Sometimes, I feel like no matter what, it’s really difficult for a fragrance to be truly unique. At the end of the day, a rose is a rose is a rose, after all. There’s only so much you can do to reinvent the wheel when it comes to fragrance—at a certain point, all of the raw ingredients available to you are the same.
That’s why the new Future Society fragrances piqued my interest. In the world of fragrance, they’re truly unique scents, and that’s because the brand is reaching far outside a fragrance’s normal purview. Future Society scents are made using DNA sequences found from extinct flowers.
For founder Jasmina Aganovic, using these extinct DNA sequences is all about using fragrance and biology in tandem with one another to tell a story. “This idea of taking a DNA-sequencing Jurassic Park–type thing with flowers rather than dinosaurs is sort of the origin of this,” she says. “[We] work together with the Harvard Herbarium to gather specimens of flowers that have been preserved and are now known to be extinct.”
These flowers aren’t being resurrected and reintroduced into the world. (Technology isn’t that advanced yet.) Instead, they’re given new life through fragrance. “The DNA is sort of like an instruction manual,” says Aganovic. “It’s sort of like 23andMe. If you’ve ever done 23andMe, you spit into a tube and it sends you all of this interesting information about yourself.”
After gathering information about each flower, Aganovic honed in on anything that gave her clues to how it might have smelled. “That started to give us a direction of the olfactive profile and the scent molecules that were encoded into this flower,” she says. From there, they figured out which scents were likely actually expressed by the flower and wound up with six scents you won’t smell anywhere else—each is a unique reconstruction of an extinct flower.