There are so many ‘oh!’ moments in life – all are unique, some are momentous, some are the stuff of every day life…but they all have one thing in common: the ability to, even if only for an instant, pull you completely out of yourself, yank you to a standstill and OWN you. If only for an instant. One of my most momentous ‘oh’ moments is also one of the most banal (and yes, I yammered about it already). It’s that damn Cinderella puppet book. But it isn’t about the book – I’m convinced it was never about the book – what it’s about is that ‘oh!’ moment when, completely unprepared, you pull a book out of a shelf at Goodwill (for .75 cents, thank you)….and it’s THE BOOK! That endorphin rush is so primal and it’s gone in an instant. I’ve looked at that book (which turned out to be ON SALE, so I got it for a quarter!) at least 100 times since acquiring it – and never again will I be able to replicate that quickrush of ‘oh’. Ditto my first Miette chocolate sable (though Floyd knows I’ve tried! ), my first sighting of color TV (fittingly, it was one of the beach scenes from Father Goose – I caught sight of that aqua water as I entered my aunt’s living room….I was 9 years old. Fifty years later, I still remember it – but I can never replicate that ‘oh’.
For us (we?) perfumistas, that ‘oh’ moment lies in wait for us at every new sniff – sometimes it’s a new scent, sometimes it’s a revisit of an old scent that we dismissed early on. The ones that really give you a Jolt of Oh are the best – and possibly the worst, too, because as beautiful as that perfume is, you will never be able to replicate that first Oh moment…and unlike the color TV and book and, yes, even the sables…..so many of us spray and spray, hoping to recapture that moment. Give it up lads and ladies. Give.It. Up. Just enjoy the next phases. That’s the lesson I had to learn, yet again, a few weeks ago. My friend Carol, from WAFT by Carol, sent me a lovely little package and in it were 2 iterations of Coty Chypre. The first is an absolutely delightful postmodern version of the edp, as lovely as ever was. Just lovely.
the second one. Well, days later, I was sitting on the edge of the bed, sorting the overflow of books (why do I need 32 books on my bedside table?)…anyhoo…I was mindlessly rifling through the little bowl of vials next to the overflow of books and I came upon a slender vial “1940s Chypre de Coty”….not giving it much thought I popped the top, tipped a bit onto my finger, then to my wrist…and…the world stood stock-still for a moment and I let out a LAUGH OUT LOUD “OH!”. It was so stunningly beautiful that, for that moment, I really was transported out of myself,riding on that bubble of pure, delirious, delight! 2 weeks and many dabs later, it’s still as gorgeous as ever – but never again will I ride atop that iridescent bubble. And that’s okay – to be able to replicate that would completely ruin that moment, for what is it that makes that moment special is it’s utter uniqueness. So I’m okay with it. but Floyd, do I love those moments.
And they’re not all vintage – I remember having that moment when I first sniffed Liz Zorn’s Violets and Rainwater (I almost burst into tears) – my first spritz of the original Karl Lagerfeld (which I can still smell in my soft palate to this very day) …NOT the first sniff of Tommi Sooni Tarantella ..but the midway point, which was a whiff of leather so deep and resounding that I finally GOT! what the hell everybody was yarking on about with leather. I never could recapture that moment with Tarantella; indeed, I’ve never been able to grasp quite that much leather ever again – but I will never forget that moment.
I’m wearing that Chypre, btw, as I type this -and boy, do I wish I had a sable!
So..what are YOUR ‘oh’ moments? Perfume, food, color, experience? I’d love to know what’s grabbed you in your life!
and btw – Carmine Is Still Fine. A little cranky but he’s always cranky. Watching him a little bit hawklike, which is still pissing him off – but he’s on Vitamineral Green and a very mild saline irrigation, trying to keep him med-free for as long as I can. He’s still wanting to annoy the girls and he still hates every other vehicle that passes us so that’s good news – I wonder what it is that sets him off – he hates one pickup but not the next. Red sedan? DIE, sedan. DIIIIIE. The next red sedan? Good to go. Of course, if you sound like the UPS truck, you are toast!
I’d just gotten into perfumes and spent the last couple of weeks smelling different things and kind of training my nose to notice scents more. I sat down in class and OH the scent of rich vanilla and sweetness. I swiveled around to find one of my classmates downing a cup of coffee. I was smelling his creamer. In that instant I wanted to smell like that coffee.
I was persuaded to try on some Hermes Un Jardin en Mediterranee at Sephora a couple weeks ago. The first sniff was interesting, but half an hour later OH! It was creamy and rich, sophisticated and yet still…fresh somehow. For someone who used to JUST wear florals (mostly rose soliflores at that) it was amazing.
OH Musette , so glad you loved the vintage Coty chypre . OH so sad about your sweet Carmine .
My first REAL oh perfume moment was in SAKS when I sniffed Narcisse Noir parfum . Bought that squooshy little bottle with the black cap and I COULD NOT afford it , but it was the last one , and she told me the newert stuff was not the same .
Another OH was when my husband flew us to the Bahamas and I stepped on that beach for the first time out on San Salvador Island . I actually fell to my knees and cried the water was so blue .
Looking forward to my next OH moment , it’s been awhile…
The original 1999 J’Adore was really an OH! The scent of pure happiness. Life is full of them, fortunately, if you keep your eyes, ears, etc., open and keep trying new things. nozknoz
Just a little note to our friend Carmine from a fellow Rottie, Grover.
I sure am sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but am really happy that you are enjoying every moment of every day. That’s the only way to be, after all.
My name is Grover and I’m an elderly gent myself. Just turned 13 in January! As you can appreciate, that’s darn old in Rottie terms. I don’t get around well anymore, due to arthritis. While I can handle walking on a flat surface if I move slowly and carefully, going up and down stairs just isn’t in my vocabulary any more. Luckily I, like you, have a really special human mom and dad who between the two of them carry me down the steps outside in the morning and evening so I can do my business and lift me up on the couch every morning before they go to work so I can look out the window and arbitrarily decide who to bark at when vehicles pass my house. I know you get the reasoning behind that. Never let those humans sense a pattern, right? 😉
I guess my point is this. My joints are shot, I don’t see well anymore, and I need to eat soft food these days because my teeth don’t work so well either. But I am still a happy boy, loving my world and my family and my Rottie sister, Asja (sometimes, anyway, she can be a pain always wanting to play lol. She’s a young ‘un you know.)
I enjoy every day given to me and trust my family to know when or if the time comes that I don’t. I’ll be thinking about you, pal, and wishing you the very best.
Grover in Wyoming
I received the above in an email today from my girlfriend in Wyoming with whom I had shared Carmine’s story. I thought it would charm you as much as it did me.
Teri, that made me laugh and cry!!! Give Grover the Biggest kiss from me. Carmine only kisses his dad,alas. Snotty little weasel… Xoxoxo
So glad Carmine is still feeling well enough to enjoy irritating the girls. That’s a good sign!
I loved this…OH moments indeed.
Perfume: Shanghai Lily – OH the moment I opened that tiny vial with a smaller OH once it was on. So hooked.
Life: Giving birth to our son after many years of infertility and miscarriages. Touching his cheek for the first time-OH!
Food: Graeter’s Ice Cream stores here have a WGUC sundae. Their chocolate chip ice cream is amazing on it’s on but add chocolate and raspberry sauce (no whipped cream thank you). The sum of those flavors….OH!
How beautiful, the memory of touching your son for the first time. And. Wth is a WGUC sundae?? Xoxoxo
There have been many ‘oh’ moments with fragrances over the years, but only one “OH”. I was fortunate enough to win a tiny sample of Fath’s Iris Gris in a drawing here on the Posse. When it arrived, I tore into the package and popped off the top of the sample vial and life forever changed. Yeah, corny, I know, but it really did. I vaguely remember sinking down into a chair and time stopping for a bit while I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all the hype about this scent was 100% true. For me, at least, IG will always be the standard against which other scents are measured.
Christmas 1967 was a turning point in my then young life due to two gifts I received: the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album and the JRR Tolkien trilogy. Too very distinct “OH” moments for me. And of course, because I received them both together, they are inextricably linked in my mind. Rubber Soul, to me, is the soundtrack for the Middle Earth.
That made me laugh out loud!!!!! Xoxoxo
Best perfume Oh! was a hot summer day a few years ago when I spritzed Orchidee Vanille on my wrist and promptly went on a hike. As I got warmer, this amazing scent wafted up and just kept getting deeper and richer and was so beautiful I was almost in tears. Best moment with that perfume ever – although I still love it and wear it frequently
That sounds like an extraordinary day!!! Xoxoxo
My earliest Ohs were when I would find a Nancy Drew mystery at the library that I hadn’t already read. I remember how I got that Oh! feeling when I read chapter 34 of “Pride and Prejudice” for the first time in college. I was completely gobsmacked, and I never really recovered my equilibrium. It’s still my favorite novel. Had another when I was ten and lived in Turkey, touring Ephesus and the seven churches of Revelation. Perfumed Ohs include No. 19, Arpege, Premier Figuier Extreme, Bois des Iles, 28 La Pausa and many others. Foods: a chocolate and raspberry cake, chicken tarragon salad sandwich, steamed spiced shrimp, and fresh picked raspberries.
Now I’m hungry and craving Austen!!!! Xoxoxo
I had an “Oh!” moment this morning as I woke up. It has to do with my mother, who passed away just about a year ago. We had a difficult relationship for all of my growing up years, and well into my 30 & 40s.
When I was 25, working in a night club and living in a cheap apartment, I had very little money. I had splurged on a rayon shirt which I liked a lot, and looked great. The body of the shirt was an intense, deep fuchsia color with ivory colored cuffs and collar. I foolishly washed it without testing it for colorfastness and of course, the color bled into the collar and cuffs, ruining the shirt. I must have told my mother about my disappointment, because she took the shirt to her home, removed the stained parts, replaced them with an ivory cotton material, and gave it back to me. I wasn’t so satisfied with the result, so I never wore it again.
This morning, the image of that shirt popped into my head to say: “You may feel that she didn’t like you, but you know, she always loved you.” Oh!!
My mom liked citrusy scents. I think I will go find some to wear today. For her.
What a lovely story.
Gosh. That’s just perfect. Thanks for that. Xoxox
Mine was Vetiver Pour Elle. It is summer in a bottle. Might wear some on this chilly day today.
I’d be thrilled with chilly! We’re bracing for -double digits. Time to trickle the water!!! Xoxoxo
Major perfume “oh:”Opium was a background scent for my young womanhood in the 80s, and when I looked for it again in 2012 the current version evoked nothing. But when I got my first good vintage bottle off Ebay, I said “oh” as I was showered with mandarin-spice stars.
A recent “oh:” first trying Peety and realizing that, scentwise, I had crawled into the wolf den of childhood fantasies. Surrounded by warm, clean, well-fed fur. Oh.
When you can get that oh the 2nd time around…that’s just magic.
I get an OH every time I first spot a rainbow, they’re just a wonderful little surprise. Perfumewise, it would have to be Sana from Slumberhouse–Oh, I _can_ wear perfume with tagetes! Must have.
I’m with you on the rainbow. We had a perfect one span the road here. The whole thing was so perfect that I just laughed!!!xoxoxo
I’m happy Carmine is doing well. We were at the vet on Friday evening because mine looked like she was having a stroke. Very scary to watch. It looks like the end is near. Apparently there’s something called old dog vestibular disease. It self resolves and she’s better now but for a while I had to make a belly band out of a scarf to hold her hind end up while she tried to walk. Never a dull moment with these dogs.
My oh moments were with Poison way back in the day when there was nothing else out there that smelled like that did. Amazing. More recently I’d have to say my first whiff of Mitzah was drug like.
Food oh moment was the first meal I had at a restaurant called Nudel in Lenox, MA. I’d have to say the first bite of every meal there since then too. Bjorn is amazing. What he does with food…oh, what he does with food… The fried oyster tacos were to die for. If I lived closer it would be a problem for my wallet and my waistline.
Oh crap. Poodle, I’m sorry to hear this. My ‘dale had vestibular disease but they fixed him right up. It’s a deep inner ear infection, as you no doubt know. Very scary to see. Wishing for the best outcome for the pood. Xoxoxoxo
p.s. 32 books on your bedside table sounds quite reasonable.
Depends – how many are there on the coffee table, the dining table, in the kitchen, and in the bathroom (that’s where you’ll find mine – not counting the ones in front of the other books on the bookshelves that I put there in an effort of neatness)?
Oh, darling M,
Your description of chasing the “oh”, a bit reminiscent of users describing their heroin addiction! My name is Michelle and I am a perfume junkie. I admit that I am powerless over my affinity to fragrance. My collection of bottles, decants, minis and samples is out of control. Although what I already own is unmanageable, I continue to compulsively add new additions, always looking for that “oh” moment. The pursuit of all things scent-related has impacted my life, and my daily responsibilities are interrupted by my need to check e-bay, read perfume blogs and stop and sniff my wrist. So deeply has this addiction wormed its way into my life, it is taking over my work life, and some of my career goals have shifted from cancer research to fragrance and flavors. With the help of the goddess, I will regain control and become organized, stay within my budget and try not to take out rows of attendees at workshops, lectures and conferences with my 80’s perfumes.
So recognizable, made me smile!!
I always think that,whenever I have an oh! moment. Must be hard to fight that. Xoxo A
Perfume oh! – Chanel 19 at Marshall Fields in Chicago, Coco at Foley’s in Houston, most recently En Voyage Zelda which is the best perfume oh! I’ve had in ages.
Food oh! – because I dearly love to eat – my mom’s chocolate frosting off the beaters (her secret is a splash of coffee), cilantro, raw oysters, real homemade flour tortillas and tamales, tiramisu, scrambled eggs w/onions (my grandpa’s specialty)
There are thousands more, like seeing my daughter for the first time when she was born, petting my first cat and especially more food… did I mention I love to eat? Great topic!
Gorgeous PhD! Every one, A. Especially the food 😀
My most recent OH moment was when I had my second sniff of Santal Majuscule recently. The first time I tried it must have been almost a week ago, when I was looking for another 10 Corso Como but different, and why didn’t everything just smell like 10 Corso Como? This time I tried it and a few seconds later the most beautiful rich scent wafted up to my nose…Oh! that was me, and that was Santal Majuscule 🙂 Best wishes to Carmine, and may he stay a contented curmudgeon for as long as possible!
I thank you so very much for those wishes. He is my baby!!! Xoxo A
I second the original Magie Noire, it was 30 years ago but it’s burned on my brain and nose permanently. So sad it no longer exists. I haven’t had an Oh! moment like that with perfume since.
Those memories are stunning, aren’t they? I often wonder if the memory is stronger than the actual experience? Alas, given the way we view time, we are unlikely to ever know…
I just wish my sense of smell was this great! I can’t really pick out all the notes but I guess the closest I came to an OH moment with perfume was when I smelled vintage Jicky. My really good OH moments was smelling my husbands hands after he had chopped fresh garlic! Yeah, I know I’m weird.
oh, honey – my sense of smell sucks! My sinuses look like an Escher staircase, complete with lizards! Personally I think the smell of your garlic-chopping husband’s hands sounds DIVINE!!!!!
Amouage Interlude Man = OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!
OH – the first time I bit into a Pierre Hermé “Ispahan” confection on a park bench in Paris.
OH – the first time in the Sant’Antimo church in Tuscany. Full moon, cream colored stone in flickering cream-gold candlelight and a tiny monk in a cream habit preaching to a group of teenagers in one of the most beautiful churches in existence. Perfect.
OH – first time skinny dipping. Completely previously unknown feeling of freedom.
OH – my first whiff of Piguet Bandit. It has never smelled that way since.
OH – TV documentary on Ralph Vaughan Williams illustrating the Sea Symphony with a wave which broke at the exact moment the choir started singing. The memory still makes me shiver.
And LOTS more…..
J, those are BEAUTIFUL! And you know I’m salivating at the mere mention of Chef Herme. And Paris. ………drooooool….
One of my “Oh” moments was a kiwi-blueberry tart at the Church restaurant in Toronto. The blueberries had amazing flavor and “pop”. The tart was perfect. My father-in-law had the same dessert and the same ‘Oh” moment. (May he and his foodie heart rest in peace.)
Glad to hear Carmine is fine…Good Boy…as another “Oh” moment is when I saw my first Rottweiler in 1981. What a beautiful dog! Went on to have four rotties in my life.
oh, me, too on the Rotties! Mine was named Sluggo. I’d never known a ‘muscular’ dog and she tried to get into the car. I thought I would just push her back out (I had a spindly Airedale) – ha! Pushing on her head was like pushing an Abrams tank!!!
My first perfume “Oh!” was Opium, which my sister gave me for Christmas at least 20 years ago. More recently, it was Amouage Lyric Woman.
I’ve had a lot of those moments with books: Catch 22 in jr. high (which is still thrilling to re-read, all these years later), Keats in high school, later Tennyson’s “The Two Voices” and Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.
those ‘oh’ moments stay with you forever, don’t they? I love Lyric Woman. Opium, alas, not soooo much! 🙁
perfume: Hindu Honeysuckle from Providence Perfume Co (“…and you’re SURE, there’s no honeysuckle in this???”)
food: sounds lame, but stroopwaffel in amsterdam with espresso.
color: into pale pinks lately
experience: you mean to tell me there’s a perfume review website where the readers GIVE each other samples of perfume?
perfume: they still make Joop! ????
food: no bake chocolate oatmeal “cookies”
color: oh yellow. when will you look like something not urine soaked kitchen?
experience: polar vortex 2014
I had to laugh about those no-bake cookies… because my daughter, off at college several hundred miles away, got a craving for them and sent me a desperate text “NEED PREACHER COOKIE* RECIPE NOW NOW NOW.” I never make them. I hate them too. But seeing her so homesick for church-potluck-dinner food was a big thrill.
*So called because if the preacher drops by and you have no fresh-baked treats to present on a delicate little plate, you can whip them up quick with what you have in the pantry.
LOL! El O LOVES those no-bake ‘cookies’ – they freak me OUT!
I remember seeing my first color TV show too – it was the Wizard of Oz on TV. We were in some department store, and I just stopped and stared. I was very little and my parents had to drag me away. I know we got a color TV not long after that, but I can’t begin to tell you which show I saw first on it (which I guess proves your point!). In regards to perfume, when I fell down the rabbit hole about 1 1/2 ago, one of the first samples I bought was Sweet Redemption By Kilian. I literally just stopped and kept inhaling for several minutes when I opened the sample. I thought it was just beautiful. It still is, but several samples I tried after that were a huge disappointment because I was so taken with Sweet Redemption. Also, recently, I tried Houbigant’s Orangers en Fleurs again. The first time it smelled like something my grandmother would wear, and I didn’t care for it. But this last time I tried it I just fell in love with it. Now I want a FB, and of course like the Kilian, it’s far from cheap – oh well! Glad Carmine is doing well – so funny about the cars though!
that first view of color TV resonates with so many boomers! I remember the first time I saw what lay behind Dorothy’s door…..absolutely stunning!
1st perfume oh’s were Lancome Magie Noire and YSL Opium both now sadly not capable of an Oh! as they have been reformulated beyond recognition in my opinion.
After that it was Chanel No 5 parfum extrait after wearing EDP for many years – thank goodness this is still the same so I still sometimes have an Oh! moment when I am wearing it in a new city or country, a totally new context or climate sometimes gives me that Oh! moment back again
nonperfume oh = 1st sip of Laphroig whisky – Oh My Stars!!! I never got scotch till that sip and it started a whole new hobby, just as wonderous (and expensive) as perfume 🙂
I’m wearing No5 extrait (vintage) right now and you’re right – you CAN get an ‘oh’ from it, more than once!
I had that ‘oh’ with a sip of ’90 Krug. Nearly bankrupted me.
Best wishes to Carmine, and great topic.
Two Oh! moments in my perfume life: First, when a very skilful SA introduced me to Serge Lutens by wafting spritzed tissues past my nose. It was the first time I’d ever realized that there was amazing perfume that didn’t smell like flowers, and Oh! I was hooked. Went home with both Ambre Sultan and Un Bois Vanille that day.
The second was on a trip to Paris, dragging my more-interested-than-he-admits husband along on Grain de Musc’s perfume itineraries. Plenty of beautiful scents on that trip, but when I smelled L’Ether at Iunx I swear there were angels singing. Oh! My. God.
Un Bois Vanille was my first Non-department store perfume and caused me to fall instantly in love ( and become the perfume addict I am today). It’s transportive isn’t it?
you two are not the first to fall in love with UBV – I didn’t even sniff it because I foolishly figured ‘vanilla’ and…well…so I will rectify that asap.
Carmine sends love right back! (not. he’s a demon and, as such, does not send love. 😀 )
Oh how absolutely perfect you should post this, because one of my “Oh”s ties in perfectly with your last post….I got a sample of Chanel No 5, in extrait per your recommendation, from STC yesterday and OH did I finally get it! When finances straighten themselves out, I will be getting me some. Just stunning.
And I will try to keep this as family-friendly as possible, but my biggest non-perfume moment was …oh never mind.
I didn’t scroll down far enough to see the Carmine update! Those territorial fits of rage against the machines are probably the bright spots in his day, getting to be all manly and stuff! 😛
Oh! 😀 SO glad you got that from the extrait. I thought/hoped you would!!!
and the other ‘oh’ goes without sayin’ – just sayin 😉
Carmine is crazy. But he’s my kinda crazy so it’s okay!
OH, you made me laugh! Because I had one of those non-family-friendly thoughts, too.
Perfume–L’Heure Bleue. I was about 22, poor as anything, and tried a tester at Macy’s NYC. I fell in love immediately and bought the smallest size they had, which came in a little blue-and-white sprigged purse spray. LHB says “perfume” to me even today, but my second “Oh!” moment came as I began exploring perfume as a hobby last summer/fall. I ordered loads of samples, and usually went “Ugh!” or “That’s nice” after a few seconds. Then I tried Dior Dune. My initial sniff–“No, I don’t like this” but there was something compelling about it that made me keep sniffing and then I was transported to—Dunes. I could smell the sea, and the sand, and a dry wind. It was amazing, and taught me not to make snap judgements (though 98% of the time, the “Ugh!” stays “Ugh.”
The other Oh! moment was when I went to Venice. It is the world’s Coney Island, catering to tourists from all over, but the architecture and the light and the sound of Italian just made me fall in love with it.
Glad Carmine is his usual self, hugs to cranky dog if he will permit them…
Seconding Venice: I love the place (especially in winter, when there are less tourists), but never as much as the first time I stepped out of the railway station to see palace, bridge, canal, gondola – in real life. I think there’s still a dent in the pavement from where my jaw dropped. Definitely one of the highlights in life!
Interestingly, I did not feel that way about Venice…but I did feel that way about Lido- more specifically, my first view of the violet Adriatic, from the terrace of the Hotel des Bains(alas, now shuttered).
Venice is also my “oh” city. We arrived in one of those water taxis. Loved it there and still want to go sit on our fave bench in a small square seeing all the old and young Italians…