’85 Diesel

Auto Fragrance

On saffron tanned leather seats, in clothes that look like rugs, singing “we must never break the chain”. Lacquered chestnut paneling with puffs of burning fuel.

Top Notes

  • saffron leather
  • suede
  • vinyl

Heart Notes

  • white violet
  • hiba
  • castoreum

Base Notes

  • diesel smoke
  • earth dirt
  • galbanum resin

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In the 80s my parents drove Toyotas and Hondas. They were cool. But around the corner an English woman drove the neighborhood kids to school in a 1985 300TD Benz.

If it was cold, it would not start. I remember jamming into the back with 6 kids (no belts) and sitting on the springy saffron tan seat just freezing; the sweet smoke of diesel coming through the warming engine (and our color changing ski gloves). Driving around was big in my family. Life seemed careless and endless—as childhood often does.

We would pile in wearing our Vision Street Wear (my parents in oddly shaped orange, white, yellow, and brown shag-rug looking cloths) with our hair looking like the E.T. cast, and drive around the seaside towns of New England with the radio blaring Fleetwood Mac, Duran Duran, and Bob Marley Legend.

Most adults of that era found the 80s vapid and in poor taste, but man, how magic it seems to the children of the 80s. When Kavi and I bought our first car in NYC we almost went safe with some terrible modern monstrosity. But then we answered an ad on craigslist and found a pristine ’85 300 turbo diesel Mercedes-Benz for cheap. The scent was the same as I remembered. It seemed fancy to own what was once an actual luxury. It is a car of timeless elegance. Its boxy look brings to mind all 80s movies, the Alps, and awkward fancy life that wasn’t attainable to anyone I knew in the 80s.

This candle is an homage to that legend and smells of the air inside—so warm and dangerous.-D.S.


Listen to ’85 Diesel

What would play on the radio in a brand new 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300 Turbo Diesel. And nothing else.


  • When our fume master David creates our fragrances, he sees them in color. The throw of a particular aroma can be described in the colors it implies in the mind of one with synethesia. Vetyer can smell straw like yellow, patchouli, deep red, and so on. David is very enthusiastic about translating an idea from one discipline to another—so music, words, and ultimately color become aromas to wear on skin and in sanctuary.

  • A gassy leather note that smells of car interiors and fine sneakers.

  • A beguiling spice that smells like nothing else. Woody and loud and recalls the lands from whence it came—India and the Middle East. Wonderful in rose and oud, but sneaky in modern fumes as well.

  • We only use synthetic reconstitutions for ethical reasons. Castoreum smells like wolves’ bait used in trapping—which is to say fermented feces and leather tanning. The synthetic is decidedly more leather—richer dark brown and mahogany. Fancy jazz age elegance, horses, upholstery, gloves, cars.