Brett Walther shares his first fragrance love—and why he gave it up

Brett Walther shares his first fragrance love—and why he gave it up

Brett Walther, web editor at Reader’s Digest, used to be scent-monogamous—until an intervention opened up his fragrance world.

What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?

The century-old lilacs at the farm that I grew up on.

What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?

Chanel Allure. I want to say it was inspired by my Mom’s penchant for Chanel No. 5, but in reality there was probably just an ad with a hot guy in it.

What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality?

Byredo Sunday Cologne Eau De Cologne is my favourite. I’m a classicist at heart, but love a bit of the unexpected. That geranium note is everything.

byredo_sundaycologneWhat makes you notice a fragrance?

I don’t know if you really should notice it—I only really notice it if it’s overpowering. It should be subtle; something complementary—something that seems perfectly natural to the person wearing it; to their sense of style.

How many fragrances you own?

In the ballpark of 20. I have a bit of a problem.

How many fragrances do you regularly wear?

I wear Byredo Sunday Cologne, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Gucci Guilty and Lacoste Jaune.

What do you smell like?

I’ve been told I smell like powder. Which is nice. (I’d hate to smell like something that needs powdering.)

How do you scent your home?

I’m obsessed with fragranced candles—particularly in the fall and winter—but I’ve got to admit the vessel matters as much to me as the scent. Jo Malone London’s Oud & Bergamot is a particular fave, with Pomegranate Noir a close runner-up. For the bathroom, I love Ortigia’s Ambra Nera room essence.

Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?

My friends Julia McEwen (Fashion & Beauty Director at Canadian Living) and Katherine Flemming (Health & Beauty Editor at Elle). They’re my style (and scent) barometers, and two of the best noses in the biz.

If you could bottle the scent of a favourite place/city/memory/moment what would it be and please describe the smell.

Probably the scent of those lilacs on the farm.

What scents are overrated?

I don’t understand gourmands. Why would you want to burn a candle that’s constantly reminding you of how hungry you are? I’ve never been a fan of patchouli, either. Whenever I smell it on someone, I can’t help but feel that it’s masking something—B.O. or pot, most likely.

JeanPaulGaultier_LeMaleHow do you feel about signature scents? Is it freeing or limiting?

For years, all I wore was Jean-Paul Gauthier Le Male. I ended up going totally nose-blind to it, and it took an intervention (Julia and Katherine again) to realize I’d started wearing an obscene amount of the stuff. That’s the danger of a signature scent, I think. I actually wrote about it for Elle Man at one point.

What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids/friends/the next generation?

What smells great on one person won’t necessarily smell great on you.

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Feature_HarryRosen_AdamVaughnRead more:
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Anne T. Donahue on cold weather scents

PHOTO: Evaan Kheraj
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Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.