Michael Moiseyev is a retired consultant from the National Polytechnic Institute in Toulouse, France, who now works as a scent sculptor, creating scents of objects and places without having to include substances present. It was he who was asked to reproduce what the moon smells like.
In creating the perfume, Moiseyev relied on the testimonies of the few people who have set foot on our satellite. All of them went outside the Apollo ships in spacesuits that prevented them from picking up any odors. However, when they returned indoors, no matter how hard they tried to clean their suits, they were always left with some sticky lunar dust on them.
And most curiously, when asked what the moon smelled like, they all gave similar answers. Buzz Aldrin, for example, said it smelled like burnt coal or a fireplace. Charlie Duke of Apollo 16 explained that it reminded him of the smell of gunpowder. And Gene Cernan of Apollo 17 noted that to him it was like the smell that remains after a carbine shot. The latter also took the liberty of tasting it and said it tasted quite pleasant to him. But leaving that aside, everyone agreed on something similar in smell, and that's what Moiseyev was basing it on.
In fact, the samples that made it to Earth didn't smell anything, so that's a likely hypothesis. Nevertheless, according to Moiseyev, the spirits must have that powdery background that the astronauts talked about.
The perfume will be on display in Space City, an exhibit that will be housed in the Toulouse Museum. But this is not the only interesting work by the sculptor of fragrances.
For example, he usually works in wine companies. He reproduces the scent of different grape varieties as well as soil, minerals and plant and floral notes found in wine. He has also reproduced the aroma of such remote places as the rainforests of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.
As he himself explained to Nature, he uses a distillation cube to extract substances by distillation, a rotary evaporator to remove solvents, very precise chemical measurement scales, and an archive of 3,000 to 4,000 reference odors. For all that, it can emit almost any odor. Clearly, he was the right person to show us what the moon smells like, even if he had never been there. That's part of the magic of perfume.