Scent Diary : Old Books

Do you know that as paper degrades it releases aromatics like vanillin and benzaldehyde? The former is a familiar aroma of vanilla, and the latter smells like bitter almonds. It surely must be nature’s reward to readers. It’s also a reward to people reorganizing their bookshelves, as I’ve discovered. Meanwhile, the weather has suddenly turned autumnal in Brussels, and the air smells crisply of fallen leaves. This combination makes me reach for Hermès Vétiver Tonka for several days in a row, a perfume of caramelized hazelnuts and earth caked roots. Oddly compelling.

books

Scent Diary is a place where we can share fragrances we encounter, good and bad, perfumes we wear and the scents around us. In order words, it’s just a place to talk about scented anything and everything.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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109 Comments

  • rosarita: Summer in the Midwest US is full of wonderful scents. I live in a rural area and a country drive brings my favorite, mown hay, along with trumpet vine, manure, the dusty green smell of soybean fields and the sweet smell of green corn. These scents and many others float through my open windows in waves. My neighbor has a tiny orchard and a huge garden just feet from my patio, the apple, peach and pear trees are full of fruit. Truly a melange of deliciousness! July 30, 2015 at 7:46am Reply

    • Victoria: Paradise. This sounds like paradise to me. 🙂 July 30, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

      • rosarita: Well, in all honesty it’s not really paradisaic – my home town is a railroad town, close to Chicago, so time on the patio includes train whistles literally every ten minutes (I’m close to the tracks). Yes I am used to them but they never fade completely into the background. We discuss getting a water feature to mask the noise but it might have to have Niagara Falls intensity ? July 31, 2015 at 8:23am Reply

        • Victoria: I have a thing for the sound of trains, especially in the evening. It always makes me wonder where the people are going and fantasize about travel. My grandmother’s house is in a railroad town, so we’re used to trains.
          The worst, though, when I lived in Chicago near the L train. I swear it would have covered up the sound of Niagara Falls! August 1, 2015 at 6:12am Reply

    • Neyon: Sounds extremely nostalgic and wholesome August 4, 2015 at 4:36am Reply

  • Michaela: When I get home I’ll go find vanilla and bitter almonds in my old books!
    Now I’m bathed in Eau Parfumee au The Vert. In the hot and thick air this perfume helps me breathe.
    Watermelon light but penetrating scent also helps. I wouldn’t bear it in my perfume, but I like to smell one then eat it. At home I am waiting for some little murraya buds to open; the scent is divine, think jasmine with orange flower. Maybe tonight… July 30, 2015 at 7:59am Reply

    • Victoria: I love the smell of watermelon too. And cucumbers. It’s such a fresh, crisp scent that never fails to evoke summery associations. July 30, 2015 at 10:38am Reply

    • Michaela: For me today, the bad: floor detergent smell in my face. Am I the only one who is sick from heavy detergents, car fresheners, air fresheners, fabric softeners, everything?! I like lavender buds, aromatic herbs and incense sticks though.
      The good: my young Murraya is in bloom! The few small flowers fill the room. Similar to jasmin sambac with orange flower, indeed. From some of my pots, aromas rise in the air in waves: mint, marjoram, oregano, dianthus, oleander, gardenia, petunia.
      Petunia and dianthus (gardenia, too, but less) scents share something like a clove touch I like very much. July 31, 2015 at 8:06am Reply

      • Victoria: I had to look up murraya, and it’s such a pretty flower–symmetrically shaped, with glossy leaves. Enjoy it! August 1, 2015 at 6:08am Reply

        • Michaela: Thank you!
          It’s so easy to care: a windowsill, water and sun. August 3, 2015 at 5:12am Reply

  • Kat: I noticed that not all books smell the same when new. It’s probably due to the paper and/or ink used when printing. There’s one specific scent I can’t stand – I once had a book that just would not let go of that scent so I doused it in a perfume sample I had at hand and that did the trick for more than 15 years. Genius me forgot of course which perfume that was. July 30, 2015 at 8:21am Reply

    • limegreen: A friend of mine who loves antiquing and finding old books will always put the old book in a ziplock bag and microwave it briefly. Takes care of any smells one does not care for! July 30, 2015 at 9:34am Reply

    • Victoria: I once received a book that smelled of stale smoke. It took a long time for the scent to air out. I wish I knew limegreen’s microwave trick before. July 30, 2015 at 10:39am Reply

      • Kat: There are several tricks to get rid of unpleasant smell in old books. If you don’t have a microwave you can also place the book in ziploc bag with some kitty litter. Not sure if that would work with stale smoke which is notoriously difficult to remove. And if a book smells really moldy it’s definitely better to hand it to a paper restorator. July 30, 2015 at 2:30pm Reply

        • limegreen: Good old kitty litter!
          It was the strangest thing to watch her microwave books but it sure worked. She was also interested in eradicating the bugs in old bindings. (She’s British and has been doing this since before coming to the US.)

          Stale smoke can be dreadful –if a perfume evokes that smell, I can’t abide it. (Some vetivers will have that effect on my skin.) July 30, 2015 at 4:18pm Reply

          • Karen: These tips are great! I have some old books that I don’t want to part with (guess they still evoke joy?) but the musty smell makes it impossible for me to read them! July 30, 2015 at 4:37pm Reply

          • Victoria: Yep, stale ashtray smell. Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire. August 1, 2015 at 5:57am Reply

        • Victoria: It might work. I used baking soda pouches.

          Mold is very dangerous, especially if you live in a damp climate like I do. So I agree, that’s a job for a professional. August 1, 2015 at 5:50am Reply

  • limegreen: No vanilla and almonds from Kindles and laptop screens, shame!
    Ripe peaches are perfuming my kitchen — I don’t love peachy fruity notes in my perfume but really love the smell of it otherwise. Mangoes are also ripening in a basket and mingled smells of greenish to ripe mangoes is so delectable.
    Inspired to spritz on Jo Loves A Shot of Thai Lime over Mango as it will be another warm humid day. July 30, 2015 at 9:43am Reply

  • Joy: The air yesterday here in the Northwest had the low tide, marine smell. I wore Rose Splendide out walking. In years past I would have been wearing Diorella.
    I just returned from a driving tour of Oregon wine country. The beautiful countryside was scented with cut hay and wild roses. Quite stunning!! July 30, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Wow! Sounds splendid on all counts. Did you taste anything especially memorable on your tour? July 30, 2015 at 10:37am Reply

      • Joy: Willamette Valley Pinots are splendid! We Then went on to the Washington state winery’s of the Yakima Valley and Red Mountain known for cab blends, Syrahs, and Chardonays. We purchased fresh peaches, apricots, Walla Walla Sweet onions, and corn along the way. A totally sensory and delicious trip. We drove through beautiful vineyards, visited the town of McMinnville and drove along the beautiful Columbia River. We saw wild windsurfers along the way. I spent way too much on my favorite wi es! July 30, 2015 at 2:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: Mmmmm…. I can just imagine it. I did a similar trip years ago with my family, and I always wanted to retrace our steps. August 1, 2015 at 5:52am Reply

    • Neyon: I love wild roses in the English countryside! August 4, 2015 at 4:34am Reply

  • Tammy: Freshly mown grass in the hot sun. Haloed white heat enveloping everything, bleaching out colors and distorting voices. Streams of Blood-red roses intruding through open windows, interrupting ennui for a mystical moment. A temptation? A portent? A distant memory? Whiff of animal feces from sidewalks bearing witness to the ordure of humankind. July 30, 2015 at 10:20am Reply

    • Victoria: Scent diary + a philosophical view of the world. I love it. 🙂 July 30, 2015 at 10:40am Reply

  • Sandra: Some scen July 30, 2015 at 10:27am Reply

    • Sandra: It posted before I was finished!
      Some
      Scents from my morning are Indian Rose and Almond oil shower foam, fresh roasting coffee at a bakery, baby wet diaper smell, coworkers toasting bagels, my perfume – Blvgari Omnia crystalline, the older version- not the new one that’s in the pinkish bottle. For breakfast- maple yogurt and blueberry bread – homemade July 30, 2015 at 10:31am Reply

      • Victoria: Sandra, who makes Indian Rose and Almond oil shower foam? July 30, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

        • Sandra: This store in Holland called Rituals-
          Have you heard of it ? July 30, 2015 at 1:22pm Reply

          • The Blue Squid: Hi, I am on holiday in Ireland at the moment, and the hotel I am staying in has some Rituals body products as standard in the rooms. The sweet orange and cedar shower gel was especially nice. Thanks, Netherlands! ? July 31, 2015 at 4:49pm Reply

            • sandra: I have that one too! Isn’t it lovely My favorite is the frangipani. July 31, 2015 at 7:07pm Reply

          • Victoria: Yes! I’ve never tried any of their products, but now I definitely will. August 1, 2015 at 5:42am Reply

            • Sofie: Their cherry blossom range is lovely too. The wipped body butters are gorgeous, both in scent and texture and I always have a hand scrub from them around (my mum brings it over when visiting). August 2, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

  • Victoria: I’m adding onto my scent diary:
    –coffee with cardamom and saffron, my latest obsession
    –overripe (ok, rotten) peach. Smelled like vinegar and coconut. Not good.
    –stale cigarette smoke in the apartment lobby. Also not good.
    –rain on pavement. Exhilarating and cancelled out all the bad smells I’ve encountered earlier

    My husband called and said that he received a compliment on his perfume from a colleague, who wanted to know where he can find the same thing. He was wearing Hermes Eau de Narcisse Bleu. July 30, 2015 at 10:36am Reply

    • Tammy: Your coffee yum!
      Also the following scent observations (which I can’t romanticize right now):
      1. Mushrooms: so many different olfactory notes based on temporality and temperament: based not only different species e.g. Cremini, shiitake, oyster, but also whether they are cool or warm, damp or dry. When I roast them in the oven, they smell like meat. When I stir fry them they smell like old rags. Does anyone else notice this?
      2. Gasoline. A very strange vapor. July 30, 2015 at 4:50pm Reply

      • Victoria: 🙂 I will pay attention, as I’m about to cook mushrooms. August 1, 2015 at 5:58am Reply

    • Tim Graham: I am a chef in Chicago, and that scent of rain on pavement or concrete is something I have chased for a very long time. I can’t quite describe the things I have tried to capture that wonderful flinty, chalky, steamy, incredibly comforting scent. Perhaps one day . . . July 31, 2015 at 1:06am Reply

      • Victoria: I would have loved to taste some of those experiments, Tim. Sounds fascinating! August 1, 2015 at 5:59am Reply

    • Jackie: Victoria, how do you make coffee with cardamom and saffron? That sounds incredibly delicious. July 31, 2015 at 2:17am Reply

      • Victoria: I brew it in a jezzve, a Turkish style pot and add ground cardamom and a few threads of saffron. You have to adjust the quantity to taste, since the roast will affect the flavor. I prefer a light roast for this kind of coffee. In the Middle East, particularly the Gulf countries, the coffee is roasted very lightly, so the flavors of spices stand out. August 1, 2015 at 6:03am Reply

    • Michaela: Hate stale cigarette smoke, though I’m a smoker. But so love the unlit cigarette scent and the scent of cigarette smoke in the open, especially on cool nights! 🙂 July 31, 2015 at 8:10am Reply

      • Victoria: I love the scent of an unlit cigar. There is a tobacco shop nearby that’s devoted almost solely to Cuban cigars, and the scents emanating from it whenever someone opens the door are rich and inviting. August 1, 2015 at 6:08am Reply

    • Michaela: Is you coffee difficult to make? Please share, it sounds terrific.
      All I’ve tried is a pinch of cardamom in my regular brewed coffee. Interesting. July 31, 2015 at 8:12am Reply

      • Victoria: I just shared it under Jackie’s comment. Very easy! You can skip saffron, if you don’t have it. August 1, 2015 at 6:09am Reply

        • Michaela: Thank you! August 3, 2015 at 5:15am Reply

  • Patricia: Wearing a small amount of 10 Corso Como after a prolonged vacation from perfume due to allergy issues (dermatitis) 🙁

    So far so good! And my nose is exquisitely sensitive after its long rest. July 30, 2015 at 11:04am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m glad to hear that it’s getting better! On the plus side, I’m sure you’re picking up new nuances in your old favorites. July 30, 2015 at 11:58am Reply

      • Patricia: I’m sure I will. The odd thing is that I could “smell” my favorites in my imagination if I concentrated hard enough! July 30, 2015 at 12:31pm Reply

        • Austenfan: I’m sorry to hear this. Allergic skin problems are awful. Glad things seem to be getting better. July 30, 2015 at 3:34pm Reply

          • Patricia: Thank you! I’m wearing some Thé Pour un Éte today, and it’s going well. 🙂 August 3, 2015 at 10:48am Reply

        • leathermountain: Patricia, that is so cool that you can imagine your favorite scents! I often try to do it, and while it’s a challenge, I think my ability is improving with practice. July 30, 2015 at 6:31pm Reply

          • Patricia: I think that it does improve with practice. It’s similar to imagining the taste of one’s favorite food. 🙂 August 3, 2015 at 10:45am Reply

        • Michaela: I love that you can imagine the scents so vividly! Sometimes I can remember some well-known perfumes, too, and feels like a reward. July 31, 2015 at 5:36am Reply

          • Michaela: Hope you get perfectly well soon! July 31, 2015 at 5:36am Reply

            • Patricia: Thank you, Michaela. August 3, 2015 at 10:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Not at all odd! Scent, like music, colors, images, can be recalled if you know it well enough. Many perfumers, not just Jean Carles of Ma Griffe myth (apparently he was anosmic when he composed it), can create a fragrance formula just using their memory. August 1, 2015 at 5:32am Reply

          • Patricia: Now that’s impressive! August 3, 2015 at 10:46am Reply

  • carole macleod: I went cycling this past weekend-there was a bog that smelt of bakeapples, and wild blueberries, and tamarac trees. Every lungful was saturated with scent! Wearing Grandiflora Michel today-it’s an elegant scent, with that French sort of correctness-know what I mean? Like a proper, structured, nuanced creation. July 30, 2015 at 11:26am Reply

    • Victoria: I think it’s such a good way to describe Grandiflora. Yes, I see it this way too. July 30, 2015 at 11:57am Reply

  • Aisha: That bookmark charm is lovely!

    Scents this morning:
    — Omelet with cheddar cheese and fresh chives.
    — Dark roast black coffee. Subtle changes in scent both before and after brewing.
    — Dried leaves and branches from pruned trees and shrubs.
    — Moist soil.
    — Milkweed that must be pulled.
    — Leaves from my chocolate mint, lemon verbena, Roma tomato and basil plants. (I like to smell each multiple times a day.)
    — Kitty litter box (definitely not pleasant, and I don’t like smelling it each day. 😉 )

    Wearing Mandarine Basilic July 30, 2015 at 11:37am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a tikka. I got it in India to wear in the central parting of my hair, except that I never style mine this way. So, I come up with creative uses for it, since I love this little piece.

      Your plant box is wonderful. July 30, 2015 at 11:57am Reply

      • Aisha: I thought that’s what it was! It’s a beautiful and creative way to use that piece of jewelry. July 30, 2015 at 12:51pm Reply

        • Victoria: I hate for such a lovely thing to sit unused. August 1, 2015 at 5:39am Reply

    • Karen: Smells sound wonderful! Can I ask that you not pull up your milkweed? Depending on where you live, it is a food source for monarch butterflies (and also we have discovered a hot spot for lightning bug rendezvous!). Part of the decline of monarchs is due to milkweed being destroyed through weed eradication, especially along highways. If you can leave some or a corner in your gardens for them, every little bit helps! July 30, 2015 at 1:42pm Reply

      • Lindaloo: I was going to make the same comment. If you are worried about it being invasive, you could plant one or two in a pot for the monarchs. July 30, 2015 at 5:28pm Reply

        • Lindaloo: Forgot to say that milkweed is the ONLY plant on which monarch butterflies lay their eggs, so its eradication destroys their ability to reproduce. July 30, 2015 at 5:31pm Reply

      • Aisha: The milkweed is bordering on invasive, and all of it is still there. It’s been either very stormy or way too humid and hot to do yard work. Some of the milkweed will need to go, but I’ll keep enough for the butterflies. One of my gardener friends had also encouraged me to keep some around. August 1, 2015 at 9:59am Reply

        • Karen: The weather where I am has been too hot and humid, so no garden work for me either! It is tough finding the balance between order and chaos (in life and the garden!). As Linaloo suggests, perhaps some pots or if you have space, to allow one area for it? I draw my line at stinging nettles and water hemlock in my wild area(s), but it’s interesting to see what grows and who frequents the plants. When we noticed what a hot spot for lightning bugs milkweed is, I now call it the Makin Whoopee area! August 1, 2015 at 12:35pm Reply

    • Neyon: Oh, sounds so gorgeous! (apart from the cat litter) August 4, 2015 at 4:31am Reply

  • Lynley: My sister and I were bought up on books, and I’d hate to think what our childhood would have been like without playing outside, and all that reading! The library near our home was a huge, cavernous 1960’s building with a smell all its own- timber, concrete and books. I used to hate how they covered all the books with that thick clear plastic. The only ones I remember the smell of were the awful ones. The ones that smelled like vomit. I’m quite sure that vomit had nothing to do with it, but sometime during the 70’s-80’s there was a paper or an ink used- often in school reference type books- that was so off-putting when I opened up the pages. I thought that was so cruel of them to taint books like that! July 30, 2015 at 12:22pm Reply

    • Jackie: Ah, so I am not the only one to have encountered that vomit-like odor in a certain era of books! I remember the smell vividly, though i don’t recall when and where exactly, but, yes, I think school or university text books! To me, to be honest, it was not entirely an unpleasant smell. I feel quite nostalgic about it actually. 🙂 July 31, 2015 at 2:04am Reply

    • Victoria: Perhaps, that was it. I also remember a similar type of smell at school. I hated it then, but with time, nostalgia colors even the scent recollections. I need to find some 80s textbooks and sniff them. 🙂 August 1, 2015 at 5:30am Reply

  • Vishishta: Wonderful silage from the apricot kernal/vanilla infused oil my husband used to give me a massage this morning! Sweet and completely relaxing! July 30, 2015 at 12:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that’s a wonderful start to the day. 🙂 August 1, 2015 at 5:30am Reply

  • Bonnie: I am having a stressful day at work. The only thing helping me stay strong and composed is the aromatherapy effects of Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana. It’s remarkable how it melts into my body chemistry. I put it on at 6 am and it keeps me uplifted through the day and into evening. It sweetens my commute home on the hot and sweaty streetcar. I know some people find Dolce too dainty, too light – on me, though, it has found a love match. My friends are coming up to me and putting their nose to my skin. Yes, I work with some wacky (but lovely) people!! July 30, 2015 at 12:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that your stressful day ended well and you’re enjoying a relaxing weekend.

      It’s important to have a perfume that acts like your talisman, so to speak, something that lifts your spirits throughout the day. 🙂 August 1, 2015 at 5:39am Reply

  • Karen: Our kitchen and home have been fragrant lately – making lots of peach jam with vanilla bean and also got some elderberry jelly put up! The smells of cooking fruit are intoxicating. Coffee early morning, then the fragrance of steamed milk for my latte – another comforting scent.

    It’s so hot and humid here that the air smells thick. Perfume today is yet to be decided, but perhaps Cologne Indelible? July 30, 2015 at 1:47pm Reply

    • Jackie: Ah, Karen, I agree: cooking fruit for jam is one of life’s most intoxicating and comforting scents! July 31, 2015 at 2:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Did I ask you already, but how are you liking Cologne Indelible so far? (Apologies if I did ask already!)

      I bought plums at the market that turned out to taste almost of nothing, so I cooked them with vanilla. Imagine my surprise when I opened a jar this morning and discovered the biggest, lushest, boldest plum perfume. The taste is mild, but the aroma is a total knockout. August 1, 2015 at 5:47am Reply

      • Karen: Very fun that you added vanilla and had such fragrant results! It’s pretty amazing. I keep empty bottles of it just to smell, and adding either the bean or extract to fruits is just wonderful!

        I really appreciate the quality of CI, but for me – despite wanting to think I do well with “masculine” scents, it really just doesn’t “feel” like me. I keep giving it a try, but mostly encourage my hubby to wear it!

        It does dry down to a musk that can be layered upon, but I don’t think that’s the intention! August 1, 2015 at 12:41pm Reply

        • Victoria: An empty musk drydown somehow doesn’t sound all that enticing. I haven’t tested it yet, but nothing I read so far is inspiring me to run out and look for it. August 1, 2015 at 6:55pm Reply

  • Joy: I love the smell of my fountain pen ink drying on thick, rich paper. I need to get that pen out and use it again. I took all my notes in university with fountain pen. Life shouldn’t always be about what is easy? July 30, 2015 at 2:45pm Reply

    • Michaela: You remind me of school and yes, the scent of ink is unmistakable. Unique and lovely, if you ask me. July 31, 2015 at 8:14am Reply

    • Victoria: There is a special pleasure in fine paper and pens. I admit that I rarely write these days–most of my notes are on my hard drive, but I’m still melting when I’m at a paper shop.

      Actually, I love the smell of Varsity ink pens. Not expensive, but light and with beautiful color of ink (Sarrasins purple color). August 1, 2015 at 5:54am Reply

  • irem: How I love the scent of old books.
    These days I am surrounded by paper but not the good smelling kind. I am working on a manuscript with a submission date due tomorrow! I am drowning in a sea of printouts (references, versions of my own manuscript etc. ): lignin-free paper fresh out of the printer smelling mostly of the toner.
    The supporting roles are lots of coffee (of course) and lots of Cologne (two samples of Neroli Portofino) to keep me awake and focused.
    I feel more or less as the quote says: “A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.”
    My theorems are nowhere near Rényi’s though! July 30, 2015 at 2:55pm Reply

    • Michaela: I adore this saying! Excellent! 🙂 July 31, 2015 at 5:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Good luck, Irem! I’m keeping fingers crossed for you and wishing you and your manuscript for a smooth journey.

      Neroli Portofino is one of those perfumes that appear simple and straightforward, but once you start wearing it, you find all sort of clever little nuances–warm jasmine, pepper, green leaves. May it help you finish your manuscript! 🙂 August 1, 2015 at 5:56am Reply

  • Jackie: My daughter’s head after swimming in a chlorinated pool combined with her scalp smell and still a hint of the Narciso hair mist I sprayed on her in Sephora the other day (tenacious stuff!): strangely delicious combination. (I must have a bottle of that hair mist to spray on my kids! The best version of Narciso IMO.)

    Other notable smells today: rotting blueberries found in child’s backpack. Not pleasant.

    Arugula and fresh basil salad we took on our picnic.

    Atelier Oolang Infini which I could smell on myself even through the chlorine!

    Jasmine blooming on front porch — we catch whiffs of it coming and going!

    I love reading everyone’s scent diary comments! Thank you, Victoria! July 31, 2015 at 1:52am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re making me imagine the mustardy-peppery scent of arugula and licorice like basil. And now I’m thinking, what if I made a blend of black pepper and basil essence…. Thank you for an inspiration. 🙂 August 1, 2015 at 6:00am Reply

  • Lizzie: I can’t resist books whether old, with pages that are buttery coloured and with pages that feel like calf skin suede or the exciting moment one opens a new book full of pristine pages, words to be discovered and the smell of new print! I learned a new word that is very apt for me – Tsundoku! A Japanese word for piles of new as yet unread books. I can’t wait to make a start on the new collection spring up around my apartment like the support tiles under a Roman hypocaust floor :). It is also chilly in London so I have been wearing Serge Lutens 5 O’Clock Gingembre. The bergamot stops it from being too heavy for cool summer but those light ginger and ambery notes are the metaphorical equivalent of a pashmina around the shoulders – enough to keep you warm but not cloying. July 31, 2015 at 3:04am Reply

    • Victoria: This is one of the reasons why I love Japanese and switched my college degree halfway to study it. The very sight of my tsundoku sparks joy in me. And it sounds like our apartments look very similar. 🙂 August 1, 2015 at 6:05am Reply

  • Aurora: Old books smell so comforting and your photo is so lovely.
    Yesterday morning: the scent of Molton Brown Ylang Ylang filling the bathroom. On my way to work, the familiar smell of Liverpool Station, stopped to smell the cone shaped cluster of purple flowers which smell of honey and are irresistible to bees.
    Evening: Preparing crepes, at first the yeasty aroma of the batter, then pouring rum and the juice of an orange which add a floral, acidulated smell.

    Later in the evening the little wafts of Dioressence I spritzed on my wrists. July 31, 2015 at 3:43am Reply

    • Michaela: Crepes! Yum…
      I’d bet you had beautiful dreams with Dioressence! For me, the most relaxing moment of the day is after the evening shower, when I apply perfume on my wrists. July 31, 2015 at 8:19am Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Michaela! The recipe was according to my mother’s instructions + adding some butter as Victoria’s recipe from her Great-grandmother. It’s an excellent tip.

        Glad to find another Dioressence fan, it’s not very much talked about on the blogs, I have a little 30ml of vintage which smells divine, a lucky find from ebay. July 31, 2015 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: The very thought of crepes makes me hungry and it reminds me that I haven’t made them in a while. Must make crepes this weekend. August 1, 2015 at 6:06am Reply

  • katherine: Mango. Just love their aroma. Karen’s post has inspired me (as of tonight) to make a chutney or ice cream with the mangoes my mother and I picked from her tree. I flew them home in my luggage and they’ve ripened nicely. I notice their scent in the kitchen – before the daily whirlwind starts. Mango – such a cheerful and uplifting scent. Reminds me of my youth when Vincent would pick boxes of them off our trees, and my brothers, friends and I would eat a ton at once – under the tree – dripping mango juice down our arms, down our chin. We were a satisfied mess! August 1, 2015 at 12:00am Reply

    • Victoria: This story is a treat in itself. I can smell mango as you’re describing it! August 1, 2015 at 6:17am Reply

    • Neyon: I agree! Adore the smell of mangoes. Have such wonderful memories of Bangladesh relating to them, where mangoes straight from my grandfather’s tree offered a sweet, fresh, luxurious bliss under the harsh sun of a South Asian summer.

      Mango is certainly wonderful with vanilla & cream, too.. really brings out its own softness and creaminess. August 4, 2015 at 4:28am Reply

      • Katherine: Hi Neyon,
        I ended up making a mango ice cream – and added vanilla to the mix. I think you would have like it too! And you’re right. Mango is soft and creamy – I not thought of it like that. What usually comes to mind is its sweet, aromatic, and very bold flavor. And as you know, the closer you are to the tree – the more aromatic… August 29, 2015 at 11:40pm Reply

        • Neyon: Oh, sounds fab! Your’re right actually, mango is one of the most aromatic fruits.. September 1, 2015 at 4:57am Reply

  • Elizabeth: The weather here in Schwerin (northeast Germany) was miserably cold and rainy for the last two weeks. Last week we attended an open air performance of La Traviata – in the rain. The endurance of the singers on that cold, wet, windy stage was something to behold, especially poor Violetta in her nightdress at the end! My husband caught a nasty cold afterwards, so our first days here mostly smelled like soup and hot elderberry tea. Now he’s feeling better, and today was the first truly warm, sunnny summer day.

    Other experiences: I tried Waldmeister for the first time. It’s a flowering plant (sweet woodruff in English) with leaves that have a distinctive, sweet-hay-tonka flavor. When I researched it a bit, I realized why: Waldmeister is rich in coumarin. In Germany, it’s used to flavor water, soda, ice cream, and beer (the green Berliner Weisse), and it also has some medicinal uses.

    We’re eating lots and lots of fresh strawberries and raspberries, as long as they’re in season, and enjoying all sorts of local foods: fresh and smoked fish, sausages in all forms, dense rye bread. And the roses! They are beautiful this year. My favorites are the old roses in the Castle Garden, which have a lemony sweetness.

    That’s it for now. Hopefully next week we’ll get to go to the beach! August 1, 2015 at 10:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sorry to hear about the rain and your opera experience. Hope that your husband is feeling better.
      I’ll definitely have to look for Berliner Weisse. Thank you very much for a fun recommendation. August 2, 2015 at 10:48am Reply

  • OnWingsOfSaffron: I’m on the Cycladic Isle of Antiparos – it’s so hot! – and actually the colours rival the scents: deep blue, turquoise, sky blue, sea-green, baby blue. The perfume I brought along is Goutal’s “Ninfeo mio”, which I like immensly despite that ever so slight cat pee smell. Funny thing is that I can spray a ton here, and it hardly holds whereas in Brussels a few spritzes are more than enough. August 2, 2015 at 2:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like a wonderful vacation! You must also be enjoying delicious food, especially fruit and vegetables. I’m imagining how good figs are right now. The ones I bought at the market here in Brussels barely deserve to be called figs.
      Usually, fragrances become more volatile the hotter it gets (especially if the air is dry), so they fly off the skin faster. August 2, 2015 at 10:57am Reply

      • OnWingsOfSaffron: Thanks to the answer to the riddle about the volatile scents: that certainly makes sense.
        And yes: fruits are rather lovely. Also in their form as spoon sweets. Our lovely hostess prepared a watermelon with mastic and cardamom delight. Utter bliss …! August 3, 2015 at 11:47am Reply

        • Victoria: From the watermelon rind or flesh as well? Can only imagine how delicious the combination tasted. August 3, 2015 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Neyon: I never knew this. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful piece!

    Recently in my garden I’ve had wonderful white flowers in bloom, which have made my garden even more of a delight to wander around in. Wild honeysuckle bush, lush gardenia bloom, and my new jasminum officinale plant which I’m delighted in England already has had two or three lovely flowers August 4, 2015 at 4:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Wow! I’m so impressed you’ve managed to make jasmine bloom. Mine has been struggling, but we might have had an even colder summer in Brussels than you did in England. August 4, 2015 at 2:50pm Reply

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