The Whale & The Rose team shares their cherished holiday smells…
Perfume writer and author of Bad Girls Perfume, Sarah Colton shared her own TWTRQ answers.
We were so excited to chat with Sarah Colton about her book Bad Girls Perfume (more on that here), that we decided she would be a great pick to participate in our ongoing interview series. Here are her answers on her favourite scent memory, her perfume tips and her favourite perfumes—there are a lot of them.
What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?
I used to love visiting the house where my grandmother and great-aunt lived. There was a lovely smell of violets and it was something I only realized later was Santa Maria Novella Iris.
What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?
Guerlain Jicky. I had recently moved to Paris to follow a dream, but I had begun to feel more lost and confused about who I was than excited. I happened to smell Jicky, a perfume I had never heard of before, simply because I was wandering around in a Guerlain perfume boutique. When I smelled Jicky I felt a primal jolt. I felt that this was ME. That I was alive and so glad to be me. I bought it immediately even though it was beyond my price range, and it transformed my life.
What maternal figure influenced your attitude towards perfume?
My mother loved everything French—fashion, literature, language, painting, music, and perfume. She had My Sin, Arpege, Joy, and Chanel No. 5—my favourite was My Sin. I think it was because as a child, I loved holding the beautiful heavy round black and gold bottle in my hands.
What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality?
My favorite fragrance? I wouldn’t know where to start. I have about fifty favourites.
Classics and moderns; naturals and synthetics; florals, woods, chypres, and leathers. Several roses—Dear Rose’s spicy and woody I Love My Man, Atkinson’s transparent and green Rose in Wonderland, AEther’ (100 percent synthetic) metallic and strangely spiritual Rose Alcane.
Lots of vetivers—Chanel Sycomore, Carven Vetiver, Atelier Cologne Vetiver Fatal, YSL Rive Gauche, Etat Libre d’Orange Herman à Mes Cotes.
And in no special order: Ulrich Lang’s woody aromatic Nightscape, Frederic Malle’s warm and spicy Portrait of a Lady, Diptyque’s quietly troubling L’Ombre dans L’Eau, Robert Piguet’s dark and leathery chypre Bandit.
I love lipstick-smelling fragrances such as Chanel’s powdery Misia, Dior’s flowery and leathery Cuir Cannage, Jovoy’s bold and sensual Rouge Assassin; Arquiste’s drop dead sexy Ella, Nomenclature’s clear crystalline Adr-ett, Patricia de Nicolaï’s sultry Patchouli, Volnay’s calming Brume d’Hiver, Monsillage’s unusually beautiful and androgynous Aviation Club, Masque Milano’s obsessively hot Tango, Caron’s bold and edgy Tabac Blonde.
And there are a bunch of colognes I haven’t even mentioned. I especially love Jacque Fath Green Water these days. There are lots of others. robably means that, like a lot of people, I have lots of different personalities that like to express themselves at different times.
There are lots of others. It probably means that, like a lot of people, I have lots of different personalities that like to express themselves at different times.
What makes you notice a fragrance?
If it makes me feel alive—more than the moment before I smelled it.
How many fragrances do you regularly wear?
During a season probably five to ten.
Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?
My mother. She always smells like home.
What scents/smells are overrated?
Gourmands. I don’t like to smell like food, and except for citruses, I really don’t like to smell like fruits—especially strawberries. Oops, that’s not totally true. For suntan fragrances, I like the smell of coconuts.
How do you feel about signature scents? Is it freeing or limiting?
It used to be that a lot of people had one signature scent for all the time, or one for winter and one for summer. Now, more and more people are wearing a variety of fragrances depending on their mood. Still, although I might wear five to ten fragrances during a season, similarly to my clothes there are always one or two that seem to be my go-to at any given time. For the moment my go-to fragrances are Etat Libre d’Orange Herman à Mes Cotés and Nomenclature Adr-ett.
What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids/friends/the next generation?
Wear what makes your heart sing. Wear what speaks your name and makes you feel alive. Don’t wear anything that does anything less than that. If you don’t have a fragrance that speaks your name and makes your heart sing, go out and find it. It’s there.
How important is fragrance to your life, to your sense of style?
Essential. When I put on a fragrance I know I have put a defining touch on my presence, and how I appear to other people.