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Woman sets up company to bottle the scent of lost loved ones

You might be able to, soon…

kalain Katia Apalategui Katia Apalategui

A FRENCH COMPANY has come up with a novel way to keep people close to their departed loved ones: bottling their unique scent as a perfume.

The idea came to Katia Apalategui seven years ago as she struggled to come to terms with her father’s death, missing everything down to the way he smelled.

She mentioned this in passing to her mother who admitted that, like many who have lost a loved one, she was loath to wash the pillowcase her husband slept on in a bid to keep a remnant of the precious scent of the man she loved.

This inspired the 52-year-old insurance saleswoman to think up ways to capture and preserve a person’s individual scent so people in her position would never have to long for a whiff of their loved one again.

Katia Apalategui / YouTube

After years of knocking on doors to try and develop her idea, Apalategui was put in touch with the northwestern Havre university which has developed a technique to reproduce the human smell.

“We take the person’s clothing and extract the odour — which represents about a hundred molecules — and we reconstruct it in the form of a perfume in four days,” explained the university’s Geraldine Savary, without giving away the secrets of the process.

The powerful link between smell and memory means the product offers “olfactory comfort”, Apalategui claims, on a par with photos, videos and other memories of the deceased.

In a promotional video for the product, Kalain, it’s explained that the technology doesn’t only have to be used for morbid purposes.

New mothers could capture the scent of their babies, and bring it with them, the ad suggests:

kalain2 Katia Apalategui Katia Apalategui

Or a couple who are temporarily separated:

kalain3 Katia Apalategui Katia Apalategui

Her son, who is currently in business school, plans to launch their start-up by September with the help of a chemist.

“We are going through funeral homes to offer families a small box containing a vial of the departed’s odour that we would have extracted from a piece of material provided by them,” said Apalategui

“It’s made-to-measure and will sell for around €560,” he added.

© AFP 2015Additional reporting by Dan Mac Guill.

Read: An Irish-made perfume smells better the more you sweat>

Read: Google has a patent that will remove any bad smells from you>

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