Certain scents and aromas have the ability to trigger vivid memories and emotions. When I inhale the smell of good coffee and rain I am taken away, as if I am not in Karachi; one whiff of our glorious mountain air and I feel 18 again (the age I was on my first visit to Nathiagali); and funnily enough, the smell of the right kind of diesel fumes transports me directly to London.
Perfumes have a similar effect: they can remind you of a time or a person. Some aromas can even make you feel uncomfortable. For example, there are some perfumes with certain notes that make me feel like a small child who knows that her mother is getting ready to go out to dinner. Or they can make you inexplicably happy. I have written before about deliberately using perfume to create a memory, for example while on vacation. I try to exclusively use a perfume while visiting a certain place and then I stop using it as soon as I am back home. When I revisit that perfume later, it will always remind me of that time in that special place.
There are some perfumes that are quirky enough or beautiful enough to become classics. I believe that your perfumes, like your wardrobe, should hit all the notes. There should be a dressy one, a light one, a casual one, a pretty one, etc. While my list could be endless, below are five of my current favourites. Plus, as bottle design has become so spectacular, some of these perfumes were just crying out to be photographed!
With one of the most gorgeous fading twilight-toned bottles ever, this smoky, oriental, seductive perfume makes you feel all grown up. It’s the kind of perfume that you want to wear with silk and black and diamonds, in low light, in a fabulous place, with a fabulous looking man. (Yes, yes, your husband/fiancÃ©e/boyfriend; not dancing by the water with George Clooney at a fabulous party at his villa on Lake Como, oh no!) In fact, this fragrance was designed to be as classic and as timelessly elegant as an Armani dress, and though I don’t own one, it certainly hits that kind of high for me. With notes of orange blossom, honey, jasmine, ginger and Madagascar Vanilla this Armani perfume is all woman, all night long.
Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Heaven
If you are looking for a fresh, fruity, summery scent, look no further. But Incanto really wins when the sour apple notes hit you, making it fruity and fresh but not sickly. Most light perfumes like this, which have a grapefruit base, serve us well in the heat and humidity of our summers. With peony, hibiscus and violet, the combination of fruits and flowers is, well, heaven!
Funny by Moschino
When I first smelt this perfume on someone else, I found myself returning to sniff her neck again and again. The thing that struck me was that its scent was like my favourite Molton Brown candle, White Mulberry, a candle that I am careful never to be without. Though the perfume does not feature Mulberry amongst its ingredients, it does feature red currants as a main element. With the addition of pink pepper, green tea and bitter orange to its amber, moss and cedarwood base, this perfume delivers an unusually tangy, bright and truly addictive bouquet. Just be prepared to be sniffed!
One of my best friends gave me this fragrance along with the book Vera Wang on Weddings as an incredibly lovely and memorable wedding present (the inscribed book resides at my salon, where bride after bride pores over its beauty). This perfume is beyond a classic. It is so heady, so beautiful, so perfect, you will find yourself sniffing your own wrist again and again to enjoy what has to be the ultimate fragrance. With an absolutely inspired harmony of notes, the pure musk, which is almost oily on your skin, combines with mandarin blossom, Bulgarian rose and gardenia to create a scent that is so unique that it has won awards! It comes in an elegant, heavy and understated bottle designed in cooperation with the house of Swarovski. The perfume itself looks like liquid, antique amber, and everything about it is as beautiful and luxurious as anything to which Vera Wang lays her hand.
Gucci Envy Me
The thing that I love about Envy Me is that it smells so much like the desi pink rose — it feels like a really authentic and natural smell to me. I think that all desi brides should wear it because it literally feels like a subcontinental classic! Notes of lychee, pomegranate, peach, mango, sandalwood, teak and white tea underscore the desi heart of the fragrance while pink pepper, pink peony, pink musk, cassia and water jasmine lend it sophistication and freshness. With a bottle that looks as if it’s made of pink lace, this is a definite must-have for any desi girl.