Hot Potato! a Musing and a Giveaway

Hey, Posse!  Let’s talk Potato!  Specifically Hot Potatoes, about which I am Musing.

So… awhile ago I was at the bowling alley (where all the cool cats go) and a server walked past, carrying a tray full of freshly cooked french fries.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I am here to tell you:  Time Stood Still.  And I’m only NOT in a holding cell because my mama taught me how to behave in public.   But…MAYNE!  Those fries.  Those fries called to me.  And I was like a dog, sniffing a scent on a breeze.  I think my nose quivered (for real).

I’m trying to drop that last half dress size, so I did. not. answer.  that call.   But it was close.

French Fries.  Why are they so compelling to so very many (nearly all) of us (though there are a few fiends out there who do not like them, neither the smell nor the taste.  FIENDS!)?  I did some quick Goog research to determine what it is about fries and got some surprising answers.  From Discover MagazineWhat’s so enticing about those French fries cooking around the corner? New research from England finds that the aroma of fries is actually a complex combination of scents including butterscotch, cocoa, onion, flowers, cheese and, yes, ironing boards.  (I wonder if the ‘ironing board’ smell is the smell of a hot iron on the padding, which would make sense.  Hot fabric, especially cotton/cotton blend, often smells starchy.  If you use sizing (or actual starch) it accumulates on the board and oooh! yum! Hot Starch.)  Apparently a Certain Arches Company, whose fries entice millions! (perhaps billions) daily to cough up their hard-earned simoleans for those golden sticks, used to use beef tallow to fry the potato goodness.  When that fell out of favor they started using a flavor additive to replicate that smell & taste that has ensnared so many humans.  Hey, if it works, it works.  And twice-cooked fries have an even more complex smell profile than fries cooked once (on the rare times I’ve made fries I fry them, then oven bake them.  Perfection!).  So… is it the oil?  Or the potato?  Or an inexplainable alchemy of the two (probably) – and the salt?  Where does the salt come in?  We all know that food tastes are generally enhanced by a touch of salt.  And that definitely goes for the potato.  so..

….and why the hell am I yarking on about this?  Welp!  I present to you:


This little nugget of fabulousness was a promotional effort by the Idaho Potato Commission to replicate the smell of French Fries from distilled Idaho Potatoes.  Were they successful???  Well, yes.  And no.

Here’s the thing:  fries smell amazing!!!.  But maybe it’s not the thing you want to smell like..?  So this perfume addresses that, with the ‘idea’ of french fries, comprised of a floral surround with a bread/potato note base, probably from the distilled potatoes, which would give off a sweetish aroma, like corn liquor.  Interestingly it does not smell anything like vodka, which is the best-known iteration of distilled potatoes.  And yes, vodka does have a scent.   I did an impromptu focus group at Country Morning Coffee (did not tell them anything about the perfume).  Not one of them could identify the fries ‘tone’…. until I told them the pefume name and where it’s from.  Then, all of a sudden, they could smell it, though only a little bit.  Huh.  I’m not actually that surprised, though, because what, persackly, is the smell?  As I said above, is it the potato? fat? alchemy of both?  Such a glorious smell.  But would you really want to smell like that?  The beef tallow, which is the essence of Everything Good about the Arches fries….. I cannot imagine spraying beef tallow scent on my poitrine – it’s like bacon fat, sounding excellent in theory (and magical in the air) but… on my neck?  So in making the perfume Idaho Potato correctly erred on the side of not smelling like hot grease.

But I’mo let 2 lucky winners figure it out on their own.  Here’s the deal – back when I was chatting with IPC we discussed the idea of this French Fry scent being developed by a ‘real’ perfumer (I think they did this in-house) – my vote is for Christopher Brosious because what he does with quotidian smells is nothing short of alchemical!!  But that’s me.  What about you?  Who do you think would take this idea and knock it out of the park?  You can nominate any perfumer in the world (and for any version of fries – for example, had I gone ‘frites’ instead of fries I would choose Mme. Laurent!) , just tell me why!  I’ve still got the Giant Pup, M. Jacques, here.  He’ll poke the living daylights out of random and  I’ll get a scrab out to two winners.

I’m STILL bigger than all of you!

THIS PERFUME IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR SALE.  This was a promotion and it’s GONE.   HOWEVER!!!  I just learned that they will be doing a giveaway for National French Fry Day, July 13.  So check in on for further intel.  Just an fyi.  In the meantime, gimme a Perfumer who/why for a chance to smell this!



  • furriner says:

    Mmmmmm, potatoes. I’ve been on keto since last summer (have lost 90 pounds!). Miss potatoes more than anything. One day, it will all be beautiful, sigh.

    Hope you’re well.

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    Agree that McD’s fries are best. Wendy’s fries with their sea salt coating come in a close second. In college long ago, I worked in the fast food industry and had glorious long hair. I used to wash it with Ajax dishwashing soap and baking soda to get out the smell, and I do not care to relive that experience. An idealized version maybe. As for a perfumer, I vote for Calice Becker–because, Calice Becker.

  • Christina says:

    Hi, thanks for this, Musette, and I felt awful I missed Frites last time. What an intriguing concept! I was desperate to sample this one because it woud give me ideas for new directions to take in my amateur perfumery. I would recommend Josh Meyer from Imaginary Authors to you, because Cape Heartache (with strawberry) and Whiff of Wafflecone, among other delights, demonstrate that he can combine our olfactory and gustatory senses into new and unforgettable fragrances. Plus, he would have great art with it and charge affordable prices.

  • Dina C. says:

    Bertrand Duchafour does well with unusual scent combinations and notes, so I nominate him. French fries are in my top five favorite foods since childhood. When I was ten, I was hospitalized in a foreign country, gravely ill with a high fever, and had hallucinations and vivid dreams about eating French fries with ketchup! I’m sure they’d be part of any hypothetical death row meal I might choose. But, I would not want to smell like them!!

  • Koyel says:

    Ok, I REALLY want to know what this smells like. I’m actually disappointed that it doesn’t smell more like actual fries; if they wanted to avoid that straight-up fat-potato-salt smell, I think a bbq leather robe would do better than a floral one. I think Tauer does a great chewy bbq leather (Lonesome Rider), and so does Hiram Green (Hyde). My pick is therefore Tauer to develop the scent 🙂

    • Musette says:

      I think Andy would do an excellent job with it – and I agree, a gorgeous leather would anchor this nicely!


  • rosarita says:

    Wow! I like french fries but only hot out of the fryer, so fries to go are a no go as they just don’t hold the heat and that fresh fried taste by the time I get home. I nominate Bertrand Duchaufour because I’m a huge fan and he’s great at creating very wearable weirdness (Traversee du Bosphore, anyone?). Anyway, great concept!

    • Musette says:

      M. Duchaufour is getting a lot of love on this post – and deservedly so.

      Piping hot fries are Floyd’s gift to EVERYBODY!


  • Tara C says:

    I love fries, unfortunately (not good for you). I think it’s the heat, salt, fat and sweet starch. Texture is quite important too. Duck fat fries are the Holy Grail. But I don’t want the smell on my person, so dnem. 🙂

    • Musette says:

      LOL! score another point for duck fat! I remember eating turbot poached in duck fat. I thought I’d gone straight to Valhalla!

      This perfume does not smell like any of that, which is a good thing. It’s just an ode/nod to the idea.


  • March says:

    LOL I don’t need to smell it either, I probably couldn’t, but I think it’s a fabulous idea — a better idea than the reality… one of those walking-by-the-table smells that relies on heat and air? There used to be a place here that made those little matchstick fries that I loved. In general though they’re one of those foods I can eat a few of, piping hot, and then I’m done.

    • Musette says:

      I like fries – a lot. Until I don’t. I hate the living daylights out of lukewarm or cold fries! Which helps me keep my doggish figure, since they go cold so quickly!!!


  • cinnamon says:

    You can sometimes get triple cooked chips (ie, thick fries) here. I am now more partial to onion rings vs fries. Seriously can’t think of anyone better than Brosious for this. Please don’t enter me in giveaway.

  • Alityke says:

    I’m another fiend who doesn’t answer the call of the fries/chips. The only exception was one Boxing Day football match when there was snow & we were sat in the open. Then I succumbed to the call of the British delicacy of a chip butty with heavily butter teacake & lashings of salt & vinegar!
    I could be tempted by Tom Kerridge’s triple fried duck fat chips at his 2 Michelin starred pub too!
    What perfumer could do justice to the smell of chips/fries? I’d go Liz Moores of Papillon. Such a perfectionist in her work & she would be familiar with the scent of my chip butty in the freezing weather.
    Please don’t enter me in the draw in reality I really don’t enjoy chips

    • Musette says:

      WOW! Those triple-fried chips sound amazing! I think I’ve only smelled one of the Papillon line – must investigate.

      And who knew there were so many FIENDS on the Posse! Fiends! But I love you all!!


  • Tom says:

    Def CB on the fries perfume front- he’d be able jam into a scent everything from your Mama’s shoestrings fried in lard to greazy diner fries that were dumped from the bag they got from Sysco in oil that should have been change a week ago- the kind you gleefully scarf hoping it’ll suck up excess booze to designer frites cooked in hand squished orchid oil. It’s his schtick, and he’s the best at it.

    I love them, but in the interest of not having my own gravitational pull I try to abstain. But yes, salt is key.

    I’m interested in what this smells like, but don’t need to be in the drawing. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d be off to Mickey D’s for some fries right now.

    • Musette says:

      omg. you are on a roll of priceless commentary, Tom! CB and I chatted about this – (I’m WILDLY paraphrasing here) the problem is that alchemy. It’s a smell that’s alluring to the customer (and that’s what IPC addressed) but it’s short-lived – and at the end of the day it’s the Not Hot & Fresh Anymore smell that workers try to get OFF themselves (which is also what IPC steered clear of)

      This is one that is extremely difficult to parse.


  • Kathleen says:

    I am one of the fiends that has never liked the smell of fries, or anything deep fried. I adore potatoes though, especially those tiny Dutch potatoes boiled with EVOO and seasoning but never eaten fries ever. Weird right?
    Perfumer perhaps Manuel Cross from Rogue Perfumery? I know he mostly recreates vintages. But Rogue in name would perhaps hit idea out of park? And I read he was a chef in former career. Hugs to M. Jacques xoxo

    • Musette says:

      It seems to be a common theme amongst perfumers (understandable as well) the former lives having something to do with something to do with scent (since without it you cannot taste ).
      M. Jacques is in my black books right now – he just raked out a bunny nest with his giant paws. I haven’t gone out to survey the damage, yet. My stomach isn’t ready for that. I know it’s ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw’ (and I’m no fan of rabbits in my garden) but… damb, kathleen – it’s not even 9am!


      • Kathleen says:

        LOL, nature of the beast? Dogs are carnivores after all! Sometimes my backyard looks like a dinosaur burial with all of Benson’s bones scattered about. I give him bison bones and knuckles to chew on, then he buries then so no one else can have then. Super funny when he keeps going back out to account for them.

        • Alityke says:

          Oh Lord Mr Jarvis Cocka-Poo murdered young starling yesterday. Managed to catch its tail feathers & shook it like a rat. Both poodles & working cocker spaniels are bird hunting dogs & he often finds and gifts us recently deceased birds on walks but it’s his first murder. The clean up was not a happy event

          • Kathleen says:

            Eeks! No clean up not a happy event. Funny they deem their findings gifts for you!

  • taxi says:

    I have long said that the Best Fries are at MacD. No other frites come close, even at my favorite Parisian bistros. I can’t imagine what a “fragrance” of fries/frites/potatoes would be like.

    • Musette says:

      taxi, it’s that beef tallow, I’m sure of it. Or some other Secret Sauce those fiends put in there to lure us in.


  • causticfish says:

    I’m from the indie perfume scene, so I’m a big fan of quirky but hyperrealistic scents. I honestly would love to try a perfume that smells exactly like french fries. One perfumer I think would do a fabulous job is the team from Fyrinnae, whose past savory gourmands perfumes were absolutely spot on to their descriptions. I tried Dragonflies: Toasted sesame oil, fresh minced ginger, a small slice of garlic, with very subtle scents of cooking wine and fried tofu (in lieu of chicken.) and it was like I was standing in front of my stove, breathing in soup. Fyrinnae would be great at recreating the aroma of french fries.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! Causticfish (love the name, btw) – that sounds amazing!

      But the funniest is: I first read that as ‘Dragonflies toasted in sesame oil’! LOL!!!