Many of us get into perfume through various experiences, encounters and happenings. There’s a familiar tale of a mother all dressed up, smelling of perfume, kissing her children’s foreheads goodnight. There’s a father’s aftershave; clean and bracing as he faces the day. Perhaps it was a grandmother’s touch of lavender or an older sister’s body spray, either way, perfume lovers will have a story to tell. And isn’t that wonderful? Stories to be told. I loved growing up listening to my parents tell me “In my day...” because it was a window onto the past, of time no more, of smells no longer here. My mother would tell me of the smells flooding the house when my grandmother cooked Sunday dinner and how she herself couldn’t master it as well. My father would tell me of the smell of his father’s ice-cream wafting upstairs from the shop below where it was made; the vanilla, the cream, it’s mouthwatering just thinking of it.
Stories are told to fascinate us. They may go hand-in-hand with smell and memory as they congel to form an imprint, stirring our curiosity and imagination. Perhaps we can find something similiar in our own lives – aren’t we each making our own story? With hindsight that story is easier to see. With foresight, we can continue making it how we see fit. And in the present, we experience it; we get our hands dirty making that story. A perfumer’s story, feeling the spark of creativity that spurs her on. A traveller’s story, catching whiffs of something distant, something golden, something off the beaten track. An addict’s story, living with the pleasure of substances like perfume, and substances less frivolous. A photographer’s story, capturing the smell of home. A dreamer’s story, letting his imagination envelope him in clouds, flying in wonder and awe.
Stories like this in ODOU issue three captivated my imagination. I was curious to know of the creative process of a perfumer. Reading about the struggles of addiction, and the overlap in fragrance, was moving. I learned to be more observant and aware of my surroundings when I read the traveller’s story. And I let my imagination pull me to places and times by the dreamer.
Stories truly are wonderful. They encompass the entire human condition. Living day-to-day is a story in and of itself. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as the creators enjoyed sharing them with you.