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    The smell of eau de asphalt in the morning

    Most perfumes have notes of floral or musk. Others, like Eau de Blood, Sweat & Tears, hint of pavement. The new perfume honors Kathrine Switzer, who in 1967 was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.

    Equinox created the limited-edition vials with scent company 12.29. It’s part of the annual Commit to Something campaign, wherein the company honors leaders in various fields.

    This year, it has launched the Commitment Collection, a series of region-specific products that honor civil rights pioneers (stilettos made from banquettes at New York City’s Stonewall Inn); journalists (The Truth Lipstick, with a case made from Washington Post newspaper pages); and other notables.


    Equinox worked with 12.29 to create Eau de Blood, Sweat & Tears with input from Switzer. Some strains of the perfume are even infused with swabs of her DNA though, due to FDA concerns, they aren’t for public consumption. The fragrance will be unveiled at a special event for Equinox members April 14, complete with an appearance by Switzer. Members will get vials of the perfume. Meanwhile, gawkers can stop by Equinox’s Franklin Street location to admire the DNA-infused bottles on display.

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    “The fragrance is interesting. We asked her: ‘What was the weather? What did the air smell like?’ And we used it to pull notes to blend it into a scent. It’s not ‘a hint of jasmine’ or a ‘rose overtone.’ We’ve bottled the scent of asphalt, the rubber of a sneaker. It sounds not nice, but it’s incredibly appealing,” says Equinox creative director Elizabeth Nolan.

    The bottle features an image of Switzer being pulled off the course by a race official near the 2-mile mark. (Women weren’t formally allowed to run the marathon until 1972; Switzer registered as “K.V. Switzer” to slip by unnoticed.) She shook off the official and finished the race in 4 hours and 20 minutes.

    Might you see the limited-edition perfume on store shelves?

    “Never say never,” says Nolan. “If this became a cult hit, you never know.”

    Kara Baskin can be reached at