COLUMN: A scented idea that won’t likely sell

Every now and then, the scent of fresh fir boughs wafts by my nose as I sit at the computer ...

Every now and then, the scent of fresh fir boughs wafts by my nose as I sit at the computer, conjuring thoughts of warm spring days in the woods.

Where the scent comes from I know not, though I suspect that somewhere in the house remains a candle or container used over Christmas to make everything smell more ‘Christmasy,’ including the artificial tree opted for last year.

While it will take a couple of years of not buying live trees to amortize the cost of the fake one, it is at least easy to display each December with the mere opening of a cardboard box.

And, while it has no odour (thus the scented candle or whatever) it does come equipped with lights so all that’s required in this age of instant gratification are a couple of baubles with a present or two beneath it to herald the season.

Another benefit, of course, is that with an artificial fir I won’t be contravening the city’s tree cutting bylaw by reducing its precious and apparently sparse tree canopy.

Yet, while our plastic fir reposes in its cardboard container, the memory of Christmas and walks in the woods remain with the scent dispenser.

Such is the importance of olfactory sense in recalling memories, so I guess it’s not surprising that it is also a strong marketing tool. Glade, Febreze and others wouldn’t be making millions without it.

However, I have to wonder about the genius of a Canadian manufacturer who recently debuted “Scratch and Sniff” jeans for men.

The stated reason for imbedding a scent into the apparel is to mask the fact that “to get the look” of well-worn jeans, men don’t wash them frequently. So aside from becoming dirty, I assume they also develop a definite ‘pong’ that the raspberry odour attempts to hide.

It’s the ‘scratch and sniff’ aspect that gets me, however. Can you imagine a guy walking up to someone and saying “wanna sniff my jeans?”

As one who occasionally forgets a pair of jeans in the washer overnight, then dries them the next day, I know what sniffing jeans means. There’s something about having left them wet too long, then later worn. As your body heat warms the pants, you begin to notice an odour akin to something you stepped in at the dog park.

Other than a pair or two of beater jeans worn when “dirty work” is called for, now all my jeans hit the washer and, immediately following, the dryer, after only a wearing or two.

Not only does that keep them fresh, and odourless, it also contributes to their ‘well-worn look’ which, I now discover, is much sought after. Me, a fashion statement?!?

However, odour and dirt masking won’t, in my opinion, create a marketing bonanza for the jeans maker either.

I can’t see guys wearing anything that would exude the essence of strawberry shortcake or raspberry compote.

Then again, perhaps these fragrant jeans will be a success, and take off (literally and figuratively) with those whose appetites are stimulated by scent. After all, who would have thought a plastic hoop could turn someone into a millionaire – or a bobby pin, or the many other amazing successes of things most thought would fail.

Should the scented jeans become a success, will the makers turn their thoughts to other men’s apparel? How about a hunting jacket, camo of course, that smells like a libidinous lady moose? Or something truly west coast like a raincoat that gives off the odour of dampness and decaying vegetation?

Then again, scented clothing isn’t anything new. All it takes is a little of your preferred beverage spilled on your jeans to make you smell like a brewery all day.