Why Enjoying Scent is Important

“Is there any point in wearing perfume these days?” asked one of my readers, arguing that in our socially distant reality, perfume is becoming an irrelevant accessory. My first thought was that since we wear perfume for ourselves, being alone or in a crowd doesn’t change the pleasure it gives us. (I also wanted to point out that right now is the best time to wear perfume, since fewer people might complain about it.) Yet, the question had another layer to it, and it was about the order of priorities. How important is the enjoyment of scents now when we face a crisis?

First, let me separate perfume as a luxury product from the idea of enjoying scents. Anyone can spend a moment of their day smelling something beautiful–blooming flowers, a cup of coffee, their baby’s hair, and doing so consciously is what makes these pleasures more intense. The reason I started recording videos teaching smelling techniques is because paying more attention to our sense of smell is vital for our physical and mental health. A large fraction of our genetic makeup is devoted to olfaction. Our sense of smell is neither “primitive” nor “dispensable.” As anyone suffering from anosmia, the loss of the sense of smell, can testify, food and intimacy become bland when the scent component is gone.

The tragedy of considering the sense of smell as irrelevant means that people don’t pay attention to smells and don’t use their nose fully. When age-related anosmia sets in, most don’t even notice that anything is the matter until it’s too late. For this reason alone, enjoying scents, smelling consciously and thinking about aromas should be important. The good news is that smelling consciously and often keeps our sense of smell acute over the years.

Another facet to olfaction is that the pursuit of the enjoyment it offers is as rewarding and satisfying as that of music, literature, or painting. Perfumery, the most tangible expression of olfaction, isn’t recognized as one of the arts, and it doesn’t have the cache of an artistic field. This, however, doesn’t deny the artistry of the great classics like Guerlain Mitsouko, Chanel No 19 or Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois. If a perfume can touch you on an emotional level, it’s reached its aim.

Grand epiphanies aside, the delights of small pleasures can’t be overlooked. It’s the beauty of seemingly inconsequential moments that gives us a much needed boost. Whenever I pass by a blooming lilac bush on my way from a grocery store these days, its fragrance–a kaleidoscope of almonds, wet soil and rain-drenched roses–gives mean  intense enjoyment. This sensation lingers with me for the whole day, supporting and consoling me.

Other things have a similar effect, from books to food, but if scents do too, why not take more opportunities to enjoy them?

Finally, fragrance is a chance to do something special for ourselves. It helps us dream. It inspires wanderlust. It lifts our mood and enhances our day. If something makes us this happy, it’s essential–anytime.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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104 Comments

  • Hollis: I’m relying on perfume as part of my daily house-bound structure, and always make sure to have applied it prior to my Zoom calls – it sets a mood and helps me to feel complete.
    Here in the eastern/midAtlantic U.S. it LOOKS like spring, but many days the temps still feel like winter. Relying on comfort scents like Chanel 19 Poudre, Feminite du Bois, and classic Halston cologne until warmer weather reigns. April 23, 2020 at 7:34am Reply

    • Victoria: I also find Chanel 19 Poudre and Feminite du Bois so comforting. May 3, 2020 at 8:23am Reply

  • Matty1649: Just because I’m in lockdown I’ve still worn perfume everyday. Perfume lifts the spirits. I’m wearing Mitsouko today. April 23, 2020 at 9:44am Reply

    • behemot: Yes, being in lockdown encourages wearing fragrance. Besides, I am free to wear anything I want during my Zoom classes, and do not have to worry about the “scent-free” environment at the university classrooms. April 23, 2020 at 8:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a great choice! May 3, 2020 at 8:24am Reply

  • Karen Jeske: Being mostly homebound during this time, I’ve been even more intentional about wearing fragrance everyday and choosing which one. I like to pick a fragrance to give me a nod or boost in the direction of how I want to feel that day. So as the days seem more and more alike, I’m having to dig deeper to find subtle differences day to day and my fragrance choice helps me set the stage for that. If I’m ambivalent or a little down on a particular day, I just put on one of my two favorites and let that be a kind gesture toward myself to lead me to a better place. I also switch out about half of my fragrances seasonally and I haven’t quite shifted from my fall/winter (in the midwest U.S. we’ve had some cold days still) into spring/summer but I probably will this week and I’m sure that will feel like a welcome pick-me-up. April 23, 2020 at 9:45am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve been wearing perfume much more than usually, and like you, I’ve been more thoughtful about it. Sometimes I decide the night before and sometimes the same day. May 3, 2020 at 8:24am Reply

  • OperaFan: “ right now is the best time to wear perfume, since fewer people might complain about it.“
    My thoughts exactly, which is why I’m wearing Songes edp today. It’s unseasonably cold today in the NE US so this tuberose and jasmin monster provides warm and cozy comfort. I would never consider wearing something like this at the office.
    Stay well, everyone. April 23, 2020 at 9:54am Reply

    • Hollis: Sigh…Songes makes me swoon. I am saving it for the first day we are over 70 degrees, but you make a good point. I may break it out today just because… April 26, 2020 at 7:58am Reply

      • OperaFan: “Just because…” is the best reason to wear a fragrance! May 4, 2020 at 11:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Perfect! I love that fragrance. May 3, 2020 at 8:25am Reply

  • Danaki: I’ve made it a goal to wear perfume at home and/or when I go out for our permitted walk/exercise and when I go grocery shopping. I do it for all the reasons you listed. I also have a partner and hearing his compliment on my fragrance makes me happy and allows me to “borrow” yet another aspect of our life prior to this crisis. A reminder of the good old days, if you like.

    The weather is gradually warming so I’ve been attracted to spicy transparent scents like Marni Spice, Serge Lutens’s FdB. When I need the equivalent of hug to soothe my worries I opt for my vanillas and orientals, including my latest discovery Divine Vanille by The Essential.

    I’m grateful for my perfume bottles in these difficult times. April 23, 2020 at 10:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Whatever makes you feel better is already valuable, isn’t it? May 3, 2020 at 8:25am Reply

  • Ali: Smell is perhaps my favourite sense, I love the smell of my house at present, it’s my liberal splashing of 4711 and Turkish cologne, coffee beans, smoked paprika and agave nectar as I’ve been roasting nuts and chickpeas, a hint of carbolic soap there and beeswax furniture polish. I love using perfume too when I’m at home. April 23, 2020 at 11:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like a beautiful array of scents. 🙂 May 3, 2020 at 8:26am Reply

    • Savita: Hello @ Victoria. I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a few years now, you have taught me quite a bit in the beginning of my perfume journey. Even though I have enjoyed perfume for many years I cannot seem to put an image or place to them, unless I actually wore a particular fragrance on a special occasion, only then I can attach something to it. What I would like some advise on is, are there any exercises or techniques that I can use to conjure up an image, place or situation from a particular perfume? I seem to lack imagination? Lol… please help, I feel as though I don’t enjoy fragrances to the fullest. Thank you for any advice. May 24, 2020 at 5:01pm Reply

      • Victoria: It helps to think of what associations a particular smell evokes. For instance, take a piece of paper and a pen and write down what associations scents like rose, cumin, etc evoke for you. Start with something simple and familiar and write down as many things as you can. Then return to this exercise the next day and think further. I’m sure that more images will come. May 27, 2020 at 7:07am Reply

        • Savita: Thank you for your response, I certainly will try this exercise! June 4, 2020 at 2:30pm Reply

  • Tara C: It’s still quite cold in Montréal, so I’m still enjoying my winter scents. Perfume uplifts my spirit and reminds me of the beauty of life, despite the current circumstances. I can’t wait for the lilacs to bloom here, I wait all year for those two weeks of blissful inhaling. April 23, 2020 at 11:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Lilacs are getting towards the end of their blooming time here, but every time I take a walk, I make sure to smell them. May 3, 2020 at 8:26am Reply

  • Gunilla Gorman: I have always worn perfume for myself, it’s nice to hear people say “you smell good” but it’s much more important what I enjoy. I have noticed that now on days when I don’t put on scent, I get depressed, so whether I shower or not, the scent goes on. April 23, 2020 at 11:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I also don’t care that much about perfume compliments, as nice as they are. I decide based on what I feel like wearing. May 3, 2020 at 8:27am Reply

  • Trudy: I apply perfume every single day. It is one of small pleasures in life that lifts my spirit and makes things me feel “normal”. To me scent provides beauty, joy, intrigue, optimism and delight to every day and night. It would truly be a sad world without fragrance. April 23, 2020 at 12:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: One of mine too! I completely agree with you. May 3, 2020 at 8:31am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: I agree with the wonderful uplifting effect perfume can have on our mood. The same can be said for lipstick and nail polish. Anything that brightens and brings us joy in these really tough times are definitely heroes!

    I usually wear perfume for work, meeting up with friends and for bed. Now I’m starting to wear perfume during the daytime at home, and really appreciate the small collection that I have. April 23, 2020 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Agreed, Nancy! So well put. May 3, 2020 at 8:31am Reply

  • Jessica: Thank you for this, V! I’ve been thinking similar thoughts, but you expressed them so clearly and beautifully. Stay well. xo April 23, 2020 at 1:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Jessica!
      Please take care of yourself. May 3, 2020 at 8:32am Reply

  • N: This is exactly how I feel about this. I have been wearing one to three different perfumes for my collection throughout the day at different times when I need something soothing, uplifting, warm, comforting, or cheering to boost my mood. I just put on one to two sprays at a time. It feels reassuring in uncertain times. I also have been trying to notice as many scents as possible while walking outdoors. I’ll walk slowly by blossoming trees for instance trying to catch a whiff of their fragrance. I like walking after a rain when the fragrances of everything seems to be amplified. I’ve been cooking more and relishing in the smells of lemons, spices, and herbs. The aroma of coffee in the morning feels familiar and friendly. I drink a variety of teas and tisanes and inhale their exquisite aromas before each sip. I’ve been using scented hand soaps, liquid dish soap, and all purpose cleaners, such as Mrs. Myers in lavender, rain water, oat blossom, and lilac and also Method grapefruit which are more affordable luxuries and turn mundane tasks into aromatherapy. April 23, 2020 at 2:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: Wonderful rituals–and good habits too. It never fails to amaze me how much richer the world around us becomes when we pay attention to scents, even if our world is reduce to four walls. May 3, 2020 at 8:33am Reply

  • Brenda: Hello & I agree with everyone commenting on how nice it makes them feel to wear scents at home. I usually do…now don’t miss a day as it
    is essential in easing some of the sadness felt over the globe’s plight. Even though many of us aren’t leaving our homes as often, I wanted to mention that over the last couple of years, I have felt self conscience wearing scents at times…even though I am very careful not to wear too much. I do not wear to a concert, play, etc. ~ as many of the arts facilities are scent free. Has anyone else noticed this? I won’t wear on a plane now, either, which is disappointing as it comforts and soothes me! Those of us that enjoy scent also know that it is almost always noticeable on scarves, sweaters etc…so, quite difficult to really go scent free. My best to all… April 23, 2020 at 4:26pm Reply

    • Danaki: I hear you. Me too.

      When flying, I spray a warm and soothing scent on a soft cashmere scarf as I always feel cold on flights and need something to wrap up with.

      For plays and movies, I’m the same. I’m reluctant unless I wore some that morning and it’s now faded. April 23, 2020 at 4:40pm Reply

      • Brenda: Yes, a lovely, warm scarf to fly in is essential…it’s always chilly. April 23, 2020 at 5:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know what you mean. I am also very careful with what I wear when I’m out of my house, and now that I don’t have to worry about that, my perfume wearing is much more satisfying, May 3, 2020 at 8:35am Reply

  • Figuier: Hi Victoria, thanks for taking the time to articulate your defense of scent and perfumery. You are spot on about the way perfume can make mundane reality sing. I have found my sense of smell heightened in lockdown, going crazy trying to clear the kitchen of stale cooking odours in the morning, for instance, but also getting constant pleasure and comfort from the smells of my kids and husband, as well as from the perfumes of domestic and suburban life: coffee, coriander seed, lemons, apple blossom, wet grass, potting compost, paper, lavender laundry detergent and honey baby soap, ďusty fabrics, hot tarmac, bbq smoke and, yes, lilacs. These days I apply ‘fine fragrance’ less automatically, and need to apply less to feel enveloped, but have found it incredibly uplifting to experience the progression of complex scents like Cristalle, Mem, or Bombay Bling. I have little time to reflect or relax hese days, and am often overwhelmed with worry – like everyone else I guess – but I feel more not less attached to my small collection of perfumes. April 23, 2020 at 4:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: One appreciates small joys at times like these. For instance, I feel no desire to seek out anything new, but I wear my longtime favorites with much pleasure. May 3, 2020 at 8:36am Reply

  • Filomena: I am in lockdown as far as I can only go to work, grocery shopping, gas station or pharmacy. No fun things, no seeing friends, no listening to live music, no happy hours, now meals out. However, I still put on perfume every morning before leaving for work. When I come home, I put on a different perfume and then when I go to bed I put yet another perfume. So, yes, perfume has always been a life saver for me and even more so in these surreal times. April 23, 2020 at 9:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: So true! May 3, 2020 at 8:36am Reply

    • Hollis: I too have been applying “morning” perfume and “bedtime” perfume! Relying on fragrance to start and end the day! May 3, 2020 at 8:57am Reply

      • Victoria: I’ve been using different scented lotions in the evening. Falling asleep in a cloud of jasmine has many therapeutic benefits. 🙂 May 3, 2020 at 8:59am Reply

  • MLC of NYC: I wear fragrance every day, even though the shelter in place. Certain scents are assigned to represent the memory of some family members who have passed on. My father is Hermes Mervilles, grandmother G is Shalimar, and grandmother R is Une Rose Cypree. My oldest friend Carey is Chanel Chance. Always be thankful for your ability to enjoy scent. Thanks for your wonderful writing, and the beautiful photo of Lily of the Valley. My favorite wildflower. Bless you, April 23, 2020 at 11:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Exactly, one wears perfume for oneself, after all.

      Glad that you liked the photo. It’s one of my favorite flowers too. May 3, 2020 at 8:37am Reply

  • Jennifer Le Maitre: I completely agree with everyone! Being home bound, has been quite peculiar to say the least. A few days ago, I was longing for the scent of flowers. I had found on my stroll, the exuberance of a variety of smells. A combination of earth, trees and some blooming plants. Surprisingly, I had found an abundance of hyacinths along with some unbelievably tall lilacs! It is the best thing about living in Southwestern Portland, Oregon. So today, I wanted to return to the street where the lilacs where in bloom. It truly made my day so much brighter. April 24, 2020 at 12:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve been rediscovering my neighborhood in a completely new way during my strolls–and finding so many scented flowers. May 3, 2020 at 8:39am Reply

  • Rohini Sharma: I have been using fragrance every single day ever since we have gone under a lockdown in my country , India. While taking my shower ,I decide which fragrance will I wear that day because it helps me decide what direction will me thoughts lead me to. I have found soaking in my favourite perfume , so comforting. I even make my husband wear his fragrance and he has commented how wonderful he feels. It’s a difficult period and I feel one must take refuge in whatever little comfort we can enjoy in the confines of our homes. April 24, 2020 at 1:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your comment, Rohini. Please stay safe and take care of yourself. May 3, 2020 at 8:39am Reply

    • Victoria: P.S. My husband also wears perfume, but these days he wears a different one every day and sometimes he looks through my box of samples to find something new. I’d say that he wears a bigger variety of fragrances than I do! May 3, 2020 at 8:40am Reply

  • Charity: Fragrance is such a part of my day everyday. I can’t imagine giving it up, just because I can’t leave my property. Perfume, gardening and my dog are what has been keeping me sane. It’s easier to take care of others, when I also take care of myself. I feel so lucky to have a backyard garden I can enjoy during this time.

    I’ve also broadened my tea collection. Tea is a fun foray into scent, and something easy to keep stored in the pantry. My current favorites are a lime ginger green Rooibos, a cinnamon plum Rooibos, and a ginger Chai. Hooray for the small joys. April 24, 2020 at 2:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Another tea lover here! My current favorites include a type of Chinese puerh that smells like forest after a spring downpour and an osmanthus oolong. May 3, 2020 at 8:41am Reply

  • Karen A: I’m not sure how to even articulate the impact wearing fragrance has had on me during all the upheavals. It’s almost the sixth week of just about total isolation (been off the farm twice for grocery store curb-side pickups) except for seeing my husband and my mother, for whom I’m now caregiver/housecleaner etc.

    Wearing fragrance daily is part of my mental health strategy. Along with doing the activities I love, even for a shorter than normal time, scents have helped keep me from falling in to despair or helped lift me out when I do.

    Along with everyone else, I am waiting for the world to tilt back on it’s axis. In the meantime, though, I’m so happy to have small joys like perfume along with the beautifully scented flowering plants like lilacs and eleagnus! April 24, 2020 at 3:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Your garden must be such a source of joy too! May 3, 2020 at 8:42am Reply

  • Karen-Anne Keating: White linen today Victoria.
    Looks beautiful outside – l look foward to getting out and about over the next few weeks- when society starts reverting to the new normal.
    Thanks for the lovely 101 perfume -smelling techniques. April 24, 2020 at 4:35am Reply

    • Victoria: So glad that you like them, thank you! May 3, 2020 at 8:43am Reply

  • Eliza: I think I shall start wearing perfume and makeup at home, even if I have no where to go!

    It might help me retain my sanity.

    Dear Victoria,

    I have always looked forward to reading your posts, but in times like this, I look forward to them even more! April 24, 2020 at 2:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Do try it! Beauty has an uplifting effect, and that’s much needed. May 3, 2020 at 8:44am Reply

    • OperaFan: Eliza – I wear makeup everyday, even while in quarantine. There are some routines/rituals that I refuse to give up just because I don’t have anywhere to go or anyone to see. Besides, it can be difficult to re-establish routines once the new “normal” sets in. Those worth keeping are, well, worth keeping. 🙂 May 4, 2020 at 1:53pm Reply

      • Eliza: Yes, I have been putting on some light makeup at home and perfume, when I feel like it. It’s helped me to feel more human. Today I am finding Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt to be comforting. May 8, 2020 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Klaas: Dear all, I so share in the joy of wearing and experiencing fragrance during these surreal times! The bittersweet tang when peeling an orange over breakfast (I rub the oil all over my hands), a cup of darjeeling tea in the afternoon, frying a onion to start dinner, a carrot loaf in the oven……where would we be without all these little daily pleasures?

    I do notice that for wearing scents, I reach most for simple citrus fragrances these days. I love their simplicity and the way they are uncomplicated and uplifting.

    Stay safe & sane everyone!

    And thank you Victoria for all the lovely stories you bring to us! Your blog is a thing of pure joy to so many of us 😉 April 24, 2020 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for your kind words! Reading this comment thread was such a pleasure. May 3, 2020 at 8:45am Reply

  • WARA: Dearest Victoria and BDJ community…last night i was reading in the dinning room about 11:00 pm….when all of a sudden…the most exquisite smell of spring flowers engulfed me!!! It was a gift from heaven!!! I was wearing Pacifica Hawaiian Guava…but that was not the smell of the blooming flowers. The Pacifica roll on is very light and it had faded by the end of the afternoon. This beautiful smell came almost at midnight…most flowers give off their beautiful scents in the evening, but this was close to midnight. I just want to share this beautiful experience, this little gift as a way of reaching out to provide comfort to all of you as we are dealing with this crisis. May we all be engulfed by the exquisite aromas of our earth which provide healing for our hearts and souls. April 24, 2020 at 5:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: How wonderful! Your story is a perfect illustration why scents are so powerful. May 3, 2020 at 8:46am Reply

      • WARA: Bella Victoria and BJcommunity, just want to inquire if you or anyone of the BJ community have heard or know anything about clairolfaction/clairscent/clairessence? I was so thankful and intrigued about the wonderful smell of flowers that engulfed me that one of my friends sent me an article about it. Basically it said that most of us can smell energy or astral smells as they are known by some. The article indicates that some people can smell these because they are more in tune with their sense of smell. It was a very interesting set of ideas and just wanted to check and see if anyone has heard of this or has some anecdotes to share. Thank you so much dearest Victoria for this wonderful oasis! Your hard work has been “good medicine” as we say in the indigenous way, to all of our spirits!!! Take good care and stay safe!!! May 4, 2020 at 8:30pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you so much! 🙂

          I haven’t heard of clairessence specifically, but it’s always exciting to recollect smells as distinctly as you did. Obviously you smell a lot and have a large olfactive vocabulary. This makes it easier to recall specific smells. May 7, 2020 at 8:08am Reply

        • Eliza: Sometimes I do smell what seems to be “perfume” or a strong floral scent out of nowhere (no one’s wearing perfume nearby and there are no flowers either) and it freaks me out if I’m alone at night. Some say it may be spirits passing by.

          I do have a very keen sense of smell normally, so I try to persuade myself that it might be some plant blooming outside… May 8, 2020 at 1:41pm Reply

          • Wara: Hello Eliza, such beautiful smells are comforting and enchanting to me…a little gift to us in our moments in which we need it the most. In our Indigenous traditions, we use flowers to honor our ancestors and to welcome their visits, during the 1st and 2nd of November. I have been thinking about that wonderful gift I received and it reminds me of the beautiful smells of the flower market in Quito. It was intoxicating and the reason why i fell in love with perfumes as a little girl. So, a smell of home during quarantine is a great comfort to my soul. May 9, 2020 at 3:49pm Reply

  • WARA: Sorry…forgot to mention that it has been so cold in here for most of this month…no flowers anywhere and we have had two frosts!!! That is another reason why i was so thankful for the wonderful gift!!! April 24, 2020 at 5:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that there will be blooms soon. May 3, 2020 at 8:46am Reply

      • WARA: Thank you dearest Victoria! We had frost last night and will have frost again tonight….one day this bitter cold will be gone ,p May 9, 2020 at 3:52pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: The roses on my balcony have begun to bloom: Herzogin Christiana (Duchess Chr.). The heady, lush scent is sweet lemon, elderberry, raspberry, and of course rose, rose, rose! It is literally a highlight for me to stick my head into the rose bush and inhale deeply! The other delight is to look at the two absolutely enormous blooming horse chestnut trees beyond the balcony. The City of Cologne has pronounced them nature heritage, and rightly so! I hope for nature, it starts raining soon! April 25, 2020 at 3:06am Reply

    • Victoria: On my walks around my neighborhood in Brussels I’ve been discovering different types of wisteria. And that many varieties smell strongly of cloves. May 3, 2020 at 8:47am Reply

  • MaureenC: In the south west of England we have had exceptionally mild weather for the last two months bringing one of the most exuberant showings of spring flowers and tree blossom for many years. A poignant counterpoint to what is happening for human society. However I’ve luxuriated in the scents that has brought and (like one of the other commentators) I’ve made a point of going in to the garden late in the evening to enjoy the aroma and occasionally to disturb the hedgehogs!
    Choosing the day’s perfume is a moment of great pleasure. Yesterday’s was Vero Kern’s Onda which I bought in her memory just after she died.
    It’s going to be a long haul for us, my partner has a severe respiratory condition and his consultant and has emailed to say prepare for quarantine for you(and by extension his household) lasting a year to eighteen months. So appreciating the sensual pleasures of scent and good food are more vital now than ever before. April 25, 2020 at 4:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Vero Kern’s perfumes are so uplifing. Onda is one of my favorites too, although Rubj was my first love. May 3, 2020 at 8:48am Reply

  • Nora Sz.: Dear Victoria and perfume lovers,
    What a revolting thought – perfume being irrelevelant during lockdown. Chacun a son gout as the French say but I still wear scents every single day. For many people, it may be like makeup – párt of making us presentable in society. But for us perfumistas it gives great comfort during these uncertain times.
    A personal story :In the last couple of months before lockdown I tried to hunt down a bottle of Coromandel, pure perfume. In my country it’s not available and in the Chanel boutiques I checked during my travel in Europe, they only had the EDP. Finally during my stay át home, I found a bottle on ebay. I struggled with myself: should I order it? Does it put me and several people in danger for the sake of a mere greedy addition to my collection? In the end, I went for it. When it arrived, and I finally could put it on, the scent bought tears into my eyes. Somehow this bottle has become the symbol of all things I cherish and miss in my everyday life. It held another message too: everything will be alright. April 25, 2020 at 10:40am Reply

    • Dove: Thank you for this comment. My spirits soared when I read it. I am so happy you could find a bottle of Coromandel. April 28, 2020 at 8:24am Reply

    • WARA: So happy for you Nora Sz!!! Beauty in all its forms celebrates LIFE!!! Enjoy and thank you for sharing…we need all the light during this crisis!!! April 28, 2020 at 6:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your story is so moving! I hope that you enjoy your perfume and that it will always inspire positive emotions. May 3, 2020 at 8:49am Reply

  • Nadia: Dear Victoria, my scent in the days of confinement is Acqua di Parma, so warm and uplifting, it evokes sunny and happy days…..Thank you for gracing our days with your posts! April 25, 2020 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Acqua di Parma Colonia? I also like it very much and I have been using the matching body lotion often. May 3, 2020 at 8:49am Reply

  • Lucas: Amen for what you are saying Victoria!
    One more thing that quarantine made ne realize that no matter how rare or precious the perfume I have might be, there’s no point to keep on saving them for later, for special occasions.
    So from now on I’m going to use those more frequently, before it’s too late – don’t want them to turn bad. April 25, 2020 at 4:00pm Reply

    • Klaas: Never better said! There’s no better day to wear a glorious perfume then the present one. Enjoy 😉 April 26, 2020 at 1:27pm Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: True! Perhaps, tomorrow—4th week of home office—I‘ll use my vintage Caron Narcisse Noir extrait plus the EdT. No colleagues sniffing the air worried, what’s he wearing today!? April 26, 2020 at 4:50pm Reply

        • Klaas: Hahaha, colleagues sniffing – worried…..I can just picture it!!

          But oh, Narcisse Noir, so good….turn your home office into a luxurious Art Deco boudoir…..a little bit of magic & transformation is what we need these days! April 28, 2020 at 5:59am Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t agree with you more. I also have been wearing my favorites more, banishing a desire “to save them.” No point at all. One might as well enjoy them now. Plus, empty bottles retain their scent for decades, as I’ve discovered during my vintage perfume hunts. May 3, 2020 at 8:51am Reply

  • Fleurycat: My husband and I returned home after many weeks of traveling to a self imposed-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks, which we only completed in time to begin sheltering at home!
    I chose to wear little perfume while traveling (mostly only skin care and moisturizers) because I was in a very hot, humid climate and didn’t want to attract mosquitos, bees, and so forth: they seem to like me enough even without added fragrance. But I also did so for a bit of a break from perfume, as I wasn’t really finding pleasure in it, and thus unencumbered, I felt better able to appreciate all the complex new scents surrounding us.

    On our return home, I only unpacked a few select bottles and decants, but found pleasure and comfort in rediscovery! Shortly thereafter I received an email from a lovely local Parfumerie: they were canceling an event I planned to attend, but they were also offering 10 ml travel size perfume decants in collaboration with Lubin, at a very reasonable price, so I decided to try something I half remembered liking (Black Jade) but hadn’t been willing to purchase in an FB! To my delight, I enjoyed it more than I expected and received compliments from both my husband and daughter! I sprung for a few more decants that were new to me (Papillon Bengale Rouge, Dusita Pavillon D’Or, and Mona di Orio Dojima as well as a tried and true decant of Heeley Iris de Nuit and in the interim I’ve received several more unsolicited samples: Lubin EpidOr, Jovoy La Liturgie des Heures, Imaginary Author’s Yesterday Haze, and Ormone Jayne Frangipani. I am enjoying the spicy Bengale Rouge, maybe better suited to cool weather, but a lovely modern interpretation of a vintage style; I am very surprised how much I love Epidor (maybe more than Black Jade) so I will need another sample! Any opinions? Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipani is gorgeous, but unfortunately headache inducing for me, Dojima is nice, but doesn’t thrill me, and Jovoy’s Litergie is wonderful but I think I would only wear it on the rare occasion, if at all. The rest will need time to experience. I have to pace myself! Meanwhile my interests have been rekindled and I was inspired by earlier posts in a Recommend a Perfume from 2019 to try samples from Sylvaine Delacourte, in part as a response to a query about scents helpful for sleep, which has been a bit difficult for me with Covid-19 taking it’s toll on my waking and dream life.
    All this to say that I agree it could be a very good time to experiment with our sense of smell. I am reminded that most of us are not merely interested in Perfume as an adornment, but that we are deeply moved and inspired by the power of scent and fragrance in our lives. That power connects us to something much deeper, and in so many subtle ways. Victoria, and the voices in this forum, reveal the myriad facets of these interests.

    I feel extraordinarily lucky and grateful to have a nice place in which to shelter, especially where I also have private outdoor space in which to work, breathe, relax, smell Spring, listen to the birds and watch the busy squirrels. April 25, 2020 at 8:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Please take care of yourself and enjoy spring, birdsong and your perfumes. 🙂 May 3, 2020 at 8:51am Reply

  • John Luna: Yes, I am grateful for all of my senses (seemingly heightened!) at this time, and also for the ability to summon small pleasures and know them as the rudiments of a day as much as the extravagances. This is a time when much is taken away, and the rest fuses together, familial by necessity, and it’s a source of gratitude. It’s hard, in my opinion, to consider anything that merges with the most loved things of life and guides one to feel grateful towards them, to seem irrelevant. Thanks for the question, clearly (based on all these responses above mine) a source of meditation. April 25, 2020 at 10:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree with you. While many things ended up seeming irrelevant during this time, perfume was never one of them. May 3, 2020 at 8:52am Reply

  • Inma: Hi everybody. For me these days are also meaning deeping my sense of smell, as for many of you. Not perfumes. Instead what I can smell in our apartment, when I go out, when cooking, that is being part of my focus. Also, exploring the scents that bring joy and comfort to me. A new shampoo, a new bodycream. Realizing what is not comforting to me.
    These days I read comfort means, originally, fort-con – strong together. Still reflecting on that idea. For scents, these days, when I feel together with a scent (the smell of my shampoo for example) I feel stronger.
    Victoria, loving your videos and your posts, as always. April 26, 2020 at 10:55am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s such a good habit, and it will be beneficial for years to come. Deepening one’s sense of smell is enjoyable too. May 3, 2020 at 8:53am Reply

  • Tricia: Count me among those wearing perfume more often now, because I can’t irritate someone’s allergies or annoy someone who has different tastes in perfume than mine. It makes me feel good to where a favorite scent while I type away and join skype calls from my basement all day. April 26, 2020 at 9:26pm Reply

    • Tricia: ok. “wear” not “where” April 26, 2020 at 9:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Very true! May 3, 2020 at 8:55am Reply

  • Silvermoon: I agree with everyone here! And yes, I wear a perfume everyday after my morning shower. It brings me great pleasure and sort of sets my mood for the day.

    Shockingly, it has not rained a single drop since lockdown began (i.e. a month of dry weather where I am in England in March-April – surely unprecedented!). So, I have enjoyed wearing sunny and warm floral scents. April 27, 2020 at 3:47pm Reply

    • Aurora: Oh Yes It’s been a long spell of dry and gorgeous weather but I do worry about the lack of rain. I think we will see some tomorrow fortunately 💦 April 27, 2020 at 7:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: We also had a dry spring here, but it rained this weekend and it felt so good. I even went walking under the rain. May 3, 2020 at 8:57am Reply

  • Aurora: Commuting is replaced by happily taking time to select a perfume and again in the evening so the lock down has some really positive aspects. Little projects around the house get done quickly too instead of being postponed, the house is sparkling. April 27, 2020 at 7:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also took this time to organize my apartment, donate clothes and rearrange books. And I planted herbs and flowers on my balcony. May 3, 2020 at 8:58am Reply

  • Richard Goller: Thank you for this post, Victoria. You’ve answered so many questions with this thoughtful post. May 1, 2020 at 1:37am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Richard! May 3, 2020 at 8:19am Reply

  • nozknoz: I agree with your post and commenters, and I’m also remembering the articles about how zookeepers request perfume donations in order to reduce boredom in the big cats. Tigers especially like Calvin Klein Obsession, I’ve read.

    I think perfume can help stimulate our brains when our range external experiences is so reduced. May 4, 2020 at 3:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it’s a powerful mental exercise. May 7, 2020 at 8:03am Reply

  • OperaFan: I just want to add – in tribute to the lovely LotV photograph you posted, SotD is Debut, by Parfums DelRae. I’ve never smelled Diorissimo, so this will have to do.
    The LotVs growing among English ivy in a large shady corner of my yard are usually in their full glory by this week. They are just tentatively beginning to open up – very similar to the ones in your photo.
    Cheers! May 7, 2020 at 11:21am Reply

  • Heather: What an elegant way of answering that query. There are not too many luxury items that I care about, designer purses, clothes? Not my thing. Perfume on the other hand, to me it like what not leaving the house without makeup is for others. There is a scene in the movie Brokeback Mountain, where Heath Ledger’s character smells the shirt of his dead lover. The shirt was in his closet for years and instinctually, he smells the shirt looking to take in his lover’s scent. Scent is our memories. To me, perfume is a signature even if I’m the only one who knows its there. May 10, 2020 at 9:05pm Reply

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From the Archives

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  • Peter in How To Give Perfume as Gift–Or Not: Wow Rakasa! You folks are amazing. What a great way to keep learning. I just looked up Joaquin Sorrolla, an artist that I’m not familiar with. I will enjoy discovering… July 11, 2020 at 7:33pm

  • Rakasa in How To Give Perfume as Gift–Or Not: Yes, absolutely, Peter. Food recipe and cultural overview books/pamphlets come often, but over time we all began to add authored short stories/lists. I loved the one about that included history… July 11, 2020 at 2:16pm

  • Aurora in How To Give Perfume as Gift–Or Not: I love your personal story Victoria, I hope it didn’t discourage it from ever giving perfume to other people. However, I agree it’s a little bit difficult but some colognes… July 11, 2020 at 12:10pm

  • Tami in How To Give Perfume as Gift–Or Not: I think so, too! A simple but thoughtful gift that just takes a bit of forethought. July 11, 2020 at 12:08pm

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