I think it’s safe to say that I have always loved perfume. My very first scents were those that I ‘borrowed’ from my grandmother’s dressing table. She had extremely sophisticated fragrance tastes – her favourite scent was Carven’s Ma Griffe – but the bottle I always decanted a little of was the original cologne by 4711. There was something about that blue and gold bottle combined with the freshness of the fragrance that I found irresistible.
By the time I had reached the ripe old age of 10 I had graduated onto Avon. As soon as the catalogue arrived I would sit with my felt tip pens and circle the fragrance and talcum powder sets that I would hope to find in my stocking on Christmas morning. The things I chose were invariably extremely sweet and possibly a little sickly but I loved them.
And then, like all the other girls of my generation I discovered Aqua Manda. To this day I can conjure up the warm spiciness that made it so addictive. Funnily enough I had no desire to smell the newly re-launched fragrance – Aqua Manda belongs to a very special place in my past and I’d like it to stay there!
When I was 15 I landed the ultimate babysitting job for a lady who paid me in fragrance!! The one I would always cross my fingers and hope for was YSL’s Rive Gauche. It was the most grown up thing I had ever smelt and I made sure everyone else smelled it too as I doused myself liberally before leaving the house every day!
There have been lots of fragrance ‘firsts’ for me……
- The first time I ever bought fragrance as a present for someone was on the school day trip to France. I found a tiny perfumery in the back streets of Calais and bought a ‘souvenir’ bottle of cologne for my mother. It gave me such a thrill to be in that shop surrounded by all those delicious smells……definitely a taste of things to come!
- the first fragrance my Dad ever bought me was Chanel Number 19, a tiny bottle of pure perfume that he gave me when I was a student (and I eked out knowing that there was no way I could ever afford to buy it myself!)
- the first fragrance my boyfriend (now my husband) gave me was Givenchy’s Ysatis. He was very unsure as he had gone out and chosen it himself but the boy did well and it was an absolute hit. I still have the bottle in its original box and although the fragrance was used up long ago I can still catch the faintest whiff of it and I am immediately transported back to the early days of our courtship……..
These days I have to confess that I am not loyal to any particular scent (how could I be when there are so many out there!) but I do have a weakness for anything floral, particularly rose based fragrances. I probably have about 6 or 7 fragrances on the go at any given time and in recent years I have enjoyed seeking out the more usual fragrances from the niche perfumers I come across in my work. Current favourites include Jovoy’s heady gardenia scent Gardez-Moi, Illuminum’s Taif Rose, Evody’s D’Ame de Pique and Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin……….one thing is for sure, I absolutely cannot leave the house without a spritz of fragrance – I just don’t feel properly dressed without it!