"". Tell Us About....Scent! | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

Search This Blog

Thursday 16 March 2023

Tell Us About....Scent!

 & The Tell Us About It Link-Up

Bottle of scent to illustrate a post about the scents and perfumes which have shaped women's lives. Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Dear friends. Welcome to another edition of Tell Us About, the challenge where bloggers from the UK, US and Australia respond to a prompt each month in their own unique way.

This month it's the turn of Jill from Grownup Glamour whose prompt is Scent.

I wrote about my own scent memories a while ago so I "phoned a friend" - several -   to gather some  perfume reminiscences. 

Oxana with her favourite perfume

Oxana, above, describes herself as a recovering perfume addict. She is trying to cut down on her use of scent for health reasons. Oxana explains: "I had a large collection of coveted perfumes, read about perfume and constantly tried new fragrances. 

"But after I had premature ovarian failure and menopause in my 30s, I read a lot about hormones and discovered that some chemicals used in scented products might be endocrine disruptive, as well as having other potential effects on health."

She tried synthetic fragrances with mixed results, and realised that she loved her favourite scent too much to give it up.  That fragrance?  Miss Dior, and in particular the now discontinued 2012 edition.    She bought several bottles of the old version to last her a long time. 

Oxana, 43, from Cambridgeshire, was born in the USSR and her first perfume was a sniff of a Soviet perfume that she found in her mom’s cosmetic cupboard when she was seven years old. She recalls: "It was so strong smelling, it put me off Soviet perfumes for life. 

"The first scent I remember falling in love with came in a tiny bottle of an Indian jasmine oil that my mom bought some years later. It smelled divine and I felt in awe."

Claire, below, from Sanderstead in Surrey, also remembers well her first fragrance.  "It was Magie by Lancome. It was bought for my birthday by my parents - probably Mum -  when I was about 14. I loved it and it felt like they were recognising I wasn’t a child anymore." 

Avon Calling

For many of us, the first perfume came from Avon.  April, below, from Warlingham on the Kent/Surrey border, recalls that her first fragrance in the late 70s was Avon Elegance. She says: "It came in a glass roll on bottle, a bit like a lip gloss. My friend’s Mum was an Avon lady, and it was gifted to me.  It was actually very nice."

Katrina,  a psychotherapist from Chipstead in Surrey, also started with an Avon scent, Apple Blossom. 

Leni, below, from London, also had familiar name for her first scent. Not Avon but Morny.  She says:  "I think it was what my gran used as her everyday perfume, French Fern. It was Miss Dior for best. I must have been around 7 or 8 years old. I remember I used to find it very old fashioned, but I liked the oak moss and green type notes."

The Scents of our Years

During our teens and 20s, we tend to power through perfumes at a fast rate, often influenced by trends and what others are wearing. 

April's journey will sound familiar to many:  she started with Aqua Manda by Goya, followed by Anais Anais and Body Shop White Musk. The first perfume that meant something to her was Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent, and she still loves it to this day. 

Katrina also remembers wearing some of the "de jour" perfumes: Revlon's Charlie, Cacheral, Opium and Opium Noir.  

Leni was less influenced by trends and had a few signature scents which she wore for several years:  Tresor by Lancome in the 90s, followed by Issey Miyake L’eau d'Issey in the early noughties. Green Tea by Bulgari was a brief favourite too. 

Life Events Change Our Perceptions

April craved a new perfume when she got divorced. She had adored First by Van Cleef and Arpels, and wore it for many years including her wedding day, and through her children’s  childhoods. When she got divorced in the late 2010s,  she didn't want to wear it any longer. She says: "I was on holiday with my children and best friend and discovered my next scent in the duty free at Majorca in 2016. It's been my favourite ever since."  Her new favourite is Terre d’Hermes, which is a man’s scent, woody and dry with some greenness.  

A Perfume for Every Mood - or a Signature Scent? 

Katrina likes to have several scents on the go and varies them by season or occasion.  In the winter she gravitates towards exotic, warm and spicy scents like Christian Louboutin Loubiraj, pictured below. 

Katrina avoids wearing a strong scent if she is seeing a new psychotherapy client or a client who was very sensitive. When working,  she favours a lighter scent such as Penhalligons The Favourite or one that has a gentle fade like Parterre Run of the River.

If it is very hot she reaches for Gallivant Tokyo as it has cucumber notes that Katrina associates with cooling off.  In the summer she chooses a light cologne that can be spritz repeated, such as Clarins Eau Dynamisante.

Claire likes a signature scent and it's currently Marrakesh by Chandrika Thomas, which she first discovered at a Spirit of Summer Fair at Olympia. She also loves Bluebell by Jo Malone, which was a present from a friend.

April says she has always been a signature scent person. "It was First for years, and now it’s Terre d’Hermes.  I don’t wear it everyday.  My partner is hyper sensory, with the most acute sense of smell, and can easily feel overpowered by scent."

Leni subscribes with artisan perfumer Ffern and receives a new seasonal perfume every three months. She says: "They have lovely chypre (oak moss) or fougere (fern) type scents. I think they remind me of my grandmother, herbal gardens and damp mossy woods."

Oxana says she went through a spell of enjoying aromatic green herbal fragrances and thinks it may be because she is never happier than when in nature or a garden.  "Although I realised that perfume can never replace the real thing, wearing Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca, Jo Malone’s Nettle & Wild Achillea and Miller Harris’ Fleurs de Sel in winter months reminded me of springs and summers to come and were guaranteed to put a smile on my face.

"I always liked perfumes where floral citrus is the main note. I call them happy fragrances - they may not be the most sophisticated scents in the world, but who cares when they bring so much pleasure and sparkle. Clinique Happy, Matiere Premiere’s Neroli Oranger and Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom were amongst them.

"When I want to feel sexy, I wear Dior’s Midnight Poison. It’s a delicious woody chypre creation for assured women, not girls. It’s definitely a night scent – dark, mysterious and captivating. I only put a tiny dot on a pulse, but gosh it makes me feel like a dare devil. It’s been discontinued too, which makes the small bottle I have very precious to me." 

What Are You Wearing Now? 

Oxana's current favourite is Miss Dior, as you read earlier.  For April, Terre d’Hermes, and an M&S Warm Neroli which she sampled in an Advent calendar. Leni has her latest organic scent from Ffern. For Claire it's Marrakesh by Chandrika Thomas. Katrina is dallying with Santal Volcanique from Maison Crivelli. 

Do Scents Remind You of Loved Ones?

Katrina:  "My mother wore Estee Lauder Youth Dew and even though she died over 30 years ago I can still remember how it smelt on her and on her clothes."

Claire: "I associate La Dolce Vita with a friend-she wore it before me!"

Leni:  "In the 1970’s/80’s my mother wore Magie Noire by Lancome and Opium by Yves Saint Laurent."

One of April's friends loves anything citrus, and she always associates her with O de Lancome and Jo Malone’s Grapefruit. "My Nanna used to wear 1471 cologne, and that’s a strongly embedded memory, and for my late stepmother it’s Chloe.  My lovely Aunt always wears Rive Gauche, and that’s a shared connection. Strangely, there is nothing for my Mum - she  rarely wears perfume."

Perfumes We Detest?!

April:  "YSL Opium makes me want to retch.  I generally find a lot of perfume overly sickly or lacking in depth; smelling like toilet cleaner!"

Oxana:  "Overpowering, sickly sweet or cloying scent, like Lynx Africa that my son-in-law used to wear. It was so strong; it gave me headaches. Luckily for me, he’s past this stage now!"

Claire:  "Angel by Thierry Mugler. It is so strong……."

Leni:  "Those sickly scents like Thierry Mugler’s Angel. It reacts with my skin and smells like cats’ urine on me. Any of those sweet heady boudoir scents that are inappropriate for daytime. I wouldn’t wear a pop star scent either."

Katrina lost her sense of smell for a time and she is so grateful to have it back that she doesn't detest any perfumes. "I lost my sense of smell in my 40’s for almost a year after a head injury and it was unknown whether I would get it back.  I really really appreciate my sense of smell and my sense of taste.  

"Unlike hearing or sight our ability to smell does not deteriorate with age, so I am looking forward to many more scent-filled years."

A good note to end on! 

More to Discover 

I hope you enjoyed these recollections.  If they prompted any memories of the scents of your years, and what your loved ones wore, do let us know in the comments.

Now you can discover what my blogger friends have written about Scent. 

Tasmanian blogger Jill from Grownup Glamour, whose prompt this is, describes how scent evokes certain memories. Read her post: https://grown-upglamour.com/2023/03/tell-us-about-scent.html

Australian Debbie from Deb's World is sharing her favorite scents, one a naturally occurring smell and the other a more manufactured scent.

US blogger Michelle from Following My Muse ponders on how we rely so much on our sense of sight, the information provided by scents doesn't get the attention it deserves. 

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue#AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling BoomerChic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge,  Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy BertoldiCurated by Jennifer (Wednesdays). 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

No comments

Post a Comment

Blog Design Created by pipdig