When Cupid’s scented bow first shot true… The Perfumed Dandy’s Weekend Forum 

Cassanovas and Cleopatras

It is the week for lovers!!!

And are we not basking in a veritable downpour of rose petals by way of celebration?


Therefore for this convention of our forum I invite you to cast your mind back to when a scent first caught your eye, your nose, drew you in, stole your heart, your purse, your life….

What was your first fragrant love and when did you fall into this initial aromatic amour?

As many details as you can possibly spare please….

The Dandy does, of course, promise to bear all in due course too!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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23 responses to “When Cupid’s scented bow first shot true… The Perfumed Dandy’s Weekend Forum 

  1. Nena

    When I was a child, my parents would take me to this department store in town, and I would wander off to the perfume counter to admire all of the beautiful perfume bottles. Testers were kept out of my reach, so I could never smell any of them, but I remember the little display they set up when Hypnotic Poison came out. It was a small table with red satin draped over it, the poster ad was suspended above it, and the tester bottle was sat in the middle of strings of black and red beads. The perfume itself was the most beautiful thing my nine year old self had ever smelled.

    • Dearest Nena
      What an exquisite story!
      Isn’t it the case that our first fragrant memories are so often wrapped up in recollections of the other senses: an embrace, an advertisement. a visit or, in the case a whole display.
      Yes, that deep red of the Hypnotic Poison packaging must have made for a beautiful satin spread, especially when surmounted with strings of black and red beads.
      The same perfume when I first wore it recalled incredibly precise memories for me, quite unsettling really… but that’s a tale for a long overdue scented letter one day!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Dear Dandy,

    Being a country girl at heart I was quite a late starter in the sophisticated world of perfume. But I do remember in my early teens having a bottle of Anais Anais which made me feel very grown up whenever I dabbed it behind my ears.

    I had a French pen pal called Anais too. I’m not sure which came first, but once I’d been to meet her on our exchange visit the perfume and this oh so cool and cosmopolitan young lady became irretrievably combined.

    I’ve not thought of either for years – funny how the memory of a scent can bring it all flooding back!

    Sophie Is

    • Dearest Sophie
      Anais Anais!
      A truly fine fragrance that in it’s collision of baroque structure, Gothic sentiment and hilarious rococo bottle (I do hope you had the porcelain one) made an excellent introduction scent for tens of thousands of young women the world over.
      How much better the fact that you had that truly exotic thing a French ‘pen pal’, something that must seem amusingly last century to today’s young people.
      That she was cool is perfect and that you were able to meld the two into one ideal of chic, bliss. Of course there was always the ever-so-naughty Anais Nin to be considered too.
      In many ways Anais Anais is a platonic essence of an introduction to scent, aren’t you pleased it was your rather than say Britney Spears Fantasy or Lady Gaga Fame?
      What have we done to our young women’s future memories?
      For as you say, an aroma, even if merely recalled and not actually smelt, is a doorway at the back of a wardrobe into a strange but familiar world: The Past.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Dear Mr Dandy,

    As a child it was Pretty Peach by Avon. As a teen it was Eau Givree, a bluebell scent that was Boots own make, and Avon Odyssey. Once I was 18 I fell hard for Cacharel Loulou, followed by an experimental period and a long relationship with Chanel Cristalle. In later years it was true promiscuity and now I’ll try anything, regardless of preconceptions.

    Of particular note was my epiphany into chypres via Balmain de Balmain and Jolie Madame, and my initiation into aldehydes, via First by Van Cleef and Arpels.

    These days, I still get a serious Christmas morning thrill at stripping a brand new box of fragrance of its cellophane. I adore that feeling!

    Great forum

    Your friend

    • Dearest Iscent
      You know,I thin you are right. There probably is no one fragrant first time… but degrees by which we lose our scented virginity.
      A simple teenage fumble with something fruity, becomes a more accomplished designer affair pulled off with more aplomb in early adulthood. Then a serious relationship with one that ‘might be the one’…. then ending for many of us in promiscuous perfumed friendships with the many!
      Yours sounds like a tale with a happy narrative to me…. now if we can only work a little more animalic into the next chapter!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Lilybelle

    I can’t remember my very first fragrance infatuation, but it was probably Shalimar, which I talked about in another post. Another one was L’Air du Temps. My mother had the parfum bottle with the Lalique doves, and I couldn’t resist sneaking dabs of that. It was wonderful perfume (1970s).. She finally caught on and bought me my own bottle. I wore L’Air du Temps for a long time, in all formulations. I was always asked what perfume I was wearing. Men always seemed to like it. Or if someone recognized it they’d say with a knowing smile, “You’re wearing L’air du Temps aren’t you?” My first husband told me “you smell like a cameo”, whatever that means. Eventually I moved on to other fragrances, and years later when I came back to L’Air du Temps I found it changed. 😦 What did they DO to it??!! I have not had good luck buying intact vintage, so the old L’AdT remains a fragrant memory.

    • Dearest Lily
      Oh that Shalimar story… the ‘lady’ with her turned up fur collar… it’s still stored away upstairs!
      So many people speak of old L’Air du Temps with such affection, another great perfume ruined by reformulation for what we have now… well I’m too polite to o speak ill of the dead!
      I like that line of your first husband’s “you smell like a cameo”, though I have no idea what it might mean, maybe that’s what attracts me, I’ve always been a sucker for a little ambiguity!
      I shall dream tonight of Lalique doves and men in noirish black and white films who speak in stacatto phrases that don’t quite make sense… and I shall feel very artistic doing so.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        I’m very glad something I’ve said might send you interesting dreams, Mr. Dandy, and most of all I wish you pleasant ones. I’m looking forward to reading about your first fragrant love. You did promise.

  5. Oh you know the story about me in the 70’s…poor starving art student stumbles upon a bottle of Chanel for Men ($25 for 50 mil) …big decision to make. Chanel or food… Chanel won. I was the chicest hippie in all of Humboldt County!

    • Dearest Mr Smith
      It’s such a wonderful story!
      Of course… I remember… if anyone would like to read it all they can in the audience errr. … interview you granted me. It’s here just tap in Lanier in the search function and it will appear.
      Moving, humorous and splendid.
      Just like you dear friend.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Oh yes “WE” forgot about our audience with the charming Dandy.
        Thank you so much dear friend. Just off the blower with Vickie Lester and you were mentioned with much love and great affection.

  6. rosestrang

    My first true perfume love was probably Chanel 19, like Lainer (above) it was when I was a starving art student. My clothes were a bizarre mix of charity shop seconds, but I smelled divine!
    I knew it was an odd choice for an art student but I just loved its oakmossy outdoorsy green floralness. It went hand-in-hand with my love of nature. One of my favourite things to do with my partner at the time was finding remote forests, lighting a fire and cooking lamb chops, all accompanied with a few bottles of wine (wine has never tasted as good since!)

    I always loved to see oakmoss and litchen growing bright green on the trees, as this tells you the air is fresh. The drydown of Chanel 19 (it’s changed a bit now I think) really reminded me of the perfumed ash of woodsmoke and the scent of oakmoss and lichen covered trees. I can never understand why people see No 19 as an ‘ice queen’ or ultimate bitchy office-scent. No no, it’s a beautiful evocation of nature and the comforting whiff of woodsmoke carried on an early spring breeze

    • I agree, N°19 is far from bitchy in my book. It’s not easy, especially for us “kids today”, but it is still a great green leather chypre that evokes self-confidence over facile pleasantness. Now that I think of it, there is a kind of a smoky feel to it, too.

    • Dearest Rose
      No 19 for a first love!?! Now that’s a little like having been taken out on a first date by Catherine Deneuve or Jean Paul Belmondo…. almost too inconceivably cool!
      I think it works very well for an art student, for wasn’t it always a fragrance intended to demonstrate an independence of mind and spirit… indeed I always associate the attitude (though not the smell) with Alliage, the scent marketed at women who like sport and the…. the outdoors.
      It’s funny you should mention lamb, I once barbecqued a whole shoulder whilst on holiday in the Languedoc when the lights went out, the best I ever had…
      As for No 19 and all those ‘ice queen’ and ‘bitch’ tags I always take them with a pinch of salt, they seem to be tags born of misogyny or at least the suspicion of women with exactly that independence I mentioned above.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • rosestrang

        Lots of Chanel 19 lovers here today, great!
        I don’t know about cool (those charity shop clothes, haha!)
        I had liked perfumes before this and wore Magie Noir before No 19, but No 19 was the true love.

        I must try Alliage now, I just had a look at the notes and think I’d like it.
        Yes maybe people are freaked out by an independent smelling perfume! I tend to see perfumes like Tommy Girl as a bit nasty, conjuring up conventional, all-white cheerleaders and a certain cattiness (apologies to any former cheerleaders!)
        Sir Dandy, your barbecued lamb shoulder in the Languedoc sounds divine, dare I say ‘sublime’!

    • No.19 was one if my first loves too! I got it at Marshalls in high school, seeing the Chanel label and buying it because of that. I loved it, and it was strange for my age and era (1990). But I was funky, and it fit. Doc Martins and babydoll dresses, with bright red lips.

  7. Apart from foraging of grandmother’s Yves Rocher minis (I recall I liked Ming Shu) when I was a child, my first perfume love was kind of mundane. I led a pretty much scentless existence until my early twenties, which was when I was given a few samples of Korres’ Fig line shower products. One thing led to another and a few years later I was looking for an actual perfume that would recall that milky, sweet and green scent I so loved. Well, I found several, and then some others to captivate my nose.

    • Dearest Najal
      Do you know I’m rather partial to the same Korres fig, especially when paired with the body lotion…. it actually smells primarily of the fruit when so many other fig products have an aroma that is composed of the leaf and other aromatic elements.
      Yves Rocher fragrances too are a pleasant introduction to perfume, I don;t recall Ming Shu personally, but rather like Roget & Gallet and Fragonard I believe these French houses produce many worthy, slight and easily worn scents of note.
      Do tell what captivates your nose these days!?!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Oh, the Fig body butter is absolutely gorgeous! Sadly I ran out and haven’t gotten around to buying more. The now discontinued Fig body spray made more use of the green fig leaves, do try it if they still carry it somewhere!

        I agree, YR occupies an often overlooked yet important position in the industry as a sort of an introduction to perfumery. Both my grandmothers were subscribers at one point and I have to see if they still provide a subscription service. 🙂

        Personally I am into huge white florals like the Mugler Alien series, some leathers and orientals. It was a cold winter and Coromandel was made for those long nights. But otherwise, I just realized most of my perfume is for smelling and enjoying/studying in private rather than wearing; for me, getting to know a new fragrance is a reward on its own, and I have been trying to get my hands on as many vintage classic samples (Emeraude by Coty being my most recent find) so I could understand perfumery better.

        I am so glad to have found the world of perfumery, and intelligent writers such as you who engage with perfume actively and with great nuance – Thank you!

  8. My earliest love was L’Effleur by Coty. My mom bought it for me in junior high. It was my very own, so that much more special. I had a few over my high school years, ones I really enjoyed. But they were all flings.

    Then I got a bottle of No.19 in high school. See my reply to another comment above. I loved it, but wasn’t obsessed. I loved its quirkyness, the fact that it was Chanel, and it was so different from what everyone else was wearing.

    My senior year I loved Tea Rose by Perfumer’s Workshop. But I was still flirting and flinging – nothing serious. I was teased mercilessly by the boys in my math class – they called me ‘Eau de Rose!’ I mostly wore perfume as an afterthought.

    But when I really fell in love with a perfume, I was obsessed and consumed. It was Coco by Chanel. I loved it so much that I cut the faces off the models in the magazine ads, and replaced them with my own. I hung the pics all over my dorm room. I had a few tiny vials of the precious juice, which I spared and savored. It wasn’t until much later that I got a full bottle. But that’s the first perfume I remember being absolutely obsessed with.

  9. SallyM

    Dear Dandy,
    For my 13th birthday, the madness began with my first grown up perfume – a single dove bottle of L’Air du Temps. My dad had made me a wonderful kidney shaped dressing table for my bedroom and my mum had crocheted lace mats to put on it. My LDT took pride of place in the center. So started a long love of that perfume and so began The Collecting in general. I have many bottles of LDT in various incarnations and concentrations and yes, the vintage is able to transport me back to that day when I placed my first bottle front and center. With much woe I have sniffed the decline of my first beauty.

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