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Thread: Nose-talgia

  1. #1
    DeeOlive's Avatar
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    Default Nose-talgia

    What a wonderful olfactory memory experience it has been for me in the last few days, since joining here, constructing my list of perfumes I used to own for the wardrobe section; so many scents I had forgotten, and am remembering more as I look at the wardrobes of others. At age 60, one tends to forget what affected you as a teen or young woman embarking into the world of dating and parties and fashion.

    Some evoked such strong flashes I decided to order a few smaller versions, wondering why I had let them slip away into the past…hopeful that they will still remain relevant on today’s body chemistry. Many seem hopelessly gauche or garish at this point in my life, and I would never think to revisit them.

    Also constructing a list of what I own today has sent me rummaging through my dressing room, and the guest bathroom, where I’ve left bottles of scent infrequently worn for houseguests to use as they will. Revisiting bottles left unsniffed and unworn and discovering that some are better than I thought or remembered, wondering why they were sent to perfume Siberia in the first place.

    As I perused the directory, the floodgates opened onto memories of scents that I first sniffed on my mother and grandmother. When I was a child my mother always smelled of Blue Grass which she splashed on, and she used the powder as well; in later years she wore only Chanel No 5, and 10 years before she died switched to Samsara, a scent I cannot wear simply because it reminds me too much of her, though I keep a small bottle at hand in tribute.

    My grandmother usually smelled of something Gardenia. I remember her dressing table had a bottle of scent that always fascinated me – it had a large bottle of something with golden flecks in it which I would lift gently and shake – watching the gold swirl – almost like those glass globed snowflake curios. Had to search to recover the name – it was 20 Carats. Smiled too when I remembered that she had a bottle of Evening in Paris – dime-store elegance, along with Youth Dew.

    One particular godmother, who always reminded me of Auntie Mame, gifted me with my first grown-up bottle of perfume at age 11, which my mother heartily disapproved of, thinking me too young to wear scent at all - I cherished it and used to sneak a dab on my way to school, feeling quite grown up in it and tres sophistiqué; Je Reviens. Another friend of the family, an actress, gave me a small bottle of violet perfume, which I kept for many years, but no longer remember what it was, and sadly have never been able to find again.

    My own explorations of scent as a teen and young woman ran towards scents like Madame Rochas, and Y was worn with disco clothes by Betsey Johnson from Paraphernalia Boutique. My Puerto Rican cousins introduced me to Flor de Blason (sold in local drugstores and almost impossible to find today) and Maja; Charlie came later, and Ciara, and Halston and Opium. I tried to wear mom’s Chanel No 5 – hated it, it did not match my body chemistry; happily at age 50 my chemistry changed and I love it

    Can’t forget to mention my father, who in early days smelled of Old Spice and Bay Rum, then as family finances changed for the better he upgraded and stuck to Grey Flannel till the end of his life.

    Anyway – it’s cold here in the country today and I am off from work; enjoying taking time out to write this all out, and the trip down memories’ scent ways. Hope other folks will share what they remember from childhood.
    Last edited by DeeOlive; 9th November 2007 at 02:10 PM.
    The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.
    Chanakya

  2. #2

    Default Re: Nose-talgia

    What a great post, Dee. My mother wore Madame Rochas when I was a child, so I will forever associate that with her. However, one of the first perfumes I chose for myself was Mitsouko, and was surprised to discover it was one my mother wore in her youth.

  3. #3
    DeeOlive's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nose-talgia

    Hi Indiscreet,
    Thank you. Mitsouko is a Guerlain I've never owned - but is on the way here. My 60th birthday present to myself was to decide I would buy my entire wish list - and that was at the top of my list. And am going to resample Madame Rochas.
    The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.
    Chanakya

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nose-talgia

    Growing up, I always associated the smell of my mother by the smells in her handbag...

    The olfactory memory of tobacco, peppermints, leather and Youth Dew are etched in my mind. For as long as I live, this "nostalgic composition" will always be my 'signature scent' for her!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Nose-talgia

    What a lovely introduction and a warm welcome to you. As you hunt down your cherished memory scents, remember it's not only you that have changed. Maja in particular was entirely reformulated and is no where near the bombshell she once was. It's one that I remember and once loved and I'm hoping that the vintage bottle I am waiting for is a lot more like what I remember.

    And I also recall Old Spice as a Dad scent.
    Last edited by Kyra; 10th November 2007 at 06:39 AM. Reason: more

  6. #6
    DeeOlive's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nose-talgia

    Kyra- thank you - had no idea Maja was reformulated but not sure I even remember how it smelled - twas so long ago. Will ask a friend that deals in antiques and collectibles to keep an eye out for older bottles for me when he is scavenging at house and estate sales...

    Dimitri - what a lovely memory - I too remember the scent of my grandmother's handbag. she always had violet scented hankies, and a small packet of mints and numerous other items in that large treasure chest.

    Thinking back - I also remember that most of my aunts and moms friends had a powdery scent mixed with whatever they wore - I don't think young women today use those big powder puffs and dust themselves with body powders the same way women did in the past. But perhaps I'm wrong.

    My current experience is with my undergrads - and most of them smell of body odors, (sans deoderant) unwashed clothing and a haze of other scents - cannabis and cigarettes. I have taken to bringing a room spay into my classroom. One hour with all those unwashed bodies in an unventilated room is unbearable for my nose.
    The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.
    Chanakya

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