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Scent of a PC

Eau de computer is geek's choice this season

Shoppers stuck for innovative Christmas stocking fillers for the computer fanatic in their lives might like to consider a bottle of eau de PC.

Cosmetic company Coty, the name behind brands such as Rimmel, Davidoff and Joop!, claims to have bottled the smell of technology in its unisex perfume, 001Coty.

As niche products go, 001Coty is certainly up there — it has a "fresh electrostatic" fragrance and is, according to Coty, the first in a series of so-called "concept fragrances" designed to "test the boundaries of what consumers expect from the idea of a bottle of perfume".

In our experience, most people expect a bottle of perfume to make them smell nice, so who but a computer geek would want to smell like an electronic appliance?

"Smells are very good at evoking memories, and people have important smells firmly embedded in memory, like [the smell of] leather seats in cars," says Dr Timothy Bliss from the National Institute for Medical Research.

Coty's brief to perfume consultant Jim Krivda was to "develop a unique fragrance that captured the ubiquity of technology in everyday life, and the sensations associated with technology".

Using a syringe, Krivda extracted electrostatic air from a dryer with a piece of polyester in it and the odour from a freshly opened PC box, which he then combined with more traditional aromas such as almond blossom, marigold, magnolia, liquorice and praline.

The Coty marketing department's take on the new scent is perhaps as baffling as the idea behind it: "A fragrance designed for a new way of touching. 001Coty links the digital and the human. The eye feels. The hand hears. The fragrance touches."

Technophiles who fancy a new perfume for 2002 should head to www.001coty.com, where the cosmetic firm is selling a limited edition of 5,000 bottles of 001. Available only via the internet, a 41ml bottle costs $100 (about £70).

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