Ghost of a perfume past

I don’t know a person who wouldn’t be familiar with Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol. I’m sure someone read it to you when you were younger, or you read it on your own. Or at least you’ve seen a film based on this 1843 novel. Either way a name of Ebenezer Scrooge should ring a bell in your head & a plot of three ghosts paying him a visit on Christmas Eve should do too. One December day I realized this story translates to perfume in some way. Well, guess what… there’s someone very dear together with me. A ghost of a perfume past speaks through her lips. So turn off the lights, light a candle instead, grab your favorite hot drink, sit comfortably, relax & enjoy the story.

By Jillie

Night-time at Christmas… The black velvet sky is sparkling with diamonds, the frost is creeping towards the house crystallising every blade of grass and fallen leaf, edging closer and closer, and the owl is hooting mournfully in the skeleton branches of the oak tree. I am sitting quietly by the fire with candles lit and as their flames flicker, shadows dance in the corners of the room and I am thinking of times past. Nutmeg fills the air as the Christmas scent of the candles warms, combines with the perfume of the roses sitting on the table, and floats around me, and I try to catch the wispy memory that flits around my head. What is that fragrance reminding me of? Why am I being transported back to a Christmas of nearly thirty years ago?


Gradually, as the spiciness grows, I realise why I am being taken back to that time; I hear the name “Eternity” whispered in my ear. That was what I was wearing then… A new perfume created by Sophia Grojsman for Calvin Klein. It was unlike anything I had smelled before. I loved its myriad of white flowers spiked with red carnation’s clovey spice, the roses and violets that softened the sharpness of the bouquet, and the gentle musk and woods smoothing it as it mellowed to its finish.
I wore it practically every day for several years and Eternity and I became entwined; it was the nearest I came to having a signature scent and even now my husband associates it with me more than any other that I have worn.

Of course eventually I was tempted away by other perfumes,
but often returned to Eternity when I just didn’t know what to put on.

Sadly, reformulation has taken its toll on my lost beauty and Eternity is now really a ghost of what it once was. It’s cheap-smelling, shrill and synthetic these days and bears little relation to the wonderful original.

But… I have several, carefully stored bottles of the pre-reformulated Eternity and wear it occasionally for old times’ sake.

I shall now anoint myself with some of my precious perfume, and once again sit before the fire, dreaming of a Christmas long ago and revelling in the presence of my ghost of perfume past…

Eternity may not be forever, but memories are.

This story was supposed to find its continuation in a trip down memory lane of someone who wears Eternity in its current version, nowadays. A true testimony from a ghost of a perfume present. If you know such person who might be willing to share their story, please let me know. I could then finish with a story from a ghost of a perfume yet to come. That way all 3 ghosts would be content. But will they ever find peace or will the story remain untold? I guess only time will tell.

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6 thoughts on “Ghost of a perfume past

  1. Darling Lily says:

    I LOVE this concept, and Jillie has done a wonderful job with it. I hope you can find someone to continue on. Well done!

  2. Undina says:

    Lucas, I love that type of perfume memories. They are more compelling than odes to newly released wonders, about which most people forget in a year or two. Thank you for providing a platform for Jullie to tell her story.

    Jillie, thank you for sharing your love to that perfume. Unfortunately, I do not remember the feminine version of it – somehow it went by me, even though I remember seeing it in stores in 90s. But I liked its masculine counterparts, and my vSO still has some remaining juice in his bottle from that time.

    • lucasai says:

      I’m happy to be able to share such memory. When I read it the first time I felt warm and cosy in my heart, even if in the end it’s a sad story of a perfume that no longer is what it once was.

  3. hajusuuri says:

    I am catching up on some posts! What a wonderful piece of prose from Jillie and so true about many classics being a ghost of it’s former self or worse, umrecognizable as the “modern” version of a once great original!

    • hajusuuri says:

      That would be its and not it’s…and I fat-fingered umrecognizable ummm wait, spell-check was the one that changed the spelling; let’s see if I can teach spellcheck UNRECOGNIZABLE UNRECOGNIZABLE UNRECOGNIZABLE

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