My scent memory comes from quite far back in my childhood. When I was little my family lived in California, and my father would drag us to every single national park. This one summer, he took us to see Redwood trees. In this redwood forest, I remember the smell of the bark, the slight dampness that was their underfoot, and this enormous sense of space. But that very very dry wood is definitely responsible for my love of all woody ingredients today.
I really like the notion of scents being these little time machines that bring us right back to exact same place and time. For me there is one particular scent that is imprinted in my memory and it’s the scent of my mothers red lipstick. Creamy hues, red rose, dewy petals all of the scents are so alluring it makes me want to eat it! It was the time I started to wonder about how scents evoke our other senses and they have this wonderful power about them.
My scent memory is that of my dad. My dad used to work with a lot fragrances that were sandalwood based which drew me closer to the material of sandalwood. Everytime I create I try to encoporate sandalwood into my fragrances because it just takes me down a journey of being protected by my father. Sandalwood is my scent memory.
One of my earliest scent memories is going as a child to stay at my Grandma’s and without fail she would run us a bubble bath with Badedas. To this day I am obsessed with Badedas, I still use it in the shower now and I’m so glad they still sell it because she’s not with us anymore but it reminds me of her every time. That, plus Imperial Leather bar soap which she had at every sink in her house, were some really early childhood memories.
My childhood summers in the USA were spent on an island called Chincoteague. It was almost a mythical place, part marshland, part beach, complete with wild horses galloping through frothy waves. A single sprtiz of that briny, mineral zing of salt water, tempered by the smell of citrus and ambery sunscreen is all it takes to transport me back to that magical place and remind me of what it feels like to have seaspray from the Atlantic lick my warm sunkissed skin. It was an innocent carefree time which makes it the perfect antidote to lifes current pressures.
One of my most favourite scent memories is of my auntie’s basket treasure trove. She used to sell baskets at the French markets and she used to make baskets as well, and as a kid we had this big dilapidated barn in my grandparents garden and she used to keep all her stock there. When we played hide and seek, with all my cousins, I’d go and hide in there and the scent of the baskets was overwhelmingly sweet, nutty, warm, reassuring, almost like the smell of straw. It is just a smell that is very precious and special to me. It reminds me of my family in France who I haven’t seen in a couple of years because of lockdown.
Mine is probably quite a common one (for a child of the 70s in the U.K!) but I love tobacco accords largely because they evoke strong memories of being in my Grandparents’ front room, which was regularly filled with the aroma of Grandad’s pipe smoke. He would perform the intricate rituals that went with it, getting just the right amount of tobacco from the pouch and then packing it into the pipe. At that stage it had a damp, earthy smell and he performed a series of puffs to ignite it. Once lit, it would become a rich, reassuring, smoky fog – and I always imagine it in conjunction with the faint soundtrack of horse racing on the TV!
As always, there are wider associations than just the scent itself – it encompasses the man himself, fond memories of childhood , the excitement of seeing grandparents, the place he lived and a snapshot of that period in time – the music, the decor, Christmas as a young child – I could go on.
In terms of fragrances that conjure up this memory, I’m drawn to Cedarwood Heart from @ostens_official because of the subtle smoke accord. When I smell it on my shirt or jacket it instantly transports me to my Grandad’s front room and makes me feel warm – and a little reflective. That kind of happy/sad – you know?
I’m taken back to a place of safety and excitement through the early morning dewy grass. This time of year, when the night turns to morning, and the grass is still wet and cold, but the blue sky and sun in slowly warming up the earth and there’s a smell of sweet, green, freshness that’s heaven for me. Growing up in the countryside and never wearing shoes, feeling the grass between my toes and looking up at the sprouting green leaves and creating in deep earthy, fresh notes. Fragrances that embody nature, those are my scent memories.
‘I have hesitated answering this for a while as I do not know where to start. There is no one Scent Memory – my life has a play list of perfumes which, I now realise, follow olfactive themes, particular perfumer’s creations and fashionable blockbusters, each telling a story about a phase in my life. However there are two Scents which anchor all others. They are Femme de Rochas, its wonderfully voluptuous bottle sitting on my Mum’s dressing table as she gets ready for a night out in the early 70’s with all the intricate hairpieces and hairspray which that involved! The second scent is Three Nuns tobacco which instantly recalls my very contented father preparing and filling his pipe. Sadly the yellow tobacco stains on the ceiling became too much for my Mum and Dad’s pipe smoking days were over. I am sure Three Nuns would be his Scent Memory!’