What That Scent Reminds You Of: A Trip Down Memory Lane

As I type away on my laptop with Los Angeles by The Bird and The Bee playing on the radio, (it’s surprisingly catchy) I think of all the ways are memories are laced with the scent of a particular perfume or the music you were listening to at that time in your life.

You shared a moment with someone and remember their musky scent entwined with weed and cigarette smoke, or perhaps if you’re like me and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee reminds you of airports, travels and new experiences. Coffee has such a distinct aroma, everyone has a different affiliation with it.

I’m the kind of sentimental person who collects memorabilia, associates memories with certain perfumes and songs and I kid you not, it’s the best feeling ever! You can literally transport back in a split second and it feels like nothing has changed. It’s an interesting way of remembering things that matter or once meant something.

Before writing this blog post, I did some research and asked a few friends about their favorite scents and the memories they evoked and the findings were both saccharine and amusing. While I will talk about some of my favorite aromas later in the post, let’s talk about what my friends had to say.

A* said that he likes the smell of Jasmine, when I asked him why, he had the most heartwarming response; he told me that he was reminded of Eid as a child every time he smelled Jasmine. His favorite cologne in high school was CK Euphoria intense – which I’m guessing brings back memories from teenage.

T* said she likes Eros by Versace because it reminds her of all the fu****g times she could leave the house, (pun intended) given the current situation with the COVID-19 lockdown. When inquired further, she literally gave me the same answer written all in CAPS!

R, said that he has used the same Terre d’ Hermes for the last ten years and everything associated with those ten years is joined at the hip with that perfume bottle/bottles.

As for me, I have a plethora of scents that remind me of some amazing times. Tommy Girl reminds me of my early teens – 7th grade, hanging out with my best friends, eating junk like there’s no tomorrow and only worrying about looking fairly presentable with bushy eyebrows. Thank God, the peach fuzz phase ended in 7th grade when my mom decided it was time to let me look like a girl (pun intended).

Then came Bright Crystal by Versace, circa 2009. Ah! Such good times. This perfume specifically reminds me of my trip to Islamabad with my aunts, mum and cousins. It was mad fun mixed with the usual controversy or two that plagues all family get togethers.

2011, I kept switching between Bright Crystal and Tommy Girl. 2012/2013 was beautiful. The year I became a freshman, I wore a lot of Burberry Touch and Rush by Gucci.

2013/2014, I travelled a lot, wore DKNY Red Delicious, ate a lot of tuna sandwiches and Italian cuisine, made memories surrounded by friends and family.

2015, was the time of new friendships and some betrayals, along with it came a different perfume with bittersweet memories attached to it. Eros by Versace and my go to body spray in college was Bombshell by Victoria’s Secret. It was a fragrance all my friends and I shared on our collective bathroom breaks, I remember taking it out of my handbag and everyone spritzing themselves.

2016/2017 – I started wearing a perfume by Missoni, which smelled just like bergamot, citrus and jasmine in the literal sense but to me it reminds me of California, and a life changing decision. It is perhaps the only perfume that I have not worn extensively, and have not revisited.

2017/2018, I didn’t have a signature scent; much like my erratic anxiety, my choices also became erratic. The only two perfumes I remember associating a memory with is My Burberry and Eclat d’Arpège by Lanvin, and that too because I wore them on vacation.

2019/2020, I alternate between, Miss Dior, Lady Million, My Burberry, Eclat d’ Arpège, Juliet Has A Gun – Not a Perfume, and Nest Fragrances – Wild Poppy. Basically depending on my state of mind. Sometimes I only wear deodorant. Meh.

2020 – Qurantscent is the new fragrance everyone is raving about, it has hints of isopropyl alcohol, liquid disinfectant, and Clorox wipes. The top notes are sweat and tears courtesy of the new and improved social detox diet. (Anxiety sold separately)

While I’ve talked about fragrances here for the most part, the smell of the wet earth (petrichor) after heavy rain, my mom’s dupatta (neck scarf) that I used to tug at and hold as a child, freshly brewed coffee and fresh out of the oven cinnamon rolls are by far the simplest pleasures in life. They have the ability to make time stand still; rewind the clock or fast forward to a moment you have yet to experience – Anemoia.

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