Sunday, December 1, 2013

Scent and Memory

Of late, I've been exploring perfumes again. I have favorites - Magazine Street by Strange Invisible Perfumes, Lotus Garden by Pacifica, Tocca Florence, and others. But I've also a restless disregard for a "signature" scent. As my thoughts shift and change, so does the scent of the day - the week - or the month. What suited me last week bores me now. (And this is why I'll never be a bombshell according to a favorite style book.)

Fragrance is a very personal thing. Some scents bring back a memory. A fragment. A moment in time. A reminder of the past.
  • The perfume (Shalimar) my mother wore in my childhood
  • The blue Avon soap in my Southern grandmother's spare bathroom (which was for guests)
  • The smell of lilacs from my grandmother's garden
To this day, some perfumes are reminiscent of people for me. In any department store, a casual stroll is: "This is like Aunt X", "This one is Aunt W", "Oh, this is Mom's scent", etc. One of my aunts wore Chloe, another Vivid. Scents that spoke to who they were as my family does signature scents.  A classic is always the White Shoulders my great-grandmother wore.

My Russian grandmother wore My Sin for most of my life. For a godly woman, it was a provocatively named scent. For a practical woman, it was exotic bit of luxury. For a woman with classic style, it was perfect. They stopped making it, of course*. This is the way of material things - impermanent.

Last week, I took a stroll through Sephora and Ulta. To see what scents there are. Coach's Poppy caught my attention. As did a new "botanical" line by Guerlain. Not my style exactly, but very nice. Then I found a gorgeously packaged fragrance line called Nest. They offered a sample size collection of all 5 fragrances at a sale price.  Not my usual organic lines - but Trusov's Life Philosophy #1 came into play. (What's the worst that could happen?)
  • White Sandalwood - Reminds me of the beach and summer with a hint of baby powder. Perfect for my upcoming Florida trip.
  • Amazon Lily - Citrus and fresh, that one feels like spring to me.
  • Passiflora - Brings me back to my (mis-spent) youth when I worked at Bath & Body Works, specifically the Freesia line - but the grown-up version.
  • Midnight Fleur - That one is an aunt. The California aunt. The talented and artistic aunt. This is for days when I need a little more crafty savvy.
  • Dahlia & Vines - The scent description is very different, but to me it is a simplistic My Sin. And I know exactly when I'll wear it. 
From the Nest website

I'll enjoy these Nest fragrances when I wear them for the memories they bring, but none is quite "me". The signature fragrance search  (or at least the search for a fragrance that I'll like for more than a week) continues. But meanwhile, I'll enjoy these Nest fragrances.

Take-away - Sometimes you can find your way back along a path of memory by an unexpected path.

*One of my cousins, in our quest to find La Gram Russe another perfume, gifted her with  Juicy Couture a few years ago - which she likes; the thought of my 90-year old grandmother wearing makes me laugh. She's very adaptable. And that's why she's 90.

(Book references: The Emperor of Scent and The Bombshell Manual of Style. And, yes, I've read both. And more. Someday I'll post pictures of my personal library. It's "eclectic")



Another piece on memory, food+memory.


**I'm naming names; that's how I roll, because this blog post (like the whole blog) is unsponsored.**

5-1-15 Update - Mercy. Have found another perfume I covet. I need a spare job to fund these prices! 

12-11-13 Update - Who is going to be my new favorite human and get me this for the holidays?