Move Over Proust, Aromatic Advertisements Are The New Madeleines

I DON’T KNOW THAT I can adequately answer the question posed below, but I can tell you about what happened to me yesterday when one of those aromatic advertisements fell out of an Ulta mailing and landed on my lap.Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 11.43.54 AM

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I WAS SITTING ON THE screened-in porch, glancing through the mailing, when an aromatic advertisement for Donna Karan’s newest fragrance, DKNY MYNY, plopped itself down on me.

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I DIDN’T THINK A THING about it.  I grabbed the aromatic advertisement intending to put it on the table beside me, but I stopped mid-movement when the scent immediately reminded me of being a little girl.

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I WAS PULLED BACK TO decades ago when my family lived in an urban apartment above my father’s medical practice.  At that time, my mother always wore one particular perfume, Ma Griffe, which– oddly enough— I remember as smelling like this new Donna Karan fragrance.

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SO I BEGAN TO WONDER what was in the new perfume that reminded me of my mother’s perfume.  A quick check of the two fragrances at basenotes gave me my answer: both scents have Galbanum top notes [a fresh, natural “green” scent];  Jasmine middle notes [a sweet, intense “calming” scent];  and Vanilla base notes [a warm, boozy “comforting” scent].  Now how trippy is that?  Hmmm?

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

25 thoughts on “Move Over Proust, Aromatic Advertisements Are The New Madeleines”

  1. I dated a guy who liked Shalimar a lot (he turned out out to be gay but that’s another story). Every time I smell it, I think of him. They were good days until he went to the other side!

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      1. As I remember it, Shalimar was very sweet smelling. I wore Pleasures (Estee Lauder) for many years but after a while you can’t smell it yourself (and I worried I was overdousing — there is nothing worse than that overly scented person sitting in the next seat). Now I change every year or two. Currently I am using Light Blue.

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        1. kate, yes to me Shalimar smells icky sweet. I agree about that overdousing thing. When it comes to scent of any type, less is more.

          I’m without a fragrance right now, so maybe I’ll try this new one for a few months. Applying it lightly, of course.

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  2. How cool to have those wonderful memories brought back! Smells are so important to us in our lives. My dad wore Old Spice and Isaac sometimes wears it. I love that! I now wear scented body lotions and really like them–double duty!

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  3. They say that scent memories are our strongest emotional triggers. All it took was those notes to elicit your memory but I wonder if you compared the fragrances side by side whether they’d be close at all. Very interesting Ms. Bean.

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    1. Zazzy, good point. I imagine that side-by-side they’d smell different to me, but in that brief unexpected moment I flashed back to little girlhood. [And thought of Proust, obviously.]

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  4. Where did you find out the base notes of the perfumes–I want to find out what’s in my beloved Light Blue. It seems very citrus to me, but who knows? I have been fascinated by perfume since I first visited France and went to a parfumerie in Grasse where we learned about the “nez”(the nose) who can tell what’s in a perfume, just by sniffing. On another note, ma griffe means my claw; that’s kind of a strange name for a perfume. Hmmm. 😉

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  5. Here’s Light Blue(not as pretty a graphic as yours though); I had no idea it had apple in it!
    Top notes: Sicilian Cedar, Apple, Bluebell; Middle notes: Bamboo, Jasmine, White Rose; and Base notes: Citron wood, Amber and Musk.

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    1. Margaret, I wondered what Ma Griffe meant. Thanks for telling me, although that’s not a perfume name that calls to me either.

      Light Blue is a popular scent. Lots of women who I know wear it. It’s interesting to read what is in it. I agree, apple? [!] Whatever works, I guess.

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    1. Zen-Den, you just do that in your spare time! Whatever would possess you to want to know more about such substances? It’s not like you put them on pizzas or burgers! 😉

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  6. As a migraine sufferer, I have to tell you that those perfume ads are a minefield for me. For some reason, Chanel 19 and Estee Lauder Pleasures are instant and violent triggers. So is one by Clinique–maybe Smile? or something similar. I think it is no longer made. Christmastime and Mothers Day are really bad because those are the times when the perfume ads are in the Sunday supplements, too.

    On a lighter note–no pun intended–it’s true that olfactory triggers are indeed very strong. I did a post about this aeons ago. The smell of Final Net hairspray reminds me immediately of my disco-dancing days in the late 70s when I had the Farrah Fawcett ‘do. And any grape-flavouring scent makes me remember illness, thanks to dosing my eldest with Dimetapp incessantly.

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    1. nance, I don’t suffer from migraines, but I do have lots of allergies– and sometimes one of those aromatic advertisements causes me to sneeze and wheeze. I can only imagine your difficulties with them.

      I never used Final Net, but I bet that Clairol Herbal Essence [from that same era] would take me back to my school days. There was a time when I thought it was the best smelling stuff on earth.

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  7. That is very cool, Ally Bean. I’ve never been a perfume girl myself, but once walked by the scent of something my mom used to wear when I was a child and almost wept with poignancy. (Don’t ask what it was. Someday will rediscover.)

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    1. Kathy, what an interesting reaction you had to the scent. I wasn’t overcome with the past, but I was immediately back in that old apartment we lived in when I was a little girl. So strange. Kind of cool, too.

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    1. philmouse, I remember a blue bottle of perfume in Woolworth’s so I suspect that is the one that you’re talking about. Now as to how it smelled, I couldn’t say. I agree that scents can surprise you. This one sure did!

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