My scent memory is Paloma Picasso and when my now husband proposed to me in Bankok. We have now been married for 22 years and to this day when I smell it, it transforms me.
My husband has been buying me Chanel No.5 for 20 years… It will always remind me of him (I ran out of it in the summer!). Both my lovely Nannies wore lovely scents too, Coty L’aimant & a sweet violet one in a little round bottle, always used to pinch a drop! And my dad always wore Brut (only the glass bottle one) he’s been gone 30 years on the 25th 😢. It’s Youth Dew that reminds me of my mum when I was small, she now wears Coco Mademoiselle 😁🌹🥀
My very 1st grown up fragrance was Poison by Christian Dior – I was 17 years old (Poison is 25) and just like the perfume itself – I was madly, heady and intoxicated in love, with someone who’d I spend the next 12 years of my life with… sadly (or so at the time) the relationship itself was ‘poisoned’ and didn’t last!!
Some of the notes from Poison I’m still drawn to in my perfumes today like Vanilla, Rose and Amber
The scent of ‘Mitsouko’ by Guerlain takes me back to time when I was really young, maybe I was about 10 years old – I remember my Mum using this as she was getting all dressed up for her ‘date night’ with my Dad, whenever I smell this it takes me right back to her getting ready in their bedroom and it was always the last thing she applied before leaving the house.
We lived in the orange groves of Valencia for three years, and my first child was born there. At certain times of the year when the trees blossomed, everywhere smelt heavenly: neroli in the fields, saffron and woodsmoke on the air, rich incense in the churches, the fresh smell of eau de cologne and jasmine as people took their evening walk in the village. Annick Goutal’s Eau du Sud and Diptyque’s Philosykos remind me of this – golden sunlight glinting on water, a warm breeze in your hair. It’s a feeling of contentment – an elemental sense of being at home in the world and your skin. They are ‘my’ perfumes – and I still grow orange and lemon trees on the kitchen windowsill, and burn Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom candles at home to conjure up this magical time.
There was a scent Lancome used to make: Rouge Now Or Never. I remember smelling it one day walking through a shop and having to go around sniffing the different bottles until I worked out which one it was. It smells, to me, of my first job in the city, or dark evenings walking through twinkling London winter lights, of dark blue and silver glitter, of all the promise of young adulthood. The slim red bottle was like a science fiction artefact, the kind of glass key you could slip into a mysterious gate you never noticed before at the end of your road and disappear into… somewhere. Ahh, I’d love to find another bottle of it, but I think it’s gone forever.
One of my earliest childhood memories is stepping through the heavy oak doors of our village church with my parents. .The spirit of Christmas was in the air and as silence fell I remember clearly the fragrance of linseed oil and beeswax wax of the pews, the musty paper of antique hymn books opening and the citrus notes of oranges spiked with clove, so symbolic of Christmas time. Those magical nights, are memories of fragrance which stay with you forever.
My favourite scent of Christmas is chestnuts. I remember smelling my first one, being roasted by my grandad on the fire. It tasted just as good. Until this day, I always have chestnuts at Christmas. When I smell them being sold by street vendors, it takes me right back to being by the fire with grandad.