C’mon, admit it: Haven’t you always wanted to find a perfume that’ll make you smell just like downtown Chicago? Well, that day has arrived. (And cool out: The scent is far more pleasant than hot asphalt and taxi exhaust.)
A startup brand called Tru Blooms Chicago is now taking orders for the November release of its 2013 perfume, a limited-edition scent that’s made from the flowers planted in the city’s parks, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and flower beds in select public spaces near The Loop. For consumers who don’t feel like joining the herds spritzing the latest mass-produced (and mostly synthetic) celebrity scent sold at Sephora, this juice is a bona-fide alternative. “Tru Blooms is limited edition,” said Debbie Roever, director of marketing for the brand. “Similar to wine reserves, once this batch is sold out, we cannot replace it.”
So what’s a waft of Wabash Avenue in a bottle smell like, exactly? Like last year’s inaugural edition of the perfume, this year’s version is a hearty blend of just about everything that’ll bloom downtown—roses, violets, lavender and the like. Tru Fragrance (a company that designs and sells about 70 other perfumes as well) then adds other ingredients to “round out” the scent and make it competitive with the mainline brands.
But the real allure of this juice isn’t just that it smells nice, it gives the wearer a story to tell, and that’s a marketing hook that even Chanel can’t top. “Clearly, the back story helps us sell units,” Roever said. Given the relative paucity of posies in the Windy City, the brand obviously can’t be a high-volume machine. Last year’s harvest produced about 2,150 bottles. Each bottle receives a numbered and then sold in local stores and online. Prices start at $38 for the 3.4 oz cologne spray—a good deal, considering that these days it’ll cost you $49 to smell like Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend. Yeah, uh, we’ll take Chicago.