Photos, mementoes, an urn on the mantel—there are many ways to remember a loved one who has died. Now a French company is offering a new one: the bottled scent of the recently departed, Fusion reports. The product created by the firm Kalain offers "olfactory comfort" in a time of mourning, the woman who started the company with her son tells AFP. For Katia Apalategui, the quest to capture the scent of the dead began after her father died several years ago. "I had a need, a special need—I wanted to keep his scent,” she tells Marketplace.org. Her mother had held on to a pillowcase with that scent, a unique one on account of factors such as his diabetic condition and even his dog, and the pillowcase gave Apalategui the idea of bottling a person's odor. She partnered with a lab at the University of Le Harve to handle the science end of the undertaking.
“We take the person’s clothing and extract the odor … and we reconstruct it in the form of a perfume in four days,” says one of the researchers at the university. The details of the process are under wraps, but it involves extracting molecules from the fabric and turning them into the alcohol-based perfume, explains Fusion. The theory behind it is that sensory cues can trigger memories and emotions, a process that Psychology Today attributes to our brain's anatomy. A bottle containing 10 milliliters of what Fusion dubs "Eau de Dead Person" comes in a box that has a spot for a photo of the deceased, a pocket scent diffuser, and a silk scarf bearing the initials of the loved one. The kit costs $609. Another kit is available for separations of a less extreme nature—think long-distance relationships. (This perfume will make you smell better as you sweat.)