Our sense of smell is very closely linked
to our memory. Have you noticed how you only need to catch a whiff of a certain
scent to be flooded by a particular recollection or feeling you once felt?
There’s a reason for this link between memories and fragrance. The olfactory nerve is located very close to the amygdale and the hippocampus- both areas of the brain which are associated with memory and emotion.
We’ve collected a few scented memories from our friends:
“My scented memory is the smell of Lily of The Valley. My gran always used to wear this fragrance and when I smell it reminds me of her. She had a bottle of Penhaligon’s Lily of The Valley, which is quite expensive and comes in a very plush bottle with a glass stopper; this was for special occasions. On normal occasions she used the cheaper one by Yardley; but they were both light, and ethereal, and beautiful. My scent memory works both ways too- sometimes if I see a particular view or something that I know she would have appreciated, I can almost smell Lily of the Valley. My mind conjures it up, like a pleasant perfumed ghost!”
Without a shadow of a doubt the biggest scented memory to me was my wedding day last year, my bride to be Jessica, wore for the very first time, “The One” by Dolce & Gabanna, this fragrance of mandarin, peach enveloped with jasmine and a hint of vanilla, amber and musk, was, to me, what heaven must smell like. She was bought this by her mother especially to wear on her wedding day and I have to say, I have the best mother-in-law in the world! Whenever Jessica wears “The One” I am always reminded of our most special day and of how much I love her. It is amazing that something as simple as a perfume can trigger so much memories and emotions. Needless to say this is a “Guaranteed” present to be found in Jessica’s stocking fillers at Christmas.
“Romance, by Ralph Lauren holds romantic scented memories for me! I had been given a bottle of it for my birthday, a few weeks before I left England to go to Vienna to be an English Language teaching Assistant for a year. It was a wonderful year, and the scent of it always brings back to me the feelings of excitement, adventure, and also romance...I had just met my boyfriend, and he came out to visit me in Vienna- when he went back home he asked for a ladies “favour” (who says romance isn’t dead?) so I liberally sprayed a blue silk scarf with this perfume. So Romance, fittingly, reminds me of new love, the beauty of Vienna, and adventures...”
Growing up in a bustling, busy, family of five, my youngest scented memories goes back to a Friday night, of when my Dad used to take my Mam dancing, not only was this a big night for her but also meant I got to stay up late and watch TV with the rest of my brothers and sisters. This was always the night that Mam got to dress up to the nines and she lavishly wore her Chanel Number 5, lush with the aroma of roses and jasmine. I always associate that smell with bonding with my brothers and sisters and of times of youth where the only thing that mattered was who got to sit by the fire and who chose what flavour crisps we were going to eat. Still today and well into her 90s, my mam still dons Chanel Number 5 when going anywhere special.
“As a child we used to go out every year to pick daffodils, catkins, primroses, and other spring flowers for the mother’s day bunches for the children to give out at church. Rather than being a chore, it was very exciting- we scrambled through hedgerows, and into disused quarries and secret glens to pick all of these flowers. I don’t know what went wrong, but back then it always seemed to be sunny in March... When we got back home the table was spread with all of these bright, perfumed daffodils; an excess of them, a “host of golden daffodils” in fact- and even now the scent of daffodils conjures up a feeling of positivity and childish giddy excitement.”
My first ever “love
encounter” was when I was around 17 and it was with my childhood sweetheart,
Jayne. I will never forget the smell of her perfume, it was Beautiful by Estee
Lauder, the aroma was most intoxicating and with a rich, romantic feel.
Needless to say this heady, yet light mix of lilies, roses, marigold &
orange blossoms were more than enough for me to succumb to her beauty. Even
now, after celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and three
children, whenever Jayne wears this, she knows that she is guaranteed to get
her own way.
My first ever encounters with perfume was with my mum at the Boots perfume counter, she would always pop in and try out the free testers when we were up town, shopping. Her favourite was Poison, a warm purple looking fluid that yielded a strong exotic scent, the smell was quite out of this world and smelled wonderful on my mum. I remember saving up my pocket money for what seemed liked months (Probably only a few weeks thinking about it), to purchase a small bottle for Mother’s Day and presenting it to her bundled in gold wrapping paper and ribbons, I will never forget how her eyes lit up when she opened it. Even today when I smell this exotic perfume by Christian Dior, I think of how happy my mum was and of times when I was happiest too.
Do you have any scented memories? If not, you’re missing out! Try buying a new brand of perfume or scented candle to associate with this time in your life. Use it whenever you feel happy or are about to go out and do something exciting- then one day in the future you can find this scent again and rediscover your scented memories!