By Natasha Bruno February is a tough month for even…
“I would rather leave the house with no makeup than leave without perfume,” declares style blogger Jane Daly. “Perfume is everything!”
We asked the self-described “perfume whisperer” about her favourite spritzes, her cherished fragrance memories and rituals, and about her favourite ways to scent her home. She shares so much—her passion is contagious.
Take a read on the full Q&A here:
QUESTION: What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?
JANE DALY: I have a couple of favourite scent memories: The street of my childhood home was lined with linden trees, and that scent says summer to me to this day—still searching for the perfect true linden scent. My father loved to bake bread, and he would always bake loads of it, and that is a scent I cannot get enough of! This may sound odd, but when I was a kid, we always had a houseful of dogs. I loved the smell of their paws—Fritos!
Q: What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?
DALY: This is funny. In my mother’s family, perfume was considered a necessity, so from an early age, I was never without a bottle. I probably had around 10 bottles by the time I hit high school. I think the first one I bought myself was either Jean Couturier Coriandre or Molyneux Quartz. Oddly I’ve been wanting to own both of those beauties again.
Q: What maternal figure (mother, grandmother, aunt, other) influenced you the most in your attitude towards perfume?
DALY: My mother’s Dior perfume on her dresser is my very first memory of perfume—that houndstooth label!
My mother always wore elegant classic scents: Miss Dior (the original chypre), Raphael Replique, Guerlain Nahema and Oscar de la Renta. Her sister, my dear aunt, was my perfume inspiration and she loved it as much as I do. She had a huge collection and her bedroom smelled like the ground floor perfume section of a department store, which to this day is one of my favourite scents. She wore big florals beautifully, and to this day, those are my favourite perfumes.
Q: What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality?
DALY: Well, I have three favourites. I always want my scent to complete my mood, if that makes sense. This is why I have bedtime perfumes as well. If I am feeling carefree-sexy, and ready to have fun, out comes Frederic Malle Carnal Flower. If I feel a little introverted or even a bit stressed, my calming cooling go-to, Guerlain Apres L’Ondee, keeps me grounded and soothes me. If I feel fancy and elegant, it has to be Chanel Bois des Iles; it makes me feel feminine and sparkling.
Q: What makes you notice a fragrance?
DALY: Usually the soft dreamy musky notes are the ones that emanate from people when they wear them, and I love those ones. My daughter wears Narciso Rodriguez For Her and I find that one just delicious and velvety. Unusual and uncommon also jump out at me—the first time I smelled Guerlain Mitsouko on someone, it was like a revelation.
Q: How many fragrances do you own?
DALY: Oooh, well, keeping in mind that I do profess to be a perfume whisperer….I probably have around 200, 250 perfumes. Is that a lot?
Q: How many fragrances do you regularly wear?
DALY: Right now I am obsessed with the new Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra, a new favourite tea perfume. Escentric Molecule Molecule 01 is another one that is in the rotation these days—perfectly soft and woodsy. A friend once told me I smelled like weirdly sexy jasmine tea when I wore Annick Goutal Passion, and it really does smell like that! I adore Passion and wear it a lot. Guerlain Apres L’Ondee and L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons and L’Ete en Douce are my other summer perfume staples. They are soft and beautiful and always hit the sweet spot.
Q: What do you smell like?
DALY: Flowers, creamy soap and warm skin.
Q: Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?
DALY: This is the cute boy with the shaggy blonde hair who was transferred to my high school from California in grade 11. He was impossibly cool and cute, and wore Ralph Lauren Polo, the original one in the green bottle, and he smelled so amazing that girls would fight over who got to smell the pay phone after he used it because you could smell it on the phone. True story!
Q: How bossy are you about fragrance with your mate?
DALY: Ha! Not at all. He doesn’t wear it unless it’s a special occasion. If you aren’t comfortable in scent and don’t reach for it yourself, then why wear it? If he’s in the mood, he will spritz. He has a couple classics I love him in: Guerlain Vetiver, Creed Silver Mountain Water, Gendarme and Mugler Cologne. He uses Old Spice classic deodorant every day though, and to be honest, it smells amazingly sexy and wonderful on him. I love it.
Q: How do you scent your home?
DALY: Ah, I am fanatical about scenting my home. The first trick I use is the one I do most and my aunt taught me this one: I use my neglected perfumes; ones I love but don’t wear. I have a lot of those. I spray them on cool light bulbs (which are off) in the morning, then when I turn on my lights in the evening, the fragrance wafts beautifully.
I also spritz my sheets after I make the bed—Atkinson’s Rose In Wonderland smells like soapy roses and is perfect for sleeping. My daughters do this in their apartments too! Lately I’ve been using YSL Champagne and Jacomo Silences— they are green and elegant and don’t smell overtly feminine or masculine; just good.
I also adore Nag Champa incense. It’s the only one I use. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Sage Machado candles—they smell beautiful, look lovely and have terrific throw. Turquoise, Diamond and Jade are in my living room, dining room and den now. I also love Diptyque candles. I have Tubereuse and Lilas in my office. In my kitchen I have Jonathan Adler candles: Champagne and Earl Grey are gorgeous and they work well in a room with food.
I keep room sprays in my bathrooms but also use them around the house. The smoky tobacco green tea of Lothantique Green Tea and the lemony black tea of Lucia Tea Leaf & Wild Honey are my current favourites.
Q: Best smelling hair products?
DALY: Icon styling products, hand’s down. Their Protein Gel and Mesh styling cream smell like figs and orchids. I’ve had people follow me and ask me about my perfume when I all I have is these two products in my hair.
Q: What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids?
DALY: Well, my daughters (19 and 27) are pretty wise to begin with! I just love that they enjoy perfume as much as I do. Well almost. And that they have signature scents that I know and can spot a mile away. Emilie smelled like figs for years—L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier and Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis. I will forever associate those scents with her. Brigit wears Chanel Gardenia and a discontinued by Sue Devitt scent; both are floral and yummy and very her.
Q: If you could bottle the scent of a favourite place/city/memory/moment what would it be?
DALY: Oh I suppose in that sense I am pretty predictable. I would bottle the smell of my daughters as babies, and the smell of their hair. Soft powdery and clean skin. Nothing like it! I would also love to bottle the fragrance of The Canadian Cottage—pine, moss, wildflowers, woods and a mountain stream. And of course the beach, but that’s been done a few times quite well so I can go there anytime. Maybe the scent of my husband’s T-shirts. I’d love that.
Q: How important is fragrance to your life, to your sense of style?
DALY: Oh it is everything! I would rather leave the house with no makeup than leave without perfume. It completes the outfit, from pyjamas, to bikinis, to jeans, fancy dresses and parkas. There is a perfume for every mood, and every occasion, and I always find it.