Anne-Marie’s Perfume & Mothers


Post by Anne-Marie


No, it’s not Mother’s Day just yet, don’t panic!
I was mucking about on the perfume blogs the other day and came across a very striking post by March on Perfume Posse dating right back to 2006. Not a review, but a meditation, you might say, on her mother’s perfume, Lanvin’s My Sin.

Perfume & Mothers

It reminded me of a few other posts of this nature that I have read over the years. A few bloggers – mostly women – have written very movingly about the perfumes worn by their mothers, and the emotions that a whiff of perfume can elicit. These posts make for very interesting reading and I thought it might be good to bring them together here.

Boy and his mother laughing in the kitchen

The mothers have left their daughters with very strong perfume memories. Usually the women were indeed very strong women, and a girl’s first lessons in femininity are often learned at the dressing table through the wonder of watching her mother apply perfume. If you are familiar with the latest Chanel No 5 ad, featuring Gisele Bündchen, you will remember how beautifully this moment is evoked.
In different ways the bloggers’ daughters have tried to ‘read’ their mothers’ lives through their perfumes. They conjure up the mother as young woman, younger perhaps than her daughter is at the time of writing. They try to imagine their mothers as people separate from their children, as career women perhaps, or lovers to their husbands, or trying to juggle all their many roles.

Gisele CHANEL No 5 Ŧhe ₵oincidental Ðandy FlickrFlickr

What were my parents like before we children came along? Can I gain any insight into them just as people, not as parents? Does perfume open a different window on to my mother’s life and personality than the person I normally remember? If so, where do I belong in that picture?

Anyway, here are the posts.
March on Perfume Posse on Lanvin My Sin.

Beth on Perfume Smellin’ Things on Guerlain Shalimar.

Shelia on the Alembicated Genie on a variety of classic perfumes, especially VC&A’s First.

Michelle on Glass Petal Smoke on Dior Miss Dior.

Gaia, the Non-Blonde, on the original Chloe.

Barbara on Yesterday’s Perfume on Revlon Charlie. (Her mother also wore Rochas Femme, Lancome Magie Noir, Scherrer No 1, and Ungaro Diva.)

Dimitri_Torterat Dad_and_son_staring_at_the_French_oriflamme_(French_Bastille_Day_2009) WikiMediaWikiMedia

After you’ve had a browse, come back and share your own memories, if you would like to. And if know of similar posts about fathers, I’d love to know. These seem to be much rarer. And please share your own memories of what your Dad wore.


7 thoughts on “Anne-Marie’s Perfume & Mothers

  1. You’ve brought tears to my eyes with this post, Anne-Marie….. my mum used to wear Jean d’Albret’s Ecusson, which epitomised for me the sort of perfume a mother would wear – a lovely warm, rich rose, vanilla and sandalwood sparkling with aldehydes (a bit like a heavenly mix of L’Interdit and Chanel No 5); it came in a beautiful box that looked like tapestry and I used to sneak to her dressing table to sniff the bottle.

    My dad was into Old Spice, and I particularly loved the Burley variant that he sometimes wore.

    I think that most people of my generation lack smell memories of their fathers (at least as far as perfume goes) because at that time – in the 50s and 60s – not many men actually wore a fragrance as they probably felt it wasn’t masculine. And even those that did would justify the wearing of it as being “medicinal/healthy/bracing” after-shave!

    Future generations will surely have many fragrances to remember their dads by.


  2. And do you love the ads from a few years ago?! The very first one in the set was always my favourite. Even now I will say out loud at random moments ‘I’m on a horse’. 🙂


    • I go back even further and can never hear a men’s choir singing (or should that be chanting?) Orff’s Carmina Burana without replacing their words with “Old Spice, Old Spice ….” and seeing the crashing waves on the beach as in the ad.


  3. My father remained loyal to old spice for quite a time. He did add designers from time to time to his rotation such as Givenchy Gentleman, Armani Pour Homme, his would repeatedly gifted him Eau Sauvage Extreme and Vendetta Pour Homme (not sure if he gifted again because my father liked them or out of habit) but when I asked him about his most favorite fragrance, he mentioned Paco Rabanne Pour Homme even though I never saw him wearing it. I guess he might have used it before I was born. i am a child of the 80s and rabanne came in 70s I think.


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