Perfumes for Graduation and Travel

First, winners for the sample of Musc Nomade from Annick Goutal:  Vida, Dusan and Marina!  Just hit the contact us over on the left, get me your snail mail address, and the sample shall be yours! 

You guys are always so super-helpful to me and everyone who reads us, so here I am to call on you again for some help.

My youngest son’s high school graduation is coming up soon.   This day is totally my youngest son’s day, but then I think… isn’t it a little bit of my day too?  We made it this far, and soon… too soon we’re going our separate ways. Him to find his life out there, and me to leap joyfully around my house that I’ll have to myself. But it just won’t be the same anymore when he’s not in my house every day, playing his guitar, serenading my life with his laughter, joy and music, nor will I have to worry about him when he takes my camera and tripod out until 1a for some night photography, nor will I be woken up by his big brother (who is moving out… again and for good… in July) scaring him at 2 a.m..  It will be so much fun to watch the life chooses, to let him find his own way through, but him going so soon after my oldest son moves back out is, well, a little weird and disconcerting, and I need the perfect scent for it.

It must be joyful, with a reach back into memory.  It must be full of love because he and his older brother carry my heart around in their bodies.  It must be strong so I won’t start weeping like a flipping idiot. I did threaten Harry that I was going to start sobbing inconsolably and very loudly just to embarrass him, and he laughed and said, “Bring it, it won’t bother me, that would be fun!”

So what perfume do you wear to celebrate the ending of my live-with-me mom years and the beginning of watching both of my little ducks go quacking off into whatever life they choose?  I’m leaning towards either Mitsouko vintage parfum or Diorling parfum.  The thoughts?

  • annie says:

    :”>Patty,girl,if you wear Mitzy,you’ll ALWAYS associate it with this moment….that’s a big HMMMMMM…..How about Patou’s 1000,simple,elegant,and won’t overwhelm the moment….also,if you could tolerate scents during pregnancy,what were you wearing??….For myself…I’d do Passage d Enfer,just because it is a passage,isn’t it….carry on my scent soldiers….enjoy the days with your men:((

  • Wordbird says:

    I can’t advise you on this one as Mitsouko hates me and I’ve never smelled Diorling. I thought of Joy, both for the name and the bouquet of flowers it brings to congratulate you on your achievement, but it really should be what feels right for you on the day.

    But do get your boy to sniff you and tell him what it is you’re wearing. So many of us associate our parents with smells, it will be a lovely thing for him to remember you by when he’s away from you. When he misses his Mommy he can go and sniff some perfume to remember that lovely graduation day when you were so proud of him. And perhaps you should take note of what he wears so you can do likewise?

    My little girl is only 3 but already I mourn the passing of her babyhood. I’ll be in bits when it comes time for her to go off to University (what do you mean, she has a choice about whether to go?).

    • Patty says:

      Goodness, I need him to pick something to wear for him, too! I think i’ll let him decide which.

      You give them away in bits, every year, and you notice it, but the march of time and growth is impossible to stop. Just enjoy each phase, they really are wonderful.

  • cynthia lesiuk says:

    I don’t know either of those so can’t comment. I would say vintage Miss Dior for “putting a brave face forward” or Apres L’ Ondee for wholehearted melancholy.

    • Patty says:

      I’m still just not sure if I want to go into wholehearted melancholy, which will involve tears, which will make Harry laugh…. hmmmm. 🙂

  • elyse says:

    I would stick with something inoffensive just out of respect for everyone there. it would be difficult to enjoy such a happy occasion wearing something sillage-licious or super strong (cough cough lotv, cumin, civet, jasmine…)if the person next to you was sensitive to fragrance. some people (me) really love strong perfumes but get migraines in their presence. I know some perfume folks hate hearing that. it’s just a thought. Congrats! whatever you wear will be great.

  • Victoria says:

    Congratulations! I bet that both of you are very happy. I wish him (well, both of you) a good start of the post-HS life! I vote for Mitsouko parfum, if you plan to be emotional and Diorling, if you want to keep the cool. 🙂 That is how I see these fragrances.

    • Patty says:

      I was thinking of them the same way. Diorling has the emotions, but hides them. Mits is wearing them on the sleeve.

  • Catherine says:

    Mmmmm…..Parfum de Thérèse. That is one sexy, all woman perfume. Thérèse was clearly one hot woman.

  • March says:

    Mitsouko. And congratulations to you both. Hugs. >:d<

  • nava says:


    First of all, congratulations to you and your son on his graduation. And to your oldest boy, for embarking on a life of his own.

    I don’t have an emotional attachment to either of the fragrances you mention, but since you are entering a new phase in your life, might you want to celebrate with something new? Maybe something along the lines of “damn the torpedos” or “throw caution to the wind”? Sorry for the over-use of cliches but I think you get where I’m going.

    If I may step way outside the box, how about some Putain des Palaces or Parfum de Therese? Embrace your womanhood and your accomplishments as a parent and let your hair down, woman! Oops, that was another cliche, wasn’t it? Again, all the best to you and your sons.


    • Patty says:

      thanks, Nava!

      I was thinking if I did something new, I’d do the AG Musc Nomade. it’s warm and sexy, so you sorta feel out of the mommy thing, but not so far out that it’s not you anymore. 🙂

  • alba says:

    Congratulations to all of you! I’m in the same situation, though I only have a boy. In your case, I would perhaps choose the Diorling (more festive…). In mine, I think I feel like wearing something totally un-mummy to celebrate how great I’ve done so far and how fabulous the future will be: Divin Enfant,Bandit or Musc Ravageur. I might even kiss the headmaster. After all, it’s once in a lifetime…!:d

  • Dusan says:

    Having never tried Diorling, I’ll twenty-third Mitsy and second the Après. Kudos for raising two fab, healthy boys, P! You must be the proudest mom evah and FWIW, if I could go back a few years and reexperience my graduation, I’d love *you* to be there with me. Your boys must love you – I know I do! 😡

    • Patty says:

      apres is that third choice that I’ve got in the back of my mind. It depends on the weather for the day, I think.

      Oh, you’re sweet. harry already told me, “Mom, when I go to college, I’m going to be calling you all the time. I don’t wanna be a girl about it!” He’s so funny.

  • rachael says:

    I have no idea about the fragrance, but I suspect you’ll find something that strikes you out of nowhere as ‘just right.’ but I remember my highschool principal telling us during the graduation rehersal to “not think for a minute the ceremony was about us.” a bunch of highschool kids would rather go straight to grad night, but we’d better suck it up and put on a nice ceremony for our parents, because we owed them. Congrats to your son, and congrats to YOU 🙂

  • Flor says:

    Mitsouko is what I would go with. It’s a classic, sophisticated, timeless fragrance that is absolutely appropriate for the event.

  • kathleen says:

    Very special day, very special fragrance, Chanel No 22.

  • Billy D says:

    Just chiming in briefly to proudly announce that as of about 7:30 yesterday, I am officially done with my college career!!! Yes, I’m freaking out. Mostly cuz all of my samples have run dry and I literally have no money to buy any more scent. Boo.

  • Catherine says:

    Patty, I will proclaim Diorling loud and long. So chic, so individual, so warm and strong…it cannot fail to make an impression on the day. Perfect accompaniment for an Hermes scarf (which I’m hoping you plan to wear as well).

  • borissette says:

    Oh my,
    I’ve been reading for a long time and must finally delurk – my son’s graduation is coming end of May.
    Mixed feelings and tears and relief and happiness – I have been thinking about my own choice and I think I will treat myself to Parfum des Merveilles – warmth of the amber abd saltiness of the inevitable tears.
    Mitsouko would be a fab choice. Good luck.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, good luck to you! it is so poignant, is’nt it?

      It’s weird, I was decanting this morning and did a sample of PdM and thought… you know, this may be the best choice. I think you’ve made an excellent one there.

  • Vida says:

    Why not ask the graduate to choose which he likes best on you? It is his big day, and it’ll be his to remember (like a teenage boy gives a hoot what his mommy smells like…but it will stick in his brain and later in life, the scent will evoke memories of you!)
    Congrats to both of you. What a journey, this motherhood thing, eh? (Mine are 19 & 16…)

    • Patty says:

      that’s a great idea. i’ll ask him and see what he thinks. he has pretty good taste, and he may pick something else entirely!

  • Marina says:

    Patty, I can’t even imagine, waaah! That will never happen to me, right? 🙂 be strong! And Dirling will help you in that. Hugs!

  • Devon says:

    Dear Patty,
    I just wanted to say Congratulations!
    Best regards to you!

  • Louise says:

    Can’t argue with Mitsouko-for all the above reasons-or perhaps Douce Amere :):((

    It is truly a bittersweet, momentous occasion-congrats!

  • Judith says:

    Congratulations! Of course, you can’t go wrong with either choice, but like most here, I pump for Mitsouko. While it does have a strain of sadness, as Helg suggests (though not doom for me), that’s not inappropriate here–and it has much more as well. I am repeatedly surprised by its ever-changing complexity, and that seems appropriate for celebrating both your son and yourself, the amazing mother. In fact, I would go so far as to say that (while this is not clearly not literally true) metaphorically, Mitsouko is indeed the mother of all perfumes. :d

    • Patty says:

      You guys are making it tough. I think I need a third option since this is becoming a dead heat!

      • Musette says:

        Third choice:

        Apres l’Ondee?


        I bounce for Joy because it is everything you can desire in a perfume. Perfect, poised, poignant….

        since you rarely mention it, it might be the perfect fragrance – something with a calming, elegant presence but not something that will evoke any unwelcome memories.

        If you don’t grok Joy, I would lean towards 1000. Or even my Elegant Skankola o’ Love, Bal a V!

  • Anne says:

    I’m with most everyone else here. Mitsouko. I don’t think I would steer too far from uber-classic. Choose something that is your life, this point and forward, not a once in a lifetime thing. I would say Diorling, but I think maybe Diorella could be a possibility too. Love how sallycantdance summed it all up.

    You know my two girls are, just a tad bit older than your boys, 21 and 23. The ending you are thinking is happening is really just a morphing. The mom thing that you think is ending is not. It stays new in ways you cannot even imagine just as it has all of their lives so far.

    There is no “moving out for good” (as you have learned) so no NAKED leaping joyfully around the house that you will never really have to yourself.

    BTW, don’t you wish someone was able to bottle a ‘top of their heads’ scent series. Beginning with newborn baby head smell, sweaty coming in from playing outside smell, hair dried in the sun at the beach smell, that crayon glue school smell, even to when there is hair product mixed in and they need to be sitting and you need to be standing to smell the top of their heads smell…..


    • Patty says:

      Oh, I know it’s just a change, and a new phase of my mommy duties, which I’m really excited about, but just sad that the other part is closing.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Your heart !
    [I’m gettin’ weepy, just thinking about it!]

    I’d go for Diorling too-
    For the bittersweetness.
    I couldn’t add more emotional fodder to my beloved Mitsouko-
    Know what I mean ?

    Oh, my.
    I’ll be where you are now, in a year.
    For us both.

    Big hugs, from someone who LOVES to hug you-

    • Patty says:

      Well, I’ll be hugging you back when you go through it in a year.

      I get weepy now when I start thinking about him leaving. it’s easier when they come back and leave again and they are older, but 18 seems so… young!

  • Elle says:

    Congrats to both you and your youngest! And I guess you know which perfume I’d go for? Diorling, of course. Yes, I adore Mitsouko, but…I just can’t resist Diorling for *anything*. Am flying out today and that is what I will be wearing – in super small amounts to avoid annoying any flight companions. I just need to be able to inhale it on my wrist when calming is required. Of course, I sometimes wonder if people aren’t more disconcerted by the sight of me breathing w/ my wrist attached to my nose on a flight than they would be by my perfume. 🙂 Whatever! Diorling will soothe my soul and I trust that whatever you choose to wear for his graduation will be perfect and that you’ll both have wonderful scent memories of it.

    • Patty says:

      Haha! Now, I would never look at anyone oddly that was sniffing at their wrist on a flight. That seems like a great idea.

      I knew you’d pick Diorling, and I keep veering in that direction, partly because it will be, hopefully, a beautiful spring day, and Mitzy may be too heavy, but I could do Diorling on my wrists and a teensy dab of Mitz down my front?

  • Awww…that’s endearing! Congrats on going this far. It’s an accomplishment to be sure. =d>

    Out of your two choices, I’d suggest Diorling: after all it is at its core a happy occassion and Mitsouko has something of the acceptance of doom in it that would not correlate well.
    And Diorling is a memorable scent, full of elegance, charm and its own seal of approval.

    Then again, you could wear what you wore when they were babies. When you remembered them all little limps and first smiles and dirty nappies and think just how far your love and care got them…

    • Patty says:

      I don’t even remember what I wore when they were babies! 🙂 spit-up, I think.

      Now I’m back to Diorling. I’ve got one on each arm today, going back and forth, trying to see which one is a better fit. Watch me wind up wearing something like ISM. 🙂

  • Mitsuko is a great choice. You could also go with a strong green chypre like Estee Lauder’s Private Collection, for a nostalgia rush.
    If you want to be a big floral presence there is always Patou’s 1000. Personally I’d go for one of the Malles. You’d be smashing.

    • Patty says:

      but which malle? I thought about En Passant, but it’s so present in a very specific way, I fear it will be a lifelong association, which i’m really not looking for.

  • sallycantdance says:

    Mitsouko. Often misunderstood, often cast in the role of the inscrutable and distant, it has another face. Look at it now as the mellowing and acceptance of the passage of time shaded by colours of a harvest: ochre, russet, moss, and gamboge.

    Mitsouko has a special poignancy quite apart from the melancholia of L’Heure Bleue. Guerlain does poignancy better than any other house, don’t you think? Mitsouko looks forward, rather than backwards. Even as it matures and returns to the organic, it holds the promise that spring will come again; it always does, fresh and budding and full of new hopes and celebrations. Mitsouko is a pause in a much longer journey. It’s a cyclical fragrance in a way Diorling could never be.

    Diorling is also a fine choice, but my thought is that you need a signpost scent, a mile marker. I find Mitsouko more compelling from an emotional standpoint.

    • Patty says:

      Beautifully said. Okay, now I’m going the other direction. I need to wear them both. 🙂 Diorling calls to me from it’s development, starting out so bitterish and shy, and then it just opens into the most stunning, rich scent.

      but you are absolutely right about Mitsouko. I may really need one on each wrist. 🙂

      Yes, Guerlain does melancholy and all feelings that are not really one thing or the other better than anyone.

  • Sean says:

    Congrats! My mom wore White Linen to mine, but that’s besides the point.

    From the choice of the two I would side towards Mitsouko. But for more sober formal ceremonies such as graduations, I somehow feel the cool dry (slightly melancholic) rooty-ness of something iris sets the mood better.

    Meh, probably just me.

    • Patty says:

      But I do wonder if I have Mitsouko doing too much Yeoman’s duty (as Chaya mentions) and associated with too much emotinoally?

      I’m doing both of them on alternate days and seeing which is working better. Right now, i’m leaning more towards Diorling. She is difficult and cantankerous, but probably more me than Mitsouko, and it better reflects all the thorny places of motherhood.

  • Linda says:

    I was going to suggest Mitsouko… great to see that you beat us to it. It’s got all those qualities you requested: strength, memory, joy, tenderness.

    I find myself having similar dilemmas when I know an event will scar me emotionally: I have to select something I can associate with the trauma. It’s good to know that others have similar choices to face.

    • Patty says:

      I think pure trauma is harder, like what to wear to a funeral, and I wind up electing nothing. They just seem like they have their own smell.

  • violetnoir says:

    Well done, Mom! 😡

    I vote for Mitsouko because, well, I wore it to my daughter’s junior high and high school graduations. :”>


  • tmp00 says:

    Diorling would be good; you could go 180 in the opposite direction and use Laan Ael (insert punctuation) for that cereal-mama bit. Hell, I’d go for Bandit.

    But what do I know? I’m someone who will never know what your feeling and can only imagine; I am sending you a big cyber hug and my 44 inch shoulders to cry on if you need them..>:d<

    • Patty says:

      hmmmm… Bandit. Well, only as I long as I yell “no More wire hangeeerrrrs!!!” regularly. 🙂