Last week, the nice people at Tommy Hilfiger sent me a bottle of Tommy Girl. Which happens to be the first scent I ever wore. Like most kids, I was fickle, so I moved onto another scent. Overwhelmed with memories, I put the Tommy Girl on and I was was ten years old, back in South West London in 2002. Wondering why I’d ever stopped wearing it (it really is a great scent – clean and fresh), I asked Twitter about falling back in love scent. The replies came flooding in. Ghost, Charlie Red, White Musk, CK1, and a variety of celebrity fragrances (Britney Spears seems to have been everyone’s favourite). Everyone seems to remember their first perfume. The lovely thing about scent is that it can be the exact same a decade, or several decades, later.
The world around you might have changed, but you can still smell the exact same thing you were smelling when you had your first kiss, first crush or first heartbreak. But none of the women reminiscing about their favourite teenage scents seemed to still be wearing them. So I spoke to perfumer Linda Jane Pilkington who works for Ormonde Jayne, to ask her why we grow out of scents. She told metro.co.uk: ‘It’s a bit like friends in some respect, you find you have less in common and favour new scents that suit you better as you evolve, and there are some scents that you will love all your life, forever faithfully and are always there for you, like some good friends.
‘There are some scents that are launched that can be extremely powerful, for instance, when Christian Dior launched Dune with the beautiful ad, ther wasn’t one girl in my class that didn’t find a way to get hold of a bottle of her own. When I ask my clients that come into our boutique which scents they loved first, most of them repeat the same scents, First by Van Cleef & Arpel, Crystal by Chanel, Eau Savage by Christian Dior. ‘I think we have some constant favourite classic scents that we may love all our life, like and others that come and go according to our current likes and our interest in anything new.’ Given how much consensus there is about teenage perfumes (who didn’t wear Charlie Red?) I wondered whether some smells just appeal more to teens. Linda explained: ‘The younger generation are much more receptive to the more fun-loving elegant fruity florals – at our boutique we have Sampaquita, with peach, sambak (like jasmine) other fruit notes that are really popular with the younger set. But more than that, different generations like different scents. Linda says: ‘Our spicy orientals, like Orris Noir which contains a strong notes of pimento, pepper and patchouli and has a definite seductive nuance, lends itself to the generation that are very discerning, with a lot of self confidence and those who have found their own style’.
So yes, it’s entirely possible that things won’t smell the same on your skin as they did when you were a teenager. After all, your body chemistry has changed, and (hopefully) so has your life. But I can attest, getting your hands on a bottle of your favourite perfume is a perfect trip down memory lane and a sweet, wholesome kind of indulgence.