The Smell of Money

I got an intriguing pitch from a publicist a couple weeks ago about a cologne that smells like paper currency. It’s called Money, and she sent me a bottle to sample. It comes in a box lined with real shredded U.S. currency, which is brilliant. The bottle is simple and the typeface for Money mimics the one on dollar bills.

Does it smell like money? Maybe. For comparison, I held some crispy new bills up to my nose and found that yes, there is a unique scent to it, and not just paper. I don’t know that Money has captured this though—there’s still a sporty fragrance on top of whatever it is I may want to identify as the scent of paper currency.

Money starts with strong citrus top notes that quickly fade to a sort of deodorant soap fragrance, an Irish Spring scent. In the dry down, it’s a fresh scent, part of it bracing like a sporty scent and part of it more medicinal.

Two other fragrances come to mind when I smell Money. One is Nooka, the fragrance that came out of the futuristic rubber watch company. Nooka’s scent, which deserves its own review, has elements of paper scent in it (along with some odd metallics and other hard-to-describe notes), which, in some ways may have just as easily called itself “money.”

The second fragrance that I thought of was Sean John’s Unforgivable Night, a clean, bright citrus with some subtle fruitiness. When I went back to compare the two, I found they weren’t actually that close. But there was something in both that reminded me of my favorite car air freshener, “New Car Scent.” That sounds like a put down, but it’s not—I adore that scent. Don’t know why. I put it in the same category as fabric softener: totally artificial and mundane scents that make me happy.

That said, Money isn’t my style. It’s basically a “sport” fragrance aimed at younger men. Is the quality up to that of other sport fragrances? I can’t say, but at $35 for 50ml, it’s a pretty inexpensive experiment. It’s a crowd-pleaser fragrance with a solid concept for the mass market.

One final note: when I searched for “money cologne” online, I found this, which appears to be a cologne of the same name with different bottle design and a lower price. It’s still packed in shredded currency, and it’s still called Money, but is it just an earlier (or later) version of the same product? Who knows.

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