I’m Smelly

I usually focus on all things visual, but smells can be intriguing too. Did you ever catch a whiff of something that jerked you back into a long lost memory for a moment? It’s such an eerie feeling! For example, I only visited my great grandmother a handful of times growing up, but she always wore the same perfume. My mom has a bottle of it on her dresser. Great Grandma Wanda passed away years ago, but whenever I smell her perfume it’s like she’s standing there next to me. I want to have a signature scent like that, so when I’m gone I can haunt my family through a perfume bottle! (Is that too morbid?)

I saved up a bunch of perfume samples and tried one a day for a while. Most of them gave me a headache, and others smelled great at first but awful after being on my skin for a while. Chloé Eau de Parfum was the clear choice for me. It’s a bit too flowery when I first spray it on, but after an hour or so it blends nicely with my natural scent. (When your husband can’t stop sniffing your neck, you know you found a winner!) I make a point to spritz it on every morning. I have a mental picture of old, crotchety Daniel smelling my perfume bottle and reminiscing after I’m gone. Yes, I realize I’m a weirdo for thinking about things like that.

Do you have a signature scent or a favorite smell memory?

signature scent

signature scent

signature scent


  1. Stephanie Wheeler

    Mine would be my grandmother’s perfume also, but she wore Primo!, which is a designer impostor, in case you want or need a bottle of it! I bought her some for Christmas, and since she passed the next summer, she never got to use it. I keep it on my dresser with my perfume to remind me of her.

  2. Chelsea

    I’ve never tried that Chloe, but the bottle is gorgeous. I have a bunch of perfumes but the one I’d say is closest to a signature is chergui by serge lutens. It’s super hard to find so I only wear it sparingly. It’s so snugly, like a gorgeous cashmere sweater, and my husband loves it too!

  3. Anna

    I don’t think it’s weird wanting to be remembered through a perfume! It’s a great idea in my opinion. I love perfumes and fragrances and it makes me happy whenever I smell something and that smell takes me back in time. For me memories are strongly connected to fragrances.

  4. jenny

    chloe is a long time favorite of mine too… i also really really love le labo’s musc 25 which is no longer for sale. sadness!

  5. cindy

    Even though my mom wears a different scent these days, Tresor by Lancome will always smell like her. I also caught a whiff of Tommy Girl a few weeks ago and was immediately transported back to high school…oh, jeez.
    I always think if your husband can’t stop sniffing your neck, it’s a good sign!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Oh my gosh, what about CK1?! If I ever smelled that again I’d be transformed back into an awkward 13 year old!

  6. karin

    So funny! I’ve been searching for, at my husband’s request, my signature scent! I’m not there yet, but I do really like Comme des Garcon’s White. And, my high school transporter, is smelling Drakkar Noir on a guy!

  7. Cortney

    Mine is Chanel Chance, and sometimes Lovely by SJP. My mom will always be associated with Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door. I do love how strongly scent is tied to emotions and memories, such a lovely treat when a whiff of perfume brings someone back to your world if just for a moment!

  8. carly

    these photo are so dreamy! my friend and i have a wee perfume obsession. i have a couple of scents that i am in love with. MJ’s lola and oh lola as well as Juliette Has A Gun – miss charming and lady vengeance. soooo good. i need to get some chloe up in my life.

  9. Kayleigh

    My boyfriend and I both love Chanel Chance when I’m wearing it. It just smells so good. I have a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy that I’m trying out now and its pretty nice, but not as good as the Chanel. I’ll have to try the Chloe and see how I like it.

  10. F Saunders

    Sadly, after a minor surgery a few years ago I lost part of my sense of smell due to the anesthetic (I guess? they did not operate on my nose), so smells are not quite the same to me anymore. One smell is the same, however, and that is the smell of wood. Trees, furniture, knick knacks, they all smell the same as before. I discovered this when I found the old wooden jewelry box my dad made for me when I was 7. It was under my old bunkbed, which also smelled the same as before. I began smelling other wood items out of curiosity. Strange! Happy that I can still enjoy the fresh Christmas tree we get each year.

    Thankfully, there is a bonus. Disgusting smells no longer make me want to retch. Now I can take out stinky garbage and scoop the litter box without fear of feeling ill.

  11. alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog]

    In terms of memories, a whiff of Farenheit or Cool Water colognes will transport me waaay back to high school and my boyfriend du jour.

    I’d like to think anything with a gardenia base is my signature scent. At least that’s what I’m trying to accomplish! My mother carried gardenias on her wedding day so to create a tradition of sorts I wore a silk gardenia in my hair and wore gardenia perfume [my first time for the scent]. I love the Pacifica brand because while it may not be high-end, it is all gardenia.

  12. Michelle

    I think you’re cute for wanting people to remember you by your smell. In fact you thinking that is the reason that I hope Bath and Body Works never gets rid of “Twilight Woods” because that is my favorite perfume smell on me. :)

  13. sevda

    right now i’m wearing Pure White Linen by Estée Lauder, it’s very delicate, but i notice that people associate me with “Angel ou demon” by Givenchy and everybody keep asking me when i’m going to start wearing “my” scent again… i tried to switch to something more delicate, but if everybody agrees on my signature scent, probably i should trust them? hmm. i guess i’ll have to decide quickly since my bottle of Pure White Linen is almost gone… :)

  14. jessy

    1. I have a few bits of fabric that smell like my great grandmother’s perfume! She passed away when I was seven, but I still would recognize the scent anywhere!
    2. Something important I have learned from the French (and a French perfume salesman to boot!) is to NEVER PUT PERFUME ON YOUR SKIN. Put it on a sweater, a coat, a scarf…the scent will stick to you and the rest of your clothes :) putting it on your skin will give you the ‘but when I put it on it was great, I don’t get it!’ effect!

  15. Bivi

    I don’t think you’re a weirdo for thinking of things like that. In fact, I find it perfectly natural. I haven’t got a signature smell of my own since I don’t normally wear perfume. But I heard there’s this scientist or perfume expert in Italy who can concoct your very own signature perfume. Probably too expensive but isn’t the idea wonderful?

  16. PamB

    Mine is Miss Dior by Christian Dior, I started wearing this years ago and then I totally lost my sense of smell. I can’t update my perfume because I can’t smell them so I stick with one that is tried and trusted and try to remember the scent.

  17. sally

    I looove fragrances but I’m still searching for one “signature scent”! You could try perfume oils – you dab them on your pulse points and they don’t give me the headaches alcohol-based perfumes do. There are a lot of great indie perfumers out there (and online!) that sell such things :)

  18. Jenn

    This is my perfume too! I initially bought it last summer to wear on my wedding day and every day that I wear it it reminds me of getting ready to walk down the aisle :)

  19. Belle

    Beauty by Kate Spade was my signature scent for a long time. It smelled of gardenias and honeysuckle and it reminded me of walking past a southern garden on a summer day. Then she stopped making it. I haven’t found a replacement perfume yet.

  20. Leigh

    I love scent nostalgia! It’s one of my favorite happenings to be pulled back in time just because I caught a brief whiff of something from my past. My husband and I met in college. He was a studio art major and was taking a painting class at the time. I remember going over to his house in those early days, and it smelled like paint and slightly of turpentine when he had been working on a painting, and the scent hung on his clothes too. He doesn’t paint much now, but sometimes if we go to a gallery or an art supply store I catch a hint of that scent and am reminded of all the fun we had during that season.

  21. Kelly

    I love the shelves in the last picture, did you make them or buy them? Sorry about the non-perfume comment…..I wear Chanel Chance and love it. I worked in a winery for ten years, and made a promise to myself that as soon as I didn’t I would wear perfume every single day. (no perfume allowed during the winemaking process)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Oh, interesting! I didn’t know that about wine making. The shelves were a wedding gift, but I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to make some out of crown molding.

  22. jennycain

    I wear Jessica McClintock. I decided several years ago that I wanted that to be my signature scent. It reminds me of Gardenias, which is my favorite flower smell. It’s very light. Whenever people get a whiff of it they compliment the smell, which is a good sign bc sometimes floral scents can be really overwhelming.

  23. jenni @jarfly

    Ha…I was just thinking the other day I’d like a scent too. My mom wore Jessica McClintock for years… but she recently upgraded to daisy by Marc Jacobs and its wierding me out!

  24. Heather

    Not that many perfumes smell very good on me, my natural scent seems to reject them all for some reason, but for the last few years I’ve been wearing Coco by Chanel (not coco mademoiselle, plain old coco) and I’ve never had so many compliments about my perfume from friends and family to random people on the train. It’s funny because its a bit of an “older lady” smell, maybe that’s why so many people comment because it brings back memories. It’s like the forgotten Chanel perfume which makes me sad and I worry they will still stop making it. And yes, it makes my husband constantly sniff my neck and I mean constantly, great big long sniffs!!

  25. paula

    strange thing: i live in south africa and this house we just moved into has a vase lying in the garden like the one on the left! anyway, i like the whites :) pretty

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