Common Scents

Today, as I puffed up the stairs from the garage, I caught a whiff of a familiar scent – Au d’ Abercrombie. I knew my husband and daughter had beaten me home from the mall.

Scents are a funny thing. They can make you gag (like in an Abercrombie store where they pump the perfume into the air as soon as you walk in the door), they can delight and bring you back to 5th grade and your first real perfume (Shalimar) and they can calm your nerves when you smell something worn by someone you love (Old Spice deodorant).

Smell is the most mysterious of human senses. Odor engineers need not only chemistry and physics but must also know something about history, psychology and sociology. This is the conclusion of a new book, Odors: Physiology and Control (McGraw Hill; $6.50), by Carey P. McCord, of Detroit’s Industrial Health Conservancy Laboratories, and William N. Witheridge, ventilation engineer for General Motors. Read more:,9171,794764,00.html#ixzz1ITD68BtI

Chanel has always been one of my favorites. Last week in a department store, we stopped by the Chanel counter to sniff what’s new. My Bobie (grandmother) wore Chanel No 5, I wear Chanel Allure and Coco Chanel was a passing fancy scent for my first job (so was the job). In her new book, “The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume,” Tilar Mazzeo reveals the complicated — and often scandalous — history of the world’s bestselling perfume.  Read more:

I can remember good times and bad, by scent. Aeromatique by Clinique was the bottle I packed in my suitcase for my post-college, two week, whirlwind European tour –  the bottle they told me NOT to pack. Of course it broke and soaked all my clothes and my duffel bag. I tried to wash everything in a tub in Austria and the smell was so strong, I stuffed towels under the bathroom door to keep the smell from wafting out. I had my shorts washed by the hotel and thinking I was so smart, placed them under the mattress to “iron” them. Only when the bus pulled onto the highway, did I smell my own luggage which triggered my memory and sinking heart, realizing I had one pair of shorts left. And they stank.  To this day, if someone near me is wearing Aeromatique, I still get that little gag cough feeling.

Grace, by Philosophy, is my daughter’s new favorite. A friend of ours wears it and she is strong and successful. Tabu reminds me of Auntie Susan and her cozy, lovely home in Boston. Opium reminds me of my old self, trying to be grown up and living in LA for six, silly months and Obsession is the scent worn by one of my first bosses. I could smell her coming. It was like smelling fear.

When my daughter was born,  I didn’t wear perfume. I wanted her to know my natural scent. I wanted her to know when she smelled ME, it meant “You are not alone. All is well. You are safe. You are loved.”

Scent can do so much for us. Play around and have fun. See what scent can do for you!

What scent do you MindFULLY wear and when? Let us know!

4 thoughts on “Common Scents”

  1. Chanel 5 reminds me of my Mom…I think of her going out with my Dad…wearing red lipstick…..

    When I was really young, I wore Charlie! Early 20s, I wore Happy by Clinique. Now…I’m a Chanel 5 gal…but not red lipstick…..

  2. that’s so funny, Mary! now that you mention it, i remember Charlie. i think i had that one — and how about Loves Baby Soft?

  3. When I moved to the Northwest I went perfume shopping and found a Marc Jacobs scent called “Rain.” How perfect.
    It came with a little travel bottle. After a couple of trips it began to leak. I put it in a ziplock bag now, but it would make more sense just to spray the inside of the bag, rub it on after a shower, and leave the bottle at home.

  4. Funny, just yesterday I had some shoes that needed fixin’ – something stronger than rubber cement, but thicker than super glue was called for. So, I mixed up a batch of epoxy. I had to sit down and cry for a spell, the smell overwhelmed me with memories of my dad who passed away in ’89. crazy how that connection works. Old Spice makes me think of him too, but not the way this smell did.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s