Certain scents from childhood stand out…
The first being the smell of the Entenmann’s factory on my walk to grade school in Illinois.
The smell of magnolia trees, which I would press into water to make my own perfumes at around age 7 or 8.
The smell of my mom’s perfume, Most Precious by Evian, that was in a tiny bottle that I would smell as I dusted in her bedroom.
And the smell of my grandmother’s perfume, Obsession by Calvin Klein which I remember to be warm and spicy – just like my grandmother.’
One of my most treasured scent memories is the smell of patchouli, which reminds me of my mum.
The angriest I remember seeing her was when my sister and I smashed (by accident) a tiny vial of patchouli oil which mum had treasured for over a decade, whoops!
It was small, maybe a couple of ml, but the house smelled of patchouli for weeks.
Our mum cried because she was so upset, my sister and I cried because mum was so angry with us, our dad cried tears of laughter because he thought the whole thing was amusing, and after a few days, we all cried because the smell just would-not-go-away!
For a few years, I was under the care of my grandparents and lived with them.
My first and most formative scent memory is the jasmine plant that my grandfather grew on his balcony. To this day smelling jasmine just reminds me of him, collapsing all notions of space and time. It’s the magic of olfaction on display.
My favourite scent memory is Mon Paris by YSL because it reminds me of travelling to new destinations and the excitement and new smells that you encounter on your arrival.
It’s so hard to pick just one, but I can share the smells that bring me absolute unbridled joy (all because they remind of happy times and/or people/animals I love): bonfires, fresh squeezed limes, Bunny–my childhood stuffed animal, my cat’s head, & freshly grated pepper.
I’m oddly comfortable with the smell of petrol because it reminds me of my childhood in South Africa. I have fond memories of a particular petrol attendant who would make my siblings and me laugh so much that we’d roll around in the back of the car squawking with delight. I wonder whether he ever imagined, nearly half a century later, that little laughing girl would hold such fond memories in her heart ~ here’s to you, ‘Funny Man’.
A few summers ago the light floral notes of elderflower drifted across my garden and in an instant the scent entirely and unexpectedly took me back to my childhood garden in Kent, and I had the wonderful feeling of being home. The incredible transportive effect of that moment led me to exploring the scents found naturally in each of the twelve months and the idea of Loriest & Co began!
My grandparents live in the Spanish countryside; when I visited them for Chritsmas, I started paying particular attention to the smells surrounding the area- pines, immortelle, lavender papillon, and cistus.
Only in my early 20s after an education in perfumery I realised that I grew up exposed to the smell of one of the most important raw material back-bones in perfumery (re: cistus)!
I think that smell is very different from perfume, and it would be interesting to translate this special scent memory into a perfume.
There is a time in the year, right after the winter slowly sets down and at the spring reawakens, where you can smell a change in the air that suggests the arrival of spring.
It smells like the sun is coming up, the earth is breathing, the chlorophyll is waking up.
It is the end of the mineral authority of winter. The air smells like renewal nature.
The first time I smelled it, it overwhelmed me. And it still overwhelms me year after year.
I feel great emotion when winter fades away.