Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Perfume and Pets Named After It: a Unique Trait

I don't know about you, but if I had a pet I'd name it Opium. It'd create all sorts of quizzical looks from general folks in the street (the name being also euphonically pretty much the same in Greek as it is in English), interesting conversations with budding acquaintances ("let's get home so I can show you my Opium") and most importantly of all it reflects a small part of my own personality: my love for the (original, vintage) formula of Yves Saint Laurent's Opium perfume and its shadowy id.

I know of a perfumista with a poodle named Jicky and another whose cat is named Mitsouko. Both classic Guerlain perfumes and they do make a fascinating name for a pet. Another, less mysteriously, calls her parrot Chloe (it's a she and it fits her like a T, even though yes, Chloe is a woman's name all right apart from the perfume). I have an online friend and fellow perfumista who loves cats as much as she loves perfume. One of my male friends when asked what fragrance name he'd pick for a male dog companion said Kouros (after the YSL perfume). Hmmm...that would make for a seriously static pooch, I'd bet. Anyway...

In all these cases the name serves as both an evocation of the beloved fragrance and a sonorous, usually short enough, name that is relatively unusual. Do perfumistas have a penchant for distinguishing themselves in general, going for the path less trodden, or do they simply have their obsession manifest itself in more ways than it seems possible at first glance? Possibly both.

So, do share in the comments, do you have a pet named after a beloved perfume? Would you have liked to? 

This post was in part inspired by the perfume horoscope suggestions by Hieronymus on Fragrantica and by an old thread on MakeupAlley.


  1. My husband and I want to get a dog in the near future and we were just sitting here over coffee, discussing dog names. I never thought of a perfume name ;I've been thinking more of resurrecting gem names. Remember those? I have an aunt named Ruby, which I like for a pet, but now you have me thinking that Coco would be good too, if a bit clichéd. Shalimar would be good for a cat.

  2. Maria16:43

    If I had a dark she-cat, she would be called Ambra (ambre in Russian). Male cats, depending on character and style of their moves, would be Shipr (Chypre) or Vetiver, one big, heavy and straightforward, another light and moving in waves - because that's how the words sound in Russian, at least to me. A very light-colored cat would be Bambuk (bamboo), which sounds goofy but not insulting.

    But really I'm not that fond of cats, though I'd take one just to have my own Ambra :) I love big dogs, shepherd, retrievers and such. And I can't think of a suitable perfume name for, say, a smart black shepherd, playful and funny and affectionate but with some big teeth. I'll definitely pay attention now :)

  3. Actually I just rescued a tiny kitten a few weeks ago..... named her Coco. Not just for one of my all time favorite fragrances mind you. She is a LBC (little black cat), loves my purrfume and looks stunning in purrls! Oh heck, I even gave Coco Kitteh her own fb page. chuckle I all ready know she'll be a spoiled rotten diva, might as well do it right!!!

  4. i love the idea of a pet named opium...one could refer to one's living room as the "opium den", giving a delightfully louche moniker to a prosaic space.

    i think mitsouko is genius for a cat.

    my own cats over the years have always been named after various literary witches or demons, as they are, completely coincidentally, always black. i don't seek out black cats---they simply arrive. (well, perhaps not total coincidence; more just neighborhood feline genetics?) but perhaps the next one could be named vol de nuit, as night flight would be in keeping with the general witchy theme?

  5. Miss Heliotrope02:59

    Another who thinks Mitsouko brilliant for a cat -

    Ours was named, with no debate between us, just an ooo yes - we both felt that Widmerpool was the perfect name for our black (male) godling.

    Why yes, we are cat people - how did you know?

  6. Our dog's name is Fender... but it's Fendi for short! He is a great rescue , a mix of what appears to be an affenpinscher and a havanese.

  7. I named my first beloved cat Jicky. I had wanted a fragrance name, but something not too obvious. Of course, everybody thought that her name was Chicky and I had to constantly explain myself! And now I have a Chloe cat. Always loved that name back to when the original fragrance launched.

  8. Interesting. It didn't occur me to name my cat after a perfume, but as he is called Basil, that's technically a third of Jo Malone's Lime, Basil and Mandarine.
    I volunteer at a local cat shelter and finding new names for the dozens of cats coming in every month can be a bit tiresome. Mitsouko, Jicky, Bandit, Joy, Samsara...... Thank you for the inspiration.

  9. Rosa,

    yeah, I like jewel names. They sound particularly good in my native language: Roo-BEE-nee for Ruby, Sma-RA-ytha for emerald and Za-FEE-rees (a male name) for sapphire.

    Shalimar is common for pets, then? Oh goodie!

  10. Maria,

    languages are such a delightful subject, I'm always fascinated into how different languages interpret things. Ambra sounds like a good name for a big dog, doesn't it?
    For the one you're describing, I'd say...Cabochard? (headstrong) Or Sublime/Yohji/Black (duh)? :-)

  11. Critters,

    that;s such a cute story!! Thanks for sharing and sounds adorable. :-)

  12. NFS,

    opium den goes so far beyond it's amazing to even fantasize about. Good one!

    Very imaginative thought about the witches and demons etc names. Unusual and sparks discussion I bet. Vol de Nuit: perfect for a black cat supposed to fly on a broomstick along with her mistress, eh? :-D

  13. MH,

    many perfume people are cat people, actually.

    Great choice!

  14. Gail,

    sounds adorable! Fendi is good fir a nickname. :-)

  15. Greg,

    thanks. I'm not sure Chicky is that funny; it conjures up fried food made of small animals to me. (like a fast food dish or something).

  16. Sabine,

    how very kind and generous of spirit of you!
    Yeah, it might serve as an inspiration, I bet you can think of hundreds of names now. ;-)

  17. annemariec11:44

    I've always wanted to name a cat Tocadilly. I have no idea what the perfume is like but I love the sound of the name.

    Poison would be a seriously bad name for a pet, no? Bit we had a cat called Ugly once. It was so endearingly ugly we could think of no other name.

  18. Maria11:56

    On a second thought, Ambra or Amber is a fine name for a grey colored pet... Still undecided about dogs though.

  19. Hey there,
    Back in 2006 I adopted an ex racing Greyhound, her name when she arrived was GUCCI. Why would I change it, it fits her perfectly. She's a skinny, blonde, bitch. I got her because I heard that owners grow to look like their animals. Sadly, I only got the last word and its temperament.
    Portia xx

  20. SandyVasalos16:45

    I have 3 chihuahuas, ChaCha Coconuts, Tango Mango and Calypso and my 3 cats Hera, Astra and Bouboulina. If I could have 3 more I love the idea of perfume notes and would name them Vetiver, Anise and Neroli. My 2 fish are Coriander and Canela.

  21. Merlin16:50

    One day I'll have a dog called Chergui:)

    My dog now has the heart of Chergui but the seemingly bland name he had as a rescue - Rufus - for some reason just somehow bring out his exquisitely rufine (lol) character and so it could not be changed!

  22. Anonymous23:16

    I wanted to name my cat Fleur, or iris. She would not answer to either. She would only answer to Chicken. Every time I said the word Chicken she would appear. So she named herself. She is afraid of everything, but tries to pretend she is lion hearted. I found her treading water, in a bucket filled with oily sludge. I never thought she would live for one day, but she did, and she still goes crazy over the smell of fuel-she just loves it!



  23. As you know my avator on POL is Oscar who was named after the perfume Oscar de la Renta . I have had a cat Jicky , a pekingese Lulu after Lou Lou the perfume but changed the spelling so it was easier at the Vet! LOL
    I have had a dear dog called Kenzo and I now have Coco another Pekingese and then there was sweet Rose the pug named after Caron's Rose.
    I now have two pekingese - Coco as mentioned before and Moi Moi which means little sister in Chinese but ... I was so tempted to call her Mitzi after Mitsouko !!! LOL

  24. Eleonore23:39

    I named my late yorkshire terrier: Iris...I do love irises, they are one of my favorite flowers and at the time I was a big fan of Hiris by Hermes. He was a "he" and in French Iris is a feminine name...but I didn't care and pretended it was one of these names which can be either:-) It also helped that when I got him he had been "baptised": Ideal which was just too much...Though he was an ideal adorable dog to us, he was a perfect Iris and I was glad I had given him that name!
    Now I have a Tamango cat (but he could be Cabochard, he is so stubborn!)and a siamese Coco...I agree, fragrances are such a source of inspiration for naming our pets (stones too: onyx for a black one, sapphire for a blue-eyed one etc...) Lovely topic...we have so much to say:-)

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  26. Annemariec,

    Tocadilly is a very euphonic name, I find. (sounds funny sounding in Greek though as it does means something else entirely: "the candelabra", LOL)

    The scent is an aqueous lilac, but done without the dreaded yeast note in En Passant. Very delicate and with a very realistic dew feel.

  27. Maria,

    love Russian blue cats; those could be called Heure Bleue!

  28. portia,

    I swear you're one of the most fun people I have encountered online, what a riot of a comment!! Made my day. :-D (And yes, I have heard of that theory myself, though surely it's the other way around? Pets pick up traits off us? Anyway, it'd make sense)

    May you and your pet dog have a lovely day!

  29. Sandy,

    I expect your Greek origins (correct?) have something to do with those beautiful names inspired by nymphs, heroines and culinary spices (love the name Canela, i.e. cinnamon)
    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share with us your delightful pet family!

  30. Merlin,

    oh that's a beautiful name. Plus it would suggest a quick dog! (running like the wind)

  31. Carole,

    a brave survivor. That's a touching story! Thanks so much for sharing with us! :-)

  32. Dear M,

    I was HOPING you'd come on board to talk of your adorable pets!!! (both living and gone but not forgotten).
    You have the most lovely pet family (and a lovely human one too, from what I've seen)!

    Is the Moi Moi prononciation like in French (mwah-mwah) or Moh-ee Moh-ee?

  33. Eleonore (you have a beautiful name yourself),

    I bet Iris fit even though it was a he, it denotes the sort of elegance and nice temperament one would hope for in a companion dog! :-) Is he indeed behaved and sleek like his given name suggests?

    Have to say I LOVE the name Tamango!! (great one!). Coco is of course popular among perfume people, for all the obvious reasons of short, to the point, close to real name, ref to popular perfume...

    Thanks for participating in the discussion!

  34. I have a little step-dog whom I nicknamed "Stinky" due to his powerful doggy odor. Eau de Stinky, anyone?

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  37. VeniH16:44

    I hope I am not too much off-topic as I don´t know any pet named after a perfume. But just today I watched a fashion show of a jewellry making school, and one of students named her necklace ´Samsara´. It was a beautiful silversmith work with Oriental inspiration :-)

  38. Veni,

    absolutely on topic!
    Ah, there's another one of us, right there in the arts & crafts department :-) How lovely!


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