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The Fragrance Foundation UK

#ScentMemories

Kathryn Hefford

As I walk past the perfume section in Boots a yellow and white box catches my eye. I stop and spray the tester perfume onto my wrists. As the floral, woody and musky scent fills my nostrils I am immediately transported back over 30 years to the duty-free shop where my friend and I bought our perfume bottles of Giorgio by Giorgio of Beverly Hills, a perfume so strong and powerful that you felt like you could literally cut the air with it. My friend and I applied this perfume liberally all over our bodies throughout our Cypriot holiday, therefore, the aroma of the perfume and my holiday in Cyprus are inextricably linked in my memory. This was a holiday full of fun, laughter, and freedom, and the sweet and fresh notes of the Giorgio perfume, epitomises this time perfectly for me.

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Baroness Karren Brady CBE

My first perfume was from Avon, and it came in a bottle shaped as a unicorn. i loved it. It was very sweet, very strong and probably very offensive, but I didn’t care at all! I discovered a ‘proper’ perfume when I was 18 and still wear it to this day, it is le must from Cartier. As soon as I smelt it I knew that I had found my fragrance. It was worn by a very glamourous, beautiful woman and smelt like luxury/Christmas/elegance all in bottle! I thought I want to smell like that, I want to be like that!

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Emily Ingram, Studio + Social Media Manager – Dew Gibbons

Bvlgari, Jasmin Noir is a balance of masculine and feminine notes, at once deep and evocative yet light and fresh. I first discovered it during a summer spent boating along the Loire river, in the wine region of France – reminding me of gothic villages, heavy red wines and oh my, the cheese! It’s a scent I feel truly comfortable in on any occasion

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Emma Hill – Award Winning Beauty Writer and PR consultant

Hand me a ripe, green-backed pear.  Ask me to slice it in two and bury my nose in its ripe, wet scent and I am six again.   Shy, giggly, knock-kneed little girl.   It is summer.  Late afternoon.  A fire has been lit and its embers are glowing as I sit, cross-legged, with brothers, mother, father, snow-white haired grandfather, golden locked grandmother, a trace of what I now know to be First by Van Cleef & Arpels.

We are at the bottom of their garden in a village 30 miles due north of Enfield.  A barbeque before bed.  A segment from a ripe, just-sliced pear is placed in my hand.  Its scent is a confusing mixture of something new – not apple, not banana.  It is soapy and sweet.  Bubblegum will remind me of it when I first taste it at seven.  A scent by James Heeley called Bubblegum Chic will have a similar, beguiling pull when I am 40.  But of that pear you just cut for me.  I am six, that summer, with my family.  And my very first pear.

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Matt Gilpin – Design Director, Dew Gibbons & Partners

Gucci Envy for Men is my treasured scent. Launched in 1998 it was the first fragrance by Tom Ford while creative director at Gucci. And while not especially complex or niche it’s spicy, zingy green juice instantly transports me back to the turn of the millennium when I moved to London. It oozes sex appeal and the monolithic, oversized black lid feels really confident. What makes it especially sacred now is because it was discontinued in 2007 after a change in licensing laws. I found this bottle on eBay which I keep under lock and key for very special occasions, when I feel like a trip down memory lane.

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Kate Crofton-Atkins, Founder of Cochine

When I moved to Saigon, I was charmed by its every day scenes, from side streets overflowing with Jasmine to lazy, sun-drenched afternoons on the banks of the Saigon River. It was the scent of Jasmine in the street where we lived in Saigon that first inspired me to create fragrances. It was unlike anything I had smelt before – rich and all encompassing, yet beautifully fresh. It’s called Champa Jasmine, a flower indigenous to Southern Vietnam, and is the key note of the first fragrance I created for Cochine, White Jasmine & Gardenia. Each time I smell this fragrance, I’m instantly transported back to our garden in Saigon where the scent of Jasmine filled the air.

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Fabien Strawbridge, Creative Director at Aspects Beauty Company

The first time I came across Panorama by Olfactive Studio, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. This penetrating zesty fragrance had somehow managed to transport me back to my 30th birthday. A day I’d achieved my lifetime goal of trekking across the Inca Trail, in Peru.

As a child, I’d learnt about this mystical place that was Machu Picchu, and had always wanted to retrace the steps by explorer Hiram Bingham. Twenty years later, for my 30th celebrations, the 4 day trek across the Andes mountains turned out to be the toughest challenge I’d ever attempted. Blood, sweat and tears were shed at almost 14,000 feet. At one stage, I needed emergency oxygen to get over Dead Woman’s Pass. On the last day, and at the break of light, the mist lifted and we found ourselves at the summit looking down on this wondrous site. I remember the smell. It was of oxygen, of greenery, of a rebirth. It was both fresh yet damp, it smelled like the promise of a new day. At this point, my knees buckled. I fell to the ground and started weeping from the immense sense of accomplishment. So too did my mates, with whom I’d been travelling around South America with. This was followed by the rest of our trekking group. It became ridiculous, the sight of 17 adults, all bubbling like children, while our trek leader ran around handing out tissues. Months later reflecting on it, did I realise how this had been a symbolic moment. It was about realising how small we are in this world and how insignificant we are in history. I blamed the exhaustion, but I also knew the tears were about how I’d overcome pain and self doubt, how I was leaving my twenties behind, and how I would have to embrace every challenge, as an adult.

Incredibly, Panorama – a small understated bottle with a modest label, from an obscure niche brand – had somehow managed to trigger an emotion from a distant place. That’s the sheer power of scent, right there. Even today, when I feel uninspired, a simple spray of it does the job of reminding me that “I can do this”. Bravo Céline Verleure for creating this fragrance that is reflective yet reviving, nostalgic yet empowering.

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Joanne Bell, Brand Development – Dew Gibbons & Partners

First: Lancome La Collection, Mille & Une Roses 
This is my third bottle of this niche fragrance, only available in Lâncome boutiques. I first bought it in 1999 as the limited edition, 2000 et Une Rose in a stunning teardrop shaped bottle, which I wore to a suitably hedonist masked ball for the Millennium. Long before rose rose to preeminence in fragrance, it took the flower and grounded it with all sorts of dirty notes like amber, black pepper and musk. Due to the price, it only comes out on special occasions when I feel like being a femme fatale, but it always takes me back to that hedonist era and puts me in the mood to (elegantly) party…
 
Second: Sleep Knot, 4160 Tuesdays. 
This fragrance is a lesson in being open minded and to revisit previously strongly held assumptions – a salutary lesson for life. Having long held that white flower fragrances were the work of the devil, a perfume workshop with fragrance maverick Sarah McCartney of indie house 4160 Tuesdays left me clutching a bottle of this heady jasmine that is softened and spiced with ylang ylang, sandalwood and black pepper. I wear it to conferences and anywhere I need to network and go in with an open mind. Proof if any were needed, that fragrance has the power to change mood and inspire.
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Stephan Matthews- Fragrance Writer

It’s strange how the space of a year can alter what you think of as your most important #ScentMemories. When I wrote about mine last year it was Je Reviens and petrol, it’s an intoxicating mix, but this year my memory is very different. I’ll be spending this year’s National Fragrance Day in Paris, pretending to work, but also meeting up with Sylvaine Delacourte who used to be Guerlain’s Director of Fragrance Evaluation and Development.

One of her most controversial collaborations, and still one of my top five Guerlain perfumes, was Insolence. It was launched the year I joined the company in 2006 and so holds many happy #ScentMemories of those nine years. Maurice Roucel created an iris and violet fragrance bomb which took the perfume world by storm. It was designed for the woman who “never needs to apologise”, and you couldn’t escape any beauty hall without being sprayed by the “overdosed, high-voltage” pink explosion.

Once smelled it could never be forgotten, and Luca Turin famously described it as managing to “antagonise everyone by lacking all social graces”. I know that Candy Perfume Boy will agree with me when I say that it is absolutely fabulous!! Long live Insolence!

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