The intoxicating scent of fresh leather — which some may dub the “new car smell” — is one of the most enjoyable things about sitting in a brand new ride. But what do you do when you’re six months into your new SUV and all you smell is the stale scent of regret for letting your kids ruin the backseats with food, drinks, and everything in between?
For a long time, the solution — besides sending your car for a professional wash — has been in the form of a little pine tree that hangs from your rearview mirror. That, or a cheap plastic device attached to an air conditioning vent, which then slowly permeates your car with a nauseatingly sweet, fruity fragrance.
But your car — and you, of course — deserve so much better, so we’ve rounded up a handful of brands who make quality car fragrances to upgrade your journeys with.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.
Named after a type of early open-topped motorcoach cars that later became precursors for modern buses, Charabanc is a British company which prides itself on invoking the halcyon days of driving with its luxury car fragrances.
Because these scents are specially created to mimic the scents of some of the world’s most famous driving routes, don’t expect to find one-note aromas of artificial apples. The plains of Castellucio in Italy, for instance, are depicted with notes of lavender, sage, Calabrian bergamot, and leather, while Colorado’s Plateau’s Monument Valley is referenced via amber, cypress oil, and jamine.
Each of these air fresheners are fashioned after spoked rims, and are handcrafted by metal spinners who also work on Spitfires and aviation fuel tanks. The pomanders are then adorned with Spanish hide leather lids, making them stylish ways to fix your odour situation with.
If you can’t get enough of your Baies candle at home, have we got good news for you. Parisian fragrance house Diptyque has released a line of car diffusers which feature some of their most famous scents — including Figuier and Ambre — so you’ll never have to assault your nose with intrusive cheap alternatives.
As with any Diptyque product, these accessories get the signature Art Nouveau treatment, with an adjustable window to set the intensity of the scent.
Helmed by OG streetwear stalwart Hiroshi Fujiwara, retaW has been in the business of blending scents for today’s, well, hypebeasts. His line of car tags extends this lifestyle into the matte-black rides of these youths, and comes in some of his most popular scents, such as Evelyn, Isley, and Allen. Expect fresh whiffs of green tea, citrus, and mint within the series.
With its sleek aluminium facade, Clemt’s Diffuser Pebble looks not a single bit out of place within any luxury sports car, all while subtly keeping it fresh.
Each diffuser is carefully precision milled from a solid block of aluminium, and then hand-finished to create a unique surface treatment. The reusable accessory can then be filled with your choice of fragrance, making it a sustainable option that goes hand in hand with your brand new Tesla.
This US-based company knows a thing or two about making your house smell good, so it was only a matter of time before it did the same for your car too. Translating their know-how into Fragrance Cards means that you can now enjoy the aroma of your favourite candle or home spray on your way to work.
Subscription services are also available so you’ll get them renewed just in time. Our favourites include Juniper Santal and Big Sur, the latter of which is designed to evoke memories of driving down Highway 1 with the windows down.