the question we would lead with. I imagine myself, suddenly famous, letting the Guardian know that they simply must ask me about my perfume which is at least as vital a question as what books are at my bedside. “Oh yes, it’s Penhalgion’s Sartorial, it is one of my most beloved fragrances…”

Do you have someone you admire whose scent you know? Is there someone you’ve always wondered about?


Image: my own


13 thoughts on “Narth’s Musings: Whom do you love? And what do they smell like?

  1. Hey Narth! Oh man, I love John Grant. A good friend from Germany turned me onto him. I don’t think there has been a single Baking Bad (I have a live radio show twice a month) where I have not played JG. An absolute genius, who yes, moves you to tears. Queen of Denmark – just brillant.
    I am sooooo jealous that you saw him, but pandemics allowing I will go to see him in Cologne, 2021.
    Not heard of Fischer, but will totally check it out.
    Cannot think of anyone famous I have ever wondered about, I mean it never crossed my mins TO wonder. But now I just might.
    Absolutely great post!
    CQ xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow! I so rarely meet people who know John Grant so this is very exciting! The best concerts I have ever been to, I hope you get to see him next year! I have a fab photo of him and me that I treasure! Waited at the back of the venue, only me and a couple 2 other people were there, he was so gracious and kind despite being tired. I am thrilled you play him regularly on your show, this is a blessing to the world!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Funnily enough, I’d never wondered that. Most of the time I’m glad I can’t smell the people on the videos I’m watching – interviews, etc. However, if I learned that someone I admire wears a fragrance I also like, I might want to wear it and “channel” them at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard that David Bowie wore the original signature Eau d’Italie fragrance, a citrus with incense. It’s an unusual and very well done scent. The actors I like best are Ciaran Hinds, Richard Armitage and David Tennant. It would be fun to know what scent they each wear. I could imagine Ciaran Hinds in Green Irish Tweed, but he lives in Paris and probably wears a modern Heeley scent like Sel de Mer or Heeley’s new Yuzu fragrance. David Tennant? Who knows? Something with Dalek repellant, perhaps! I saw there is a new Doctor Who episode on New Year’s day. I’ll be watching. Yes, I’m well aware the newest Doctor Who is a woman. Tennant was just my favorite Dr. Who of all time.

    Armitage I could see wearing an Hermes fragrance, Terre d’Hermes perhaps or the Hermes mandarin cologne, I forget the name. Singers? Who knows? Does Britney wear one of her fragrances? Interesting question this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s such a rare thing to hear someone talking about in an interview, though people happily promote books and make up products and we can all see what they are wearing clothes-wise.

      I am conflating the Doctor with the Actor here but.. David Tennant’s Doctor I suspect would wearing something quite old and classic that is now long discontinued but he just dips back in time whenever he needs a fresh bottle.. and he enjoys being secretly dapper with a long gone frag.

      Mr. Bowie had good taste!


  4. In general, I prefer to know as little about actors and musicians whose work I like as possible. I would love to know something good about them, but since it’s impossible to filter out good from bad, I’d rather not know anything.

    But if to limit the knowledge by just favorite perfumes, I’d probably be curious to know which perfumes, if any, Hugh Laurie and Tom Selleck wear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also wonder if actors who do promote frags for profit, ie the face of whatever.. actually wear those frags. Still tempted by Davidoff Adventure, which is unpleasant, because young Obi-Wan said it was fab.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. In a less well known league, you could say I admire the singer in the band I go on tour with, and he is pretty compliant and wears perfume samples I feed him periodically, having previously just worn the occasional scented oil in his youth, eg sandalwood. His favourites are Jusbox Black Powder – which I came across in the company of Undina! – also Puredistance Black and Carner Barcelona D600 and El Born. I have tried hard to convert the other band members to niche perfume, but have failed miserably with all of them. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Speaking of singers, I just saw that John Hadreas has an album called ‘Perfume Genius, “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately”’ I’m going to have to check it out. (I have no idea who John Hadreas is!) I just saw the album name on a list of ‘best albums of the year’ in the New Yorker magazine and was intrigued by it.

      Liked by 1 person

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