Salt & Straw partners with Imaginary Authors for an ice cream shop-inspired fragrance

By Kamala Kirk

Salt & Straw and Imaginary Authors created A Whiff of Waffle Cone candle and perfume, which are inspired by childhood memories of visiting an ice cream shop.
Photography by John Valls

While visiting Salt & Straw’s Abbot Kinney location, co-founder and head ice cream maker Tyler Malek stumbled across Imaginary Authors, a Venice-based perfumery. This random encounter would end up leading to a special collaboration between the two businesses.

“The inception of this collaboration is one of those kismet that ends up sparking a lot of our partnerships at Salt & Straw,” Malek says. “I spent close to an hour sampling all of their fragrances and gobbling up the stories told with each one. It got me thinking about how ice cream itself doesn’t have a particular scent, but the smell of the waffle cones cooking in an ice cream shop is a pretty universal and nostalgic sensation. I shared all of this with Imaginary Authors founder Josh Meyer and it snowballed from there.”

Malek and Meyer put their heads (and noses) together to create a unique fragrance that captured the essence of an ice cream shop. They recently debuted A Whiff of Waffle Cone, which evokes memories of the sweet joy of crunching into a freshly baked waffle cone.

“The creation process was very collaborative,” Malek shares. “I really loved getting to experiment with a completely different medium. I was lucky to have an expert like Josh to guide the way, and I think the final fragrance and candle really showcase our joint creativity.”

Drawing on early childhood memories of being in an ice cream shop and never wanting to leave, Malek and Meyer had to break down that scent, which is where both of their respective expertise kicked in.

“As you can imagine, as a perfumer Josh has one of the most powerful senses of smell out there, so we got to identify the vanilla in waffle cone, some heavy cream, salted caramel, and then more subtle hints of Saigon cinnamon and amyris,” Malek explains. “We hope that the scent will transport folks into their fondest memories of visiting ice cream shops, inspiring a moment of joy and nostalgia.”

Available in both a candle ($30) and a perfume ($28-$65), the products can be purchased online and in all of Salt & Straws’ scoop shops. On November 19, Salt & Straw opened a new location in Culver City, marking the company’s 22nd store on the West Coast. Facing out on Culver Boulevard, the store features floor-to-ceiling windows and is conducive to social distancing to keep guests and employees safe.

Known for its innovative and experimental flavors, Salt & Straw is introducing a brand-new vegan flavor called The Great Cookie Swap, which captures memories of digging through the cookie tin at Grandma’s house during the holidays. Salt & Straw makes its own holiday cookies including strawberry thumbprints, crunchy gingersnaps and classic sugar cookies with festive sprinkles, which they mix up in a coconut cream base to honor a nutty macaroon.

“We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to open this shop during a year like this one,” Malek says. “Our co-founder Kim and I have long admired Culver City’s tight-knit and family-oriented community, and as all of our shops are designed to be places for the neighborhood to gather, this slice of The Culver Steps really spoke to us. While gathering in the traditional sense won’t necessarily be a possibility in the immediate future, we hope that the new shop can bring a bit of joy to our new neighbors this fall and winter.”

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