Scent Diary : Lavender

Lavender is still in bloom around Brussels, its almond-like scent competing with the musty aroma of fallen leaves. I always find it a surprising and jarring scent image, as if summer and autumn existed at the same time. It also never fails to remind me why I love lavender and how readily it evokes sunshine and warmth.

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. Whether you write down 1 recollection or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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40 Comments

  • Tara C: It’s still hot here in San Diego, been riding my bicycle along the coast and smelling the ocean breeze, so wonderful. October 21, 2022 at 9:46am Reply

  • Hamamelis: I’ve got infected with Covid and suffer all the symptoms, including loss of smell and taste. Ofcourse I had hoped that wouldn’t happen! I immediately started to wake up my nose, or whatever part of the brain is involved with smelling. Tried a lemon in half, nothing! My favourite heavy hitter, Vero’s Rozy, nothing! Then I smelled some jasmine essential oil, the faintest of smells. That has increased, and I can smell a bit more, still jasmin is the easiest to smell, and then later…Chanel 5, a vintage EdT. Any more suggestions on how to improve post covid smell are welcome. October 21, 2022 at 10:16am Reply

    • Andrea: Try daily. Treat it like regular exercise. Give fresh Rosemary, Cloves and Coffee Beans a try…and don’t give up. Repeat. Keep strong. October 21, 2022 at 10:39am Reply

      • Hamamelis: Thank you! October 23, 2022 at 9:42am Reply

    • rainboweyes: Yes, keep trying… use stronger, pure essential oils and visualize what you’re smelling. Conjure up an image of a rose while smelling the essence. Try some more stimulating essential oils… those which may produce a prickling feeling in your nose. Try to activate your scent memories – the smell of rain, the sea, freshly cut grass…
      And most important – keep trying… don’t give up! October 21, 2022 at 1:02pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: Thank you Rainboweyes, nice to see you here! October 23, 2022 at 9:43am Reply

    • Hayley: Hello, This is a charity that has lots of useful info on smell training called fifth sense
      https://www.fifthsense.org.uk/smell-training/ October 21, 2022 at 3:48pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: Thank you! October 23, 2022 at 9:44am Reply

    • Tami: For clearing your nasal passages: Try using a simple saline nasal spray (not with added medications, unless your doctor prescribes)—this helped me improve my nasal function post COVID. It’s pretty safe. October 21, 2022 at 5:07pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: Thank you! October 23, 2022 at 9:44am Reply

    • Emily: Okay, I lost smell for months the first pandemic year & my doctor brother referred me to the Cleveland Clinic’s smell protocol. I took fish oil pills & sprayed Flonase & did goofy smell exercises every day for MONTHS (kept the essential oils in sample vials near my desk to grab, you want them in random order). Thankfully I can now smell again, but with new neurons with new associations. Fascinating!

      Please feel free to ask me any questions, I can describe the process but don’t want to write a whole essay here.

      https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/treating-smell-loss-in-covid-19-patients/ October 30, 2022 at 1:53pm Reply

  • Alityke: I’m making a rice pudding for DH who is just home from his first chemo. He doesn’t really much do a little of the unsweetened cooked apples from the freezer & rice pudding is something simple.
    I haven’t used any spices or vanilla so the smells & flavours are simple. Autumnal fruit of apples & the powder scent of rice combined with butter & milk. They would make a wonderful gourmand perfume for those who dislike candy floss in fragrances October 21, 2022 at 11:02am Reply

  • Natalie: The air outside is redolent of dried leaves this time of year. In my yard it is the leaves of my beautiful red maples and oak trees. Inside during fall there are often the aromas of roasted sweet potatoes, squash, and other vegetables, baking bread, and warm spices used during cooking. I love lavender and I have been craving and wearing Mon Guerlain for some reason lately. October 21, 2022 at 11:48am Reply

  • Nina Z: I recently visited my daughter in Hawaii (on the the Big Island) and that was one of the most beautiful smelling places I’ve ever been. The area where she lived was full of plumeria trees in full bloom and especially at night the soft, warm air was scented with its perfume. In another area there were banks of ginger in flower and that I could smell before I could even see it. Heavenly. I also found some Tiare (Tahitian gardenia) and picked a blossom to keep with me. It was somewhat different than the gardenia I’m used to in California–a bit lighter and less, I don’t know, fleshy. I looked all over for some pikake (jasmine sambac) but couldn’t find any. But basically I decided not to wear any scented products so I could bask in the fragrances I found out in nature. October 21, 2022 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Nina Z: As for tips, I have two additional ones:

    P is for Perfume Friends: Make friends with other perfume lovers, even if just via the internet or social media if you can’t find any in your area. Not only will you meet some lovely people and have enjoyable conversations, but perfume swapping and sharing will definitely ensue.

    C is for Confess: Tell people in your life about your passion for perfume in case they have unloved perfume they’d like to get rid of. And even if they give you something you don’t like, graciously accept it and use it for swapping with Perfume Friends. October 21, 2022 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Myfirstgradeteacher: I love lavender. Surprised it is considered a masculine scent; didn’t think so at all! Wouldnt mind infusing it everywhere I go haha. (P.s. currently wearing Alliage natch.) October 21, 2022 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Ewan: Just last week I bought Bazalka Levandulova from Nobilis Tilia – a beckoning aroma, never fleeting October 21, 2022 at 2:27pm Reply

  • Ewan: Considering the comments, a number of friends have lost their sense of smell so which aromas can reawaken it are much appreciated.

    By the way all infectious diseases affect the sense of smell, not just that Covid one, but it does seem to the most effective.
    And why! October 21, 2022 at 2:30pm Reply

  • Aurora: It’s raining and while contemplating the trees shaken by the wind I think of my recent holidays in Provence and of the delicious lavender honey there and honey-like greengage plums (called reine-claude) I ate. October 21, 2022 at 3:28pm Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Aurora! Yesterday, it was raining up north too, but today we have glorious blue skies in Yorkshire. Your holiday in Provence sounds wonderful. I have never been, but I imagine it as a heavenly place for perfume lovers. From flowers to fruits to food to actual perfumes. October 22, 2022 at 9:43am Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Silvermoon: Provence is full of delights for the senses. The little town where I stayed has a distillery for lavender, and the smell is divine.

        Enjoy the Blue skies in Yorkshire, it’s lovely in London too, today. Hope your garden is doing well October 22, 2022 at 2:37pm Reply

  • Ewan: Musing on the lack of sense of smell: perhaps try eating nasturtiums as they prickle the nose. They have no discernable aroma but apparently fight flu-like illnesses. October 22, 2022 at 4:50am Reply

  • Ewan: Also try grating horseradish! October 22, 2022 at 5:07am Reply

  • Klaas: Lavender must be my favorite smell on the planet!! Together with orange zest and tea 😃

    It’s one of the smells that has been with me from since I was a child. My dad used lavender water after his shower, my mum put lavender sachets in the linnen closets and we use to spend holidays in Provence in a little, sleepy village called Sault, amidst acres and acres of lavender fields…..smelling lavender really comforts me.

    Brin de Réglisse is one of my favorite lavender perfumes, together with Absinthe Verte from Kylian, but I think it has been discontinued.

    Suggestions for a strong, natural smelling lavender fragrance are always welcome! October 22, 2022 at 6:48am Reply

    • Silvermoon: I also love lavender and there is both beauty of colour and smell in walking in lavender fields in the summer months. Especially if there is a light breeze.

      One lovely lavender is Pour un Homme de Caron. Have you tried it? I think it’s considered one of the classic lavenders. Very beautiful, calming and versatile. And then there is Yardley’s lavender soap or talcum powder. Another classic. My father really loved them ( it was him rather than my mother who was the perfume lover in my family). October 22, 2022 at 9:38am Reply

      • Klaas: Hi Silvermoon, thank you for your message! Yes, I know Pour un Homme, it is a classic lavender indeed…..it’s just that I’m not so keen on the vanillic notes playing in there. As much as I love vanilla in baking or in perfumes on other people, I find it too overpowering to wear it myself.

        Brin de Réglisse is so wonderful because it stays clear of too much sweetness. And the licorice interplays beautifully with the bracing, herbal scent of the lavender.

        Great scent diary, by the way 😉 October 23, 2022 at 3:57am Reply

    • Aurora: In the Chanel exclusive there is Boy and Jersey, Boy is more of a traditional fougère and Jersey has vanilla like closer to Pour un Homme. October 22, 2022 at 2:43pm Reply

      • Klaas: Hi Aurora, you know what, I never tried Boy! I’ll spray some next time I visit the department store. Thank you for the suggestion! October 23, 2022 at 3:59am Reply

    • Aurora: *Exclusifs October 22, 2022 at 2:44pm Reply

  • Silvermoon: Three scent diary entries in past 24 hours:

    Pumpkin pie baking with the wonderful scent of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and maple syrup wafting around. It’s such a warm, comforting and delicious scent reminiscent of autumn 🍂

    A new bar of traditional Aleppo soap in the shower this morning with its soothing yet invigorating smell of Laurel and olive oils. I find it’s specially wonderful in a hot shower when the soap’s scent seems to swirl around in the steam.

    Testing Nottuno by Mendittorosa. It has a beautiful powdery, nutty, suede leathery warmth to it and some softer floral and woody notes in the background. I enjoyed sniffing my wrist every few minutes to follow the development and focus on spotting different notes along the way. Only problem was that it faded quite quickly. I got the sample at Bloom perfumes in London on the day I met Aurora, so it is a lovely memory to the first person I met in person from Bois de Jasmine. October 22, 2022 at 9:28am Reply

    • Aurora: That’s always a disappointment when a fragrance you enjoy lacks longevity.

      It was such a lovely day with you in London, we sampled so much and it was double the enjoyment to be two, thanks to Bois de Jasmin! October 23, 2022 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Figuier: I’ve rediscovered the scent of rose-cardamom-saffron after eating some delicious gulab jamun from a local Indian takeout. Now I’m wearing Safran Troublant – no cardmom, but a beautiful rose-saffron pairing that feels classic and comforting 🙂 p.s. has anyone tried making gulab jamun at home? Any good recipes welcome! October 23, 2022 at 12:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve tried making them from scratch using milk solids, and while the result was good, it was far too timeconsuming. I know that there are recipes that offer shortcuts, but I haven’t tried those. On YouTube Nisha Madhulika has many recipes with great instructions. Do take a look at them. October 24, 2022 at 4:14am Reply

      • Figuier: Thanks Victoria! I too balk at the prospect of using milk solids, but ifnthey turn out nicely…will definitely check out the youtube rec, a video is exactly what I need! October 24, 2022 at 4:30am Reply

  • Myfirstgradeteacher: Scent diary entry: OUD WOOD & BERGAMOT hand soap. Yum.<3 especially love bergamot.<3 October 30, 2022 at 11:44pm Reply

  • Myfirstgradeteacher: (Oh, & wore Caron Bellodgia 2day:) October 30, 2022 at 11:46pm Reply

  • Myfirstgradeteacher: Scent diary entry: walking past neighbor’s door in the morning & smelling breakfast cooking; probably bacon, eggs? Smelled good but I try 2b vegetarian lol! (2day wore my usual retro Aliage.) November 2, 2022 at 4:28am Reply

    • My1stGradeTeacher: feels weird to mention a meat on here but hey many ppl love the animalic scents lol. In fact, most do I noticed,,, December 22, 2022 at 6:16pm Reply

  • The Unknown: Speaking of lavender, can anyone recommend a worthy alternative to Serge Lutens Gris Clair? It is the best fresh lavender I have ever worn but I get an allergic reaction on my skin to the pollen ingredient. I have tried many niche lavender scents but none of them are as radiantly fresh as Gris Clair. November 7, 2022 at 2:37pm Reply

  • Daniel: Probably one of the best lavender creation was Guerlain’s “Lavandre Velours” in their “Aqua Allegorical” line. I said “was” because Guerlain discontinued it. Why? And Why don’t they resurrect it? Anyone knows? December 5, 2022 at 6:34pm Reply

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