Writer Janina Matthewson remembers her search for a perfect perfume…
In my life I have so far had two “signature scents.” Not rich person, custom designed signature scents, of course; that’d be cray, but perfumes I Quite Liked and bought multiple times.
Signature Scent the First
When a girl first realises there are smell options other than Impulse body spray there is just one place she turns: The Body Shop. For the portion of my teenage years in which I thought I was a grown up, I was committed to their Dewberry fragrance. It was the name that first caught me. I didn’t realise dewberries were an actual kind of berry and, firmly convince that it was a whimsically made up name, I loved the combination of the most delicious of all the fruit categories and a natural phenomenon that, although it’s a pain in the arse in real life, is romantic in imagination.
When they discontinued the line, amid dark rumours of animal testing, I was sure would never find anything to replace it. I would be forever destined to just smell like a human.
Signature Scent the Second
My second favourite fragrance (chronologically speaking) was altogether more difficult to discover.
I was heading to Australia with my family and we had big plans to go to a bargain perfume shop, a thing unheard of in little Christchurch.
The first sign of trouble was on the flight over. My ears popped to the degree of excruciating pain, a sure sign of sinus issues. Within few hours I was in the grips of the most violent cold ever to rock my feeble human body.
We delayed our shopping trip day after day, waiting for my nose to unblock, until we were a mere twelve hours from our taxi ride to the airport and home.
“It’s fine,” I said. “We’ll still go, I just won’t get anything this time,” but I was overruled. We would triumph, it was decided.
So I sat in the middle of the shop while my mother (something in Elizabeth Arden) and sister (that Calvin Klein one Scarlett Johansson advertises in The Island) waved little strips of cardboard at me trying to describe what they smelt like and why they suited me.
Eventually we settled on Provocative Woman. Fortunately when my cold abated, I was a fan. All that’s left to regret is that I finished my last bottle before I met the man I now habitually provoke.
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