I don’t know why I avoided this one for so long, but I did. Maybe it was all the hype and fear of being let down. Maybe I didn’t feel ready to take on such an immortal legend. It seemed somewhat intimidating as a relative ‘newbie’ perfumista at only 3 years in, but if I put it off I knew I couldn’t be disappointed or challenged.
Then I found the unused giftcard from Christmas I had forgotten about and decided to use it to add to my collection. Reservations aside, I went online and ordered 2 timeless classics that apparently ‘every serious collector should have’ in their wardrobe at some point in their lives: Shalimar and Chanel No 5. I chose the pure parfum, which from all the reviews I read, that one was the most acclaimed.
When I received my shipment I was so excited and wanted to immediately play with them. Shalimar was not a blind buy as I had tested it before at the Guerlain boutique in the Palazzo shops in Las Vegas. My good friend Johnathan took me on a “tour” of all the old Guerlain classics that day, for which I will be forever grateful for, especially since he no longer works there. Chanel No 5 WAS a blind purchase or so I thought…
In my excitement of unraveling that little black cord and pulling out the stopper I knocked it over and spilled a quarter of the bottle on my kitchen countertop. I was immediately infuriated with myself. How could I be such a klutz? My kitchen is going to reek for weeks! What the heck is WRONG with me… Ugh! I was completely disgusted.
Then it hit me, that scent. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I instantly forgot I was upset. I was completely stunned. I froze, like a deer in the headlights.
That fragrance. I was hypnotized. So strong but delicate, intoxicating, and so hauntingly familiar. But WHY? What WAS it?
Instantaneously I was swept away and transported back in time to revisit a woman from my childhood, whom hadn’t crossed my mind in a very long time nor seen in 25 years, but who had impacted my life so greatly, that my heart was broken all those years ago and I cried over her for weeks when the time came to leave her. It was my 4th and 5th grade teacher Mrs. Brooks. THIS is what she smelled like! I had never even given it one single thought as a child.
It’s mind-blowing how a scent can trigger a memory. I had NO idea I even remembered what her perfume smelled like. It’s been over two decades since I’ve even been in her presence afterall, but this was definitely it!
I was instantly taken back to her classroom and I could hear the sound of her voice. I felt the tough love she showed and remembered how proud I was to receive a compliment from her for the small victories, that seemed like impossible defeats at the time. I remembered how ashamed I was when she scolded me for misbehaving. And how hard I cried at my 5th grade graduation because I didn’t want to leave her since I would have to go to a new school, middle school, after the summer break. I could feel my heart break all over again.
She was my most favorite teacher, even though she had a reputation for being very strict. I remembered how scared I was on the first day of school because I was afraid of her. And how silly I felt two years later for being afraid because I had grown to love her dearly.
So why the hype over this one little bottle of perfume? Why is this one so important, so special that it has stood the test of time and even made history? I’ve had many teachers over the years from grade school through college and a few very special ones I’ll never forget. Many of them wore some type of fragrance, long forgotten, but…
In one breath, one small instant, I time traveled 25 years into my past and was flooded with memories, fond and bittersweet but so vivid, that when I finally returned from this trance, this spell I was under, I was a bit taken aback when I realized I was still standing in my kitchen, for God only knows how long, staring at a little puddle of spilled perfume on my countertop and I was crying, but it wasn’t because I spilled the bottle.❤
Top notes: Aldehydes, Neroli, Lemon, Bergamot, Ylang-ylang
Heart notes: Jasmine, Iris, Orris Root, Rose, Lily of the Valley.
Base notes: Vetiver, Sandlewood, Musk, Amber, Moss, Civet, Patchouli, Vanilla