Scents That Satisfy Wanderlust

Some scents have the flying carpet effect on me. I only need to put a few drops on my skin and I feel that I’m in another place. It might be a place that I visited, but most of the time it’s about a fantasy. In my new FT column, Scents with A Sense of Place, I explore how fragrances can transport us out of our usual routine and take us on a journey. I use the example of several favorite fragrance, including my recent coup de coeur, Chanel Paris-Deauville.

The art of perfumery is about creating illusions. When we explore scents, it’s best to forget about the brand, bottle shape and perfume name, and focus on what the aromas tell us. For one person, Etat Libre d’Orange Jasmin et Cigarette is a smoky jazz club, while for another it’s an Indian temple filled with incense smoke and flower garlands. The only thing that matters is whether a perfume creates a vision one wants to experience again and again. To continue reading, please click here.

What about you? What perfume do you reach for when you wish to satisfy your wanderlust?



  • Severine: Not Chanel Deauville. Their perfumes are getting more meh than ever.
    Perhaps Ormande Jayne man, the pine forest of my childhood holidays. Or Goutal Songes, Hollywood, or 1920s luxury liner. Diptyque Philosophykos, a tropical island. August 17, 2018 at 9:08am Reply

  • Emilie: Definitely can identify with the ‘flying carpet effect’ of certain perfumes!

    The first time I tried Un Matin d’Orage I felt oddly specifically like I had been transported to some exotic water palace in an unknown land. Somewhere tropical but also full of beautiful light and the sound of running water.

    A little aside… I’m a bit disappointed with the new Annick Goutal bottles. They look sort of clunky! I loved the hyper-feminine, romantic style of the old ones. They made the brand stand out amongst many. August 17, 2018 at 9:19am Reply

    • Matty: I also prefer the old style bottles of Annick Goutal. They really are lovely August 17, 2018 at 10:02am Reply

      • Emilie: Ahh glad I’m not alone 🙂

        Hopefully the change will bring them new customers… but I sure will miss those gorgeous bottles on my dressing table! August 17, 2018 at 10:23am Reply

    • Sandra: I miss the bottles too! August 18, 2018 at 6:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I also don’t care for the new design. They look so uninspired. The romantic style fit the ethos of the house too. I understand that it might have been time to update it, though, but why those flasks? August 22, 2018 at 7:10am Reply

      • Emilie: Whole heatedly agree! *big sigh* August 22, 2018 at 8:12pm Reply

  • Trudy: I really want to try Chanel Paris-Deauville.
    The description, “a lively, aromatic scent with a radiant freshness—the fragrance of the open air” just sounds like something I must try. I do agree there are certain fragrances that transport me to a place…most often a place in my dreams or from my memories. August 17, 2018 at 12:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like it very much. Uplifting and easy to wear. August 22, 2018 at 7:23am Reply

  • John: I find most often that fragrances remind me of people (for example, a smoky leather fragrance like Antaeus will remind me of my father smoking unfiltered Gauloises in his shearling coat), but I do get a generalized sense of the exotic in a 19th century, romanticized kind of way, from a recent find, Egoïste, which has to be the most gorgeously rich take on sandalwood I have ever worn. August 17, 2018 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know what you mean! For me too, some scents bring people back instantly. August 22, 2018 at 7:23am Reply

  • Brenda: For myself, fragrances that I either wear or have worn, tend to remind me of specific people or circumstances…rather than locations. Many, many years ago when first dating my late husband, I wore Babe (to be honest, likely dictated by the price!). He just adored that fragrance. On the occasion of my first child’s birth, my mother bought me a bottle of Oscar de la Renta. In later years, saving Cabochard for those lovely nights out at our favourite steak house! So, for
    me…definitely scents and circumstances go
    hand in hand. August 17, 2018 at 1:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, the best way to bring back memories.

      Babe does smell good. August 22, 2018 at 7:36am Reply

  • Filomena: When I wear Chanel Paris-Venise I think of Venice…not that it actually smells like Venice but it is a lovely smell although as with lots of Chanels, it is short-lived. August 17, 2018 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Or you can try Misia, which is longer lasting. August 22, 2018 at 7:36am Reply

  • Sandra: Songes, Encens Mythique
    The former takes me to a tropical island and the ladder makes me want to book a trip to the middle east

    Cristalle makes me nostalgic for my youth August 18, 2018 at 6:33am Reply

  • AndreaR: Jean Nate’s Body Splash, hot summers in Los Angeles.
    Annick Goutal’s Eau du Sud, Provence
    L’Artisan, Premier Figure Extreme, Greece
    Houbigant, Orangers en Fleurs, Venice August 18, 2018 at 9:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m enjoying this list. 🙂 August 22, 2018 at 7:37am Reply

  • gunmetal24: I came across a few niche scents recently which are very picture realistic of buddhist temples and certain locations in my home country Malaysia. It brings back good memories but because its so realistic, i don’t want to wear this on my skin. I rather smell it in the air. August 18, 2018 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Interesting. I’m sure they smell good. August 22, 2018 at 7:37am Reply

  • Raquel: Perfumes remind me of people like Estee from Estee Lauder to my mother. There are other kind of smells that remind me of places, like eucalyptus trees to a place in the countryside,
    or firewood to my home in the countryside, jasmine flowers to a place in the beach. Aromatic Elixir reminds me of Cambridge because a friend of mine used to wear that fragrance when we were there. August 19, 2018 at 11:53am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing these memories and vignettes! August 22, 2018 at 7:38am Reply

  • Melissa Rosen: So lovely. Thanks for sharing August 19, 2018 at 10:22pm Reply

  • Aurora: I love this subject, Victoria, thank you. Recently, Vacances reminds me of the French countryside during a spring shower, and Encens Flamboyant always transports me to a church in Provence. August 22, 2018 at 6:29am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, Encens Flamboyant also reminds me of a church. August 22, 2018 at 7:39am Reply

  • Vetiver: For me right now, I think they would be the ones I wear when flying a plane: Vetiver by Guerlain, Vol de Nuit, Cuir de Russie….. beautiful but not heavy enough to upset my flight instructor. September 20, 2018 at 7:39pm Reply

    • Vetiver: Bandit too, just a bit. September 20, 2018 at 8:16pm Reply

What do you think?

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