Skip To Content
  • Poll badge

This French Mother And Son Team Are Bottling The Smell Of Your Dead Loved Ones

For £400 you can soon distill the scent of your dead family member into a perfume bottle that comes in a nice box.

Katia Apalategui and her son Florian Rabeau want to help you remember your dead loved ones in a whole new weird way.

Florian Rabeau

It's not a tacky 3D urn of the deceased's head, nor an elaborate headstone or a bunch of iPhone videos edited together with a sad Green Day song over the top. They are bottling the actual smell of your dead boyfriend. You can spritz yourself at your desk with the scent of your dead grandmother.

It's not just for dead people, though. You can take the scent of your newborn baby's head with you on a long trip, or the honk of your dog's favourite blanket without hauling the whole blanket around, and even the scent of an ex-girlfriend you're not entirely over and probably won't be in any short amount of time because this will clearly only make it worse – that sort of thing.

So we asked them why anyone would want to do that.

Why would anyone want to do this?

Florian: It's just a new tool among all the others to help people to cope with the mourning period. It's the same as keeping a photo, a voicemail, an object that belonged to them, or something else. By having a bottle of your loved one's smell, you're just utilising a different sense. You can choose from your toolbox of senses to help you mourn.

What gave you the idea?

Katia: In 2007 my father passed away, and my mother kept a pillowcase that smelled like him.

What did your father smell like?

Katia: A mixture of different things. He was sick and diabetic, and some diseases give a special odour. He was in bed all day because of the cancer, so his little dog was always with him which added to the smell too. By the end he wore Christian Dior's Fahrenheit, which is very strong. All of these components gave me the power to develop this idea.


This is not a bottle of a dead person's smell, this is just one we found on the internet to illustrate a point.

Katia says it took seven years of research and development to figure out how to actually do this weird thing with perfume and old clothes. She spent two years just trying to find the right laboratory to help them work on it.

Death Becomes Her / Universal Pictures / Via

This is not that lab, this is just Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her.

After all that, did it actually help you grieve?

Katia: It was a help for me in the sense that I had positive ideas in my mind and I was, in certain way, with my father every day. But unfortunately seven years after his death was too late to retranscribe my father's smell. So it's frustrating, but in another way we're happy to have the technology to do it so we can give comfort to people in the same situation as I was.

So what is the technology? How do you do it?

Florian: It's a secret.

Alright, OK, so can you tell us what we'd need to send you to make it happen?

Florian: We need a cloth soaked in the odour of your loved one. We send it back unaffected because the process is non-destructive. From the time we receive your cloth to the time we hand the perfume to you is about two weeks.

What can we expect in the post after two weeks?

Florian: The box is specially designed with a space to put a photo, a square of silk with the initials of your loved one, and a small piece of porcelain from Limoges France. We also aim to offer our customers a free online memorial, so it's a complete solution. It will be about 560€ (£400) but the price isn't confirmed yet, we're still in discussion with some funeral directors.

  1. So, would you like the smell of your dead family member bottled even if it does come in a nice box?

Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later
Looks like we are having a problem on the server.
So, would you like the smell of your dead family member bottled even if it does come in a nice box?
    vote votes
    Yep, I want to smell like the sofa my grandpa sat on for 30 years.
    vote votes
    Nope, they're gone and I'm already Febreezing the house.

Please do not send Florian and Katia your dad’s favourite "Kiss the Chef" apron yet, their lab isn’t up and running. You can hound their website for updates.