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French perfumer bottles scent of dead loved ones

A French company has come up with a novel way to keep people close to their departed loved ones: bottling their unique scent as a perfume.

French perfumer bottles scent of dead loved ones
PerfumeShutterstock

Like many struggling to get over the death of a loved one, Katia Apalategui's mum held on to her late husband's pillowcase to keep the precious smell of the man she loved.

It inspired the 52-year-old insurance saleswoman to think up ways to capture and preserve a person's individual scent so people in her position would never have to long for a whiff of their loved one again.

After years of knocking on doors to try and develop her idea, Apalategui was put in touch with the university of Le Havre in northern France, which has developed a technique to reproduce the human smell.

"We take the person's clothing and extract the odour — which represents about a hundred molecules — and we reconstruct it in the form of a perfume in four days," explained the university's Geraldine Savary.

The powerful link between smell and memory means the product offers "olfactory comfort", Apalategui claims, on a par with photos, videos and other memories of the deceased.

Her son, who is currently in business school, plans to launch their business by September with the help of a chemist.

"We are going through funeral homes to offer families a small box containing a vial of the departed's odour that we would have extracted from a piece of material provided by them," said Apalategui

"It's made-to-measure and will sell for around €560 ($600)," she added.

However she hopes the technology will not only be limited to the morbid, but could be used as a Valentine's Day gift between lovers, or even for children temporarily away from their parents.

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OFFBEAT

France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.

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