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Black Phoenix Puts Sherlock Holmes On The Right Scent

221B Baker Street Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

The Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes, must be one of the most scrutinized characters in fiction. Appropriate for someone who excels in observation and analysis. Study of the residents of 221B Baker Street and dissecting their stories is known as the Sherlockian game or more simply The Great Game. People regularly debate the location of Watson’s Afghan war wound (leg or shoulder) and Watson’s first name (John or James). Many have tried to determine Sherlock’s lineage, his university, and even his sexual preference. No detail is too minute for scrutiny. Since I have been writing about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab a lot, something occurred to me. There seems to be a major aspect of speculation missing: what did Sherlock Holmes smell like?

[ad#rightpost]I did a quick search through Google and didn’t find anything. Now if any Sherlockian scholar wishes to correct me, feel free. I imagine he must have worn some sort of scent. While it wasn’t common practice, many Victorian men wore sort sort of cologne or perfume. Sherlock is said to be fastidious in his appearance and wearing something to cover up the smells from his chemical experiments and the occasional dead body would seem to be necessary. Watson surely must have splashed something as well to cover the noxious medicines and patients’ various discharges. Black Phoenix has made their opinion known on the subject through their new 221B Baker Street perfume line.

The first two perfumes are naturally Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. At first, you get what you would expect from Holmes’ perfume: something fresh and clean from a man who takes care of his person. It doesn’t overpower you and thus it wouldn’t interfere with the detective’s observations. But like any great mystery, there is more under the surface. If you pay attention, you start to get hints of tobacco for when Holmes indulged in his clay pipes or a cigarette. There is also a smell of Moroccan leather from a certain case which contains his infamous seven percent solution. You can also catch the oiliness from a bit of greasepaint from one of his many disguises and the evergreen woodiness of rosin for his bow. In all, you could give a very complete picture of the man though observing his perfume.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Sherlock and Watson

Watson’s scent is far more traditional: the suit of tweed and linen that any British gentleman would wear and aftershave scented with lime cream. But like Holmes’ scent, there is more under the surface. There is an metallic note along with oil that comes from having to clean his service revolver in case Holmes engages a particularly dangerously case. These notes also remind us that Watson was a soldier who saw combat in the wilds of Afghanistan. It’s easy to dismiss Watson as a self-satiated member of the Victorian bourgeoisie but would Holmes consort with such a dullard? Holmes never suffers fools gladly and Watson is not a fool.

There has already been preview pictures for The Woman, Irene Adler, and the Napoleon of Crime, Moriarty and a suggestion of scents for stories as well as characters. So go to Black Phoenix and check out all the variety of perfumes and other products available. And don’t be mysterious, tell them Needcoffee sent you.


  • Ooh, making sure Doc knows about these. Sherlock’s needs to be smoke, leather, and violin polish. Maybe with overtones of theatre makeup. :p

  • Beg pardon there, love. You’re close in describing The Grand Game, or The Great Game, but you’re a bit off. Playing The Game is not simply analyzing the stories – that is merely a byproduct. Playing The Game means claiming, in all tongue-in-cheek earnestness, that Holmes and Watson were actual, real, living, breathing human beings, just like you or I, and not “breaking character” – in fact, we’re so good at it that we’ve managed to confuse many the hapless bystander and cause them to start second guessing their understanding that Holmes and Watson’s are fictional. Furthermore, we claim that the stories are genuine, accurate records of Holmes & Watson’s cases. This introduces the problem of reconciling discrepancies in the Canon of stories, facts and details that appear to contradict one another, such as the location of Watson’s “wandering wound.” Because, after all, the stories are accurate, so there must be some sort of explanation for why we’re told that he was shot in the shoulder and we’re told later that he was injured in the leg. So we make it fit.

    This is just like fundamentalist Biblical criticism, the acrobatic contortions that fundamentalists go through in order to reconcile the cognitive dissonance arising from the very clear contradictions in the Bible, which they claim is the 100% accurate word of god. Indeed, the Sherlockian Great Game was started by a Biblical scholar in the beginning of the 20th century, who satirized this style of Biblical criticism by applying it to the Sherlock Holmes stories, demonstrating how very silly it is to claim that the Bible is accurate and without error.

    We are a silly lot, and it’s great fun. Playing The Game is also reverential in its own way too, and there is a tremendous amount of serious scholarship that does often goes into it.