A few days ago, many of you shared your scented memories in response to a journalist’s questionnaire, and I loved reading your stories about your earliest fragrance memories, the scents that you loved and, in a few cases, those you hated from early on. I thought I would share my own stories in return, starting with my childhood when I first fell in love with perfume, then hated it immensely due to a few scented traumas, and then fell back in love with it for good. I’ll tell you a few tales, from lavender to YSL‘s famous Rive Gauche, and the impact of Jean-Claude Ellena‘s first breakout hit and acclaimed “masterpiece,” First for Van Cleef & Arpels. There will be talk of Hermès‘ Caleche and Bel Ami, as well as Fracas, Opium, Kouros, and Egoiste, and even a funny work story about Dior‘s Fahrenheit when I was first starting my legal career at an infamously tough law firm.
A journalism and masters student at Columbia University School of Journalism recently interviewed me for a long-form piece on what compels people to buy fragrance. The questions ranged from my first scented memories to the reasons why I think fragrance is powerful, and more. I thought it might help her to have a range of answers from people with all sorts of different scent memories, backgrounds, and exposure to fragrance, so I’m going to post the questions here for all of you as well. Feel free to answer all or just some of them, and in as much or as little detail as you’d like. Consider it as your own personal interview, as well as your chance to explain to an interested outsider the things that motivated you to pursue this crazy passion of ours in the first place.
I don’t think it matters one bit if you are a newbie or an experienced perfumista. There is a reason why you are here, reading a perfume blog instead of settling for the same old fragrance that you’ve worn for years. So, don’t worry about your degree of knowledge, or think you have nothing to contribute. The questions are about primarily about your memories and feelings. In fact, I think many of our answers on the more emotional aspects underlying the love of perfumery will be quite similar in nature, and I suspect that that very commonality will prove more telling to her than anything else. The world is a very different place in 2015 than back when our grandmothers or grandfathers wore one signature fragrance, and I think society’s philosophy or view about scent has changed as well. Continue reading