|photo by ana traina|
Monday, September 13, 2010
When I was a little girl I was surrounded by sexy Italian women who smelled like heaven, well, what I imagined heaven to smell like, fresh jasmine clouds or fields of musky violets with lemon gardenia scented winds... I can still recall the unwilted scent of my grandmother’s hair, a spicy fusion of cloves, cassia, and orris root... and I still remember all the little tricks these vivacious women passed on to me as I stood watching them in our tiny bathroom while they applied their make-up and made themselves ready for the day. Inevitably they would teasingly say blush inducing things like, “You should always put perfume on every where you expect to be kissed!” Then they would dab me with a tiny bit of their perfume, playfully saying, “On your neck, under your arms, inside the nook of your elbow, on your wrist and right here...(which at that time was in the middle of my very flat chest.) But not too much, you want to attract a man, not suffocate him!”
Some other tricks that I remember are, “Never throw away your empty perfume bottles. Put them in your underwear draw, it will delicately perfume them.” However, my absolute favorite trick was my grandmother’s, she used to put the perfume on a little ball of cotton and pin it to the inside of her brassiere with a red ribbon of course. Yes, they were sexy women and deliciously so!
Women used to smell glorious, nowadays I’m afraid to step into an elevator, fearing that I might be trapped, overwhelmed and bombarded with the very expensive but cheaply reformulated imitation scents of today. Still, the picture isn’t all that grim. There seems to be a trend towards the more subtle smells from some perfumers...even going back to single scents which you can delightfully blend yourself.
My personal preferred way of wearing a scent is to perfume my clothes as not all scents blend well with each individual's skin. Here is an old sachet recipe from my grandma’s time --
4 ounces orris root, coarsely powered
3 ounces cassia
2 ounces cloves
12 grams powered ambergris
12 grams musk seed
1/2 ounce cedar-wood sawdust
1/2 ounce sandalwood
mix thoroughly, and add:
2 drams oil of lavender
2 drams oil of bergamot
2 drams attar of roses
The beauty of making your own sachets is that you don’t have to stick to this recipe. You can add any perfume you prefer -- oil of jasmine, rose, violet, whatever scent you like.