Welcome to the first Mood Scent 4 edition of 2018 with my blogging pals A Bottled Rose, L’Esperessence and I Scent You A Day. At Mood Scent Four we select perfumes to match moods and occasions or whatever takes our fancy. Please note that for this session L’Esperessence will not be with us.
Today we’re looking at First Love Perfumes – the first perfumes we remember using and buying. Do we still use them? Have they changed? This edition has involved a little soul-searching and a rewind of the clock but actually has been a nice stroll down memory lane, in my head at least.
I will be honest here and say that the first perfumes I wore were very much my mother’s. Chanel No 5 was the first. Apparently as a toddler I drank a decent sized amount from the bottle, so maybe perfume entered the bloodstream at a young age.
1. Opium : Yves Saint Laurent: Jean Amic, Jean-Louis Sieuzac, Raymond Chaillan : 1977 : Top : Aldehydes, orange, pimento, hay : Heart : Carnation, rose, ylang-ylang, cinnamon, peach, jasmine, orris : Base : Benzoin, tolu, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli, olibanum, amber, musk
The 70’s is my favourite retro go to era. The music, fashion, film and yes the perfume plays a part too. I was gifted the classic Opium at around 17 years of age by a boyfriend. Looking back this seems such an exotic perfume for a teenager, I feel that I probably didn’t wear it well at all. It did however seem to wear me. The name intrigued, the marketing was so glamorous and the spicy notes just wowed. I had really never smelt anything like it. Other bottles of Opium have subsequently been purchased. One in the mid 2000’s (before my perfume craze), although it was never finished. I also branched out to Belle d’Opium in 2010. To be honest it smelt nothing like Opium but the name lured me in – again. I enjoyed this perfume at the time and bought a replacement immediately. Now we’re in the Black Opium era and the marketers have really tried to funk it up and still lazily skate by on the name, but we all know it’s now moved even further from the original exotic scent. It does however reflect the sugar zone times that we’re still rolling around in.
2. Poison : Dior : Edouard Flechier : 1985 : Notes : Top : Coriander, pimento, plum, anise, mace, rosewood, carnation : Heart : Rose, tuberose, ylang-ylang, carnation, cinnamon, jasmine, lily of the valley : Base : Cedarwood, vetiver, sandalwood, musk, heliotrope, vanilla, opoponax
This perfume was sprayed frequently upon release when my mother bought a bottle. Poison – the name, like Opium was so evocative and I loved to look at the purple apple temptation and spray it sneakily, if not furtively. As is the case with Opium, the current Poison is nothing like the big girl perfume I remember. There is a general alignment but it’s difficult to get the true effect of what was such a powerhouse 80’s number. A tuberose with a bubble gum like grape facet that really packed a punch. Poison conjures power suits, big hair and Dynasty. Back then I was sure that wearing this was upping my age by at least five years. I’ve tried this recently and again, it doesn’t have the same allure and feels rather screechy.
3. Body Shop : White Musk, Tea Rose and Dewberry Perfume Oils:
It was a very happy day when The Body Shop was discovered back in 1990 or maybe it was 1989 on a sojourn to London. A whole world of scent and treats opened up. So many things to try, and I had a rather intense flirtation with White Musk, Tea Rose and Dewberry. Multiple bottles of the oils were purchased. They were cheap as chips back then. Tea Rose was repurchased in about 2010 (pre-perfumista days) as it made me feel nostalgic and thankfully I still liked this fresh rosy scent.
4. Trésor : Lancome : Sophia Grosjman : 1990 : Notes : Rose, heliotrope, orris, apricot, iris / violet, sandalwood
Trésor was a big step up in the early 90’s as I bought it with my own money and it was rather spendy (more so than the Body Shop treats). This was all mine. The bottle and contents were a precious orb of fluid and I really couldn’t get enough. Isabella Rosselini was the face of the perfume and the epitome of glamour and intrigue as far as I was concerned. At the time Rosselini and David Lynch were a couple and Twin Peaks was a big force in my life. In a loosely connected way I felt a connection to the show with a spray of Trésor. Upon some retrospective reflection this scent is not remotely Twin Peaksesque. It comes over all peach and rose with an ozonic plumped up feel. As this was one of my first perfumes rather than being a borrow from my Mum it still brings back strong memories. I wish I had a version of the original as yet again the current one doesn’t smell at all how I recall.
5. CKOne : Calvin Klein : Alberto Morillas and Harry Fremont : 1994 : Notes : Top: Bergamot, cardamom, mandarin orange, lemon, pineapple, papaya, green notes : Heart : Jasmine, violet, rose, nutmeg, orris, lily of the valley : Base : Sandalwood, amber, musk, cedar, oakmoss
This was a big moment in scent culture. Marketed as a unisex perfume this was rather revolutionary at the time and considering that niche brands are still playing this up as a unique selling proposition, is bemusing. Calvin Klein was omnipresent in the fashion mags and Kate Moss was in her grungy / heroin chic phase and actually looking back at the ad campaign now, it was a lot more edgy than anything that is done now in perfume advertising. Cue couples with roses etc. The recent Kenzo World being an exception, surely the best advertisement for perfume in the last 10 years. CKOne introduced an exciting, new scent palette (to me) with its fresh green tea, fruits and flowers. I couldn’t get enough of CKOne and worked at the Sydney launch where I received a small bottle on a leather necklace. I’m not kidding when I say that everyone seemed to be wearing this one. It really was ubiquitous. I have smelt it recently and while I would probably not wear it now, this is eminently preferable to some of the current crop of mainstream winners.
6. L’eau d’Issey : Issey Miyake : Jacques Cavalier : 1992 : Notes : Top : Green note, melon, orange blossom, lemon, peach, rosewood, tagetes : Heart : Cyclamen, lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, orris, carnation : Base : Cedar, amber, musk
I bought at least four bottles of this back in the day. I was besotted with L’Eau d’Issey and absolutely adored the bottle. I thought it was very minimalistic and ultra chic. One of the first aquatic perfumes to take off with the introduction of calone; the perfume on the one hand was light, airy, fruity and floral but actually had a very strong scent. I wore this in Sydney and generally speaking this worked perfectly in that hot climate. I bought a bottle more recently (although still pre-perfumista) at a duty-free store which was the only place I ever bought perfume back then. I think this may have been around 2010 and hadn’t worn it for a long time and wanted to try it again. L’eau d’Issey smelt so awful that I just couldn’t wear it. More like a cleaning product to be sprayed on skin. Ugh. I won’t be going back to that one ever again. No doubt it’s been reformulated since the original days.
Looking back at this list it seems as though my early forays started off with very grown up perfumes and became lighter over time, until I fell down the perfume rabbit hole that is. I love that perfumes are a fabric of the times, a reflection of the era we live in, a pop culture barometer. These elements probably are a big part of why I’m drawn to perfume, as I feel it fits into the broader context of our lives.
Let me know your perfume first loves …
Notes : List of notes for Opium, Poison from Scent & Subversion, Barbara Herman : Images from Internet.