“My grandmother always talked about the experience of fragrance, and how discovering fragrance allows you to escape and dream…and I think now, more than ever, people are dreaming and talking about their bucket lists…” ~Aerin Lauder
Aerin Lauder, heiress and granddaughter of the iconic Estee Lauder, has created many beautiful perfumes under the “Aerin” line of the company. The quote above comes from an interview she gave in the spring of 2021 when the pandemic was still affecting our lives in a very real and substantial way. It’s interesting to note that consumer spending on fragrance has been increasing since the beginning of COVID and even more interesting to speculate on why this might be happening. Even in Canada, fragrance sales are projected to increase over the next few years:
Lauder connects the desire for scent with comfort and looking ahead to promising things. Personally I feel like we lost access to so many of our senses during the pandemic that perhaps we are more enthusiastic about getting out of our heads and into our physical bodies. It’s nice to be able to get closer with people, give hugs and be able to say “oh you smell so good!”
Lately I have been OBSESSED with fragrance – scented candles, diffusing floral essential oils and trying to find the most beautiful perfume. I think part of it is about using scent to create a memories that my children can carry with them as they grow up. I want to infuse their lives with scents that will bring them comfort and happiness, emotions that can quickly come back years from now.
Scent moves directly from our nose to the regions of the brain that deal with emotion and memory. Another really interesting fact about the sense of smell is how intense it is for children – it is the sense that is fully developed before we are born and the one that is the most developed in childhood. (Source)
My children have many memories that are triggered by scent. I have a body balm that smells tropical and, when I use it, my little boy tells me I smell like a holiday in Aruba 💗. My daughter loves exploring Bath & Body Works and has a recollection for almost every spray (“this smells like cake”)
There are perfumes that can instantly take me back in time. I remember receiving Tribe when I was a pre-teen and absolutely dousing myself in it. In university I asked for perfume for every birthday. I can remember perfumes that I used in university and they can take me back to the same feelings I had during those years. Tucked away in a drawer is one limited edition Lancôme perfume that is no longer available. It was called 2000 et un Rose (created to mark the Millennium) and it was a gorgeous rose-scented perfume in a light blue teardrop bottle. How I wish it were still available to buy!
It isn’t just perfumes that can make memories resurface. Occasionally I will walk into a house and I’m instantly back in my Nana’s house in Wales
When I was little, we performed our Christmas concerts at Ridley College’s Chapel and waited with candles in a long stone passageway where plaques commemorating the students who had died during the First and Second World Wars decorated the walls. Years later I was married in Ridley Chapel and it was amazing how the scent of the passageway was exactly the same – indescribable but identical.
Ever since a few of my favourite perfumes have been discontinued (including Estée Lauder’s Sensuous 😭), I’ve been searching for a fragrance that is soft and includes my favourite flowers (roses, peonies, tuberose). I haven’t had much luck yet although there are a few in contention! Estée Lauder’s Beautiful Belle , Lancôme’s La Vie eat Belle Rose, and Avon’s Peony Rose are all beautiful options that I’ve been trying out. It takes time to see how a fragrance feels and adjusts, based on our own body chemistry.
Do you have a favourite perfume that you wear for special occasions or even every day? Is there a scent that brings you back to your childhood in a flash?
Also, the obligatory list of essential reading about fragrance:
- Perfume by Patrick Suskind – a chilling and amazing book about a murderous perfumer in eighteenth-century France.
- A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman – a gorgeous examination of each sense in detail including anecdotes, history and science.
- The Scent-Keeper: a novel by Erica Bauermeister – I’m just beginning this novel but it promises to be a lovely exploration of everything I’ve talked about here 💗
Harris, Aleesha. “Familiar fragrances bring comfort; Aerin Lauder turns to the power of peony as the basis for her newest offering.” The Province, May 02, 2021.