Matching Up Your Alma Mater With A Fragrance

Masik Collegiate Fragrances of Harrisburg, Pa., has been creating perfumes and colognes specific to given colleges. Katie Masik had the idea 11/2 years ago and started the business with her family. She says the odors are both literal interpretations of campus smells and the mental image of the school.

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

This is All Things Considered from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And I'm Melissa Block. Just in time for holiday gift-giving, how about the bottled essence of your alma mater? A company in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is developing perfumes and colognes intended to evoke pleasant memories of specific universities. For example, if you're a woman who attended Penn State, you can douse yourself in a blend of vanilla, lilac, rose and white patchouli. Men can splash on a cologne with the sense of blue Cypress and cracked pepper. Katie Masik is the head of Masik Collegiate Fragrances, and she says she came up with the idea.

KATIE MASIK: I have always loved fragrances since I was a small child. And I wanted to come out with a fragrance, fine, but I wanted to do something totally, completely different. I thought, what's something that people are really emotionally tied to - something that they experience firsthand? I thought, what about your college?

It's such an emotional connection. Smell is such an emotional thing. Smell is linked to memories. So, I thought, let's link scents to schools and then as people - it becomes part of their fragrance collection, it will always be the scent of their school.

BLOCK: Though we're not sure how big the market for these fragrances will be, but we figured there's no shortage of opinions about what one's alma matter smells like and what that might mean for a true-to-life perfume or cologne.

YVONNE CLOMLY: My name is Yvonne Clomly(ph), and I went to Colorado State University, and if they were to make a perfume that personified Colorado State University, it would have to be a mixture of deer and - because there's a lot of veterinary majors, and it would have to be probably locker room because of all the football games we always have to go to.

SOFIA HELLER: My name is Sofia Heller(ph). I'm at Georgetown University Law School. I would say a perfume that smelled like Georgetown would be used money. It had been in people's wallets, been folded, been used, been handed around, passed through a lot of people.

KATHLENE PHILLIPS: Kathlene Phillips(ph), Syracuse University. It would smell like oranges because Syracuse are the Orangemen.

MARIE PALECHUCK: My name is Marie Palechuck(ph). I graduated from Gonzaga University. If it were to be a popular smell for a perfume that everybody would buy, it would smell like a sweaty basketball player because that's what Gonzaga's known for - it's the Gonzaga basketball team.

BILL FALSEY: I'm Bill Falsey(ph). I went to Stanford, so I think Stanford would probably be an amalgam of maybe redwood trees, silicon, if it has a smell, maybe apples.

ARNOLD AJELO: My name is Arnold Ajelo(ph), and I went to Bucknell University. It was surrounded by cow fields, but I'm not going there. I think it was a wooded area, and it would smell like pine.

HEATHER KENNESEN: Heather Kennesen(ph). I just graduated from Vassar College in May along with my friend, Pete, here, who also went to Vassar.

PETER WYNN: My name is Peter Wynn(ph). Let's see, probably a lot of showering among the student body, but also a deep mown grass scent because of our extensive lawns.

KENNESEN: Tobacco that you rolled yourself because all the hipsters enjoy doing that.

WYNN: OK, expensive tobacco and drugs.

KENNESEN: Oh yeah, marijuana, maybe.

BLOCK: Some suggestions for campus-specific perfumes from people on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

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