Scent is a curious sense, especially when dealing with different tastes, perceptions, and chemistry that make one fragrance appealing or repulsive to someone. These factors are also highly connected to our ability to associate different memories with particular smells, subconsciously or not. Since fragrance is such a personal luxury item – physically interacting with your skin and chemistry, yet moving in wafts to people within your personal space (or further, if you spray liberally) – knowing the composition or notes in a perfume are important in framing this sensory experience you give off to other people. It’s a part of you that can be carried and stored away in your olfactory memories and triggered in a spritz of scent or stranger walking by.
For me, fragrance is an obsession. Actually, it’s more like capturing memories with scent is my particular interest, one that I practice daily without noticing. I’ll associate certain places and experiences with specific smells that occurred then and categorize such a memory as “fun” or “peculiar” or “embarrassing”. It is also very interesting to note how our tastes changes as we grow older and see more of the world and have a wider span of experiences to choose from, just like expanding our vocabulary as a child to an adult: you see more and you can use more words to express that EXACT feeling. Ditto with perfume.
MY PERFUME HISTORY:
As a child, my family never wore scents on them but filled the house with smells of delicious (Chinese) food. The only scent I distinctly remember is my aunt’s house smelling like Dior’s J’Adore Eau de Parfum (though it may have been a similar-smelling plug-in diffuser). My Caucasian teachers in school wore perfume, but I always thought they naturally smelled so nice. That explains why I now associate rose and jasmine, like Dior’s Miss Cherie, to sweet, kind, grandmotherly ladies. So I started off liking the sweeter scents, like vanilla and sweet pea-and-peony kind of sweet.
Then in my teenager years, I discovered fresh, aquatic scents that tickled my fancy in regards to being scented but in a just-showered sort of way. Blue is a good colour to describe my scent leanings at that time since anything sweet and ozonic was appealing to me. Think D&G’s Light Blue and L’Imperatrice, as well as Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gioia. I remember going through a rollerball and full size bottle of that delightfully blue scent. Refreshing cool and calming, it was a perfume that my teenager years were not (I was quite a energetic little one, bouncing off the walls in orchestra and drama club).
Then came university where I stumbled upon the brand Jo Malone London and from there on, I was hooked. I remember seeing this brand on a Pinterest search for pretty shelves and when I went to Holt Renfrew to investigate, I began a relationship that I have never looked back on. I’d plan my weekend treks out from Waterloo back to Toronto just to go by the counter and smell (and sometimes purchase) the gleaming bottles of elegant goodness. The classic simplicity of the brand really captivated me and I’ve been their fan ever since (a good 5 years now).
Building on that newfound fanbase, I’ve amassed more niche brands under my umbrella of “refined classic glamour”: Diptyque, Hermes, Maison Francis Kurkjdian, and Chanel. What Jo Malone allowed me to do was to experiment with their wide spectrum of scents that carry fewer ingredients so I could more clearly distinguish between notes and determine what notes I liked, disliked, and more importantly, smelled good with my own chemistry. I’ve tried a good many colognes from their selection, ranging from the citrus to the florals, light florals, spicy scents, and even to their Intense line which included more exotic blends. It’s amazing how one brand can teach you so many things about yourself and how what you smell in the bottle can change when sprayed on skin. The chemical side is truly fascinating and that’s what I like to tell people when I explain my obsession.
It’s the most unique way to express myself. And it should be everyone’s goal to continually learn about themselves in order to better self-expression. Which is why I will divulge my top perfumes in rotation at the moment in time for the spring/summer season and reveal my current taste in scents 😉
Feel free to leave comments down below on what your favourite perfume brands are and why! I’d love to expand my knowledge (and collection)! ‘Til next weekend!