Written by the husband, AKA The Blond:
It is a well-documented fact that I did not own any perfume until I met my wife. She not only got me to use deodorant on a regular basis but also bought me Minotaure by Paloma Picasso, which was interestingly appropriate in more than one way. I’m a farm boy and while the Manly Men I grew up around used aftershave here and there, perfume was for girls. That said, the world of a dairy farm is wonderfully fragrant and many of these unique scents are still with me and shaped how I perceive and feel about perfume today.
While nature in general does not agree with Gaia, she was fascinated with the pleasant smell of my hands after a few hours of cow milking. It is a unique mix of leather, milk and cow feces that I have not smelled in almost 20 years but is still seared into my mind. The scent of grass and cut grass has always been my favorite. Together with damp earth it is the essence of Mother Nature. Sharp, comforting, relaxing and invigorating all at once. Is it any wonder I have never met a vetiver I did not like?
Modern dairy farms are not a pastoral setting where cows graze on grass in open fields but a business where various feeds are brought to cows in pens / corrals. The dominant smell of the dairy to anyone visiting was the various feeds on hand. The sharp, citrusy, boozy, half rotten orange peels that are left after the juice was extracted (nothing is wasted in the world of agriculture. Any organic material left after initial processing into human food is then sold to farmers as feed). There is something in the opening of Atlantic by Strange Invisible Perfume that always reminds me of this in a good / bad way.
Hay in its different varieties is a staple of course. The one I (and the cows) loved the most was peanut hay. I’d spend way too much time fishing for leftover raw peanuts in the hay and the smell is a combination of dry, warm hay and said raw peanuts in their shells. Intoxicating. I’d love to see someone try to create a similar combination in perfume. (BTW, never try to “roll in the hay” without clothes or several blankets. Hint: it scratches like hell.)
To make the cow pens more comfortable they would be padded with some dry materials including straw, cotton and the most abominable byproduct ever : sawdust. It gets into every pore of the body and stays put for a few days. You can’t smell or taste anything but sawdust for days after working with the stuff. That’s why perfumes that have a “shaved pencil” note that is too strong like Anat Fritz immediately make me sneeze.
My world today is so different it makes me wonder sometimes if I remember it right but it seems like scent memory is stronger than the visual one as the scents of my childhood are as vivid as ever.
What special scents from your childhoods biases and influences your scent preferences today?
Art by Karin Skallsjö.