Today I took some time out to have a clean out of my bedroom, and began sorting out my perfume and make-up. I realised I have far too much perfume for one person, but I find myself on every trip “stocking up”, which is madness as my perfume shelf looks like I am stocking up for a nuclear winter. Last trip alone I bought four new bottles. A Paul Smith, two by Agent Provocateur, and one by Jo Malone I bought on a whim. As of this afternoon I still didn’t know what it even smelt like.
I love Jo Malone colognes. I have Mandarin and Basil, Orange Blossom and now White Jasmine and Mint. The White Jasmine and Mint took me by surprise. It’s sort of…well, old fashioned. I can’t describe it any better. I put it on when I opened it, and instantly thought of old ladies. Now, this may be considered to be a bad thing, but it was actually the smell of kind old ladies. And the longer I wore it I realised it wasn’t the smell of just any kind old lady, but my Great-Grandmother, Myra.
I’m fascinated about how scent is one of our most powerful senses. Gardenias will forever be about Christmas for me, and the tree at the front of my Nan’s house. When the flowers got burnt by the summer sun they smelled the best, the most intense. Cinnamon brings me back to my twelve months in America (it’s everywhere!). I bought a fragrance from Bobbi Brown called Beach, which smells exactly like Coppertone (and yes, I do wear it) which in turn reminds me of Wollongong and a life time of summers at North Beach.
I think Aveda uses fragrance well. Most of their products appear to be set with the same base fragrance, which you also smell in their store. Another memory link is then bought home through their day spas. I haven’t been to one in years, but every time I get a whiff of that smell, I’m bought back to being wrapped up in towels and having my back rubbed. A very nice memory.
I’m reading that more and more “experiential” brands are getting more deeply involved in fragrance. I’m sure there are many that are using it that I’m not even conscious of.
So after my clean up I decided to have a stroll in the fading sunshine and get out of the flat for some air. As I walked home I passed an elderly man on Albermarle Street, who smiled and said “You smell nice.” I wondered who I reminded him of and if she and my Nandie Myra had shared the same perfume.
- Some interesting reading here on what smells are most likely to be linked to childhood memories
- a brief run down here of how we physiologically remember scents and smells
- and here I found a lovely quote by Roja Dove…“A fragrance is like a cat burglar in your brain, it has the key with which to pick the lock and unleash your memories.”