The next time a crowded journey on public transport thrusts you too close to a malodorous armpit, take heart. Help will soon be just a boiled sweet away. Deo Perfume Candy, sweets that release a lingering rose scent through the pores of your skin, will be launched in the UK early next year. Just one serving is said to "fragrance" a 10-stone adult for up to six hours with a delicious floral aroma.
US company Beneo, which has developed the sweet with Bulgarian confectioner Alpi, says the product is perfectly safe and, in principle, works the same way as garlic. Both the sweets and garlic contain compounds that can't be broken down by the body, and so are excreted through the skin. In the sweets, the key ingredient is geraniol, a naturally occurring compound found in plants such as roses, lavender and vanilla. Munching on the sugar-free tangerine-flavoured candy will, apparently, turn you into a living perfume atomiser.
US consumers have been snapping up the sweets since they first went on sale online in August, despite their bizarre packaging (more reminiscent of feminine hygiene products than snacks) and hefty price tag ($10 for a small bag). The sweets are expected to be sold in shops in the US soon and are already available in Spain, Germany, China, Korea and Armenia. The UK distributor is currently working with a major high street retailer to prepare the product, appealingly repackaged, for sale in time for next Valentine's Day.
Ingestible perfume isn't a new concept. Japanese researchers were the first to confirm the link between eating geraniol and smelling sweet. Otoko Kaoru chewing gum (translated as "man scent") was launched several years ago but only kept chewers floral fresh for an hour or two. This might explain why the gum was discontinued, or perhaps the manufacturers got the wrong target market; 20 to 40-year-old Japanese men might not have fancied smelling like potpourri.