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This Perfume Was Made To Smell Like A Night Out At Berghain

Not exactly your daily work fragrance.

Berghain can be a pretty multi-sensory experience. As the hours quickly vanish among the drift of tunnelling techno sets, the heaving mass of dancers, the lights and the narrow concrete corridors, the club can plunge you into a vortex of sensory overload.

One of the most vital aspects of this experience, but the one least likely to be talked about with any enthusiasm, is the club’s smell. Nothing quite smells like Berghain—that acrid mixture of bodies, sweat, smoke and all other types of stenches—and it’s one that lasts long in the memory. Artist Isabel Lewis sought to find out exactly what gave the club such a distinct aroma and whether it would be possible to emulate the smell in a controlled environment. Lewis’ idea was to experiment with evocations of different cultural circumstances through smell: intellectual culture, scientific culture, and, in the case of Berghain, bodily culture.

Created in collaboration with Norwegian scent researcher and creator Sissel Tolaas, the scents are deployed at Lewis’ “Occasions”. She describes the process of developing the scent as one of her trippiest times at Berghain: “I went this particular night and decided I’m not going consume any alcohol…I’m just going to go with my nose switched on. And that was, I am telling you, the trippiest time I’ve had at Berghain. Putting the attention on the sense of smell was so intense. You can smell 30 years of partying coming from the downstairs, you’re smelling huge waves of smoke, you’re smelling the spilled alcohol on the floor, body sweat, hairspray, cheap cologne.”

So yeah, not exactly your daily spray on deodorant, but if you don’t live in Berlin, maybe just the right thing to trigger memories of those long, blurry nights. Read more about Lewis’ work here. To turn your sense back to hearing: Watch the video below, which features Berghain resident Fiedel running through five of his favorite b-side burners on


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