My sister as a teenager spent some time working in stables, and says that what she misses most from that period is the smell. Actually I’m pretty sure she meant something specific, not for instance the smell of mucking out- which is never the best odor in stables-and in fact she was thinking of the scent of the horses. Horses while they were being groomed. She liked the brushes, and the whiff of a healthy horse, and their sweet breath, and also she loved to clean tack. Murphy’s Oil Soap was what they often used, and she enjoyed the smell of that too. Murphy’s made her downright nostalgic.
Now I never spent too much time working with horses. The majority of my horse time as a child was spent with ponies of the Shetland variety, and I don’t remember the smells as being all that wonderful, but they were different, and definitely much better than cows (does anyone like cow manure? Thought not.). Stables have another advantage. They are near hay lofts, and the fragrance of hay is almost always a good one.
Taken together you have: leather, horses, brass, metal, hay, clean wood and a lingering scent of clover or even a bit of tobacco, and the aforementioned Murphy’s Oil Soap. It’s a wonderful combination, perhaps a bit too specific, as in Christopher Brosius specific recalling one place or memory, to be an actual perfume. interpreted too literally other people might think you have been avoiding showering for some time, but what a wonderful evocative memory it is.
Perhaps a modernization of some of the old green chypres might work here, things like the original Chanel No 19 with its warm leather coda, or else de Nicolai’s Vie de Chateau, or even a rounded more rural version of Estee Lauder’s Alliage, heading the wearer towards the stables rather than the tennis courts. Maybe you could emphasize the scent of clover and hay with a touch of metal here and there in the composition and possibly a little bit of carrot (horses do love those or apples of course) and in the end leather and a bit of wood. You would have to include a touch of Murphy’s Oil Soap there too. Hmm.
Possibly I was too hasty. maybe such a perfume might actually work if it were subtly done and contained a fair number of naturals to give the fragrance that comforting three dimensional quality that a good perfume has. Some animalic scents that conjure up animal presences are popular, Dzing, for instance, and Muscs Koublai Khan, which always reminded me of handbags and not barbarian chieftains anyway. (Given a choice of being downwind of Koublai khan or a stable, I think I’d go for the stables every time.)
Can a successful perfume be made of a the smell of a good stable? Does anyone else have happy memories of this sort of morning, working with horses? Could a wearable fragrance be made of it? I wonder if it might not be something a lot of us would enjoy…