All through life we collect ‘olfactory memories’ – scents that remind us of a particular time, person or place.
Whenever I come across the scent of jasmine, I am immediately transported back to my childhood in Australia, where the flowers grew wild over our back deck. A place where my family used to languidly laze on summer days, my father, legs-crossed, ever-reclined with the Sunday paper.
Like most women, certain fragrances have bookmarked certain times in my life. For me, Clinique Happy heralded the start of my adolescence; my older sister tossing me a sample-sized bottle that was part of a gift-with-purchase. 10 years my senior, she could afford things like Clinique Powder Compacts. I wore the fragrance like a badge of honour, dotting my neck and wrists with the elixir that symbolised a coming of age. I now wore fragrance. It seemed so adult.
Next, a stint of Davidoff Cool Waters (that all my classmates wore, too), then Issey Miyake (a gift from my first love), followed by a trip to New York, traipsing around drenched in the signature perfume of Juicy Couture (fitting, in retrospect).
For my wedding day I hoped to find a fragrance that was ‘bride-worthy’. A scent that was delicate and innocent, yet sensual and magnetic. An easy find, right…?
At the time, I was the training manager of L’Occitane. One day in the office I was greeted with a scent that ignited an immediate, yet momentary flash of a memory. It was the inimitable notes of jasmine, taking me back to the days lazing on the deck among its wild flowers. The scent was drifting from the marketing teams’ desks, a new fragrance release named “Jasmine, Immortelle, Neroli”. Its combination with the sensual touch of Neroli and the golden warmth of Immortelle simply captured my heart. In a moment I knew it was “The One”.
On our wedding day I gave each guest a fragrance, so they too could have a scent to remember the day by. The men received a mini L’Occitane Oranger & Cedre, the women, a mini L’Occitane Rose et Reins. We tied tags around the necks of the bottles with our initials and encouraged everyone to wear the scent. As our wedding was in Bali, the weather was warm and balmy and the women smelled of Roses and the men, like Spring-time.
As for me? My scent was a memory from my childhood mingled with my future, as a wife.