A Shared Obsession

Denise Hamilton is not only a best-selling author and pal, but she shares my obsession with perfumes.  So much so, she went back to newspaper journalism just to be able to write about the scents and the noses who create them. Read all about how she got started here.

I am not a foodie. I can’t talk fashion labels with you. But perfumes – oh my. My passion for a good scent is visceral, primal. Smell and memory and emotion are all bundled up and entangled. Like getting a knot in the finest of necklace chains, it’s nearly impossible for me to tease them apart.

For every perfume aficionado there is a beginning. For me, it was my mother’s Lauren by Ralph Lauren in the brown glass bottle with the gold cap. She wore it every day. It was the one luxury for a single mother whose life didn’t have room for luxuries. Her clothes smelled of it. If you knew what you were sniffing for, you could even catch a hint in her sheets and her car. Without her ever intending it, I learned that perfume was the highest expression of femininity, far more important than clothes or makeup.

Many decades later, I have an array of perfumes, one for every emotion. I may eschew makeup or even a bra on any given day, should I be feeling radically feminist enough. But I would no more leave the house un-spritzed than I would without pants. I learned my mother’s lesson well. We are both ladies, and ladies wear the best perfumes.