The first one was yesterday as I tested Ineke's Evening Edged in Gold. Sometimes when I test a perfume, my main reaction is "it smells of perfume". Sometimes I genuinely can't pull it apart much more than that, even if I've got a list of notes in front of me. Yesterday I realised why that might be. When I say something "smells of perfume" I think what I'm actually saying is that it "smells like perfume my mother would wear if she was still alive". Because of that sense I get from a particular scent, it makes it quite hard for me to judge it on a rational level.
That doesn't mean I'm bursting into tears on smelling these scents, more that they confound me a little and I can't get to the heart of them because of this strange reaction. It completely sideswiped me yesterday, because I didn't expect it. It didn't make me wish I could phone her up and tell her about it, because we didn't really have that kind of relationship. We'd talk about films and books, but not girly stuff. I don't know if the scents that provoke that "oh it smells of perfume" reaction in me are ones that I will ever be able to review in a analytic fashion.
The second OMG realisation was about half an hour ago. Penhaligon's Facebook page is running a competition to win the two latest scents in their Anthology Collection (I've sniffed both, they're fab). To win, they've asked to fans to describe a favourite scent memory from childhood. Here's what I wrote
My father had this amazing tweed overcoat when I was small, it used to smell of cloth and his cigarettes. At the same time I had an afghan coat that also smelt amazing. I think those two smells, the leather/hide nature of my coat and the tobacco/tweed of my father will always stay with me. He was very tall and I was very small but I always felt protected and safe around those smells. That's probably why I like tobacco/leather smells so very much too.
You know, until I typed that I never realised that those scent memories affect my fragrance choices so much. Hmmm...
The realisation that my love of these smells stems back from when I was four or five really pulled me up short. It's not a bad thing, you understand, quite the opposite, but not something I had expected. When I think of why I love leather smells I always assumed it's more to do with a more.. how shall I put it... "adult" view of leather. (Trent Reznor, Reading Festival 2007, leather gloves, *THUD*).
I don't know whether I would have always liked smells like Knize Ten or Feuilles de Tabac without these memories. Is my love of these scents hardwired, or an emotional response to child of the early 70s self? I'm not even sure that it matters, but it just threw me...