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My perfume journey......so far

My perfume journey started early. By age 10, I was a perfume snob, and before I hit my twenties I was addicted.  I can’t remember a time in my life without perfume. How did this happen?  I blame it on my mother.  I’ve blamed my poor mother for a lot of things, but this perfume thing is truly her fault.

My mother was beautiful and had a great sense of style – one of those women who looks chic in gardening clothes. My parent’s social milieu was cocktail receptions, formal dinners, balls.  I have vivid memories of my parents , Mother blowing kisses as she went out the door with a swish of taffeta,  leaving a trail of Je Reviens, or Shalimar, or Joy.  Show me an old snapshot of Mum in one of her evening gowns and I can immediately smell the scent she wore with that dress. Such is the power of perfume.

For my eighteenth birthday, Mum gave me a string of pearls and the iconic Chanel No. 5. –  I now had the tools and was officially launched into womanhood! No drugstore perfume for ME!! I arrived home after my first trip to Europe in love with Guerlain and Caron perfumes. I still have the small fluted bottle that contained the Mitsouko  parfum I got in Paris....and the picture of the young Frenchman who bought it for me.

Through my 20’s, I wore perfumes from the classic French houses – Dior, Chanel, Caron, Lanvin, Lancôme, Givenchy, Hermes - and also the modern scents that have since become classics – Rive Gauche by YSL, Magie Noire, Zen, Poison, Rush, Dune. Babies arrived, and my perfume journey took a hiatus, until the late 1990’s when Thierry Muglier’s iconic Angel propelled me back onto the track.

But now my track was going in a different direction. Angel was the marker for this new perfume journey into intriguing, unusual scents from small perfume brands, or “niche” perfumes.  These are scents created by master parfumeurs, or “noses”,  who have the freedom to create their artistic vision, and the results are often astoundingly different and beautiful,  compared to mainstream, department store “one smell fits all” perfumes.

Unlike the mass market and celebrity brands, the niche perfumes focus on the quality of the “jus” – money goes into the development and production costs of the fragrance rather than marketing, so as a result these brands are rarely advertised, they have limited distribution, and they can be  expensive, but......they are worth seeking out. I believe that niche perfumes are, in today’s world, the true representation  of perfume making  as an art form.

So here I am, still on my journey, which has now morphed into one that is compellingly  fascinating. I have my nose in a perfume bottle – red hot pepper  from L’Artisan, resinous  woods from Commes des Garçons, leather and musk from Serge Lutens, incense and rose from Andy Tauer,  black spice from Frederic  Malle.  Every day of the week I have a sensory feast which feeds my soul...............and keeps me wanting more.