Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this weekend so I am rerunning a post I wrote at PST years ago about my own mother and Miss Dior back in 2007:

When Colombina suggested this three-way review, I thought “cool, I can get away with a couple of paragraphs: V A C A T I O N!”

Then she suggested we review Miss Dior, which I had not smelled in years. It was one of my mother’s stand-by scents: an important evening party meant Joy, a “date” with my father meant Bandit or Antilope, the rest of the time it was Miss Dior. My mom was what once referred to as a “difficult” woman: by 13 she had reached nearly six feet when most men didn’t get that high. She was the only daughter of the Irish immigrant gardener on one of the large houses in town, and before settling down into a nice safe life with my father (who decided upon first sight of her that she would be his wife); she had a stint in an all-girl band playing the Hawaiian Guitar and as a fashion model. She married up, into a family that while it did not arrive on the Mayflower, pretty much swam in after. However, if anyone was going to think they could shame her with a shanty-Irish background, think again: she didn’t take crap from John Robert Powers; she wasn’t going to from some Aryan from Darien either. I can still remember being partly mortified and yet terribly proud when she slung on her mink and went into my junior high school to give my geography teacher what-for. My mother had a dinner party the night before and didn’t have time to make a cover for my text book. He took the book away and told me one of my parents would have to see him to get it back. It was a short interview that ended with my mother coming out of the building in about ten minutes with the aforementioned tome, a very red-faced teacher, and a school abuzz for days. Would this stand up to memory? Are y’all still awake?

I found a beensy sized bottle of the EdT version at a discounter on Broadway in downtown LA for $7 and hoped for the best. I head read that this had been reformulated, and that on top of being EdT. I wondered.

I needn’t have. One whiff and I was back in the backseat of that Ninety-Eight: it opens with a sparking-bright whiff of green Aldehydes and that singular sage and gardenia opening. A lot of modern perfumes seem to come in acts: stage one, stage two and stage three. While there are definitely a top, middle and bottom to this fragrance, they are so
seamlessly done that the memory of the previous ones are never far off, the hover like the voices in a fugue. The opening is supplanted by jasmine and rose, in turn supplanted by oakmoss and labdanum. This being the EdT, I am feeling that there is something missing, I don’t smell patchouli in the drydown much and I seem to remember a bit of civet in there. The EdT is light enough for a guy to get away with wearing.

Would I try? Nope. It’s intrinsically tied to memories of my mother, and although I do resemble her (and I thank the genetic crapshoot I got her green eyes!) I don’t really need to smell like her. I do know that this apple hasn’t fallen far from that tree- were she alive she would without any compunction whatever poach my MKK.

Miss Dior is of course no longer Miss Dior, and that’s very sad. But I hope your Mother’s Day is a happy one.

Image: Internets

12 Comments

  1. What a great memory! I do love how a sniff of perfume can transport you back to those moments with your mother (awesome lady!). My olfactory memory of my mom is Perfumers Workshop Tea Rose. I still have her bottle – maybe 50%, because no more than a dab was ever needed. I don’t actually wear it because heady rose isn’t really my jam and besides – it was hers. I like to pull the cap off and sniff from time to time, though, and will never get rid of it.

  2. Tom – I remember reading this post when it came out on PST and I could see your mother, the mink, the Ninety-Eight (only those in the know, know you can’t shorten it to ’98’. It Just. Isn’t. Done.) I love the glorious Miss Dior but no longer feel up to the challenge of supporting it with a decent mien. But, oh! What a beauty! xoxoxoA

  3. Loved this. Your mother sounds like she was one helluva lady and a class act. That is something you either have or you don’t have. You can’t buy it. She also enjoyed my favorite perfume ever, original Joy.

  4. Aren’t memories, as well as fragrance memories precious? I love your story of your Mom in her Miss Dior. My Mom sadly didn’t wear perfume. My Dad gifted her a bottle of Chanel No 19, which she never wore and kept in her dresser drawer for years. I would admire it as a child and take an occasional sniff when I dared. And I sometimes wish that I had a signature scent that others would attach to me; however, I love too many and could never decide on just one perfume.
    Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms!

  5. Whiffs of perfume can transport me back so often. A snort of Halston Z-14 and it’s suddenly 1977. CK-one takes me back to the 80’s/ So many more…

  6. Musette- I think you and I are the only ones who know that it’s “Ninety-Eight” and never 98..

  7. Maya- Please don’t tell me they ruined Joy. I don’t think I could bear it.

    My mother told me once that she went on a trip to Europe and bought a bottle of Joy Perfume and packed it in her checked luggage, not realizing that at the time the checked baggage compartments were not pressurized. It leaked out all over the place. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  8. Kathleen- I would be hard pressed not to rescue it and blame the theft on errant perfume burglars..

  9. Hey Tom. Joy will always be magical to me!
    And I also know *Ninety-Eight*. LOL.

  10. Love this whole post, Tom. Thanks for re-running it!

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