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The Big Question: Is That Old Spice? Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: Is That Old Spice? Edition

I am, to the unending groan of both my bank account and my bureau, a confirmed fragrance snob. I have literally driven through a Texas snow storm (which surprisingly involved actual snow and not someone doing cocaine off a piece of Larry Hagman memorabilia) to wend my way to Barney’s New York in Dallas, the only place in Texas where one can get hopped up on my particularly favorite varietals of frog juice, Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle. I love high-concept, challenging scents. Tell me something smells “pretty, like clean flowers” and I’m asleep before you’ve finished the sentence. Tell me it smells like someone left an angry carnation in a Brazilian mortuary and I’m throwing cash at you like you were the last stripper in Chiang Mai.

But as I mentioned last week and Twistie chatted about over the weekend, scent is a funny old dog. It’s a rubber band that irrevocably snaps us back to times, places and people, high-concept mortuaries be damned.

A spritz of the perverse  “Jasmin et Cigarettes” from L’etat Libre de Orange sends me right back to Andre’s place in Times Square the night he proposed, the dizzying powder green icicle of Frederic Malle’s “Iris Poudre” has me driving cross country in the famously bleak midwinter somethingorother, using my fur coat as a blanket while I caught 20 minutes sleep in the parking lot of a Denny’s and I cannot even dab on Serge Lutens’ “Bois et Musc” without bringing back some Very Good Times Indeed involving, well…absolutely nothing I feel like sharing at the moment.

On the slightly more prosaic tip, I famously first loved gin because it reminded me of being hugged by my grandmother (who, btw has done nothing but drink Tanq and smoke Benson and Hedges for the past 50 years and is going to outlive everyone but Keith Richards) and when I left the newspaper one of the saddest parts was knowing I wouldn’t get to smell that delicious, delicious ink.

And then there are the boys.

My first boyfriend covered himself in Avon’s “Wild Country” with the sort of reckless abandon usually reserved for rutting disco elks, any number of my euroflings took Chanel’s Allure pour Homme in the way virgin statues take on milk and my current sweet baboo (P to the S: it’s very difficult to explain what a Sweet Baboo is to someone who didn’t grow up with Peanuts cartoons. He thought I was calling him a festively-buttocked monkey. I’m not saying he is and I’m not saying he ain’t, but it wasn’t what I was calling him at that moment) has a scent all his own that’s slightly reminiscent of Bulgari “Black” but is probably some sort of artist’s compound that’ll give both of us tails and cancer and maybe even split ends.

Last week I shared with you the heartbreak of having a lingering affection for a now-discontinued species of Axe Body Spray and many of you chimed in with the embarrassing favorites from your past. Today I’d like to make it an official Big Question.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

What scent screams “first love” to you? If you’ve got an embarrassing scent story, I want to hear it! Put it in the comments and hold your nose!

57 Responses to “The Big Question: Is That Old Spice? Edition”

  1. Katydid July 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Mmmmm…Dad smelled of Red Velvet pipe tobacco and old fashioned shaving soap. So rarely does anyone smoke a pipe anymore that when I do catch a whiff, it will bring me to tears. Miss ya, Dad!

    My nightstand has a container of loose powder in the scent my mother wore (something with a swan logo) and a few years ago Walmart carried the face powder my grandmother wore, so that is there too. So those scents tend to wriggle into my dreams.

    My husband still talks about Love’s Baby Soft that I wore in high school (but that may just be the tight t-shirt with their logo that I wore!), but my favorite from then was Heaven Scent. His smell is Colgate shaving cream….but he is sweetly trying out Bath & Body Works Noir for me.

  2. Dawn July 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Polo and Drakkar Noir. Otherwise known as, I <3 the '80s.

  3. Ananas July 15, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    The first boy I went head over heels for wore a very particular Old Spice deodorant. A very fragrant one. (Which, to his credit, worked really nicely on him.) For a while, Old Spice was one of the few deodorants I myself used,(crazy skin sensitivities) and the split from aforementioned boy prompted a hurried search for a new deodorant, as the scent was a little too much for my raw nerves. (Thus why I have tried most of the deodorant aisle at the three local organic co-ops.)

  4. dcsurfergir July 16, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    I have loved fragrance since I was a kid. I wore Love’s Baby Soft, Sweet Honesty, Hope (Frances Denney), Chsnel No. 5, a bunch of Estee Lauder scents and many more. I just wear what I think smells nice. Sorry, Plumcake–no high concept scents are in my collection.

    Chanel No. 5 and L’Air du Temps remind me of my mom. Cotillion (Avon) reminds me of her mom.

    Right now, I am wearing Philsophy’s Amazing Grace. In the hot weather I can only wear the lightest scents or I get nauseous. I get teasing from women i work with because my scents are not “womanly”. (Rolls eyes). As a result, I can’ t take “Midnight Pomegranate” or “Dark Kiss” (from Bath and Body Works). Supposedly those scents are “SO SEXY”. Okaaaaay….

    None of the men I have dated have had a memorable signature fragrance. I guess that makes breakups a little easier.

    Check the Vermont Country Store website for a cool selection of retro scents. I am going to try ordering from them soon. I just have to get past reading all the reviews! Demeter has some fun scents to try as well.

    Sorry this is a bit long but the Big Question just got me started! Take care, ladies!

  5. dcsurfergirl July 16, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    Hey, what happened to my name? (See above post). I guess I can’t type….

  6. Tiff July 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Oh lord, Coty’s Exclamation reminds me of a very specific church camp weekend when I was in junior high, and a very specific boy… one of the girls in my cabin wore Exclamation and it is forever associated with that memory. Coty’s Emeraude reminds me of my mom, though, and sneaking into her room to play with her makeup and smell her perfume. :) English Leather reminds me of my granddaddy.

  7. Josie July 18, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    No mention of CK One – think it came out when I was about 16 and myself and my first love both wore it. Just googled, and it’s still sold, so not certain why I NEVER smell it, not even on the street. Must be v out of fashion, but I can smell it in my head right now…

    Also wore Estee Lauder Sunflowers as my first perfume, makes me actually gag now.