Poll – the Scent of the Potions Master

So, this is weird, but I recently ordered a candle from Etsy called ‘Potions Master’ (it hasn’t arrived yet – I’ll have to let you all know how it goes) and I was intrigued by the ingredients. Here’s a link to the candle I bought.

The ingredients listed are, “simmering cauldrons, fresh lily, aged potions textbooks, the smoky fumes of brewing potions.” I agree with the first, but it isn’t specific enough to count. He does not smell like lilies, but it’s a lovely metaphorical addition. Aged potions textbooks, definitely. Smoky fumes of brewing potions? Yes, but again, it’s not quite specific enough. It’s more than mere smoke. What does a brewing potion smell like? I want to know.

Today in the grocery store, I found myself drawn to the candle aisle. The Ravenclaw in me came out to play and smelled nearly all of them. I have a few ideas, now, about what Snape might have smelled like, but I would like to hear your ideas, too! So I made a poll! This might be too weird and not receive any votes, but let’s try.

Vote in my silly poll!

(I’d prefer you voted before you read my comments for the purity of our silly data, but I’d like to give you my own comments, too. They are below.)

It’s popular in SSHG to describe Snape as smelling like sandalwood. I’ve probably read 10-15 fics where he is described that way. I always accepted that and have even bough sandalwood candles in the past for that reason. However, when I actually researched it (god, I’m so painfully Ravenclaw) I learned that sandalwood is an exotic semiparasitic tree grown almost exclusively in Australia and India. It’s a highly valued scent in men’s cologne because of its pleasant musky smell. But…is Snape going to be around any sandalwood trees? No. Is he going to use cologne? God, no! So he definitely doesn’t smell like sandalwood. How disappointing. Fanfic writers, stop using that.

I’m of the opinion that he would smell almost 100% of musty wool, because of his melton wool robes. A bit of leather/suede mixed in from his shoes and from old book covers. The rest of his smells would be environmental – wood, old stone, fireplace embers, books. Hogwarts. ❀ I don't see him drinking during the War, so no firewhiskey or wine. I love the idea of adding in some sort of potion ingredient or herb smell, but I just can't figure out what it would be. I also love the idea that Dumbledore makes the House Elves put a cheerful sherbet lemon scent in his sheets, but I've just made that up. I hope someone else finds this as interesting as I do. What do you guys think?

Posting poll link again, because I'm excited.


5 thoughts on “Poll – the Scent of the Potions Master

  1. Rowling stated he smells like “bitterness and old shoes” Like with her epilogue and other parts of DH, I disagree if course. It would’ve been interesting to include that option and see it get 0 votes.

    • I actually love her ‘bitterness and old shoes!’ I had his shoes in there with my leather/suede scent. Bitterness is obviously metaphorical, but hey, wormwood the potion ingredient in Victorian flower language means ‘bitter regret,’ so it’s possible. πŸ™‚

  2. I went with smoke, paper, and cedar/wood.

    The reasoning behind the cedar is that old-fashioned people used to have chests and wardrobes made from cedar to repel insects, and i can see that happening in the WW. People who were less wealthy (or rich enough to have cedar containers so old they’ve lost their smell) used to put sachets in their wardrobes and chests for the same purpose. (Many people also used lavender but I think Snape would rather have the moths tbh)

    I went with smoke because a: fireplaces EVERYWHERE and b: The Snape in my brain smokes like a chimney

    Paper is obvious. He’s an academic, of course he smells of books.

    I forgot to tick bergamot, which is stupid – I think he’d smell of bergamot because it’s reputed to be very good for your hair, and the fragrance is known to be very calming (which obviously he needs) plus I really like the smell.

    • Awesome answer!

      Re: moderation, I do have moderation turned on, but once I have approved a few of your comments, the system automatically recognizes you and auto-approves your posts. THAT said, after I read that your comments were eaten, I searched the spam pile and I found two huge comments from you in WordPress’ auto-spam pile, wtf! I didn’t even get a copy in my e-mail inbox to approve like I usually do. I have no idea what you were auto-flagged as spam for, but I approved the first one (it was longer.)

  3. Pingback: Poll – Thoughts on Deathly Hallows | sshgreview

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