Article #13. Special Occasion Fragrances

Last time, I wrote about Finding Your Signature Perfume.

But do other perfume bottles have their rightful place on my vanity?  Oh HONEY, yes.  And that’s a topic I wished I had room for inside last week’s article.

First, I want to tell you about the time I learned the word “olfactory.”

When I was a senior in high school, I was enrolled in a diploma program similar to AP.  The thing about it is, two years’ worth of work toward your diploma (that is, eleventh & twelfth grades combined) rides completely on your final exams at the end of grade twelve.  Mid-terms, pop-quizzes, and homework grades don’t factor into whether or not you graduate with this special diploma.  So final exams were a big deal for seniors at my school.  As a senior, I remember the sweet, sweet underclassmen coming by the twelfth grade homerooms one spring morning, passing out tiny handmade bundles of dried rosemary for each senior.  A tag placed around each bundle gave well-wishes, and explained: “Studies show the aroma of rosemary helps boost memory! Set this bundle nearby while studying, and take it with you into your exams. Good luck, Seniors!”  Awww.

I believe Shakespeare himself even said,

“Rosemary, that’s for remembrance!”

There’s really something to that.  The word “olfactory” is an adjective relating to the sense of smell.  None of us would have guessed, but it turns out olfactory senses trigger memory better than sound, touch, taste, or even sight!

Olfactory’s “magic spell” on memory was my inspiration one day when I discovered a fragrance introduced by the creators of my ideal closet: Charming Charlie.  As I had already found while searching the world over for my everyday perfume, I am an impossibly choosy customer when it comes to fragrance.  So after sampling this particular bottle at the checkout and immediately loving it from the first notes on, I knew I had to bring it home with me. “A fruity floral with notes of citrus, musk, and jasmine,” it smelled like a dressier, more mysterious twist on “Ultra Sexy Pink” – my everyday go-to.

You’ll understand what a hopeless romantic I’ve always been when you hear what I did next.  Refraining from smelling it as much as possible, I carefully stashed it away in my hope chest.  I still had at least two years before Austin would enter the picture, but it had been decided.  This was going to be my wedding perfume.  And the very appropriate name on the bottle seemed to confirm it: “Lace.”

In September 2017, Austin whisked me away to our honeymoon in the Caribbean where I exclusively used that special perfume.  And now… all I have to do is brush past him wearing “Lace” by Charming Charlie, and he always notices the way I smell.  Suddenly the two of us are caught up in each other, reminiscing about our wedding & honeymoon. It makes the memories come more alive, as if they are a little more tangible.

I think most visual memories are re-imagined; and olfactory memories are re-felt. 

But I always spray that bottle on purpose – reserving that scent for special times when I specifically want to remember those first days, like anniversaries or other celebrations between the two of us, or extremely rare occasions when I want to feel particularly alluring.

Olfactory and romance.  Or olfactory and (whatever nostalgic feeling you want here). It all felt like a great experiment!  I remember the first time I sprayed it on and waited to see whether Austin would associate the smell with our honeymoon.  It didn’t take long for him to notice, and it was worth the 2-year wait to use such a lovely fragrance.

So if you’re out shopping for your signature scent and you find one you enjoy, but just can’t make it your daily fragrance?  Keep it and use it for special occasions!  Just don’t imprint its smell too deeply into your mind until that beautiful moment you’ve been waiting for.

Also, I really appreciate how both of my favorite perfumes are never featured in couture publications or big billboards. It goes to show that you aren’t limited to what Macy’s offers, if designer names aren’t “it” for you.  It’s much easier on my wallet that way, as well.  But hey!  From a girl who usually has expensive taste in things – start there!

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