Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Scent of a Woman

Someone outside my office, sitting in the patient’s waiting room, is wearing my Mum’s old perfume, and it’s amazing how strange a sensation that is. I don’t even know what my Mum’s current perfume is, I’m sure it’s changed. I think what I’m smelling, wafts of nostalgia fighting the usual smell of old people and antiseptic, is Magie Noire, but I’m not even sure of that. You can’t google a smell after all. I’m having to restrain myself from dashing out there and yelling ‘Mummy!’.

I doubt Anna will ever have the same experience. I am a perfume maverick, constantly flitting between a few faves. For my birthday LK bought me this Marc Jacobs, Daisy gift set.

I know, lucky me.

I’m embarrassed to say I like the bottle more than the smell, but only because I LOVE the bottle. If I could come back as a perfume bottle, this would be me. The scent is inoffensive, floral and sweet. It actually reminds me of Palma Violets:

Does anybody remember those?

It’s not the kind of perfume that people will walk up and ask what you’re wearing. Unless they’re a diabetic. Case in point, LK asked when I was going to start wearing it, while I was slathered in the stuff - 3 squirts of perfume and some glittery body lotion for good measure.

When I was in my early teens I went on a school trip to Italy and the South of France. One of our excursions was a day trip to a perfumery in Grasse. I learned a lot about perfume, and how they vary in intensity and ‘honesty’ with different skin types. I do remember being told that very fair people should always go for lighter fragrances. In perfume terms I am a willo’ the wisp WASP. No fun. Even so, I feel like Daisy is getting lost on me. I’m somehow absorbing rather than radiating it. Still, at least the bottle is gorgeous.

My greatest perfume successes have been Light Blue (huge hit – even Anna tells me I smell good when I wear it, DULL DULL DULL bottle) and Dune (definitely not a subtle scent). I had a love affair with Michael by Michael Kors, the only perfume I’ve come across that smells like a bottled tuberose. That seemed to smell better in the bottle than on me though. I got married in Eternity (ha, bloody ha) but it always smelled slightly chemical on me, and I will occasionally wear Burberry Brit.

I would KILL to smell like this:

Purple Orchid Tree. I regularly go out of
my way in order to walk under this tree near my office.

As for LK, my favourite of all his aftershaves (of which he has none) has to be Tide Original Scent. Yum. I once read that married woman 'mark' their husbands by making their clothes smell like Downy - as no self-respecting single man would take the time to put conditioner in his wash.

What about you lot? Any recommendations? Any scents that define you?


LolaBloom said...

Hello there! Wanted to drop you a quick note and thank you for the message on my blog. I am finally up and running again and catching up in both the real and online worlds ;)

Still unsure what caused the symptoms for the past few weeks, heart checks out ok and so does gall bladder... probably on to lungs next, I think perhaps I had some infection that is slowly but surely clearing up.

On a note related to your post...I'm a big scent person, very sensitive to smells and have always had strong memory associations to various smells/scents. Most perfumes make me sneeze but the two I have landed on that I love on me are Donna Karan's Cashmere Mist and Burburry Brit.

hugs to you!

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

I had never given this much thought, but I can't tell you how much I love running into women who smell like my mother used to! I too couldn't even fathom a guess as to what perfume she wears now, but I could pick White Shoulders out of a crowd from 50 feet away!

As for me . . . I think buried somewhere deep in the bowels of my dresser is a bottle of CK One. I stopped wearing it when I got pregnant with Cooper because I couldn't tolerate the smell, and have yet to get it back out!

Almost American said...

I've given up wearing perfume, but when I was at Uni my favorite was actually an aftershave that an American boyfriend of mine used to wear. After we broke up, I bought a bottle and started wearing it as perfume. The other women on my corridor in the hall of residence would often ask to wear some. It had quite a reputation for attracting men! Ironic given that the packaging read "It may not put more women into your life, but it'll put more life into your women."

Expat mum said...

Gawd, Magie Noire. My flatmate used to wear that and we'd all nearly choke. As a teen I used to wear Shalimar, by Guerlain which is possibly even more cloying.
I am finding now that every time I like a perfume, they discontinue it. What does that say about me? I used to wear Armani years ago, which is still my all time fave - or would be if they hadn't discontinued it. Then my sister found a perfume by Next, called DEFINE. Fab, except this summer I found they had moved on.
I think I will just have to buy another bottle of Cashmere, as mentioned above. At least I know it's still around!

Hyphen Mama said...

In college my girlfriends and I experimented with guy colognes and whatever other women's scents were the rage at the time (I'll not list them, as that would make me seem REALLY OLD).

Today... I've got a bottle of Green Tea that I've had since the late 90's and I love it, but really... combining Green Tea with baby vomit isn't a good scent for me. So now I stick with whatever body spray from the Bath & Body shop that strikes me.

My husband wears manly body spray when he's working --um, his OLD JOB--not his new job. I LOVED it and would beg him to wear it at home. But alas, he always forgets.

ExpatKat said...

Parma violet! Yes, I remember those. Very unusual flavour.

My first perfume as a teenager was 'Charlie.' I loved it. Then I had a short daliance with Chanel No.5. before discovering Anais, Anais. It's the only perfume that doesn't bring on my asthma so I've been wearing it for the past 20 odd years!

I also took a trip to Grasse and learned about perfumes....before I ended up in Monaco with my nose pressed up at the Cartier window.

Janet said...

I seldom wear perfumes as they seem to set me off sneezing these days. I did used to like Anais Anais for daytime, and Opium for an evening out.