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The Fragrance Foundation UK

#ScentMemories

Olivia da Costa

One of my earliest scent memories is going as a child to stay at my Grandma’s and without fail she would run us a bubble bath with Badedas. To this day I am obsessed with Badedas, I still use it in the shower now and I’m so glad they still sell it because she’s not with us anymore but it reminds me of her every time. That, plus Imperial Leather bar soap which she had at every sink in her house, were some really early childhood memories. 

Fiona Embleton

My childhood summers in the USA were spent on an island called Chincoteague. It was almost a mythical place, part marshland, part beach, complete with wild horses galloping through frothy waves. A single sprtiz of that briny, mineral zing of salt water, tempered by the smell of citrus and ambery sunscreen is all it takes to transport me back to that magical place and remind me of what it feels like to have seaspray from the Atlantic lick my warm sunkissed skin. It was an innocent carefree time which makes it the perfect antidote to lifes current pressures.

Alice Du Parcq

One of my most favourite scent memories is of my auntie’s basket treasure trove. She used to sell baskets at the French markets and she used to make baskets as well, and as a kid we had this big dilapidated barn in my grandparents garden and she used to keep all her stock there. When we played hide and seek, with all my cousins, I’d go and hide in there and the scent of the baskets was overwhelmingly sweet, nutty, warm, reassuring, almost like the smell of straw. It is just a smell that is very precious and special to me. It reminds me of my family in France who I haven’t seen in a couple of years because of lockdown.

Tracy Beer

I have so many childhood memories of amazing smells as my Grandfather owned a florist and sweet shop next door to each other. Internally there was a linked door and I remember shifting between the sweet smell of Turkish Delight (and as of today it is still my favourite sweet to eat!) then the smell of the vivid pink roses in the florist. I am so excited for the next Parfums de Marly launch which mixes both floral and gourmand notes – watch this space!

Sarah McCartney

I was a well behaved child, generally speaking, but at the age of two I had one day of behaving badly.

The coup de grâce on my trail of unexpectedly naughty acts (stepping into a bucket of soapy water in my socks and shoes, squirting orange squash over the breakfast table…) was to pick buds off our beautifully aromatic mock orange bush and shove them up my nose so I could carry the fragrance around with me. This still seems quite reasonable. I was hurled into the pram with my baby sister and pushed at a sprint to the doctor’s surgery.

Despite the indignity of having them picked out of my nose with tweezers, the fragrance of the mock orange remains one of my favourites.

Haydn Williams

Mine is probably quite a common one (for a child of the 70s in the U.K!) but I love tobacco accords largely because they evoke strong memories of being in my Grandparents’ front room, which was regularly filled with the aroma of Grandad’s pipe smoke. He would perform the intricate rituals that went with it, getting just the right amount of tobacco from the pouch and then packing it into the pipe. At that stage it had a damp, earthy smell and he performed a series of puffs to ignite it. Once lit, it would become a rich, reassuring, smoky fog – and I always imagine it in conjunction with the faint soundtrack of horse racing on the TV!

As always, there are wider associations than just the scent itself – it encompasses the man himself, fond memories of childhood , the excitement of seeing grandparents, the place he lived and a snapshot of that period in time – the music, the decor, Christmas as a young child – I could go on.

In terms of fragrances that conjure up this memory, I’m drawn to Cedarwood Heart from @ostens_official because of the subtle smoke accord. When I smell it on my shirt or jacket it instantly transports me to my Grandad’s front room and makes me feel warm – and a little reflective. That kind of happy/sad – you know?

Jessie Rosenberg

I’m taken back to a place of safety and excitement through the early morning dewy grass. This time of year, when the night turns to morning, and the grass is still wet and cold, but the blue sky and sun in slowly warming up the earth and there’s a smell of sweet, green, freshness that’s heaven for me. Growing up in the countryside and never wearing shoes, feeling the grass between my toes and looking up at the sprouting green leaves and creating in deep earthy, fresh notes. Fragrances that embody nature, those are my scent memories.

Catherine Mitchell

‘I have hesitated answering this for a while as I do not know where to start. There is no one Scent Memory – my life has a play list of perfumes which, I now realise,  follow olfactive themes, particular perfumer’s creations and fashionable blockbusters, each telling a story about a phase in my life.  However there are two Scents which anchor all others.  They are Femme de Rochas,  its wonderfully voluptuous bottle sitting on my Mum’s dressing table as she gets ready for a night out in the early 70’s with all the intricate hairpieces and hairspray which that involved!  The second scent is Three Nuns tobacco which instantly recalls my very contented father preparing and filling his pipe. Sadly the yellow tobacco stains on the ceiling became too much for my Mum and Dad’s pipe smoking days were over. I am sure Three Nuns would be his Scent Memory!’

Beth Horn

‘There are so many!  Growing up, we had lilac trees in our garden, and when they were in bloom, the scent was absolute heaven.  In my early 20s, I have a vivid memory of a brilliant Sephora store associate recommending L’Eau Par Kenzo to me by saying, “It is life” – and he was correct, it smelled like youth and fresh possibility.  Beautiful by Estée Lauder will always remind me of a warm hug from my beloved late grandmother.  And every time I wear Gardenia by Chanel, I’m transported to Paris, where I first bought it.’

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