Harrods is having the Perfume Diaries exhibition at the moment. This inspire me to blog about my own fragrance diary that chronicles my scent & sensibility.
1980s – I bought my very first bottle of fine fragrance, on a school trip to Singapore, in a souvenir shops of ……The Zoo. Guess what? It was Dior Diorissimo, with my pocket money. That’s before I even hit teenage.
Throughout the 80s, I was a fan of Estee Lauder’s creation ( mainly because my mum is a loyal customer and her dressing table was so accessible ). My favourite was EL’s Private Collection. I still have a very fond memory of this distinctive scent. I remember wearing this to school. I initially hate EL’s White Linen on myself, but loves it when my mum wears it. Strange enough, I grew up being more appreciative of it and started using it as a linen spray ( Only applies to the original White Linen, not those subsequently distorted versions ). I then sweeped by EL’s Knowing, I regard this as my 1st grown up perfume. I remember wearing it on special occasions like exams and assembly day. Until today, I still keep a bottle of this handy.
It was quite a relief to my friends that I was never addicted to Dior’s Poison, you know, that potent, provocative scent that was so remarkable in fragrance history that basically made House of Dior the fragrance giant of the 80s.
1990s – The era of the supermodels and Calvin Klein. Eternity was the 2nd perfume that I purchased with my pocket money. Eternity was a disappointment!
I never get any buzz out of it, I guess I could call this my first failed relationship with a scent. I did want it to work, but it didn’t. Eternity? I don’t think so.
It was also the years of my stormy adolescence. Thanks to my rebellion self, I started wearing Dior’s Poison Tendre, which according to most people I knew then, it smells like a repellent and could potentially triggers headache in susceptible individuals. ( sorry, mum )
The mid 90’s was the time I had my first Chanel – Cristalle. I was head over heels with this crispy green floral. Unfortunately, one of my close friend found this nauseating. Me being me, I wore it regardless.
I totally repulsed the ideal of unisex, oceanic / citrusy fresh fragrances of that era. While my sister was contented with merely a bottle of characterless Calvin Klein’s CK, I was more interested in Klein’s Obsessions. ( Hello, Miss Moss )
My only bottle of these boring aquatic fresh scents was Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’ Issey, which I swiftly gave it to my junior that complimented the scent on me, in our library.
The late 90s was rather uneventful as I was in med school, living as a poor foreign student in hostel. I faintly remember using Lauder’s Pleasure. I has also discovered Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir by then. I loved this almost medicinal perfume, it’s so comforting in winter. Unfortunately, it attracted too many attentions from grannies in the north.
2000s – The blooming era of my fragrance journey. Early 2000s was when I had my expanding collections of Chanel’s ( No. 5, Coco, No. 19 ), Guerlain’s ( Shalimar, Mitsouko, L’ Heure Bleue ), Yves Saint Laurent’s ( Opium, Nu ) and numerous insignificant bottles of Gucci’s & Clinique’s.
I was wearing Chanel’s No. 19 & Clinique’s Happy rather frequently. YSL’s Nu used to be my party number. I remember indulging myself with Chanel’s frine body soap – at 1 phase, I had 3 different bars of Chanel in my bath room. I still have the 500ml limited edition Chanel No. 5 bath oil with me today.
I also had my very first extract de parfum then, It was Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, brought over from United States by a close friend of mine.
Mid 2000 is when I discovered niche brands like Jo Malone ( I have 10 bottles according to my last count, excluding bath oils ), Bond No. 9 ( Eau de NY, Bleecker Street, Wall Street, Chinatown ), Acqua di Parma, Serge Lutens ( Daim Blond, A La Nuit), Ormonde Jayne ( Osmanthus, Tolu ) & Creed ( Original Santal ).
Of course, I also flirted with Hermes, Narciso Rodriguez & Marc Jacobs. It was the phase I wore tuberose / gardenia a lot. I was essentially a fragrance whore. Honestly, I could join the AA given the amount of perfume ( thus alcohol ) I had .
Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom was the most significant fragrance in this period – a wonderful scent that I couldn’t bear to wear anymore nowadays, a fragrance of romance & heartbreak, enough said. The now discontinued JM’s Fleurs de la Foret, a sophisticated powdery floral chypre was also my favourite, as I started smoking then and the cigarette smokes kind of enhanced the chemistry between this scent and my skin.
Bond No. 9 Bleecker Street used to be my signature weekend shopping scent, just asked the girls in Harvey Nichols.
I am glad ( and proud ) to say that I had repulsed those celebrity fragrances that were launched precariously during this period. The only one that I had used to scent my laundry was Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely.
The late 2000s sees me graduating into more sophisticated & exclusive perfumes such as those from Tom Ford Private Collection ( Tuscan Leather, Noir de Noir, Tobacco Vanille, Neroli Portofino, White Suede ), Frederic Malle ( French Lover, Vétiver Extraordinaire ), Chanel Les Exclusifs ( Coromandel, 28 La Pausa, Sycomore ) & Byredo ( Rose Noir ). This is when the excitement of airport duty free shopping eventually dies.
Inevitably, this writing does stir up some nostalgic memories & feelings. However, it is the true path of my fragrance venture and evolution.
So, what’s your fragrance diary?