A mother’s perfume, a retrospective

In life of every perfumista, blogger or not, comes a moment when they are asked how it all started. There’s always someone curious to hear a story how one person got interested in fragrance. I’ve read quite many stories like that and noticed that they share some similarities. In many cases it turns out that as young boys and girls we were observing our mothers. Many say that their mothers used to have a vanity table topped with make up products as well as flacons of perfume and how they were snooping when she used those scented specifics. Some would even sneak in to her boudoir to borrow a puff or two so that they smell their mothers, like a person they look up to.

Those are beautiful and sentimental stories that warm up ones heart. But to be completely honest with you, when I listen to a tale of “how I became a perfume lover” like that I have a completely different feeling going through my mind and my heart. I feel envy. For I wasn’t given a chance to inherit a passion for perfume from my mama. My home, my family didn’t have something that I could call a fragrance heritage. As far as I can remember my mama never wore a perfume. I remember asking her once about that and she remembered having one bottle of perfume in her youth. Its name was Wild Musk. It was from Coty. Apart from this one she couldn’t recall wearing anything else. One would think that this is as far as the story goes but no, the story continues.

When I started Chemist in the Bottle back in 2012, one of the first posts I published was a story about how my passion was born. I think that it wouldn’t be too much to say that I was the first member of my family who took a plunge “down the rabbit hole” for real. As more and more samples were arriving in my mailbox I started sharing some of them with my mama. Over time she began asking for more! As funny as it sounds I can say that I raised a new perfumista spirit in my mama. Years after that flacon of Wild Musk and years after not using any scents at all she slowly started to look for them. At first there were some fragrances from Avon or Oriflame but they never lasted long on her shelf. Most were then given away after using few sprays.


Ever since then my mama would develop quite a sublime taste for fragrance, niche included. I think the perfume that made her perfumista-hood take off was Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic. Then for some occasion she got Calvin Klein Euphoria from my dad but it turned out to be fake, so for some time it ended as bathroom air freshener until it landed in thrash because spray nozzle stopped working. Then she had a phase of wearing Angel from Thierry Mugler but she quickly grew tired of it. She’s also quite into Prada, especially Candy, there was a time she wore it a lot.

She would also share an interest with the same fragrances that I wore. She has decants of Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme, Histoires de Parfums Rosam or one of my recent purchases – Moonlight Patchouli from Van Cleef & Arpels. She likes fresh, citrus compositions now but also fancies rose or iris. I’m happy that there are notes and perfumes we have in common. Currently she also uses YSL Manifesto and Lancome La Vie est Belle. And of course how could I forget that she rocks Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee too! If I asked her what’s her favorite perfume note, she’d probably answer incense without much hesitation. Her beloved one is Kyoto, from Comme des Garcons Series 3. She also has some Gabriella Chieffo Acquasala, which is a combination of marine notes with incense. Her last love, which surprised even herself is Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad.

Unfortunately my mama is a kind of person who doesn’t like to spend money on her own needs. She was always more eager to buy things for others. Therefore I doubt she’ll ever buy one of these expensive fragrances to fully enjoy them. I wanted to surprise her by splitting the latter fragrance I mentioned but sadly I there are no takers. I guess I will have to come up with different plan. Or maybe any of you would be willing to commit to few ml? I truly would like to thank her for being such a wonderful mother. She taught me a lot and is very supportive. With different mama I wouldn’t be the same person I am now. Happy Mother’s Day to all of your moms. Every one is special.

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18 thoughts on “A mother’s perfume, a retrospective

  1. Jillie says:

    I’ll happily commit to a few ml, Lucas!

    What a lovely story. You have taught your mum and she has become quite a perfumista! She might be interested to know that over the years Coty Wild Musk achieved cult status and vintage bottles were being sold for ridiculous prices. It really was excellent, especially for a drug store product.

    It wasn’t quite the same with my mother, as she did have two or three bottles of perfume on her dressing table, but (and I think this was probably true of her generation) wearing fragrance was merely the finishing touch to dressing up before going out for the evening; it wasn’t because she loved a particular smell. Her bottles would have been given to her, she would never have bought one for herself.

    Then along I came with my obsession with smell from a very early age, and gradually I infected her …. she loved my perfumes and would sneakily spray from my collection! She eventually wore Shalimar, Mitsouko and Chanel No 5, and I would give her my bottles to finish.

    I am glad you cherish your mum.

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Jillie,
      I will write you an email.

      Yes, I infected my mom with a love for fragrance. Nice to hear this tidbit that Wild Musk became a cult fragrance. I wasn’t aware.

      I think you might be right, back in past fragrance was just an addition, a final gesture for a woman doing her make up.

      I’m sure it must be lovely to develop such interest in scent in early age. As a child you must have smelled every new thing you discovered.

  2. shelly says:

    Lovely article. I gave my mother L’artisan Havana Vanille, older bottle, as my father likes her to wear vanilla and I figured that was a good one. She has lost it. She would not have even noticed she did not have it but last vacation I asked to wear it. So glad your mother shares your enjoyment of perfume.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you shelly. That was very nice to gift this perfume to your mother, and you even took account of your father’s liking choosing it. Shame she lost it, but I’m sure she cherished it

  3. hajusuuri says:

    I love this post so much, Lucas! If I could Like this 100x, I would! Your mom looks so regal in profile and the purple accents (at least it looks purple to me) just added the right touch. Role reversal usually happens later in life but it is heartwarming to see it happening now and for a good reason. My mom doesn’t like perfumes and my only scent memory of her is the smell of the paper face powder booklet and yep, I used to sneak a sheet or two from a locked drawer 🙂

    I will email you about Good Girll Gone Bad! I am waiting for my car to. E serviced and need to check on something first.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you sweet Hajusuuri. :-* Yes, your eye is right, the earing is made of glass in some unidentified purple tone. I also think the eyeshadow is purplish.

      I’m happy that you also have some scented memories that connect you with your mum, do you think your mom noticed that few sheets were missing? 😉

      • hajusuuri says:

        I used to get imto so much trouble as a kid (errr ummm I don’t think anything changed over the uears in this regard) that I don’t recall if she ever noticed and said something. Better yet, if she did say something, I probably claimed innocence and my older siblings got the blame.

        • lucasai says:

          But I think those are later the most remembered and most cherished memories – getting intro trouble at the age of few years. I can absolutely remember one time I went off by myself to visit my mom at work when dad was having a guest colleague at home. I jest wandered off from the playground and went to her work 😀

  4. Hamamelis says:

    Dear Lucas I am happy to send you a variety of incense perfume samples for your mama, I love the note too and have a few lovely ones like Encens Flamboyant, Dzongkha, Lavs and my favourite Calling All Angels. I am on holiday now so it will take a while. Contact me if this helps!

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Hamamelis, that’s very kind of you. Mama is familiar with Calling All Angels as I have my own bottle. Not sure she has tried the other ones. Probably not (but I did, only like Lavs from this bunch)

  5. Kaisa says:

    Hi! It’s a touching story! I’m the first perfume addict in my family as well. I grew up in previous Soviet Union and there was not a possibility to buy perfumes, so I got my first perfumes when I was around 20 y old. To my mum was gifted one fragrance -Fidji, but she weared it for special occasions only. Later I gifted her some perfumes, but she didn’t have any interest in them. I feel very sorry I havn’t had a chance to share my passion with my mother or my father, I don’t have my parents any more…
    I would love to gift your mother something. If she loves incense, she could like Sideris by MCG. I have 10/15ml travel spray. Would love to send it for her. Please contact me!

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks Kaisa. I’m sure there are many of us who were first perfumistas in their families. Someone has to start these new traditions.

      Thanks for chiming in 🙂

  6. Undina says:

    What a great story, Lucas! I think, it’s wonderful to be able to share with loved ones your passion – and it doesn’t really matter, in which direction the transfer happened, from a parent to a child or vice versa.

    All members of my family (parents, grandparents) wore/used perfumes/colognes as long as I remember them but they all were more of serial monogamists. Perfumes were a part of the wardrobe but they didn’t feel a need and, most likely, could really afford the variety.

    I wish I could “spoil” my mom or grandmother with more perfumes… But I wear some of perfumes in their memory.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you. In most cases it’s a parent who passes on the “legacy” not the other way around but there must be exception to any rule and I’m the one

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