The way a smell can trigger a memory, is still a wonderful mystery. It’s as if we have a tiny time machine back there waiting for the right fragrance to whisk us off to days long forgotten and certain perfumes, more than others, seem to punctuate our lives and make those recollections even fonder. The other day I saw a bottle of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew which was my mother’s favourite. I picked it up. Same bottle, same colour, the little sash of gold around its waist tied into the same bow but the last time I had smelled it, even held it, was over 40 years ago so I expected some changes. I sprayed it into the air and indeed it was somehow sharper, a little processed, like a new cognac from an old barrel, but then a couple of minutes after it had settled something miraculous happened. The memories rushed in and within seconds I was a 6-year old in pyjamas, in my childhood home being baby-sat by my grandmother as my mother and father went out for the evening. It was the scent of excitement, watching them go to their glamorous party whilst leaving that fragrance behind her in the room, hanging in the air and on me as she kissed me goodnight and vanished like something out of a fairy tale. Forty years turned into magical mist. Then I realized my favourite smell in the world is love and the people it reminds us of.
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