Today is National Fragrance Day! I hope you’re all wearing something that makes you feel fabulous. I can’t make my mind up and have about five on each arm. Check out my #smellfie! Jolly hard without a selfie stick.
National Fragrance Day is the perfect time to look at the role that our sense of smell plays throughout our lives. Carrying on the theme of scent memory, I have rounded up ten of what I feel are the most evocative and triggering scents around. Smelling the fragrances below is like using a time machine. If ten scents could tell my life story, it would be these.
1. Library of Fragrance Baby Powder
Although I never used baby powder on my children, the smell of this brought back what I fondly call The Wet Wipe Years. Little peachy baby bottoms and those chubby hands that gripped my finger- all brought back in an instant. They were the most magical years of my life. I have forgotten the torture of sleeplessness. All I remember is how entranced I was with everything they did. And yes, I was a crashing baby bore and I don’t care.
2. What I Did On My Holidays 4160 Tuesdays
This fragrance from Sarah McCartney captures the smell of peppermint rock, sun lotion and the unique vinyl smell that says “seventies caravan interior”. Despite it’s playfulness, it’s worth taking seriously. However, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing to accessorize this with a Kiss Me Quick hat.
3. Library of Fragrance Grass
I once described this as smelling like fairytale grass. This is the opulent green grass that was coveted by the The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Sweet, juicy and green, this is a knockout on a hot day. An honourable mention must go to Library of Fragrance Tomato which took me back to my late grandfather’s greenhouse faster than a TARDIS.
4. Christian Dior Poison
Although I never wore this myself, one sniff transports me back to the sixth form common room in 1987 when Poison was still new and much beloved of my fellow sixth form girls. It was indisputably iconic and despite me not liking it at the time, one sniff today sends me into raptures that make think of Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter. More than any other fragrance around at the time, Poison WAS the Eighties.
5. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey
In a similar vein the Nineties could be summed up by one fragrance. Most of my friends smelled of it and I can never smell L’Eau D’Issey without thinking of those carefree years in London. I wore Chanel Cristalle unwaveringly during this era, but I remember what my friends smell like more than what I smelled like. No responsibilities, very few mobile phones and dog eared copies of Time Out to get my social life in order.
6. Library of Fragrance Salt Air
This is a magical fragrance that does exactly what it promises. This is the salty air of the harbour in Tenby, without the fish. It has that unique tang of sea spray and seasides. Refreshing and addictive, Salt Air will take you back. And make you fancy a bag of chips from the paper.
7. Cacharel LouLou
There I was, arriving at Exeter University in October 1988, having marinated myself in LouLou to tell this new world I was coming. You couldn’t miss me. It’s ironic that I thought Poison was too strong, but wore half a gallon of LouLou to breakfast. Belated apologies to my fellow diners.
8.The Body Shop White Musk
This is another Eighties scent I wore, which along with Dewberry, scented every bus, train, home, school and High Street throughout the decade. I yearn for the long gone Body Shop Perfume Bar. Huge bell jars of perfume oils with long glass dipping sticks. Sit and sniff and then go up and get a little plastic bottle filled from the counter. Sadly there are no plans to ever bring it back, but think how popular it would be if someone did! (hint, hint). Out of every perfume I have ever worn, this gets the most misty eyed comments.
9. Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance Collection
A beautiful capsule collection of three scents inspired by childhood memories of gardens. It’s spot on too: in Cassis D’un Feuille there’s earthy tomato and blackcurrant and fern. In Coeur de Jardin there’s pear, flower petals and moss. Poirier d’un Soir is very, very pear indeed, and has a lovely innocence about it.
And finally, let’s not forget Christmas. For a trip right back to the Christmases of childhood, Serge Lutens Arabie is a rich gourmand that is saturated with rich dried fruit like my mother’s whisky drenched Christmas cake. It also smells very much like Nigella’s Black Cake, in which the fruit is so drunk it has to spend a night in the cells. If you can’t get hold of any, then Library of Fragrance Gingerbread or Fireplace will give you that fireside moment that says “is it cooked yet Mum? I don’t mind it warm.”
All Library of Fragrance scents are available from the Library of Fragrance website. Prices range from £9.99-£15.00. 4160 Tuesdays What I Did on My Holidays is available from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Christian Dior Poison is available from Debenhams, Amazon UK and John Lewis. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey is available from allbeauty.com, Boots and John Lewis. Cacharel LouLou is available from Boots and allbeauty.com to name but a few. The Body Shop White Musk is available from The Body Shop. The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range is available from the Miller Harris website. Serge Lutens Arabie is available from allbeauty.com and Escentual.
Photo credits: Smellfie and photo of me and Leo- my own. Photo of misshapen lollies by Alison Oddy for World of Oddy. Photo of Christmas cake from www.localmorsels.co.uk. Photo of green grass from ravishingraw.com. Photo of Three Billy Goats Gruff from Goodreads.com. Photo of Anita Roddick by Rex Features. Photo of sea- my own. Photo of Alexis Carrington www.der-denver-clan.de.