Downton Abbey Characters Get Their Own Perfume


Downton Abbey diehards are counting down the days until the show returns on January 4. But for those of us who can’t wait to catch up on the saga of the Grantham family, now there’s Downton Abbey perfume—seven perfumes, actually, each meant to capture the essence of a character.

Lady Mary’s fragrance, Bittersweet, is a mix of jasmine, honey, amber, and woods. Aristocrat, named for Countess Violet, is a spicy blend of orris and orchid, with the unexpected addition of pink pepper and patchouli. And Lady Edith has an “Elegant Flourish,” with cherry blossom, apple, melon, black cherry, jasmine, tonka bean, and amber. The fragrances aren’t cheap—$75 for a rollerball, or $245 for a set of seven—but these are pure perfumes, undiluted with alcohol, which partly explains the price tag.

 Related: Don’t fall for the water-based hype

So, will they make you smell like it’s 1919? Probably not. Although these fragrances are inspired by characters from almost 100 years ago, they’re formulated to appeal to modern noses.

Were Lady Mary to wear perfume, though, she would have had plenty of choice. The post-Edwardian era was one of the most exciting times in perfume history, simply because 19th-century chemists had made great strides in developing synthetic perfume molecules. By the time the 1910s rolled around, perfumers were no longer restricted to use only essential oils; instead, they had synthetic musk, civet, and floral scents at their disposal.

 Related: How to smell like a modern-day Diana Vreeland

Those ingredients led to a burst of creativity from French perfumers such as Paul Poiret and François Coty, the latter of whom pioneered the idea of selling individual bottles of perfume. Fragrances of the decade included Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, a dreamy powdery floral from 1912; and Caron Tabac Blond, a smoky, leathery scent released in 1919. From there, the Roaring 20s ushered in the use of aldehydes in fragrance, most famously with Chanel No. 5—modern and unconventional, it’s a Lady Edith perfume if one ever existed.

Of course, there’s no way of knowing what, exactly, the Downton ladies would have worn in their day. (They are, after all, fictional characters.) But if you’re a fan of the show, these new fragrances may be the ultimate fan tribute. After all, anyone can quote Maggie Smith, but smelling like your favorite serial drama? Now that’s dedication.