Ben Gorham founded his Stockholm-based Byredo fragrance company in 2006.…
We spoke to Buzzfeed senior writer and author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter Scaachi Koul about scent memory and perfume
If you’re at all interested in Canadian authors, or you happen to frequent Buzzfeed’s site, chances are you’ve heard of Scaachi Koul. Her recently released collection of essays, One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter (or ODWABDANOTWM for a slightly shorter title), is a laugh-out-loud and insightful take on growing up in Calgary in a mostly-white neighbourhood. Koul moves from talking about body hair to changing rooms to romantic vacations to internet harassment with thoughtfulness and ease. Really, we can’t recommend this book enough.
Which is why we got in touch with the author to chat about her favourite scent memory, the first fragrance she bought and her take on White Diamonds.
What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?
My mom stirring basmati rice for dinner, daily around 5 pm, with a wooden spoon. The wood and rice together has this particular smell that I’ve never been able to recreate away from my mom.
What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?
Daisy by Marc Jacobs. I think I was in high school and a girl I desperately wanted to be my friend was using it and I thought, “Yes, this is what will make her like me.” It did not work. I STILL HAVE THAT PERFUME, BY THE WAY, AND IT DOES NOT WORK ON ME AT ALL.
What maternal (or paternal) figure influenced your attitude towards perfume?
Probably my mom: she used Chanel No. 5 and something else I never identified, a bottle that looked like a very voluptuous woman. My mom always smelled like a Woman, which I even now still admire. My boyfriend makes fun of me because I have a bottle of White Diamonds but you know what, Liz knew what the fuck she was talking about because that perfume smells like MONEY.
What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality?
I don’t know if I have a favourite fragrance. I have a bottle of this Coach perfume, I think it’s called Poppy? I got it right around the time I met my boyfriend and we took our first vacation and it was this very disgusting, beautiful, beachy romantic time in my life. I don’t even use the perfume anymore, I just smell it sometimes when I want to think of a nice memory.
What do you smell like?
What smell reminds you of home?
The smell of saris folded for a long time in the bottom drawer of my mom’s closet; cut grass in the backyard; lamb.
How do you scent your current home?
Orchids and cat food, probably.
Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?
My coworker’s mom once came to visit her and she gave me a hug and she smelled like a wealthy white woman. I dream to smell like that.
What scents/smells are overrated?
Lavender. It’s dumb.
How do you feel about signature scents? Is it freeing or limiting?
What does that mean? Like people who wear one perfume all the time? Whatever, live your life, no one will notice other than you.
What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids/friends/the next generation?
No one will like your White Diamonds perfume but life is short so spray it all over your goddamn face.
One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul (Doubleday Canada), $19.