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The more we read electronic books the more we miss the old good smell of a printed book.
Things are changing for the better. You’ll be surprised to discover how many home and beauty products recreate the book smell in its finest glory.
We’ve selected the best paper-scented items in the list below. They are grouped in two sections:
The magic of the addictive smell of books was very well described by the team of researchers, who concluded that it’s a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.
There is something more about the book smell than just a balanced blend of pleasing scents. It’s memories. Blame the nose for that.
The nose is tied right into the limbic system responsible for our emotions. Therefore, it’s one of the strongest ways to trigger memories. The most desired ingredient of the celebration of reading brings back the happiest moments of our childhood.
Perfumes, sprays, and candles collected below can’t replace the sensation of reading a real book, that’s for sure. What they can do, however, is to invite the book smell into a home library, a bedroom, or just anywhere we go.
Any of the items listed below can be a perfect gift for anyone who tasted the convenience of reading on the Kindle, Kobo, or Nook, but will never forget (and doesn’t want to) the addictive smell of the old good books from childhood.
Where to buy book-scented candles & perfumes
One more thing before the list. Here are the three best online destinations where you can a lot more candles that are inspired by books.
Amazon – if you are an Amazon customer, don’t hesitate to explore the site for bookish perfumes. In Amazon Handmade you’ll find the growing number of literary candles from leading producers.
Etsy – this is the best website for all things bookish. It offers the widest selection of literary candles: the ones that smell like paper, but also the ones that are inspired by book characters and authors.
eBay – book-scented candles are also offered on eBay. However, they are quite difficult to find. The more precise your search query, the bigger the chances to find the relevant candle.
The list is updated regularly. If you know any items that should be added, please share your suggestions.
At the end of a post you’ll also find a handy book-scented perfumes and candles infographic.
30 book-scented perfumes and candles
Book smell – scented candles
Paper Library Candle. Created by a sensory artist Assouline, the candle evokes the atmosphere of the dream library, through the enigmatic smell of paper – scents of cedar and sandalwood, with clove and vanilla base notes.
Other scents from Assouline that will perfectly fit your reading nook are Wood Library and Leather Library. ⇢ Amazon – $25.
Enchanted Library Candle. This soy wax candle, designed and hand-crafted by Form & Flux, gives a marvelous feeling similar to that of being surrounded by shelves filled with books.
Light the candle and you’ll feel the aromas of vanilla, parchment, honey and coffee beans, all gently blended into a unique scent. ⇢ Etsy – $13.
Cera Maison Bibliotheque Candle. Designed in Belgium, this soy wax candle reveals aromas of hard stones, rich earth, and Spanish cedar. With a touch of ivy it will make you feel like in an old European library. ⇢ Amazon – $38.
True Grace Manor Classic Library Scented Candle. This manor classic candle is a smokey blend of wood with amber and the soft warmth of moss to give depth and mystery – helping to move us to a library filled with old good books.
This elegant candle classic burns for up to 40 hours. The fragrance is captured in the wax rather than the flame to give an intoxicating scent. ⇢ Amara – £24.
Frostbeard Booklover’s Scented Soy Candles. A series of home scents ideal for every bibliophile, the one who reads print or electronic books. The four scents shown above are:
- Old Books – inspired by the smell of old books: “a sweet, earthy smell with a hint of must.”
- Bookstore – the scent is a cozy and sweet blend of earthy tones, with notes of timber, driftwood, and hazelnut cappuccino.
- Book Cellar – with notes of dirt, basement, and vanilla bean, this candle smells like the cellar full of books.
- Oxford Library – a refreshing blend of woodsy and earthy tones: oak moss, amber, sandalwood, with hints of tobacco and leather.
These are just a few of over 20 book-related scented candles from Frostbeard Etsy shop. Each candle costs $16, and is sold in 8 oz jar. When you order the candles in bulk, you can get a discount. ⇢ Etsy – $16.
Frostbeard Bibliophile Tea Light Candles. If you can’t decide which Frostbeard bibliophile candle to choose from, the Frostbeard shop has a solution: a sample pack of tea lights with six scents:
- Old Books
- Sherlock’s Study
- Oxford Library
- Book Cellar
- Trashy Romance Novel
Each tea light has about 1.5 ounces of wax and is 1.5″ in diameter by 0.75″ tall. ⇢ Etsy – $15.
Lafco Home Collection Candles – Library. Soy-based library-scented candle designed for the library, with notes of sweet walnuts, roasted chestnuts and sage. ⇢ Beauty Bar – $60.
Byredo Bibliothèque Fragranced Candle. Byredo candles are hand-made using mouth-blown glass and cotton wicks.
The formula for the Bibliothèque is told to smell like an old, wood-paneled library. Top notes are peach and plum, with a base of vanilla and leather. ⇢ Byredo – $60.
Birch & Brook Library Candle. This stylish scented candle will make a perfect gift for every book lover.
“Enclosed in Guaiac wood and patchouli, this aromatic scent tells a story of discovery and contemplation. Cinnamon, clove buds, and soft base notes of cedar and moss all recall the quiet decadence of a stolen afternoon, lost in the world of a long forgotten book.” ⇢ Birch & Brook – £38.
Library Scented Soy Travel Candle. Hand-poured in Los Angeles the candle offers notes of gardenia and sandalwood. It’s sold in a 4 oz travel tin and burns for at least 20 hours.
“An amazing way to transform your hotel room, or a cool gift for your house guests.” ⇢ Etsy – $15.
Rendez-Vous a Paris Scented Candle – The Book Addict. An exceptional series of soy candles designed by the famous Angeline Melin includes the book-scented variant – The Book Addict. It offers fragrance of bergamot, pink berries, violet leaf, patchouli and exotic wood.
Sold by Domaine Lumiere, it will take you on a literary escape along the Seine bookshops in Paris. ⇢ Hard to Find – $45.
Lollia Stacks of Pretty Paper No. 18 Scented Candle. With top notes of white lily and jasmine and bottom notes of sheer musk and amber, the scented candle by Margot Elena personalizes a modern, romantic luxury.
The official description doesn’t refer to a book smell, but we’ve read customer reviews here and there, and, yes, the smell reminds of books and libraries. ⇢ Lollia – $30.
Bubble and Geek Sunnydale Library Scented Soy Candle. The candle offers a scent of leather-bound books. Other notes include hot-brewed tea, rosewood, and a house plant. “May or may not open a portal to the hellmouth.”
The candles are made in small batches from the highest-quality fragrance oils and is sold in a metal 8 oz tin with lid. ⇢ Etsy – $14.
R. Nichols Read Candle. Made from a premium paraffin and soy, the candle offers a mellow, comforting fragrance of aged paper, ink, and leather – all bound together in the design of beloved books.
The glass candle jar allows the glow of the flame to highlight the clever graphic design. ⇢ R. Nichols – $38.
Y.B. Supply Co. Library Candle. Yearbook Studios offer vintage & vintage-inspired decor, housewares, gifts & furniture.
The Library scented candle is hand-poured with a lead-free wick. It will let you experience the sensation of being surrounded by leather-bound books, card catalogs and library stacks. ⇢ Yearbook Studios – $22.
Leather-bound Book Scented Soy Candle. This eco-friendly soy candle is handcrafted by Foxy Frogs. It offers a blend of leather and vanilla, with a hint of grape juice.
From time to time the scent is not available, but you can ask the Foxy Frogs store owner to prepare the next batch. ⇢ Etsy – $8.50.
New Book Scented Candle. Developed by Pages, this soy wax candle will remind of the beautiful smell of a newly opened book.
It’s an unabridged blend of lignin paper, ambered glue, and fresh India ink, narrated charmingly with white ginger and sweet pine resin. ⇢ Amazon – $25.
Paperback Soy Candle. An extensive collection from Grizzly Candles includes a wonderful book scent that reminds of a paperback. Rich Himalayan bamboo is blended with a vanilla-hinted cedarwood, topped off with notes of driftwood and leather.
“We wanted to create the scent that you get from an old, torn, stuffy book, something you would get from the library.” ⇢ Etsy – $18.
Book smell – perfumes and sprays
Demeter Paperback Fragrance Line. Described as “a trip to your favorite library or used bookstore.” The scent is sweet and gentle, with a touch of the musty smell of aged paper, a sprinkling of violets, and a dash of tasteful potpourri.
The line includes, among others, cologne spray, roll-on, body lotion, and atmosphere diffuser oil. ⇢ Amazon – $20.
Commodity Goods Paper/Book Perfumes. A collection from Commodity Goods includes three perfumes for book lovers:
- Paper for Women
- Paper for Men
- Book for Men
“An invisible chameleon that keeps getting better over time. Paper is a natural aura that smells like the best version of you.”
Each scent is available in 100 ml or in a set of three different 10 ml sprays. ⇢ Commodity Goods – $99.
Byredo M/Mink Eau de Parfum. At first, this hypnotic fragrance for women and men truly smells like ink. It’s sweet and captivating, with a top note of adoxal heart, and base notes of patchouli leaf, clover honey and amber.
M/Mink is a collaborative effort of Byredo and Creative Partnership Paris. ⇢ Amazon – $165.
CB I Hate Perfume In The Library. A line of fragrances that is a subtle recreation of the musty, antique smell of the pages of the old book, with a hint of worn leather bindings, and “a whisper of the frayed cloth and the wisp of wood polish from the shelves.”
The line includes:
- Perfume Absolute, 15 ml – $95
- Perfume Absolute, 2 ml – $13
- Water Perfume, 100 ml – $80
- Home Spray, 150 ml – $45
In The Library is comforting and warm, with soft, worn edges and no single obvious note. Created by Christopher Brosius. ⇢ CB I Hate Perfume – from $50.
Kilian Water Calligraphy Spray. If an old book scent is too heavy for you, why not testing a harmonious delicate fragrance from Kilian. The Water Calligraphy refillable spray refers to water, the essential element of Chinese calligraphy.
“Water Calligraphy is a scent built with simplicity and spirituality, like its art.”
Notes of grapefruit, reseda blossom, jasmine, magnolia, and vetiver, are blended to reflect a scent of Chinese ink sliding over rice paper. ⇢ Amazon – $260.
Tokyo Milk Paper & Cotton 17 Perfume. While the promise of the paper scent is already made in the perfume’s name, we can imagine a blend of a coriander, white sage, birch wood, and tundra moss can bring a long-desired smell of a home library.
Besides the 1.0 oz perfume spray and 1 fl oz perfume, there is also crushed & distilled tin candle. ⇢ Amazon – $29.
Paper Passion perfume by Geza Schoen and Gerhard Steidl. This is a most famous item in this list. In Karl Lagerfeld’s words, it’s “the silent smell of paper”.
Designed by perfumer Geza Schoen in cooperation with Gerhard Steidl and Wallpaper Magazine, the perfume captures the unique bouquet of freshly printed books, bringing a mix of paper and ink aroma so unique when a book is opened for the first time.
The packaging is made to look like a real book, with a cut-out compartment where the bottle is hidden. ⇢ Amazon – $195.
Paperback Pick-Me-Up Refresher. A convenient roll-on oil that you can use to freshen up throughout your day. The fragrance is resembling the scent of an old paperback. You can feel the notes of Himalayan bamboo, a vanilla-hinted cedarwood, and leather. ⇢ Etsy – $8.
Book-scented perfumes and candles – infographic
Feel free to share this infographic on your site or in social media (Creative Commons license).
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- Best books to read in 2020 – essential fiction and nonfiction
- 22 things to help turn any space into a cozy reading nook
- 12 top new ebooks to read during the quarantine spring 2020
- These lovely visuals show how to make 7 famous literary dishes
- 50 most interesting facts about books, libraries, and reading