Perfume is the most intense form of memory. Jean Paul Guerlain
Do certain perfumes trigger memories, no matter how distant they may be? Certainly this was the case for me, when my daughter opened a door of The Body Shop advent calendar at Christmas, and out popped a miniature bottle of White Musk. This took me right back to the age of 15 when I discovered this evocative scent, which encompasses notes of lily, iris, rose, vanilla, and cruelty-free synthetic musk: The Body Shop’s products are not tested on animals. White Musk featured in my life for many years, but curiously my daughter, who happens to be 15, couldn’t wait to give me the petite sized eau-de-toilette. In her eyes it was a relic. Hmm. My current perfume, Lolita Lempicka, evokes memories of a different kind, when one year my brother bought it for me as a Christmas present. We are fortunate enough to have a top notch perfumery in our town where one can obtain the most exotic of scents. The characterful lady who owns Fascination has been running it for over 20 years, and knows all there is to know about perfume on an international scale. Lolita Lempicka was launched in 1997, and is a blend of exotic liquorice, vanilla, florals and musk. The scent lingers for a long time. A perk when visiting Fascination is that one comes out of the shop with a bag stuffed full of intriguing product samples. And indeed my dear brother walked out of the store with a ‘goodies bag’, after purchasing my Christmas present. Dousing himself in one of the samples for the office party, he certainly did smell sweet, receiving many compliments. From. Men. Ah. He was convinced that the lovely lady from the perfumery had bestowed upon him gifts for the boys. It was a memorable night.
A perfume paradise – Fascination – the North of England’s fragrance wonderland …
‘Where should I apply perfume?’ a young lady asked.
‘Where you want to be kissed.’
History snippet Perfume was first used by the Egyptians as part of their religious rituals, through the burning of incense and the application of balms and ointments. The word, perfume, comes from the Latin, ‘per fumus’, meaning ‘through smoke’. In 2004-05, archaeologists uncovered what are believed to be the world’s oldest perfumes in Pyrgos, Cyprus. The perfumes date back more than 4,000 years ago. Perfume bottles became as elaborate and exotic as the oils they contained, the earliest specimens dating back to about 1000 BC. In 1370, the first modern perfume – a blend of scented oils and alcohol solution – was made at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, and which became known as Hungary Water. In the 16th century, the art of perfumery prospered in Italy, followed quickly by France, the latter becoming the European centre of perfume. Today, Grasse, a small town in Provence in the South of France, is considered the world’s capital of perfume. In England, perfume reached its peak during the reigns of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth could not tolerate bad smells and ordered that all public places be scented.
Perfume and advertising Today, advertising plays a huge part in the perfume industry, enticing us to buy into the dream of a more glamorous life. We are offered approximately 1,000 new fragrances a year. ‘Celebrities’ are launching perfumes by the dozen, attracting the teenage market. Buying a perfume can be image based, and is often a conscious response to clever advertising. Before advertising, selecting a scent was based on ladies following their instinct, and not fashion. Smart.
The five most popular perfumes of all time (June 2014)
1. Chanel No. 5 by Chanel
2. Joy by Jean Patou
3. Shalimar by Guerlain
4. Opium by Yves Saint Laurent
5. L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci
A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting. Christian Dior
What your scent says about you FLORAL – ultra feminine, dress style – casual, good-natured, lively. CITRUS – confident, efficient, a born organiser, a classic beauty. EARTHY AND WOODY – uncomplicated, bold, not overly feminine, articulate, modern. ORIENTAL – romantic, sensual, warm, intense.
- The sense of smell diminishes with age, which is why older people often wear too much perfume.
- Women generally have stronger senses of smell than men.
- Smelling a scent you perceive as pleasant has a positive impact on your mood.
- Almost every perfume contains rose and jasmine.
- Coco Chanel was the first female to produce a designer perfume.
- Perfume is banned from many office buildings in the US.
- Because of differences in body chemistry, temperature and body odours, no perfume will smell exactly the same on any two people.
- The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar are the biggest spenders per capita on luxury perfume in the world, purchasing a new bottle every two months, compared with the average Westerner, who buys one every six months.
- The three enemies of perfume are: sunlight, heat and air.
- If stored correctly, the shelf life of most perfume is three to five years, although perfumes with a higher content of essential oils have a longer shelf life.
A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future. Coco Chanel
If you’re a ‘citrus’ girl and struggling to find your signature scent, don’t despair …
I think Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right …
Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog :)