There is one scent memory that is forever connected to Christmas for me and it’s the scent of mandarin peel. My family has a tradition of serving mandarins after Christmas dinner. The sweet, fruity, very juicy notes are forever connected to the wintery Russian Christmas. And every time we celebrate Christmas, it brings me right back to where I grew up.
One scent that connects to me, and I would say almost 60% of my fragrances, are ouds. It takes me right back to when I was a student at university. I had a great job. I worked at Portobello at a leather market on a Sunday. We used to get there a six in the morning. All day we were knitting up these wonderfully, richly, tanned leathers, putting them on and off people, and that smell, that almost pungent, heady, sweet smell has always stayed with me. Every time I smell an oud I think back to that time.
One of my favourite scent memories is the smell of my Mum and Dad’s wisteria that hangs over their front door. It’s over the house that I grew up in and they still have it! Dad has looked after this wisteria so well, he took a cutting from my Grandads wisteria from his place in France so it’s very precious to all of us. The smell of it when you walk underneath is steamy, sweet, hypnotic, and so deep and rich that it takes your breath away. It’s so fleeting because the flowers only come for a few days and then they will go grey and papery and they disappear in the air. You wait for the whole year to smell it and it’s so worth it.
I’m from the west coast of Canada so, as you can imagine, growing up surrounded by nature a lot of my scent memories are tied to nature. It actually rains a lot on the West coast, and this one for me is all about rain. The smell of petrichor, the earth after the rain, this earthy wet smell. No matter where I am in the world, after the rain, it instantly transports me back to the West coast where a piece of my heart is.
My scent memories bring back a warmth and a fondness of myself and my Boxer dog Ellie-May. We are in the rain, walking down that country lane, smelling the sweet aroma of honey suckle, but never finding or seeing where it is nuzzled but that very same spot would waft a sweet fragrance that you could never forget. We always looked forward to passing by and experiencing such a scent that would encourage you to lift your nose and send you into a scented magical spell-whirl.
Continuing to walk and smell the freshness of the pine trees that were dotted along the lane, watching Ellie-May enjoying and capturing the scents with a lift of her nose and a flair of her nostrils, twinkle in her eyes, as if also to show her appreciation of the scents that surround us.
Wild roses waiving out of the hedgerows, magically releasing their scent, beckoning you to go over and cup them into your hand and inhale the sweet scent, which enticed you to grasp once more and smell again in disbelief, that this rose scent could be so sweet.
Watching Ellie-May trot up and stop and sniff into the wild fern fanned out appropriately positioned at the edge of the lane and lifting her head as if to breathe the scent, both of us enjoying and capturing these wonderful scents, as we walked along this beautiful scent fest.
Now, Ellie May has gone over the rainbow bridge and I walk alone down this fragranced country lane, with each of these scents bringing back a memory of her and reminding me of how much we enjoyed our scented moments together.
My scent memories go back to a very young age and are connected to both people and places. My mother’s favourite flower, lilies, were the scent of our home. My hometown, Kavala-Greece, was an important production centre of tobacco, a scent that I remember vividly even today. Same applies to the scents of freshly made coffee, spices and sweets. Greece being a bridge between the East and the West meant that many raw materials passed through the country, leaving their scented trail behind. My grandfather would wear woody, musky, darker notes which to me translated to strength and security. On the other hand, my grandmother had a garden full of flowers: her gardenias were so beautiful and fragile that she would not allow us to smell them. I remember getting many times into trouble for doing so, that’s why I started to observe them and paint them instead. It comes at no surprise that our collection at Manos Gerakinis Parfums is a refined balance of notes, feelings and positivity.