What Exactly Does Los Angeles Smell Like, Anyway?

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008  |  Updated 9:06 AM PDT
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What Exactly Does Los Angeles Smell Like, Anyway?

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Do we smell something citrus-y? Kind of reminds us of LA...

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Jasmine, yes, in the spring. Citrus-y smells. And that eau de exhaust clouding some of our freeways on a warm, August afternoon. Putting together some packages for out-of-state friends who once called LA home has got us thinking how we can go a bit further in "delivering a piece of LA" department. They (they=scientists/moms/florists) say that scent is a powerful memory tool, and we believe it. So what says Los Angeles?

Obviously, fruit or flowers. The Pacifica Nerola Orange Blossom candle reminds us of walking along certain streets in the Valley around early April, or taking the Fillmore & Western train through all of those historic groves up by Santa Paula. Nice. 

Chanel No. 5. Okay, this doesn't exactly smell like the city, but it reminds us of what movie stars used to wear (in fact, Marilyn Monroe considered it one of her signature scents). When we smell it, we think old Hollywood, glamorous premieres, cars with polished walnut interiors. All that said, our out-of-state friends probably won't be getting a bottle this year. Just saying, it's a lovely ounce of Tinseltown.

Demeter Fragrances crack us up -- we're keen to see what Crayon or or Rubber or Turpentine smells like, but we think we know -- and they offer a good number of sprays that say California to us: Salt Air, Giant Sequoia, Swimming Pool, Frozen Margarita, Ocean. Maybe Vinyl and Between the Sheets, too. Hot Toddy doesn't say California, but we wear it and get compliments, so we imagine that Swimming Pool really does give off a realistically sunny, vaguely chlorine-ish whiff.

Oh, and that hot mustard at Philippe's The Original has an LA scent to us. And the smell of certain movie theaters... When will they bottle that in spray form?

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