Monday, October 18, 2021

Perfumed to Death?



LUCY BURDETTE: Last week, as I was reading Kent Krueger‘s latest book, Lightning Strike, I noticed several scenes where the smell of a woman’s perfume plays a role in the mystery. And that got me thinking that less perfume is being worn these days, maybe partly because people are more sensitive to it, or more vocal about allergies. And because of that, maybe we’re losing a good source of clues in our books. Certain scents I think I would know even blindfolded. My mother always wore Tweed. Or looking back on it from the adult point of view, that’s what we always bought her for birthdays and Christmas! Maybe she had dozens of bottles tucked away in a closet and would have loved something--anything--else?


My first perfume was called Ambush and I still have an almost empty bottle of it in my drawer. And then for a while, I wore Oscar de la Renta because I liked it on a friend. She was dating a psychiatry resident at the time, though she was not the only mare in his barn. He gave her a bottle of perfume and said: “I give all my women Oscar de la Renta.”


Truly, he should be a victim in all of our books… How about you Reds--perfume memories? Have you used scents as clues?


HALLIE EPHRON: That is SO CREEPY! I see a murder mystery with a serial killer and all the victims are wearing the Oscar de la Renta.


My mother wore Chanel No. 5 when she went out fancy. But the smell I remember was her bath oil. No idea what it was. And a sticky orange skin cream, name also lost in the pages of time. In my teen years I loved Jean Nate (powder) - then Canoe (musky, dab behind the ears.) In my 20s, My Sin -- the perfume was overpowering but the powder was just right.


RHYS BOWEN: perfume as a clue. Classic! Strangely enough we had overnight guests and John has been sneezing all morning because of some lingering scent. The killer was here earlier today…. Nice.

My first perfume was Je Reviens by Worth given to me by my boyfriend ( he had a mother with good taste). I liked that for year then moved to Arpege and Ansais Anais. But alas I’ve become allergic to most scents which is a shame as John loves to give me perfume.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: ALL MY WOMEN? GAHhhhh.

Oh, Ambush. That was high school, definitely. I’d love to smell that again. And how about Heaven Sent? (Or was it Heaven Scent?) (A little bit naughty but heavenly…)

And oh, White Shoulders!

(And that disgusting Youth Dew. Seriously. Deadly. To my nose, at least. Or maybe people just wore too much.)

My first good perfume was Shalimar, which I still love.

And in the before-times, I wore perfume all the time to work, but not to conferences, because of possibly giving someone a career-ending sneezing fit. It’s called 24 Faubourg, from Hermes and it is transporting.

(At a big zoom event recently, I reached out my arm to put it on--and it was very sad when I realized it didn’t matter.)

Scents as clues. Well, dogs do it all the time. HA!

JENN McKINLAY: Such a fabulous topic and perfect as a clue in a mystery! I love perfume but a little goes a long way. Obsession by Calvin Klein. I spent the late 80’s and early 90’s wearing that one. Then it was Red Door by Arden for the early professional years. After I got married and birthed the Hooligans, which aged me exponentially, I switched to a lightly scented body lotion - I could manage about five minutes of self care per day back then - called Sun by Zents and I’ve never gone back.
 
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I love perfume, but like a lot of the rest of you, I'm careful about when I put it on, because I don't want to trigger anyone's allergies. But oh, the wonderful memories scent conjures up!  My grandmother always used Elizabeth Arden's Blue Grass powder, and as a treat, she would let me put it on after a bath when I was visiting her house. My mother had a whole wardrobe of perfumes, but her signature and favorite was Joy by Jean Patou. 
 
The first scent that was mine, all mine was Revlon Lemon Cologne, which is apparently so out of date the only pic I could find of it was a used bottle for sale on Ebay! It was like dousing yourself with lemon juice and rubbing alcohol. I loved it. My preference to this day is for citrus and woodsy scents, so over the years I've probably used more men's cologne than women's perfume. I had a wonderful lime cologne I picked up in a little shop while on vacation in Bermuda ages ago; I've never been able to find it again. Sigh.
 
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Julia, I am laughing. Revlon Lemon Cologne sounds truly horrible. For me, the very first scent was Yardley English Lavender. I recently tried some while in a London chemist and was instantly transported back to 7th grade!  No other lavender scent smells quite like it. Then I cycled through many of those iconic 70s colognes. Oh, Rive Gauche! I still love anything with bergamot. But there was one scent that was really grassy green and fresh and I cannot remember what it was.
 
And, oh gag, then there was patchouli, in those hippies years. And does anyone remember Musk Oil???
 
 
I haven't worn anything other than Jo Malone, however, since the first Jo Malone boutique opened in London in the 90s. I used to bring a new scent back every trip, until they became available in the States. My faves are Peony and Blush Suede, and Wood Sage and Sea Salt. But, alas, all those bottles have just been sitting on my dresser since the pandemic...
 
How about you, Red readers? Can you think of a book that used perfume or scent as a clue? How about perfume memories of your own?

124 comments:

  1. Oh, my grandmother always wore Shalimar.

    I love the idea of the scent of perfume being a clue in a mystery . . . .

    Like many of you have mentioned, I try to be considerate about wearing perfume as I don’t want to send anyone into an allergic sneezing fit. I like a light scent; my current favorite is Heavenly . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joan, one of my girls got a gift set of Heavenly perfume and lotion; she really liked the scent.

      Delete
  2. Just read a mystery where a lady was wearing perfume and another character wore musk. I cannot remember which since I am reading several mysteries at the same time. I am a mood reader these days.

    Shalimar perfume and L'Bleu Hour perfume are family favorites. I remember smelling these perfumes from my childhood, I loved this perfume that Jane Seymour did tv commercials for, though it no longer exists.

    Now I love these floral light perfumes from Clinique and Estee Lauder. These days I have to be careful about perfume because more people are allergic to perfume. I use perfume at home and spritz them on my pillows once in a while. I am Not allergic to perfume though I'm allergic to the scent of cigars/ weed / cigarettes. A few people are smoking pot and I can smell them from a distance!

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hank, my GranGran wore Youth Dew ( and Aquanet and cigarette smoke). Very distinctive scent. She checked up on us about a year after she passed away, Mom and I both smelled her very strongly in our house. I think Nany wore White Shoulders. I could have found them both in a dark room full of people just by scent. I have the sneezing fits from some perfumes so I just use a fragrance mist from Bath & Body Works, Black Raspberry Vanilla. I guess it’s appropriate that I smell like dessert.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great story, that you could smell your grandmother! And I love the idea of smelling like dessert:)

      Delete
    2. My grandmother liked White Shoulders, too.

      Delete
  4. Scents can be powerful, so that as a clue makes sense to me.

    I do try to avoid perfume, however. I'm one of the people who can be really be allergic to perfume.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, there seem to be so many more people who have problems with perfume than there were when I was, say, a teen. I wonder if it's overexposure to all the chemical scents mixed in with everything these days - cleaners, deodorant, soap, detergent, etc. etc.

      Delete
    2. My guess is, people are just more open about it, and society is more sensitive to others now. My whole family has always been allergic, so nothing changed for us, and I come by it genetically.

      Delete
  5. I am one of those people who is really sensitive to perfume. Some scents not only make me sneeze but my airways get affected like I am having an asthma attack.

    I have read a few mysteries during the past year that use scents in the stories.

    Esme Addison's Enchanted Bay mystery series has mermaids, witches and the protagonist works at a herbal apothecary.

    Kim Davis launched a new cozy mystery series with the first book, Essentials of Murder, set in an aromatherapy shop selling essential oils.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are perfect Grace, I'd forgotten about Kim's aromatherapy shop

      Delete
    2. And ps I just last night finished Eleanor and Park. She is a very poor teen who shares a tiny space with 4 sibs. Her mother dabs vanilla behind her ears when she goes out:)

      Delete
    3. Fortunately, I don't react to the smell of vanilla, which is pleasant and I use it a lot in my baking.

      Delete
    4. Since I have become more aware of people's sensitivity to perfume, I no longer wear perfume in public.

      Diana

      Delete
  6. A timely topic: I am staying in my happy place, the Quaker retreat cottage on Cape Cod. I came down yesterday. Except...all the sheets have been washed in scented detergent. Right now I am rewashing the ones I put on my bed and the blanket in plain water. That horrible perfumey scent woke me up all night. At home there are times I can't sit on my deck because my neighbors are doing laundry with scented products and their dryer vent is near our deck. It makes me choke.

    My mom wore Woodhue on special occasions. I loved it, but I don't know if the scent would hold up now. I wore White Shoulders in high school, but since have dabbed on a little L'Air du Temps for special occasions. My college roommate used it, and she was more worldly than I in some respects, so I figured it was a good choice (plus I loved the smell and still do). I think I did dabble in musk oil but was wise enough to leave it behind.

    Smells on suspects - yes! And not only perfumes. The character who is a clandestine cigarette smoker...they are getting more rare, and we all know how that smell lingers in a person's clothing and hair.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, Edith! How awful, to be surrounded by a scent you don't like. Two of my daughters use laundry soap that gags me. When we were in Kenya the housekeeper laundered our clothes for us several times, and she overused that awful stuff on our clothes (they had a new washer), and it followed us home. However, now the association is a pleasant one, a reminder of our trip.

      Delete
    2. I have gradually migrated to scent-free laundry products, Edith. I just don't need it.

      Delete
    3. Alas, washing them in plain water didn't do the trick. Will head out to find scent-free detergent soon.

      Delete
    4. Edith, you could also try using either white vinegar or baking soda in the washer. I have successfully purged my daughter's one-month-long stinky clothes and mildewed sleeping bag's aromas by washing with a cupful of baking soda.

      Delete
    5. Great tip, Karen. Edith, I switched to everything-free detergent years ago; two of my children have very sensitive skin. Now laundry that smells of anything except sunshine and fresh air (the real thing, not a bottled version) makes me gag.

      Delete
    6. L’Air du Temps! I used to love that, Edith. And count me as one who has switched to scent-free, all natural detergent

      Delete
    7. Karen, thanks. I'll try the baking soda first. Yes, I'm totally scent-free at home. Next time I come I'll bring my own sheets and quilt! Which are sun dried on the line, of course.

      Delete
    8. Me too. I hate laundry that has been washed in scented detergent and/or fabric rinse. It is just too much.

      Delete
    9. Count me as an anti-scenter as well. Seventh Generation Free with white vinegar rinse for softness.

      Delete
    10. Baking soda didn't do it, but a white vinegar rinse seems to have! Sheets are now drying draped over the deck railing in the Cape Cod windy sunshine. Couldn't find a clothespin anywhere, so I might be chasing them around the yard soon!

      Delete
    11. Glad something helped, Edith. Hopefully, the sun will take care of any residual stench!

      Delete
  7. Well, my response disappeared for some reason.

    I wish the department stores wouldn't spray the perfume like it was coming out of a firehose. I've never been a fan of perfume because it always seems to make me gag.

    I had to get my Sports Illustrated subscription issues put on the "No Cologne Samples" list because they'd send one in every issue and it basically contaminated the issue for me. Just awful stuff that I couldn't believe anyone would willingly put on their bodies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are aggressive with samples Jay--though I haven't been in a department store in a while. And I'd forgotten about magazines--whatever they use is so powerful!

      Delete
    2. JAY: That is exactly why I avoid going anywhere near the cosmetics section of a department store!

      Delete
    3. Don't even get me started on scented candles. I have to hold my breath if I ever pass a candle store - because otherwise I wouldn't be able to breathe at all!

      Delete
    4. Me too, on the candles, Edith. I think it's the scents that are created in laboratories that make us ill, not real perfume.

      Delete
    5. Jay, what is with the disappearing responses. I had 4 disappear on Saturday and I had a lot to say about openings and closings. UR-r-r!

      Delete
    6. Oh, heavens, I forgot about magazine samples. Even if the scents are pleasant when used - they seem to be uber concentrated on the scent strips. Can't read magazines that offer them!

      Delete
    7. JRW has gremlins stealing our posts, Judy and Jay!

      Delete
    8. Oh, yes, the perfume spritzers. You have to out maneuver them.

      Delete
  8. Perfume, I love it. Chanel No5, was the first adult scent given to me by a man for Christmas. I was 16, we were good friends, not dating. But I have worn Hermes Caleche for many years together with Jour d’Hermes. Airport duty free provided lots of shopping options back in the day. My daughter worked in London for a couple of years back in the ‘90’s, and found wearing perfume to work was almost mandatory there. London makes me think of Mary Quant. Don’t remember the smell of her signature scent but I wore it till no longer available as I did with Laura Ashley’s Emma. Perfume in fact scents of any kind make for frat clues and stories. I’m thinking of Louise Penny’s All the Devils are Here, where Mme. Gamache tracks down the scent and helps solve the crime. I notice scents and smells in mysteries, they really add to the atmosphere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd forgotten about DEVILS Celia, that's a good one!

      Delete
    2. Oh, Yardley English Lavender. I used to put it on my pillow cases!

      Delete
  9. As a wine professional, I can't wear perfume any time I'm tasting. Which is likely to be any time. So I got out of the habit of wearing it all, sadly. Recently I uncovered my stash of perfumes that languish in a box downstairs. I miss them...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So interesting! You mean the scent can affect what you taste?

      Delete
    2. Absolutely, Lucy. Think about it. Part of wine tasting is a aroma of the wine. Perfume would interfere with that.

      Delete
  10. We shop so much on-line, but I just realized you can't sample scents virtually! So many perfume gifts over the years: Jean Nate, Paco Rabanne, Giorgio, Arpege. The only scent I ever wore was a citrusy unisex cologne, 4711. And I keep a china potpourri ball filled with lavender from my garden in the linen closet. Sheets dried in the sun and lightly scented with lavender are so lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sister brought 4711 back from Germany decades ago! I still have a bottle.

      Delete
    2. Margaret, did you live in Cincinnati when the 4711 store was still on Seventh Street? Right across from where the Hustler store is now, it was there for decades.

      Delete
    3. I love lavender everything--but it has to be from the real thing. I buy face cream from a company out of Alaska called Alpenglow Skincare. I realize that's my scent these days!

      Delete
  11. My mother wore Chanel No5--perfume and powder, but was of the generation where perfume was worn only on special occasions. She should have worn it more often--it smelled so good on her. I dabbled in a variety of teenage scents, but Chanel No5 became my go-to scent for a long time. Currently love Always Yours from Ralph Laurens' Romance line of perfumes. It may not be available any more--I'm not allergic, but sensitive--my eyes notice perfumes more than my nose these days.

    And I'm with you on scented candles, Edith! Although years ago I found some herb-scented votives that were wonderful--sage and marjoram. Also so not a fan of magazines with those horrid scented samples. But yes on scents in mysteries--I once worked with a field tech whose scent (natural, not aftershave) was so powerful that *years* later, no kidding, you could still smell his scent on archaeological site forms filed with the state preservation office.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to go through magazines and rip out the scented things and toss them before I read he magazine. Incredibly annoying. Although have to say I think I found Rive Gauche that way..

      Delete
  12. Evening in Paris in the iconic blue bottle. Cheap at Woolworths. There was a bottle of it in ‘Fran’s Room’ (my mother’s youngest sister) in my grandmother’s house. Grammy had no money - dressers were made from orange crates, but there was this bottle of perfume in this bedroom left over from when Fran lived at home. We were as kids not allowed in the room but the scent wafted eternally through the air. When the house was ‘cleared out’, Fran took and kept the last almost empty bottle.
    My father loved scent. There is the story of him sitting on a bench in Montreal waiting for my mother to finish shopping, where he claimed he was not ogling the beautiful women who passed by, but enjoying their scent – Montreal women wore lots of perfume!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evening in Paris! My mother must have had a bottle of that, too, Margo. Thanks for bringing back that memory.

      Delete
    2. My mother had a perfume called Moonlight Mist. When she sprayed it, the whole house had that scent for hours. We always knew if Mom nd Dad were going for a "serious" outing when she wore that.

      Delete
    3. Margo, yes, I had forgotten that - my mother giving instructions to the babysitter while looking impossibly glamorous and they way we'd be enveloped by her special perfume when she hugged us goodnight.

      Delete
  13. I've cycled through scents over the years - I did White Linen for years, Red Door, something with polka dots on the bottle. Lately I like the woodsey/spicy/citrusy scents. I bought a roller of a scent reminiscent of 1930 from...I can't remember the name of the company. I liked that. Plus as a roller, it was harder to "overspray" - one zip up the inner arm and rub both arms together.

    Right now I have a bottle of vanilla body splash, not perfume, so lighter.

    But most of the time I just forget to put it on. Like lipstick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz, I have changed my perfumes in my lifetime. I loved that Jardin perfume from Max Factor and they stopped making it. Last time I saw it was at a duty free shop on a ship in Europe in 1996. I remember White Linen.

      These days I do not wear perfume in public since many people are allergic. And since almost no one smokes, it is easier for me to not wear perfume.

      Diana

      Delete
  14. Can't think of any book that used perfume as a clue, but I can't imagine why the potential has been overlooked! The sense of smell is so powerful.

    My first perfume was Je Reviens. My mother had a tiny bottle of perfume on her dresser and she would let me daub a bit behind my ears from time to time. The first perfume I bought myself was Tweed. Due to the expense, I quickly changed that to English Leather men's cologne. Same scent - way less money! Through the 1980s I traveled extensively in the Caribbean and bought Shalimar and L'Air du Temps the duty free prices made perfume affordable. It's also how I discovered Safari which I still love, too. Hubs is allergic to scent so I haven't used any in years.

    Debs, I remember patchouli - what were we thinking! Is the grassy scent you are trying to remember Blue Grass?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet it was Blue Grass! And what about Jovan's Musk?

      English Leather was a great scent. Do you also remember Jade East, Kait?

      Delete
    2. There was also Grass Oil, which might have been from Jovan.

      Delete
    3. Yes, English Leather! We DRENCHED ourselves. And Canoe.

      Delete
    4. And Brut, which was SO strong. Rick wore a cologne called Kanon, which I loved. You can get it now but I think it's a knock off--it's cheap and doesn't smell the same.

      Delete
    5. Yes, I do remember Jade East, Karen. I think my dad wore it for a while. There were so many great men's fragrances back in the day - and many crossed over well to women :)

      How is it possible that no one mentioned Charlie! The theme song just popped into my head. Kinda WOW, Charlie!

      Delete
    6. When I was pregnant with my third, I absolutely loved Charlie! Practically the minute he was born I could no longer stand it.

      Delete
  15. Scent memories are so vivid. An old boyfriend confessed that he followed a woman on the street when he was on R&R in Germany during the Vietnam War. He was so homesick, and she was wearing a scent he recognized, White Shoulders. (At a time when the predominant female scent on the street was homely perspiration.) A whiff of Chantilly conjures up my darling grandmother, although a truer version would also include the addition of some Pall Mall cigarette smoke.

    I just read I think #5 in Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway series (thank you, Kathy Reel!). One of the clues was Ma Griffe perfume.

    My own signature scents over the years: Jean Nate', Halston, White Shoulders, White Linen, Givenchy Amarige, and most recently, Narciso Rodriguez in the black bottle. I have always loved "layering" scents, and most of the time my only fragrance is powder. Which I make myself, from cornstarch and perfume because very few perfumers offer it now. It makes a nice, light scent.

    A British friend who lives in Normandy has made her living by writing, and one of her specialties is perfume. And she's a collector. She has a closed Facebook group with only positive posts, and for most of last year she chose a different perfume every few days to write about. It was fascinating. She has been lucky enough to meet and spend time with several famous perfumers, so has all kind of additional and gossipy insider dish and tips. Wish I could share some of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very cool, Karen. For readers who would like a bit of the same, but open to the public, my friend Denise Hamilton is a perfume collector who has been writing about scents for the LATimes for some time. You can find links to her collected columns and essays here: http://www.denisehamilton.com/perfume/

      Delete
    2. Roberta, she posted lots of links to various aspects of the perfumes. I'm not sure if these are the right ones, but they look close. It's really interesting to read about all the top, middle and bottom notes of the various fragrances, which are so different from what you might expect. Lots of information on just about every perfume and cologne you can think of, too.

      https://www.fragrancex.com/blog/fragrance-notes/

      https://www.fragrantica.com/notes/

      Delete
    3. That's a charming story, Karen! And I had forgotten Chantilly. The scent reminds of me of my mother by grace. I may still have a bottle someplace.

      Delete
    4. I forgot about Muguet de Bois, which was my favorite for decades. Believe it or not, Coty still makes it.

      Delete
    5. Many of these perfumes are still available from the Vermont Country Store. When I go through that catalogue, I am amazed at the "throw-back items" like Lanz nightgowns and housedresses and old-time perfumes and old fashioned bathing caps. Really.

      Delete
    6. Karen, you are so sweet. Now I'm going to have to go back and look that up. Oh, and perfumers are so interesting.

      Delete
    7. Oh Lanz nightgowns, there's a post for another day:)

      Delete
  16. I think perfume was a bigger thing back when people bathed less often, although there seems to have been a spike in the glamor factor in my parents' generation, when the guys came back from fighting in Europe. Or is that just my imagination? At any rate, I did use perfume as a powerful memory trigger in one of my mystery novels, ages back. Still unsold, alas.

    I wore '70s scents like Charlie and Jungle Gardenia when I was much, much younger, but I don't wear perfume these days. There are rules against it in many symphony orchestras and other classical ensembles, where people are seated very close to each other onstage. One of our horn players was very allergic, and I used to have to warn new musicians to leave the perfume and after shave off when they came to play.

    And, Julia, I remember at least one perfumery on Bermuda. There might have been more, but at this one you could blend your own scent. What fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And there is another clue Gigi, what if one the players got very ill or died from inhaling a scent? Who would have known about this??

      Delete
    2. Jungle Gardenia!! I'd forgotten that one!!

      Delete
    3. Gigi, if I ever manage to leave the US again, I'll hit you up for the name of the place!

      Delete
    4. Julia, if you ever go back to Bermuda, take me, too! We'll google the perfume place.

      Delete
    5. Jungle Gardenia reminds me of a long-ago favorite that was too powerful to wear: Hawaiian White Ginger. I had a small bottle just to sniff because it was lovely.

      Delete
  17. There are several characters that I believe frequently use scent of a woman's perfume as a clue. I am pretty sure that Harry Bosch is one of them and that Jack Reacher is another. I do love it that detectives, whether amateur or professional, have so many different ways to sense their surroundings. It's an interesting addition to the arsenal. I am pretty sure that several of the Reds have created male characters who are frequently described as having a particular, pleasing smell.

    As a teen, I definitely tried many of the perfumes mentioned so far. In my 20's one boyfriend liked White Shoulders, but my best friend told me that she never really felt that it suited me. I settled for at least 20 or more years with Replique, by Raphael and Youth Dew (sorry Hank) which smelled divine on me. I always applied perfume so lightly, that you'd have to embrace me to smell it. When Replique disappeared from the market and Youth Dew no longer seemed to have that same magic to my senses, I switched to a wearing Aerin by Estee Lauder, in several different variations. Interesting enough, although I love perfumes, I do not use any scented cleaning products at all. The fake citrus of some cleansers can make my throat close up and like Edith, please do not put any detergent's scents into my bedding or clothes!!

    My synagogue has requested that people not wear perfume or heavily perfumed hair and skin products because of allergies. I understand this because a dear friend actually was hospitalized several times when someone else's perfume triggered a breathing emergency. A couple of times at the theater, I've felt assaulted by another woman's perfumes. No matter how delightful that may seem to her nose, it's unfair for her to subject the rest of us to that smell all evening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy, apparently there's some scientific evidence to the experience many of us have had: when you're attracted to someone, they smell good. No perfume or cologne - just them. I can still catch a whiff of something and it instantly feels like Ross is in the room.

      Delete
    2. I love that, Julia. Yes. I believe that people do have an individual scent that is barely detectable to humans, but we do get closer to loved ones that we do (one hopes) to others. Irwin always smells good to me.

      Delete
    3. Mom and I asked our church make a similar request of the congregation. If was for naught so we just started sitting in the far back pews. And then there is the blessed incense... We have been told we can attend a different service, than we normally attend, if we don't "like" the incense on Christmas and Easter. "Like!?"

      Delete
    4. YES! Youth Dew is transporting on the right people. Agreed!

      Delete
  18. My grandma wore Windsong but only when she went to town. I can find that scent from across a crowded room. My mother did not where perfume, her reaction to them went from headaches, in her twenties to almost asthmatic reactions toward the end of her life. It got a point that she avoided the detergent aisle when shopping. Though for some reason she was okay with regular Tide detergent, which I can't stand. Scented candles? No. Some flowers can sent me off. Stargazer lilies, which were so popular in bridal arrangements, have been much hated for years.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am totally in love with Baccarat Rouge 540. Being a retired person now, and one who rarely leaves the house, the cost makes it a splurge purchase for sure, but it is scrumptious.

    I was a White Shoulders gal, then a Red Door woman, and I still love to play with layering No Malone scents. But Baccarat Rouge 540 has won too place in my heart.

    My mom was a Blue Grass wearer and I will forever associate it to her.

    My mother-in-law wears Shalimar; not a fave.

    I am fascinated by fragrances and always enjoy reading Denise Hamilton's thoughts and expertise.

    Many classic fragrances have replaced their natural ingredients with man-made chemicals which may be what's triggering so many allergies and headaches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaye, I laughed at the M-I-L reference. Mine wore Beautiful and the smell makes me ill.

      Delete
  20. OMG, Jenn!! The Hat Shop Mysteries! Scarlet and Viv scent their grandmother's perfume in the shop at important moments of secrets and revelations. It's one of the most memorable, sweetest parts of all the books. Jenn also gives all her leading male characters wonderful scent attributes, spicy, citrusy, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes! Now I want to pick those books up and reread them. I love that series.

      Delete
    2. Me too Debs, but I have 100 books that I've yet to read in my TBR pile, so...not this week, Hat Shop series.

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Judy. I'd forgotten about that - lily of the valley, I think - like my grandmother :)

      Delete
  21. OH, my phone is not letting me comment..gah. I just remembered the sent called Gloomaway, remember that? Oh, it's still wonderufl, all grapefruity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gloomaway? Hank, I thought maybe that was an autocorrect! But I looked it up and it's still carried by major stores. What fun!

      Delete
    2. It is? I am looking for it right now—Thank you ! and it completely lives up to its name!

      Delete
  22. Mom was one of those women who kept the blue bottle of Evening in Paris on her dresser but rarely put any on. It was for special occasions. I never really found a signature scent. Perfumes were either too heavy or faded away quickly. I was gifted Tigress and one of the Chanel Nos. in college. My mother-in-law practically bathed in Chanel No. 5. My son tends to overapply cologne too! I thought White Shoulders was a pretty scent but was told by a perfumer that it wasn't for me. He recommended a sister cologne, Most Precious by Evyan. I wore that a while. L'air du Temps was another one. And maybe Obsession. The trouble was it smelled wonderful on others but different on me. I tried a green tea scent for a while. I have several Jo Malone sample sizes I wear when I think of it, which isn't often. The peony scent Debs likes and Earl Grey and Cucumber. Also a wild bluebells scent. I've read a couple of mysteries lately where people arrived on the crime scene and a particular perfume was still hanging in the air. So many perfumes and men's colognes came out in the sixties and seventies. With equally entertaining ads. Frank tried a number of them. The one I absolutely hated was Aramis. He finally quit wearing it when I taped a cartoon on the fridge that showed a dog rolling in something I labelled Aramis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's hysterical, Pat! I agree with you about Obsession. I always thought it smelled like old hairspray. Of course, no one today knows what old hairspray smells like so I guess the fragrance industry is safe :).

      Delete
    2. Oh, I remember Tigress! My mother had a bottle on her dresser when I was a kid. I was fascinated by the fake fur cap.

      Delete
    3. Pat, that is hysterical!!! And the Earl Grey and Cucumber is another Jo Malone I wear, as is the Wild Bluebell. That is lovely for a light floral. I cannot stand Jo Malone Rose, however.

      Delete
  23. I'm actually pretty scent sensitive. I can't stand smelly cleaning products or scented detergents. I can't stay in some hotels because of the products they use, which is really a nuisance. I don't like scented soaps or shampoos or body lotions, and I can only burn some scented candles. It's surprising that I can wear any cologne, but I seem to tolerate the lighter Jo Malone fragrances. And I would love to write about perfume in a novel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hotels. I've complained bitterly about the perfumed products used in hotel rooms. ACK! One tour we took with National Geographic was just horrendous for me. All the hotels we stayed in in National Parks had been cleaned and sprayed with something so vile I couldn't sleep.

      Delete
    2. Judy, did you have this experience in American hotels or European hotels? I noticed that I never get sick in European hotels. For some reason I get really sick if I stay at an American hotel. If I stay one night, I am OK. If I stay two or more nights, I get sick.

      Diana

      Delete
    3. Diana, it was in American National Parks! I make sure that the hotel knows if I have an objection to them using smelly cleaning products. I do not think I've had this problem in Europe, but I've travelled very little in Europe since the 1970's. However, I did not used to have this problem in America. I think that the smells in cleaning products are much worse and much more likely to cause allergic reactions now.

      Delete
  24. Deb, I have a friend with a severe scent allergy. He mentioned that hotels now have scent free rooms. Seems like an idea whose time has come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was a guest at a conference once and had to ask to move to a different hotel. It was so embarrassing. But I couldn't breathe in the room.

      Delete
  25. Perfumes or colognes seem to have faded as a part of our attire and preparation to "going out." Even before the pandemic, it had become the exception rather than the rule to dressing up for an event. Of course, the younger generation, like my children in their thirties, take more of a natural route in their appearance. I haven't used perfume in ages. In our early days, my husband seemed to really enjoy buying it for me, especially the perfume edition. The one I remember wearing the most was Oscar de la Renta, but the last perfume that I really liked and wore was Lancome's La Vie Est Belle. The first perfume, or rather cologne in this case, that a boy ever bought me was for a high school graduation gift and was Wind Song. I remember Chole sometime in my late teens or early 20s.

    When I became aware of my mother's perfume, she was wearing Youth Dew by Estee Lauder. What's funny is that my father wore it, too. I remember being downtown shopping for Christmas presents as a teen, and a friend and I were looking at perfumes. I bought a bottle of Youth Dew, and she assumed it was for my mother. It wasn't. Hahaha!

    I remember reading M.J. Rose's book The Book of Lost Fragrances that had to do with the inheritance of a Paris perfume house. I think it would be fascinating to visit a real perfumer's shop. Oh, and one more thing about perfume. I remember when the older ladies of church would get carried away with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I think there was a Hallmark movie about someone who worked for a perfume company in Europe.

      Diana

      Delete
  26. This is so funny, Lucy, because last night while I was trying to fall asleep I was thinking about perfumes I never smell anymore. One was Coty's Emeraude, which I first sniffed as a sample in Cosmo magazine when I was in college. Wind Song was another good one, that might still be available. I've tried to find the real Chanel No. 5 and the lady at Macy's fragrance counter told me they don't make that original one anymore.

    My mother loved Chantilly Lace but I thought it was too sweet. I still sometimes wear Ysatis but my all-time favorite is Mys Sin, first given to me by my first boyfriend.

    For men I loved Hawaiian Surf in that cork covered bottle. I'd love to smell that one again.

    Scents could make a fabulous cluE!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ever so late today, but Lucy, I need to tell you that my mother used Tweed and suddenly switched to Tigress when I turned eleven. Wonder if there were a hidden meaning?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh funny--I see perfumes could be big in women's fiction too...

      Delete
  28. With the building gym closed due to COVID, I started doing the stairs in my building. When I pass the 10th floor, I smell perfume, so I’ve spent a year making up stories about the perfume lady.

    For years the smell of packages from my mom was cigarettes (ugh) and her Ciara perfume. I brought a bottle of her perfume home after she died and love spritzing it in the room.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Mom used Jeans Nate' spray and bath powder. Fond memories there. I liked White Shoulders until a girl who sat behind me in 9th grade Math spilled a bottle in her purse! Too much! After college was given some Chole'. Still lightly spritz occasionally or use the last of my bath powder.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I was all about Jean Nate too! I remember the after-bath splash stung a little! Now I wear scents from Tokyo Milk - French Kiss is my latest scent.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I used to wear cologne all the time, in college it was musk oil - Ugh. Then as my career began I wore Chanel No. 5, but for most of my career and even now, occasionally, I wear Chloe. And Cindy, you're very lucky to still have some of the bath powder - can't find it anywhere now...

    ReplyDelete
  32. I used to use Grey Flannel cologne until it became unavailable. Retired, I rarely use cologne now.

    ReplyDelete