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The Fragrance Foundation UK

#ScentMemories

Veronica Henry – Author

As teenagers locked away in an English boarding school,my friends and I lusted after nothing more exotic than Avon’s Pretty Peach bubble bath or a Bromley lemon soap – innocuous anodyne scents that were reminiscent of nothing but a draconian bath rota.  So when I smelt Opium by Yves St Laurent for the first time, it transported me to a place beyond my wildest dreams and smelled like the person I wanted to become – a glittering glamorous party girl, sophisticated and a little bit dangerous.  But of course it was well out of my reach. I remember having a dinner party one New Year’s Eve, and thinking I was terribly grown up.  I went in to our local department store and splashed Opium onto my neck and wrists.  It lasted long into the night and lingered on my dress for ages.It was years before I earned enough to buy my own bottle with its silken tassel and it took pride of place on my dressing table.  It makes me think of music and laughing and dancing on tables, even now, and I still adore it.  A perfume for behaving as badly as you want.

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Jane Thynne, Author of the Clara Vine Series

I’m fascinated by the link between scent and memory and it’s one that I’ve often explored in writing. Because the olfactory centre is so close to the hippocampus, the seat of memory, perfume triggers vivid recollections in a way that sight and sound alone simply can’t. My first powerful perfume memory comes from early childhood when we living in the West Indies and my mother would come to kiss us goodnight before yet another expat cocktail party. She brought with her a waft of Nina Ricci’s Air du Temps, a scent I still associate with sheer distilled sophistication, plus an undertow of sadness because she was leaving. It was important, when creating my fictional heroine, Clara Vine, that I gave her the right perfume, so she wears an iconic Thirties brand, Bourjois’ Soir de Paris. Ironically, because Clara is not only an actress but a spy, she sometimes has to forgo her signature perfume because it identifies her, but the fruity concoction of rose, violet and jasmine is one I totally associate with Clara and I often wear it while writing. It’s way too sweet for modern tastes, but smelling it takes me straight into the past – this time not a real, but an imagined one!

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Sadie Frost – Producer

My grandparents ran a corner sweet shop in the 70’s in manchester- there was a concoction of smells which all seemed to fit together perfectly. From the old coal fire with it’s distinct smoke and woody aromas, to the perfumed sweetness of lemon drops and the spicy liquorice all sorts.

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Zarko Pavlov Ahlmann – ZarkoPerfumes

In Denmark, you could hand in empty bottles to the local shops and receive small amount of money as a deposit for them. So as a young boy, my brother and I, would spend our free days searching a beach, called Hornbeak for them. It was a never-ending long beach and was also our back yard.

We used to run, play, explore and always make sure to collect enough bottles to buy an ice cream so at the end of the day we would be able to leave with 2 scoops of homemade vanilla ice.

I can still remember sitting on the top of the hill, looking out at the sea, enjoying our ice creams. The scent of warm sand and sea water in combination with vanilla – and having my brother there… this, for me, is truly the essence of peace, innocence and brotherly love.

I still live in Hornbeak and whenever I wander down to the beach, I always stand on that hillside, breathe in the air and get transported back to my youth days with my brother.

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Janey Maple – Office Manager

My scent memory is Lily of the Valley which my Nan wore. I think it was by Yardley and we always bought her items from the range for mother’s day like soaps and body lotion as well as the perfume .
It is a warm and comforting memory – as she was as a person – the scent suited her perfectly !

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Lawrence Hall, Commissioning Editor

The smell of roasting sweetcorn at Notting Hill Carnival takes me back to my childhood in Kenya; clutching my mother’s hand as we wound through the bustling Maasi market. Though the memories have been diluted by time, the redolence of those blackened kernels instantly transforms me into that excited child again.

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Jane Boardman – CEO, Talk PR

I grew up the daughter of a pharmacist – my father owned shops throughout my early childhood so fragrance was in my blood from the very beginning.  My mother ran the shops and did the buying and loved fragrance.  Her personal favourite was Youth Dew by Estee Lauder and every christmas my father would treat her to something from the range – she loved the body lotion and cream, the body powder, the soap and so on – you could say she was an early adopter of what we now call layering.  The smell of that divine fragrance filled the house and even now reminds me of Christmas … and of my childhood – the close-knit and loving family I was so lucky to be part of and of course, of glamour & beautiful things.

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Katie Parkin- Consultant, Debenhams

Lacoste Touch of Pink reminds me of joining my football team for the first time and I have now played football for 8 years and smelling it always reminds me of Sunday football mornings.

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Sarah Jessica Parker – Designer, Artist & Business Woman

I was living and working with an actress called Mary Mcdonnell, we were doing a play in Maine together. She wore Aliage by Estee Lauder, I was mad for Aliage. It was the first grown up fragrance I bought.

 

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