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It Smells Like Home

Oh, those zany Brits! I came across an item on the Economist magazine's Web site reporting on a peculiar promotion offered by a British vacation-lodging site, Laterooms offered five of its top customers a custom-made anti-homesickness package designed to replicate the feeling of their actual homes. The pampering included an assortment of their favorite teas and cookies (make that "biscuits"), a pillowcase laundered in their favorite detergent (or "washing powder"), and even an MP3 music player loaded with comforting sounds from home. (Note to self: Record hubby's snoring to iPod for next business trip.)

Here's the kicker: They'll also make an aerosol spray custom-designed to smell like someone's home. Seriously. The vacation site's press release quoted the man whose company would concoct these personalized cans of eau de la maison, Frank Knight, managing director of Dale Air, a British company that makes air fresheners and customized scents. "As every home has its own unique smell, from home cooking to your favorite washing powder, it's a very personal thing to pinpoint, but carrying your home's smell with you will be a welcome comfort for anyone out on the road," Knight said.

Evidently there's no scent around one's home that would be too off-putting for Dale Air to replicate. The company is often called upon to make background aromas for museum displays, including a fishy smell for the trash pit of a Viking village tableau at the Jorvik Viking Centre, a museum in York. (I've been there and seen the fossilized Viking dung on display. They could have chosen worse than fish.)

This all got me to wonder what a spray can of Chez Razzi might smell like. I prefer to think it would be the fresh scent of Febreeze or the lilacs outside my window, but on any given day it could easily be wet dog. Anyway, I don't need a custom-made spray to remind me of home when I travel. I could simply stuff my son's old sneaker in my suitcase and be back in a flash.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 20, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
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