Saturday Question: What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

I have had an idea. Well, actually I’m copying an idea from Olfactoria’s Travels. Once a week there used to be a Question. Everyone would chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it would be a generally fun events each week. Taking sides never meant taking offence and everyone kept it respectful and light.

I’d like to carry on that tradition, maybe you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

If we get over 200 responses I will draw a $20 Surrender To Chance Gift Card. Every comment will get a place in the draw, so if you comment purposefully on your own or another comment you’ll have a chance, will draw the winner on Friday and the winner will be announced in next Saturdays question.

Last Weeks Winner: 

Send me an eMail to portia _ turbo at yahoo dawt com dawt au

Saturday Question

What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum?

If scent is the ultimate direct line of memory then let’s talk about someone who is burned in our consciousness from the earliest days of our life. I was adopted as a baby, my sister was two years later, and being chosen was always something talked about from day one. We knew we were wanted and incredible special to Mum, even though we were terrible kids and drove the poor woman to distraction. Some of my favourite Mum memories are cuddling on the couch watching TV, her picking me up in the car after a long day of sport, school, extra curricular activity and being kissed goodnight when Mum & Dad would go out. These are the three moments I’m going to focus on in my Mum scent reminders.

My answer:

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you might as well skip ahead because you’ve read this before, or something like it. Obviously you’re welcome to read it again.

My Mum and some of her mates wore Guerlain Shalimar for daily. She also wore for long periods 0f time CHANEL No 5 as her dressed up going out scent, Giorgio Beverly Hills and Tweed as her handbag or car bottles for respritzes after golf or whatever adventures she’d been on in the day. Some things I remember her only having one bottle of were Anais Anais (because we would all call it Anus Anus), YSL Paris, Samsara, Arpege, Joy. Mum would also share with my sister a few things like Byzance, LouLou and that’s about it for what I remember. I know there are some missing from the list, my memory is shockingly bad.

When I spritz Shalimar, No 5 or Giorgio I am transported back to my Mum. It’s like a teleport. She’s been gone since 2001 but every day I miss her still and scent takes me back to her instantly. Funnily the voice of my conscience is hers most of the time. When I ask for advice or am giving myself a dressing down it’s Mum I hear almost every time.

Here’s a pic of Mum & Dad before I came along. Aren’t they beautiful?


So my question to you is

What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum?

83 comments on “Saturday Question: What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum?

  1. MichelleU says:

    Givenchy Organza, Chanel No.5, NafNaf Une Touche de NafNaf.

    Givenchy Organza out of the three will be forever stuck in my head as my mother’s perfume since childhood and now in my adult years.

    If I sniff Organza on somebody on the street or anywhere, I automatically think of my mother!

    Wish you all the best!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Heya MichelleU,
      Isn’t it wonderful when you get a street blast of some memory scent?
      Portia xx

  2. Lillibet says:

    Bwahahaha Portia for me scentless products remind me of my Mum because she felt she was allergic to some unidentified general ingredient in perfumes and hence never wore any. I used to buy unscented bath oil from the Body Shop for her every year for Mother’s Day, her birthday and xmas. She never stopped or objected to me wearing or using scented products though so long as I was discreet. So to thus day I probably err on the side of under-spritzing.

    I sure didn’t arrive late into perfumista hood via her influence ; )

    Love your scented memories of your Mum though.


    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Lillbet,
      How freaking interesting. At least it made your shopping easy for her. Lucky you could find something so suitable.
      Portia x

  3. hage kay says:

    This question is easy to answer as my mom was never a perfume lover. Yet she always smelt nice. The only time I remember herself owning perfume was three times during my entire childhood when she was presented with a) Madame Rochas edp (that time it was THE original pre-reformulated one!) b) Tabu (again the original) and c) Panache. All three times they were from my Uncle visiting from England, as a mark of respect to his sister-in-law, my mother. And she stashed them in her private drawer but never once wore them, because she just did not wear perfume! As a little curious child who loved all things sweet smelling, I would go into her drawer everyday without fail, to smell her 3 perfumes and wish madly they were mine to use! But mom always allowed me to spritz some if ever I wanted, it just seemed so wrong at my young age to be wearing such big people’s things and I never did! So what perfume reminds me of my mom – it would have to be Madame Rochas as that one I could not stop fingering the embossed pattern on the bottle front. Everyday without fail, I would hold the bottle in my hand and admire the gold embossed ‘lace’ front. (I was fortunate to obtain an exact bottle recently.)

  4. Jackie b says:

    What a glamourous couple your parents made!
    My parents were in the diplomatic corps and I also remember being kissed goodnight when they went out to functions. My arms went round her neck and came away smelling of Arpege, Ma Griffe or Chanel no 5. I can’t wear any of these, they belong to my mother.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Thanks JackieB,
      Yeah, I thought they were the most handsome couple in the world. They always presented beautifully, even as they got older.
      Do you ever give yourself a sneaky home spritz to think of Mum or ask yourself what would Mum do?
      Portia xx

  5. Anthea says:

    Opium! I grew up in the 80s/90s and Opium was always what mum would wear to go anywhere special. I could never wear it myself, but I love to smell it on others!

    • Gina says:

      You must be a young one! 🙂 I wore Opium and Obsession in high school. I’m 47 now.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Great story Anthea,
      Why couldn’t you wear it?
      Portia xx

      • Anthea says:

        As much as I love to smell it on others, it’s not really a scent that I feel suits me. I guess it’s a generational thing too – I don’t really go for scents from the 70s/80s. I’m a child of the 90s!

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Perfect answer.

  6. Marta says:

    Yardley’s Lily of the Valley and the now discontinued Gucci Envy. Lily of the Valley is her favorite flower.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi Marta,
      What a lovely favourite flower. I like LotV too but it was always the bathroom air freshener in our house so it is a fraught memory.
      Portia xx

  7. Greg says:

    My mother wore Elizabeth Arden’s Beauty, but that’s not the scent that I remember her by. She was a mad tea drinker and, in her declining years, pretty much survived on cups of tea with the odd biscuit. She refused almost all hospital food, but would always take a cuppa. So tea scents are what remind me of mum, notably L’Artisan’s Tea For Two. I wore Bamboo Harmony at her funeral, so that one too.

  8. Nemo says:

    Your parents are so glam! Your mother’s sunglasses and hair remind me of Lady Gaga (in the best possible way).

    I don’t have any actual scent memories associated with my mother, yet. She apparently had a bottle of Ysatis that she probably wore sometimes when I was younger, but now she mostly wears Chanel No. 5. I wish I had scent memories of my mother, but I guess better late than never!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Nemo,
      Yes, someone mentioned the she looks like Lady Gaga recently and I wholeheartedly agree. This shot always makes me think of movie stars.
      You should buy your Mum a really excellent aldehydic floral niche scent so your memories will also be ultra cool.
      Portia xx

  9. Cassieflower says:

    My early scent recollections of my Mam begin with talcum powder. She had several boxes of assorted Yardley scents. Then there was Cachet and Tweed. One year she received a Christmas pressie of Youth Dew which she wore for what she termed ‘good wear’😃 Unfortunately she didn’t get to enjoy wearing it for very long as my inquisitive little nephew broke the bottle one day while poking about in her bedroom. But boy did her carpet her hold onto the scent for ages. Her room smelled fabulous! Then there was a period of Evening in Paris before she discovered Anais Anais, the one which she wore until the end of her days. Recently at work I got a blast of it off a lady sitting in the back row and I hovered behind her for the whole performance, just inhaling and reminiscing. It was happy-sad. It’s not a fragrance that seems to be widely worn anymore, and as much as I adore it myself I wouldn’t wear it because it belongs to my Mam.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Cassieflower,
      I broke one of Mum’s bottles. I thought it was a huge Joy EdC but apparently they never made it so it must have been CHANEL No 5 EdC.
      I still smile every time time I see Anais Anais. I’m a 12 year old boy really.
      Portia x

  10. empliau says:

    Hi Portia – Your mum looks like Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. That swimsuit is a classic.

    My mother wore (in my youth) Arpège and Chanel No. 5. It was always Arpège when she was going out to something special though. Now she’s in her 80s and is a perfume hoarder – she owns tons but doesn’t wear them. I think her sense of smell has faded. I remember being awed by her sophisticated French scents – my sister and I, at about 10, were allowed Yardley (English Lavender for her, Rose for me) and we loved, although could seldom find, Roger & Gallet soaps. I always thought I would be grown up when I got real perfume – the original Chloé when I was 17.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Thanks Empilau,
      She was so elegant, even when she was screaming at me like a fish wife.
      Chloe at 17! That is precocious!
      Portia xx

      • empliau says:

        1977. Good times. I remember in a hot, un-airconditioned summer putting it on my hair (something I read in my sister’s beauty magazines). I so loved the original Chloe, and what a classic bottle! Lagerfeld did a good job —
        xxoo Molly

  11. Ceil says:

    When mom and dad would go out for a special evening she would always let me choose her perfume! Such a fun memory. I would often choose Guerlain Chant d’aromas for her because she smelled so beautiful in it! She also always had Guerlain l’heure bleu and Mitsouko, Dior Dioressence, Houbigant quelques fleures. Later she also wore Givenchy Ysatis and J del Pozo In black. She was extremely allergic to Chanel no. 5! She would sneeze continually for as long as she was near it!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Ceil,
      How freaking lavish that you used to get to choose Mums fragrance. Totally jealous here.
      Portia xx

  12. Gina says:

    Wow, your parents are gorgeous! Unfortunately, I hate my mom’s taste in perfume. Growing up, she only wore Jovan Musk. Now, she wears Alfred Sung. Ick to both. But, I did get her hooked on Caron Bellodgia and some other carnation frags. So, sometimes she mixes it up and wears one of “my” fragrances.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Thanks Gina, yeah they were.
      LOVE Alfred Sung, so flamboyant.
      Bellodgia is another fave. YUM
      Portia xx

  13. jtd says:

    Seeing that pic of your parents I see where you get your sense of chic, Portia.

    My mother wore perfume only every now and again, usually for special occasions. She never seemed to enjoy perfume. She always had a bottle of Arpège tucked away in a drawer somewhere and dutifully dosed herself with a few spritzes before heading out the door to a family gathering. She did have a bottle of perfume that she treasured even if she didn’t wear. It was a bottle of Patou Joy that her older brother brought her from France at the end of WW II. (That’s the bottle that started my perfume obsession.)
    jtd recently posted…Gone Fishin’My Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Thanks Jtd.
      Your Mum seems polar opposite to my Mum’s “I don’t feel really dressed till I have perfume on” or “And for the finishing touch”

      WOW! Did you get that bottle for yourself?
      Portia xx

  14. Great question, P! Mom wore Maja in the summer and Joy Perfume the rest of the year. I still have them to this day. xoxo

  15. Ellen M. says:

    Both your parents were really gorgeous. How wonderful to feel that specialness from your mum. My mom wore LouLou, Cabochard, Replique, My Sin,Ma Griffe, and Chanel No.5 that I remember. I gave her Opium for her birthday shortly after it came out, and after that, she rarely wore anything else. If you opened her closet, that glorious smell would waft out. Of all the fragrances she may have worn, Opium is the one that reminds me of her. When I smell that fragrance and close my eyes, it is as though I can feel her presence next to me. She passed in 2004 and I miss her every day.I

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey EllenM,
      Yeah, they were and I know how lucky I had it.
      Opium is my BFFs Mum’s scent. I buy her vintage every year, it’s getting really expensive to keep her smelling good.
      Portia xx

  16. Azsa says:

    Emeraude and Estee Lauder private collection

  17. shiva-woman says:

    Your Windsong stays on my mind…. That was mom’s generic run-around. She also had Autumn Leaves or something like that. It had Autumn in it and was a drugstore perfume. For dress-up days, my mom had Maja, Tabu, and Estee Lauder Youth Dew oil (the latter I stole continuously from my earliest smelling age and then she just started giving me my own bath oil, and before she died, she gave me a bottle of YD perfume). I don’t wear that since it’s the bathoil I love. Later in life she finally got into Shalimar, but I think these were luxuries that bordered on frivolous for someone raising kids, going to school, and owning and running an art gallery and framing business out in the country. For those of you who eschew Tabu–try the old vintage at STC. It’s ammmaaaaaaazzzzzing. My love of oriental scents arises from those dress-up days. Love you mom.
    shiva-woman recently posted…Saturday Question: What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum?My Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Shiva-woman,
      Lovely reminiscences.
      Tabu! I have a girlfriend who wears it still and she always smells beautiful.
      Portia xx

  18. Tom says:

    No need to put me in the draw.

    Joy or Miss Dior. I think I did a post about it back in the day.

  19. Maggiecat says:

    You know, my mom didn’t wear a lot of perfume, and I don’t really associate her with a particular scent. When I was a teen, she,my sister, and I all word Jean Nate one summer. I know my dad liked her to wear Tabu, and that’s the bottle I rescued from their cluttered home before it was sold – but it reminds me more of him than her!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Maggiecat,
      I love that you all wore the same perfume one summer. Does that scent take you back there every time you smell it?
      Portia xx

  20. Tara C says:

    We always had a bottle of Jean Naté in the bathroom, but mom’s special scents were L’Air du Temps, Shalimar and Bal à Versailles extrait. When I got to be a teenager, we both wore loads of Giorgio. Nowadays she wears Burberry Brit or whatever I’ve given her.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there TaraC,
      How super fun that you both wore Giorgio. My Mum & Sister both wore Byzance for a season. the house smelled amazing when they were getting ready.
      Portia xx

      • Tara C says:

        I love love love Byzance! Wore it for several years in the late 80’s. It is a beautiful scent and reminds me of my 20’s when I was becoming a woman and the whole world felt open to me. Heady times.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        YAY! I’m going to wear Byzance today in your honour.
        Portia xx

  21. Ingrid says:

    I can’t remember my mum ever wearing perfume when I was a child. Or any other women that we knew. Life in post-war Germany was all about rebuilding homes, saving for that first car (VW beetle) and new furniture. There was no money for luxuries like perfume. One couldn’t even buy any other than 4711 and ‘Uralt Lavendel’ in a dusty old chemist shop.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      WOW! How different you are to your mum Ingrid. Also, aren’t we lucky to have had fairly carefree adulthoods?
      Portia xx

      • Ingrid says:

        I remember one Christmas when I bought my mother a ‘nice bottle of perfume’ from said chemist shop. I had saved up about DM 3.00 which was a fortune for me in those days, in the 1950s. I didn’t go to school yet, so I couldn’t read very well, I just liked the look of that bottle. Anyway, I wrapped the ‘perfume’ and gave it to my mother on Christmas Eve. I will never forget the laughter when she read the label. I had bought some hair oil to promote hair growth. It was the source of much hilarity for years to come.

  22. Marion says:

    Wow just reading above about a Mum and talcum triggered my memory! Johnsons Baby was really the only scent I associate with my Mum! She had a bottle of Revlon Intimate on her dressing table on the farm. In very late years she adored Lauder Beautiful. I think it’s still under the basin in the bathroom in Taree and I wonder if I’m up to sniffing it again…..but it was my Dad from whom I got my perfume genes….he loved it…..Probably another post but it was Old Spice when I was child and when I realised he adored the smellies I bought him some beauties like Chanel…

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Marion,
      I love Taree. we holidayed there a couple of summers in our childhood. The cousins rented houses too and we all spent the summers running around like nobody owned us.
      Nowadays we have friends at Harrington Waters, very beautiful up there still.
      Dads are a wonderful source of smellification. I bet yours loves the CHANEL.
      Portia xx

  23. Fazal says:

    Your mum was HAWT 🙂
    The perfume I most associate with my mom is Eau Sauvage Extreme though my sister tells me she wore Givenchy in 80s. Could be Le De or Ysatis. It was her love for Eau Sauvage Extreme that inspired me to try the original Eau Sauvage after I came to the US.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      HA HA HA! Yes, she was super hawt Fazal.
      I love that your mum wore the mens frags. It’s so cool.
      Portia xx

  24. Your parents were gorgeous! My Mum introduced me to my life long love 4711. She’s in a nursing home now, and rarely lucid, but we have a tradition of giving each other bottles of 4711 still!
    I also remember mum wearing Charlie by Revlon, Jean Naté (in the stick) I can still smell that one, so fresh! She also had a beautiful bottle of Yardleys April Violets. I used to sneak smells of that one. I don’t wear violet as much, even though I love it. I have a bottle of Annick Goutal la Violette, that I sniff from my own cupboard. Maybe it’s a regression, but it’s a sweet one!
    The other smell I associate with Mum is her lipstick; Elizabeth Arden, bronze gate. I think my love of Iris comes from that one!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Jocelyn,
      Sorry to read about your mum. that is tough.
      Jean Nate came in a stick? amazing.
      Portia xx

  25. Anna Maria says:

    Yes the Yardley, Tabu, Charlie, Avon and La Calabresella from Perfumeria Tedesco in Calabria est 1910, both my Nonna and Mum wore all of the above.
    Your parents are so glamourous Portia xxx

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Anna-Maria,
      Your Mum is so cute. I really liked the short time we got to hang out together.
      Yeah, my parents looked so elegant. Mum continued to all the way through. You know she posed nude for a portrait at 60+!!! I have it here at home.
      Portia xx

  26. Virginia says:

    Hi Portia
    Mum loved Caleche, First and red door in her later years, she alwayswore revlon lipsticks and i still have a semi used one of hers for the memories, it has a very distinctive smell.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Isn’t Caleche beautiful Virginia?
      A real glam scent for the top notch ladies.
      Portia xx

  27. Undina says:

    Diorella – her parfum, which I secretly borrowed from my mom to scent my first love note. Paris-Paris (not YSL) – my perfume, the last precious drops of which she finished while I was away on a vacation.
    I miss her.
    Undina recently posted…Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 3: StockholmMy Profile

  28. Lisilou says:

    My beautiful Mum lived in homesewn Hawaiian fabric dresses and smelt of Avon’s Hawaiian White Ginger. I promised to one day buy her a Hawaiian guitar but forgot. Until now.

  29. Bernadette Winfield Gray says:

    My mum was very frugal and only wore scent ‘for best’, that being Diorissimo. *Her* mother had a bottle of Coty? Lily of the Valley. I adore LOTV but find it a bit sweet to wear. Your innate style is genetically transmitted Portia.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Interesting that they both loved LotV and you don’t Bernadette.
      Ahhh, thank you. Yeah, Mum & Dad were beautiful. I wish I had more photos.
      Portia xx

  30. missionista says:

    Such a glamorous picture–it really conjures another time!

    My mom was not (and is not) a big perfume person. I can only ever remember her wearing Fidji very occasionally, which was gorgeous on her. She sometimes used Jean Nate in the summer, and for a very big treat, she might splash a little on me in the summer. That was great fun!

    • Tiffanie says:

      Yay for Jean Nate! A big splash bottle of Jean Nate sat on the edge of the bath tub when I was growing up. I still like it.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Missionista,
      Yes, the photo is so Hollywood.
      For someone not a perfume person your mum chose a good one! Fiji isa gorgeous. I’m not familiar with Jean Nate but it keeps coming up. I think I need to find some.
      Portia xx

  31. Tatiana says:

    If there is a fragrance that smells of warm skin and freshly starched and pressed cotton, that would be my mom. I can remember coming in from playing and hugging her and that’s what I smelled. Can’t remember my mom ever wearing fragrance, but I do remember a bottle of Diorissimo and one of L’air du Temps on her dresser, which I got to wear once I was in high school.

    • Tiffanie says:

      Love L’air du temps now because my mom wore it sometimes. So beautiful!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi Tatiana,
      It’s interesting to me how few perfumistas came from perfumistas. Yet, the non perfume Mums often had the most fabulous couple of frags in their cupboards.
      Portia xx

  32. Tiffanie says:

    My mother wore perfume from time to time. Usually it was Chanel No. 5 EdT from a tall splash bottle or L’air du Temps from a white cylindrical spray. I love both of those scents and sneak a sniff from her old bottles when I have a chance.

    But since my mother didn’t wear perfume often, my strongest scent memory of her is of her hairspray and powdery makeup. As a kid I often watched her do her hair and makeup for the day. She was patient as I sat on a chair in her dressing room to chat with her or just quietly be there and feel loved. When I get a whiff of hairspray and powdery makeup, or a fragrance with eithor of those notes I’m reminded of that safe, calm place.

    My mother enjoys ironing, she says it relaxes her. I was lucky to grow up wearing freshly pressed clothes and sleeping on ironed bed sheets. That starchy, steamy, metallic smell makes me think of her.

    Great weekend question and such fun to read everyone’s scent memories.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Tiffanie,
      What a wonderful response.
      So much I want to say but what really stands out to me is that your Mum loved ironing. I love ironing too, if I’m in the mood, and do all my Tea Towels. It’s an incredibly zen thing for me and lets my mind wander while I’m doing this repetitive task. Almost none of my clothes need ironing so it only happens irregularly.
      Portia xx

  33. VerbenaLuvvr says:

    My mom wore Opium and Coty Emeraude, and when we went to social gatherings, she entered in a cloud! Her entrance in croc pumps and gigantic croc bag, oversized sunglasses, and her faux fur coat was always a sight to behold.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi VerbenaLuvvr,
      Your mum sounds wonderful. I reckon we would have got along fine.
      Portia x

  34. Tim says:

    Hi gorgeous.
    Your mum looked so glamorous.

    My mum is not a really perfume wearer. Because my obsession with perfume I’ve bought her Parfum de Peau, Rive Gauche, Dune, Ysatis, Pleasure and lots of others over the years but she’s only touched half of these bottles. As a result I don’t have that much scent association with her… apart from Ivoire. I remember she had a bottle of that, and a bottle of Dior but not sure which, back when we were in Taiwan. I got her another bottle of the pre-reformulation Ivoire about 10 years ago when I noticed her bottle was running low and I also bought an extra one at the same time for my keeping… I am glad I did since the current Ivoire is just not the same.

    Thank you for the lovely post.
    XXX… T

  35. Jake says:

    This made me reflect on years gone back living with mom as a family and also takes me back to the type of scents she loved and still wears today. Thanks for such reflective article.

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