Signature Scent

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. ~Diane Ackerman

Scent can be a powerful memory trigger.

My great-grandmother always smelled like Estee’ Lauder’s “Youth Dew.” The scent lingered in her home even after she was gone. To this day, I will pass older women in the store and think “it smells like my Mamaw was here.”

My grandmother always wore Yves St. Laurent’s “Rive Gauche.” I remember playing beauty shop in her bathroom, patting my face with her powder puff while the blue and black and silver cylinder sat elegantly on the countertop.

My mother always wore a very difficult to find perfume called Teatro Alla Scalla. My father will spend a ridiculous amount of money every year to find a new bottle, just in case she runs out. It drives my mom nuts, frugal woman that she is. She’s tried to change scents more than once, just because it bothers her to spend that much money on a bottle of perfume. But my dad doesn’t want her to change. “You won’t smell like you anymore,” he claims. Even she admits that it would make her sad to wear something else, because this scent has represented her for so many years. My sisters and brothers and I agree with her.  It would be sad. When I hug my mom, that scent takes me back to my childhood and makes me feel like I’m home.

My signature scent has changed a little over time. I am not a floral kind of woman, and tend to prefer spicy/woodsy orientals that aren’t too heavy. If you’ve ever looked for a new scent, you may understand how difficult that combination is to find. I wore Fendi for many years, until they stopped making it. I wore Chanel’s “Coco” for awhile, too, but as I got older, I felt it was too heavy for every day wear, and because of a difficult marriage and divorce I had some bad memories associated with it. For the past several years, though, I’ve worn Hermes “Eau de Merveilles” and I love it. It’s spicy, slightly herbal but not at all floral, and just light enough to wear every day. And I love that my daughter can wrap one of my scarves around her neck while she plays dress up, and say, “oh, mommy, this smells like you.”

What about you? Do you have a signature scent?


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