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"scent memories"

Emily Chalmers – Global Associate Director at TALK PR

I’m lucky to be part of a very close, loving and supportive family – and many of my most treasured scent memories centre on this. My Dutch grandmother in particular has lived around the world and continues to be an inspiration to me today. She speaks eight different languages and raised four children across four continents – my father being one of them. She has the most incredible stories of her life in far-flung places, always infused with much excitement and a touch of old world glamour that only eras past can evoke. Her signature scent, “Rive Gauche” by YSL is extremely distinctive and she’s worn it for as long as I can remember. It’s the perfect balance of gentle florals and warm woody notes infused with a subtle sharpness that always has a comforting, calming yet motivational effect on me.


Leighton Denny MBE founder of Leighton Denny Light & Dark Fragrance Collection

When we’re asked about our scent memories we always go for the first smell that we remember or our first fragrance. I’ve said before that my answers would always be mandarin and Paco Rabannne XS, which was the first perfume that I ever bought, but another one of the scent memories that has been with me all of my life is leather.

Growing up in the eighties we all loved our leather jackets and I remember the smell that you used to get when you went into one of those stores. It was a rich, luxurious scent that just seemed to surround you. Throw in a suede coat and it felt like you were standing in the middle of a classic fragrance. I always used to remember back to that time whenever I smelled my rescue dog Rhino’s leather collar and lead. He was an absolute bundle of energy but unfortunately he died last year. So now when I smell leather it reminds me of him, and it always makes me smile.

When I launched LIGHT & DARK ORIGINAL in 2014 I wanted a classic, sensual fragrance that felt like you were being embraced when you wore it. This classic oriental style used patchouli, myrrh and amber to create the rich aroma, but I didn’t include leather. Maybe I should think about that for my next launch, perfume number five?!

LD HEAD SHOT 2016.[1]

Lucy Rutland-Behaviour Teaching Assistant

From the comforting smell of the washing powder my mother has always used, to the smell of my dogs shampoo, the majority of my scent memories link me to the comfort of home. None however compare to the smell of the pink Imperial Leather soap which my father always used when shaving in the morning – the smell takes me right back to the goodbye hug before school or the arguments about being late because he had decided to shave at the worst possible moment!

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Daniel Horner – Business Manager, Roja Parfums

One of my strongest scent memories I have would be surrounding the 51 collection. The reason this fragrance, especially the ladies scent, provokes such a strong memory for me is because I smelt it and loved it at such a pivotal moment in my life.
I had just become the manager for Roja Parfums at 51 Burlington arcade, the first flagship store. This was a huge achievement for me and something I was honoured to do, opening for the brand I have loved and been a part of for a long time.
This scent takes me back to the first day the boutique opened, the rich soft scent, teaming with sweet fruity warmth was magical. In my opinion it fitted the boutique so wonderfully, full of cool rose, such elegance; yet sweetened and warmed by the notes of jasmine and raspberry which complimented the beautiful colour of the crystals and the effortless glamour which the boutique holds.
The lily note in the 51 pour femme has always brought me back, alike to the Lily Extrait by Master Perfumer Roja Dove, to the memory of my mother and the bouquets she used to fill our childhood home with. This particular note always brings me happiness, and whenever or whatever I smell containing this makes me feel warm inside.
I will always recognise 51 pour femme as a positive and happy memory as it stands for so much progression and success in my life, but not only this, it represents a great achievement for Roja Parfums and how amazing it is being a part of it.


Lee Kynaston – Journalist

It’s odd the relationship a man can have with his fragrance. I have known Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel, for example, longer than I have known most of my friends or my partner. It has been my favourite fragrance for nearly 30 years and has been there on my skin when I have laughed, cried, worked, travelled and fallen in love. It was there when I went to University, when I secured my first job and when I tied the knot. Acquaintances have come and gone but Grey Flannel, like the most steadfast of friends, has stuck by me through thick and thin.
I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve been unfaithful: other fragrances have entered my life and caused me to stray. What can I say? I write about fragrance for a living so the temptation is there on a plate – and in a bottle. But though I do have a fondness for Givenchy Gentleman, Helmut Lang Cologne and Lagerfeld Classic, Grey Flannel is the fragrance I always come home to.
Although launched in the mid Seventies, I first discovered it though an ad in Eighties’ style bible Blitz magazine and instantly fell in love with its quirky grey flannel pouch and intoxicating (if polarising) mix of galbanum, geranium, rose, tonka bean and violet. And especially the violet. People who smell it on me often say it reminds them of the Parma Violet sweets they sucked on as kids. It’s a lot more complex than that, of course, but I get where they’re coming from and it’s a smell I find strangely comforting. So much so, in fact, that it’s my lucky scent when I need a little good fortune and in times of crisis I’ve been known to spray a little of it on my pillow. Linus from Charlie Brown has his security blanket and I have my bottle of Grey Flannel. But that’s how it is with a fragrance that you fall in love with: it’s always there for you.
The truth is, Grey Flannel is not the trendiest of fragrances to wear, nor one of the easiest to find in the UK, and I live in constant fear that one day it’ll be discontinued so I have a small, nuclear holocaust-style stockpile, but it must be doing something right to be here 40 years after it launched – not to mention to still be in my life after all these years. So if you find a fragrance that means as much to you as Grey Flannel means to me enjoy it, cherish it and keep it close: it really can be your very best friend.


Daphne Wright – Author

One of my earliest scent memories is full of almonds, violets, chestnuts and Madame Rochas. My mother was getting ready for a dinner party and had made her best pudding, led petits soufflés Elisbeth, so the kitchen was redolent of crushed ratafia biscuits, crystallised violets and macaron glacés that had been folded into cream. Pregnant with my brother, my mother was wearing a magnificent maternity top of black watered silk, decorated with a swirling ruby, emerald and gold dragon. It’s half a century ago, but the scents are as vivid in my memory as that glamorous swirling dragon and their magical soufflés.

Daphne Wright - Prefred


Semra Eren-Nijhar

Collection of smell memories of home and first smell memories of London-Britain by Semra Eren-Nijhar

“Smell is a tool of our belonging, identity and heritage and therefore it is important to find out how we relate to our olfactory heritage.”

–          Semra Eren-Nijhar –

My first smell memory is the Turkish citrus ‘kolonya – cologne’ and smell of coffee. These odours carry great significance and are a reflection of my upbringing in Turkey and Germany. They still play a great part in connecting me with my past, present and the future. And that’s why I was inspired to the small focus research on our olfactory heritage.

Michelle Feeney, Floral Street, Founder

“Since the age of three, when I first smelt the gardenias in my great grandmother’s cottage in Ireland, I’ve been captivated by scent.  The first fragrance that made an impact on me was Anais Anais. I was almost addicted and remember it making me feel really feminine – I guess it sparked a love affair with perfume and its expression of self.”

Jerome Ledaguenel

Collection of smell memories of home and first smell memories of London-Britain by Semra Eren-Nijhar

‘My first smell memory is the glue smell at school when I was 4-5 years old; I think we were doing some kind of arts craft. And the smell of rice pudding which my mother made is my home smell. The smell of rice pudding always reminds me of my childhood.

Apart from these odours I cannot recall any smell memory when I arrived in Britain, nothing special.

I use the fragrance “Desert” by Fragonard.’

Subbu Loganathan

Collection of smell memories of home and first smell memories of London-Britain by Semra Eren-Nijhar

‘My smell memory goes back when I was 5-6 years old and is the smell of the Sambar breakfast. As South Indians we use a lot of spices in our cooking therefore along with paprika my home smell is the smell of spices.

On my arrival in Britain I smelt the Cornish pasty and fried food, especially the smell of the Cornish pasty at Marylebone station.

I use the fragrance “Aqua Marine” by Bvlgari’

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