The great smell of ‘Brute’: York tourist board creates Viking ‘fragrance’ for men who want to stink like a ninth century Norse warrior!In this modern image-conscious world, when we all want to portray ourselves in the best possible light, a man might want to smell of many things. He certainly wants to smell of diligently washed skin and newly cleaned clothes. He probably wants to smell of expensive hair products. He might even want to smell of whatever fragrance David Beckham is flogging this week, or some other fine aftershave.
But one thing he probably doesn’t want to smell like is a stinking bearded warrior from 13 centuries ago. A stinking bearded warrior, who, to be precise, has a penchant for smashing up villages, wearing blood-stained battle gear and sporting awful helmet hair. Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped tourist officials in York from launching ‘Norse Power’, a – shall we say – niche-appeal perfume which will help a man to reek like a Viking.
‘Visit York’ has created this bottled attack on our nostrils in tribute to the city’s Norse past. It has been concocted using assorted pungent ingredients: deep-soaked sweat (worked up during a raid on a British settlement); seawater (from a long voyage across the North Sea from the Viking heartland of Norway); mud and damp (from travels on foot over sodden terrain); dried blood (not necessarily model’s own – from a day’s fighting and pillaging).
The eye-watering package is completed by the ‘aromas’ of cooked meat from Viking feasts, hard liquor (Vikings had a noted appetite for mead) and – as a token pleasant inclusion – notes of fresh pine from all those lengthy hikes though deep-rooted forests. ‘With Norse Power, we wanted to try and capture the sort of smells that would have been part of the lives of Viking warriors around the time that York was the Norse capital of England,’ says Michelle Brown, the marketing manager at Visit York ‘But more than that, with all the bath products, deodorants, perfumes and aftershaves available today, we wanted to give male visitors to York the chance to cast aside their allegiance to modern aromas and instead embrace the smells from an era of warriors.’ The launch of Norse Power is, of course, just a bit of fun – although those who really want to smell like the inside of an animal-skin cloak can try the fragrance this weekend. York was effectively the heart of Viking culture in Britain after it was attacked and quelled by Viking invaders in 866AD. The Viking era ran roughly between the end of the eighth century and the middle of the 11th. In Britain, it came to a bloody conclusion in 1066, when an invading force from Norway was defeated at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (in modern Yorkshire) – just days before the Battle of Hastings saw William the Conqueror and his cohorts complete the Norman Conquest. Notorious for their ferocity, Vikings hailed from the Scandinavian landmass (especially Norway, Denmark and Sweden), although they also settled in Greenland. tinerant and aggressive, their attacks on Europe made them the scourge of the continent for almost 300 years – and even took them as far south as Spain and Portugal. However, for all their reputation as vicious killers, Vikings were also great sailors and explorers – and there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that they crossed the Atlantic and ‘discovered’ the Americas (not least Newfoundland) long before Christopher Columbus. Kinda cute in a Viking sort of way?I’m popping into York this weekend, though I will give the opportunity of ‘Norse Power’ a wide birth. Having seen those viking women close up I figure its best not to encourage them in any way. Even after a gallon of ale and a large brace of rum, its still not a pretty sight… Yours Aye.