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While my best friend was designing her “signature scent” in a fancy parfumerie in Covent Garden, I was next door at the cookie shop, deciding between Double Chocolate Chunk and Raspberry Macadamia. Actually, I knew I would choose Double Chocolate Chunk, but I took my time because designing a signature scent takes forever.
Finally, she emerged smelling nearly as delicious as the cookie I was wolfing down. Holding up a small vial, she explained, “They store the formula, so, I can purchase more in the future!”
Knowing how often we make it to London (once every forty-three years), I thought it wise for her to stock up. But she insisted she would use it sparingly, and only on special occasions, so the vial could feasibly last another four decades.
This was entirely different than with my grandmother. Each Christmas, her five children and thirteen grandchildren gifted her with boxed sets of her signature scent: Coty L’Origan. The “parfum” was “progressive for its time, with top notes of orange, middle notes of violet and base notes of vanilla.” I would suppose that such a progressive scent would have been worn by vixens and harlots when it was created in 1905, but to me it said, “Grandma!”
I remember the orange bottle and matching powder container with a big orange puff, sitting on her dresser. The rest of her L’Origan stash was stacked in the corner, pretty orange and gold boxes waiting their turn to be used up before Christmas ’73, ‘74, ’81, ’92, etc.
My mom’s signature scent was an Avon creation called Sweet Honesty. Described as, “a floral heart blooming with honey, citrus and vanilla,” I highly suspect that she preferred the name more than the actual perfume. Sweetness and honesty were a big deal to her and woe to any offspring who fell short in either category. To this day, whenever I smell a combination of honey, citrus, and vanilla, I prepare to be spanked. That’s honesty right there! I should mention this to my therapist.
I tried different perfumes over the years, but every time I found something I liked, hubby would take one sniff and sneeze uncontrollably. We had the same problem when I tried to keep kittens in the house. There are some things you just don’t do when you are married to an asthmatic with allergies. Unless, you are really, really mad at him, then you might let the cat in the house, encourage it to roll around on his pillow, and then shoo it back outside before he gets home from work. Not that I’ve ever done anything like that, I’m just saying, if you were that kind of passive aggressive person…
Let’s say, one Christmas your hubby gifts you with a Victoria’s Secret perfume that he happens to know he’s not allergic to because his cute coworker with the dolphin tattoo on her lower back wears it every day. That would be a good time to see what the cat drags in.
Last year, we discovered a scent that does not cause him to sneeze, does not remind me of my family tree, and is not associated with a hot-to-trot coworker who can’t keep her shirt pulled down over her tramp stamp. It’s “Omnia Amethyste” by Bulgvri. It has become my signature scent. My children sniff me when I hug them, and say to each other, “Mommy always smells so good!”
It is available in every duty-free shop at every international airport, so some day my grandchildren will be able to gift me with new bottles at Christmas no matter how far they travel to come home. And most importantly, I don’t have to go to a parfumerie in London to purchase it. That frees me up to spend more time enjoying strong top notes of chocolate, with delicate middle notes of chocolate, underscored by delicious bottom notes of chocolate all wrapped up in one delicious cookie. Perhaps chocolate should become my new signature scent.
Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author), Twitter (@GingerTruitt), or contact her at email@example.com.