Mis-use as Directed

absorbineAs I type this I am reeking of Absorbine Jr., which my equestrienne sister-in-law assures me is in fact horse liniment, repackaged into a dab-on bottle for humans at 50 times the price of the per-gallon stuff you get for the pony.  I don’t care.   The sultry arms of Patou’s Joy may drive you wild with its embrace, but nothing says I love you to me like the smell of Absorbine Jr.   We always had an old stained bottle sitting around the house when I was growing up and, assuming a bone wasn’t poking through the skin, my mother dabbed Absorbine Jr. on whatever bite, burn or scrape I was whining about and sent me on my way with a popsicle, assuring me I’d live.  I put it on now just so I can smell it, not because I pulled a tendon in the Belmont Stakes.

Absorbine Jr. smells strongly herbal/medicinal; ingredients include absinthium oil, iodine, calendula, echinacea and wormwood (btw it’s also got acetone and FD&C Blue No. 1 and Yellow No. 6, which I am sure is great for my skin.)   I wouldn’t drink it, but it’s good for what ails you.  To me it is the quintessential smell of summer.  I uncap that bottle and release memories of hot pavement burning the soles of my feet, ripe white peaches dripping down my chin, cold grape soda by the pool (don’t go in for an hour after eating or your stomach will cramp up and you’ll die, remember that?), and setting off the requisite quasi-legal explosives at night, since I grew up in Virginia.  The smell of gunpowder and the beauty of fireflies is inextricably entwined in my memory at this point.  I wonder if you can still buy M-80s and other things large enough to take off a hand?  Probably not.

Weleda Calendula baby cream is also an excellent scent, a less piquant version of Absorbine Jr. that makes me think of Santa Fe in the summer, and anything that makes me think of Santa Fe is good, obviously.  I rub it on my hands when I need some moisture and a smile.

Perfume-wise, here is my random, totally subjective short list of fragrances that have been mis-labeled:  perfumes that should be room sprays and vice versa.

Fracas.  Okay, I admit this smells amazing on lots of people, especially men.  (Men reading this: wear it, please. For me and those you love.)  I am not a Fracas hater, so don’t flame me.  At my house it’s best enjoyed one spritz at a time in the air in my bedroom.  Eventually the smell permeates the entire second floor.  I am not complaining.

gallianoDiptyque Essence of John Galliano. This is a room spray that has not caused any rashes or parts to drop off despite my using it regularly on my skin.  One of my all time favorite non-perfume smells, I might like it even better than CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves.  Why?  Because underneath all that Damp Fireplace lurks a heart of something cologne-ish, like a virtual reality Weekend Ministering to the Needs of My Lord the Duke in his Drafty Medieval Castle.  I will spare you further details of my fantasy to avoid getting trapped in your spam filter.

Apothia Velvet Rope. I have a couple of friends who love and wear this, but I have the candle and a decant and seriously, I think the whole deal works better as a room spray.  Considering it’s inspired by a nightclub, this makes sense.

Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande. Okay, I should probably be shot for writing this, but it makes such a great room spray.   I love incense fragrances on my skin, but I don’t want the house to smell like a cathedral.   For the record, I don’t like lavender much either except on my linens.  But EetL in the hallway?  Heaven on earth.

Malle Une Rose. It seems so wrong.  And yet.  The perfect room spray.  Um, one spray, no more.

What room spray or other household/medicinal product do you wear for the smell?  (Tiger Balm?  Band-Aids?) And what fragrance do you use to scent your surroundings, and not just because you’re stuck with a bottle of something you’re trying to use up?

  • Rob says:

    My family lived in Coswellcounty(?) North Carolina around 1790,and a basic recipe for Burn salve was passed down. My brother still has a sample–it looks like something you would buy in a store. My great uncle used it to heal burns when a whole pan of hot grease was dumped down his back–no scars. The base for the salve was Balm of Gilead buds at spring—another part was really gross,but hey it worked.

  • ScentRed says:

    Childhood memories include the smell of those odd coils we used to light and let smoke on a summer night (theoretically to ward off mosquitos) and Caladryl lotion a mixture of calamine and benadryl – brilliant concoction to soothe the inevitable string of bug bites when the darn coils fail.

    Today -the smell of Nivea Creme Soft hand wash – probably single-handedly kept H1N1 out of our house ’cause we can’t stop using it. And then there’s Mustela cold cream which I originally used on my baby son’s cheeks to protect them from the cold winter wind, but now smear on him and his little sister before bed just because it smells so wonderfully comforting.

    • March says:

      Yeah, what was in those coils? You know it couldn’t have been good for us, particularly the way I used to lean over and suck it in…

      Mustela. Rembember their baby spray? I think I wore that in jr. high school.

  • E says:

    I’ve never liked the smell of fuel, though I know lots of people who do. Ditto dry erase markers.

    My childhood smells are chlorine, dirt and grass, Noxzema (I never even used it! But I love the way it smells), and sunscreen. Sunscreen makes me so happy.

    Now I’m dying for some Encens et Lavande to spray on my linens..

  • Tara C says:

    Oh yes, I love Encens & Lavande sprayed on my pillow! And Philosykos as a room spray.

    Bryan, you’re the first person I’ve seen menion Magic by Celine. It was one of the very first “grown up” perfumes I ever bought for myself and I still have a bottle of it I’m hoarding. I think I’ll take it out tonight and have a spritz.

  • AnnieA says:

    Smells of summer: freshly-watered lawns, Coppertone, damp canvas tents

    Spritzing perfumes: Pleasures as room-freshener, Marc Jacobs Cucumber as linen-freshener

  • Gretchen says:

    Bactine! I’m glad so many others remember it. When I was a child I used to open the bottle and take a good long sniff, it smelled so good. Then I’d put some behind my ears and get criticized for wasting it. Another childhood fave: some scented candle that my grandmother had for display only (it was never lit once.) I would put my nose right up to the wax and inhale– I’ve never encountered that scent again and can’t imagine what it could have been.

    A summer scent that Demeter should really try to capture is that of overripe apricots squashed on dirt and asphalt. My cousins lived in a no-sidewalks neigborhood that had once been an orchard. Every yard had at least two apricot trees, so that smell evokes our walks home from the community pool at the end of their street. And the number-one smell of summer: Coppertone. We could smell the Coppertone-infused atmosphere of that pool deck and hear the splashing and hollering before we even passed through the locker rooms and saw the water. The Coppertone overwhelmed even the smell of the chlorine. NOTHING has ever smelled so much of happy anticipation and daylong good times. That aroma makes me happy to this day.

    • March says:

      I am amazed at all the Bactine fans on here today! And I mentally keep combining Demeter scents wondering how you could come up with your magic potion… I swear DKNY woman (? the prizm bottle) maybe layered with dirt might do it. Might need some more apricot.

  • Claudia says:

    I grew up on a dairy farm and I love the smell of cow manure. Call me wierd….
    When I am driving in the country with my brothers and we catch a wiff of it, we roll down the windows and breath deeply and smile. I don’t recommend it for a room spray though.
    I love Vicks Vapo-Rub too. I must have it whenever I am sick, whether it has any real medical effect or not.

  • Tiara says:

    I wish I could spritz our linens but my husband is not a fan. Fabric softener is as far as he’ll go. However, if someone could figure out how to bottle the TRUE scent of sheets lined-dried in the Albuquerque sun, we’d both be thrilled. MY ex-sister-in-law always lined dried their sheets and we loved slipping into bed at night. Yummy.

    As a child I loved the smell of gasoline. I’d go with my father to the “filling station” just for a whiff. Count me in with the chlorine crowd. Stirs up good feelings of lazy sunny afternoons. Summer afternoons, when the breeze was just right, we could smell the cookies from the Streitman Co. on the other side of town. Later it became Keebler and the good smells continued. Now Kellog’s owns the plant so not sure we’ll get that smell of fresh cookies any more.

    The one thing that stands out from my teen years — Lemon Up Shampoo. A large group of us used it and we’d take showers before leaving the pool. I think it even overcame the scent of chlorine in there!

  • Mariekel says:

    I am now reminiscing about evocative childhood smells. There are two in particular that play a plangent chord for me: the dusty, dark smell combined with wood polish, pine and old felt in the canteen at a summer camp in rural Pennsylvania owned by my grandparents when I was a very little girl. Once in a blue moon i come across a whiff of this and it nearly brings tears to my eyes. I see my grandfather in his golfing whites, zipping around camp in his golf cart (he was a man whose favourite TV character was Barney Rubble. Gramps was also one of the greatest bridge players of his generation).

    The other is the smell of the old Bain de Soleil, which immediately calls up my glamourous grandmother (signature scent: vintage Shalimar parfum) and her stories of lazy winters at LaCoste).

    As to room fresheners, I use those Aveda perfumes that i always seem to have coupons for. i usually get a ctirusy-gingery blend. The other find has been Terre D’Hermes –which also works wonders for dispersing eau de basset hound!

    • March says:

      I looked for Bain de Soleil last year just because I wanted to re-smell it. There must be somewhere online to get it… I like the smell of cheesy Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil, we have some of that just for the smell too!

      Your summer camp memories are beautiful.

  • Elle says:

    I’m another diesel fuel and chlorine fan. Diesel fuel is like olfactory Xanax for me. And Pine Sol. Growing up in Central America, that was the floor cleaner of choice and I have countless wonderful memories associated w/ that scent. If I thought I could apply Pine Sol to my wrists w/out ill effect, I probably would. I also live and die for the scent of oil paints and turpentine, which is one of the reasons I love Jalaine’s Vetiver since it has a bit of an oil paint vibe to it.
    Fracas as a room spray? Brilliant! Must start using it as that as it simply doesn’t work on my skin. There are several elegant scents I associate w/ people I’ve loved and happy memories, but which I’m not particularly comfortable wearing and so I quite often will use them as room sprays instead. Diorissimo, Chanel #22, Climat and Joy are probably the ones I use the most in this way.

    • March says:

      Pine Sol. There’s a wonderful smell. And someone else up there mentioned furniture polish. I bought these antique leather and wood dining chairs years ago, I wish I could remember what he said he’d rubbed them with. It smelled amazing, like a blend of a paint store and a museum and a cathedral. Mmmm. Bottle that!

      We’ll have to respectfully disagree on the fuel. There are several fuel fans here. It consistently gives me a headache 🙁

  • Mindy says:

    The smell of rain on hot pavement always brings back memories of childhood. Also fresh cut grass on a summers evening. I would love some suggestions from you knowledgeable people on how to recreate these smells.

  • Disteza says:

    We always had dogs when I was a kid, so the smell of hot dog (not the ones you eat, the ones you have to feed) is probably the most prominent thing I remember, right along with Old English furniture polish, since I was tasked with all of the dusting. I still love the smell of furniture polish, but I don’t think I’ll be using it on myself anytime soon. There’s also the smell of fog machines, which are not particularly associated with summer, but which I grew to love quite early on. As for perfumes used heretically, CB’s Lavender Tea and Cedar Tea practically beg to be used as linen sprays, a few drops of Bal a Versailles work wonders on tired orange cinnamon potpourri. I’ve also used Carthusia’s Mediterraneo for a little room freshening with good results.

    • March says:

      I’m amused at the number of folks who mention the smell of their dogs on here, in a good way!

      Man, I really need a bottle of Mediterraneo, what is wrong with me?

  • sara says:

    summer childhood smells: chlorine (competitive swimmer for 14 years), calamine lotion, warm dog, citronella candles, watermelon, wet flip-flops, and Big Buddy bubble gum. I use Lorenzo Villoresi room oils on my skin-the chypre one is incredible.

    • March says:

      Big Buddy! Is that the one with the comix? No, wait, that’s Bazooka! I certainly ate my share of both. And chlorine is such an obvious summer scent I didn’t even think of it, duh.

      • sara says:

        Big Buddy was foot-long bubble gum in the most bilious colors imagineable. Purchased at 7-11, with a slurpee chaser, usually

  • Musette says:

    Wow! What a great (and calming) post! I’m having a rough day over here and this just settled everything right down. Thanks!

    My fave childhood summer scent is Bactine. Bactine and the screech-and-slam of an old screen door does wonders for taking stress and throwing it right out of an open window.

    I don’t use much perfume as room spray because I have giant Rottweilers who can take out any perfume you put in the air – but I usually spritz something on my hands when I am making the bed in the morning; yesterday it was Sycomore – just a tad on the hands and as you’re smoothing and fluffling everything it gets transferred to the fabric. Very calming. Today I need something even more calming….any suggestions? Maybe Mitsouko, to keep the crazies at bay…

    For ironing I spritz Coty’s Muguet des Bois edt. It’s light and doesn’t interfere with anything I might be wearing on my skin – and it makes the closet smell great. It’s light enough that even El O’s clothes carry a hint of it and he doesn’t notice. I just ordered an Agraria Bitter Orange diffuser (luckyscent has free shipping right now, whoo-hoo! I HATE shipping costs:-( I can’t wait to put that in the living room.

    Fireflies: saw one yesterday, Rosarita. Just one. It’s still pretty cool over here Iowa-way. In fact, I suspect I will be in a jacket today. Odd and a bit disconcerting but something tells me I will be looking back on these days with great longing, come late July.


    • Kim says:

      Coty Muguet de Bois! What an amazing idea! I love it but find it too linear now that I have been corrupted, er, I mean educated, in the ways of fine perfume palates and appreciation of gasoline and tar scents (another one in that camp here). My, oh my, the influence of the Perfume Posse! 😉

    • Musette says:

      Well…I was wa-ronnnng! It’s 80+ here. I’m wearing Patou Normandie and it’s perfect for this weather! Of course, it’s not Bactine – but we can’t all be Bactine, alas!


    • March says:

      Giggling that you spray his clothes with muguet — hon, what could possibly cut through the fug of those doggies? Although, I could see how you might find Sycomore really calming. I hope your day has improved.

  • NancyN says:

    Diesel fuel exhaust brings me back to certain streets that I used to walk in Costa Rica. A whiff brings me right back there and wonderful remembrences.

    My most favorite childhood scent is North Dakota summer mornings. Lonestar Memories is the closest thing I’ve found to the actual place. I just had to put it on now because of the post & I’m going to spray it on my sheets.

  • Flor says:

    My childhood summers were filled with insect repellent, grass, fresh guavas and guava trees, messy delicious mangos, sugar cane, chlorine from the pool (we would sit in the pool all day long – and yes, we too were told we would die if we went in any sooner than 2 hours after eating) and this zinc paste used in Brazil for heat rashes and bites called Pasta d’Agua. Good times!

    I’m not sure I can agree with using such high end and uber expensive perfumes as room spray. I think my hand would freeze mid-spray and I wouldn’t be able to go through with it. Especially considering what a hassle it is to get some of those precious goodies from Paris. I don’t actually love many room sprays and generally stick to incense, but I do have some fresh lavender colognes that are perfect for spraying around the house, especially in the summer.

  • Kathryn says:

    Absorbine Jr. was something my grandfather doused himself with regularly, especially after a day of dealing with the high-spirited team of horses he kept working well into his 80’s. But my favorite of the liniments he used was one he made himself–infusing the oils of balm of gilead poplar buds by simmering them in leaf fat. He was a fierce and often difficult person, but he always smelled wonderful. (Pipe-smoke, hay, and a sort of salty, clean smelling sweat, too,)

    Last year, I came upon a balm of gilead tree when I was hiking in the mountains in Colorado and I was immediately whisked away back in time and thousands of miles away. Gobin-Daude’s Seve Exquise has a poplar bud note that takes me back to my grandparent’s farm in Northern Maine, too. I have this awful feeling that when my bottle is finally gone, my youth will have vanished forever.

    Nowadays, my favorite home scent is burning a strip of instantly calming Papier D’Armenie. When I travel, a tiny spritz of Bois D’Armenie in a hotel room produces much the same effect.

  • Natalie says:

    Mosquito coils — I assume they’re mostly citronella, but citronella and smoke is a lovely combination. I do love the smell/taste of Blistex (the mentholated kind) too; sometimes I dab it under my nostrils for a good hit of it. When I lived in Cuba, some of the tourist hotels would use a kind of disinfectant that smelled divine, but I could never find a bottle to buy. And add me to the fuel-lovers list — jet fuel, diesel exhaust (diesel exhaust smell + coffee smell + great bread smell = Europe), even plain old gasoline… and don’t get me started on hot asphalt, gunpowder, mmm…

    As for spraying the snazzy stuff, Diptyque Philosykos is GREAT on sheets, in the air, etc.

    • March says:

      Citronella and smoke IS a lovely combination. And I have the Diptyque Figuer room spray, which I also spray on the linens sometimes.

  • sybil says:

    The childhood smell of injury to me was Watkins Petro-carbo Salve…thick brown greasy and stinky! My mother smeared it with abandon, on humans and 4-legs. And OFF, which my aunt used religously. Now, I ususally use one of those organic orange oil sprays for the house, as my husband gripes about anything more exotic. Oh well…he’s generally quiet about what I put on, so it balances out.

  • mals86 says:

    Ah, Absorbine Jr… scraped knees, cut grass, chlorine-y wet swimsuits from morning practice, and old tennis balls – it all comes back to me now.

    My favorite smelly medical product, though, is Porter’s Liniment Salve. Sometimes I open up the old-school metal tin just for a sniff of this magic stuff, which always carries the comforting message that Somebody Loves Me and my ouchies will soon be gone. You can tell from the list of ingredients that this is a powerful, and powerful-smelling, medicament: chlorobutanol (a weak local anesthetic), cresylic acid (an antiseptic distilled from coal tar), zinc oxide, oil cloves, camphor, ammonia, oil cajeput (tea tree), oil sassafras, and myrrh, in a base of petrolatum, lanolin, and beeswax. Great for burns, insect bites, bike-accident wounds, my-brother-tackled-me scrapes, and I-fell-into-the-blackberry-bushes scratches. Works just as well as triple-antibiotic salve, and has that voodoo aura of herbal tinctures, so that you KNOW you’re going to be healed.

    I like spice-scented candles – Pier One, for the balance between strong scent and reasonable price – for the house.

  • Nava says:

    Ammens powder. Now there’s a flashback. And pink Calamine lotion is summer in a bottle.

    I’m not particularly into any room sprays or perfumes used as room sprays. I was big into candles for a while, but that has become a waning interest as well. I’m with Louise on the smell of fuel, although for me, jet fuel wins out over diesel fuel. And nothing beats eau de New York City subway. Nothing.

  • Alison says:

    Citronella – another horse-related scent, this one in Fly-Wipe that I would put on my horse before long summer rides. Just love it. I love Absorbine, too!

    I also have longed for years to find the old Erno Lazlo suntan oil again, just for the smell. My mother would slather it and it was the best smelling skin product ever.

    • March says:

      Citronella. Makes me think of those candles. The ones with the drowned bugs in them. 🙂

      Somebody on here’s an Erno Lazlo freak… tmp00?

  • Catherine says:

    The Aedes roomspray by L’Artisan is my favorite to scent not only the rooms but also my sheets and towels. What’s amazing is that the scent lasts on the sheets until whenever I pull out that set, even up to a couple of months. This scent is pure comfort, and I use it liberally. I can’t wear it because it turns too shrill, but I nest in it without concern. I also use Guerlain Cologne du 68 and Mona di Orio Carnation/Lux as linen sprays, although only for very special occasions. 🙂 Other scents that get used more liberally beyond skin: L’Artisan La Haie Fleurie, Cologne Blanche, and OJ Champaca.

    • March says:

      Ooohhhh, where else do you spray Champaca? Man, I love that stuff. Also I am on board with using the same scent all the time on your linens. I use plain old lavender, but when I open my linen closet or slip into my sheets and it all smells like lavender, it’s delicious.

  • Melissa says:

    I spent a good chunk of my childhood as a mini-equestrienne, so your post took me right back to the smells of the stables, horse liniment included. The sweet smell of horses was the primary intoxicant. I had to be shooed into the shower each night to wash off the scent. Bois Blond, which Louise mentioned above, captures some of these memories for me. I recently spritzed it as a room spray and it was glorious.

    A tart warmer works well to scent my bathroom by putting a few mls of fragrance in the top and adding water to keep the alcohol from burning off too rapidly. Last night I did this with some vintage Eau de Joy. It was one of the nicest experiments yet, once the bad top notes burned off.

    • March says:

      I like your diffuser concept, that sounds like a great way to spread the smell of parfum without being ridiculous about it. And next time I see you I’ll bring my Absorbine Jr. and you can tell me if it really does smell like liniment!

  • rosarita says:

    Lovely and evocative post, M. My household smell is Bactine, which used to be manufactured by Miles Labs, the same people who invented Alka Seltzer. The plant was in a neighboring town. Bactine’s claim to fame was that it didn’t sting or stain (we had methiolade for that) and, since my skin is apparently chips & dip to mosquitoes, I needed Bactine a lot! Another nostalgic summer smell from my childhood is the oil that was used on gravel roads to keep the dust down in between the tiny farming towns here. All the general farm smells, mixed w/that oil smell that belonged only to summer, all baking under the sun on the drive to visit my grandparents. Now most of the roads are paved, but the large Amish community assures that a horse can still find a job, and thank goodness the farms still smell the same.

    • March says:

      The oil on the dirt roads – I remember that smell! Can’t have been good for the environment, but a great smell. And Bactine could definitely be in the running for a take-me-back smell.

    • mals86 says:

      Old Farm Truck – that’s a great summer smell! Cracked vinyl, dry manure, diesel fuel, engine oil, iodine, hay, dust, animal hair (cow and dog), twine, and tractor grease. My grandfather’s truck smelled like that, and now my husband’s does too.

    • Francesca says:

      OH, God, Bactine! I loved that, too.

  • vicuna1 says:

    Nearly every morning just before I walk out the door to go to the office–nicely dressed, full makeup complete with finishing powder, the carefully chosen lippie, heels, etc.—I have to stop by my bathroom and apply a tiny smear of either Vics Vapo-Rub or Tiger Balm to my nostrils. I have a stressful job, and either of those two items bring me calmness and strength to walk out the door and tackle the day. I have been soooo tempted to get some little jars of them for work, too, but I see no reason to display my craziness to co-workers. Tiger Balm or Vics gets at least one huff every evening after I get home, too.

    • March says:

      That is so interesting. Clearly a lot of people find that smell very comforting, and I know some people use it when commuting to tone down the urban aromas, particularly in summer on the subway! And why not display your crazy to your co-workers? They’d probably just think you had a chapped nose!

    • tmp00 says:

      I love Vick Vapo-rub! You just cannot be depressed wearing that under your blanket..

    • HemlockSillage says:

      I agree with the Tiger Balm thing–I think that’s why I bought Heeley’s Esprit du Tigre, which I reach for on mornings when I need a lift before venturing out into the workforce. It hangs close to the body, then has a comforting cardamom scent that I love.

      Haven’t tried Vick’s Vaporub as a pick me up, but will do on the day I need the industrial strength wake up.

      My guilty sprays around the house: Dzing! which is naughty librarian in leather for me or Kenzo’s Amour, which has a rice/pudding/vanilla/cardamom note that is very comforting.

      • March says:

        Huh. KenzoAmour around the house? I have to admit that never occurred to me, and I love KenzoAmour, so I’ll try it.

  • Francesca says:

    Reading Carter’s post, I had such a flashback to my childhood vacations in Ship Bottom, New Jersey–we used to run through the fog sprayed out by the mosquito trucks. It’s a wonder I haven’t grown black suppurating lumps all over my body.

    I have a container of Santa Maria Novella potpourri open most of the time in my apartment, and I keep an open packet in a file drawer at work. I also like Diptyque Figuier candles, and I recently got two of those reeds-in-a bottle things–can’t remember the company offhand; they’re in Connecticut, which I, alas, am not. I have Fig in the living room and Sandalwood in the upstairs bathroom. They’re subtle and smell very true, not chemical-y. I keep a huge bowl of dried lemon verbena and rosebuds in the bedroom, and a couple of containers of Agraria Balsam potpourri here and there.

    Smell from the past: I used to love the old Air-Wick. I wish they still made it. Green and clean.

    • March says:

      Another mosquito truck junkie! I am pretty sure what they were spraying was DDT…. that’s what I’ve been told anyway.

      Your apartment and house must smell wonderful. There’s something about the idea of fig and sandalwood merging midpoint that seems perfect (like Philosykos and Tam Dao). I don’t have the stick diffusers because I don’t trust the kids not to spill them!

    • carter says:

      Black supperating lumps….SEX-Y!

  • Louise says:

    Diesel. Seriously, the burning-in-a-engine kind. It no longer is quite so unfiltered, but in my student days in France, all the little alleyways called streets reeked of diesel truck fuel as I walked to class, and I loved it. Nostalgia perfume? Too much gasoline. Of course, in those olden days the diesel stink was mixed with the smell of fresh, real baguette and coffee.

    I like a nice barn, too. Mostly hay, of course, which I re-create through wearing Bois Blond or Vie de Chateau, but the horses make a nice contribution that I wouldn’t want bottled.

    No wonder I love me some stank 😉

    I use odds and ends for room spray. PdN New York is lovely on my son, too sweet on me, but I love a bit sprayed in the hall. I also prefer Kamali’s Ceremony sprayed on my sheets-its dryness makes for a calm sleep. I like Zum sprays for skin and air, as well.

    • March says:

      But NY would be especially lovely because spraying it in the air would remind you of your son, and how sweet is that?

      Y’all diesel, jet fuel and gasoline junkies. I just don’t get it. 😉 although tar and hay I totally understand.

      • carter says:

        Some of my childhood was spent on the coast of Spain in Alicante, and the smell of freshly baked bread was so much a part of early summer mornings! We would send my little brother to the bakery each day to get it, and each day he would bring home a hollowed-out shell 😉 We learned to like the warm crusts with butter because Chip could not refrain from eating the insides :). The other very strong memory from that time is the smell of those Spanish churches during Mass. Wow, nothing else like it!

        • carter says:

          That winking emoticon isn’t supposed to be there! Maybe they’ve found their way back home under their own steam!

          • March says:

            That’s such a sweet story about the bread, although frankly you can have the middle, I’m a warm crust and butter girl all the way. And the winking emoticons just want to play with you.

  • Silvia says:

    I am in love with the air freshner in my office bathroom. It’s one of those rechargable things mounted high on the wall that automatically spritz every now and then. I have seriously considered climbing on the sink with a screwdriver to open the box and steal its contents so I can wear the scent. I swear it’s a floral by Patricia de Nicolai !!!

    I adore the Essence of John Galliano too.

    • March says:

      That’s funny. About the air freshener. The bathroom at the place my kids do martial arts has a really nice commercial air freshener, and you KNOW that bathroom ought to be disgusting. But it smells great. I can’t figure out what it is either.

  • carter says:

    I also grew up for the most part in Virginia and I know exactly what you mean about gunpowder and summer and, oh, the poolside grape soda! How I adored grape soda in the heat — I can’t believe you touched on two such important sense memories of my childhood while telling us of your own. Gosh, that was fun! As for the fireflies, well, it almost goes without saying. I can’t imagine life without fireflies at dusk even now, can you?

    But one of the most evocative — and in retrospect, carcinogenic — smells of my childhood summers was the mosquito trucks that came through our neighborhood most evenings. We would run behind the trucks inhaling that stuff — I shudder to think of it now.

    In answer to your question I spray Costes room spray on my skin and I use Le Cherche Midi Signature Home Scent around the apartment, simply because it really does smell like a little corner of Provence smack dab on the Upper West Side. I also like Lorenzo Villoresi Wild Lavender now and again, but if I were made out of money I’d spray Carnal Flower with wild abandon and probably never want to leave the house again.

    • March says:

      Costes smells great on the skin, you are right. And somehow I missed the DDT truck, but I know many people who have mentioned the same fond memory you did. Yes, that might have been unsafe, huh?

      I think our fireflies are disappearing. So sad. Fewer, and later at night.

      • rosarita says:

        I haven’t seen any fireflies at all yet! It’s been unseasonably cool and rainy here, but still, none at all??

        • March says:

          Ours are out really late, and not that many of them. It used to be right at dusk, even just six or eight years ago. I hope they’re not all being killed off like the bees.

    • Olfacta says:

      We did the run-behind-the-DDT-trucks thing, too, only on bicycles, so you could ride longer and breathe deeper. And had M-80’s and cherry bombs as well as firecrackers. I don’t know how any of us survived childhood but we did somehow. (You can still buy fireworks in Alabama and South Carolina, there are big stands at the Georgia state line on both sides. But I don’t know if they have M-80’s.)

      I’ve written about this before so please feel free to ignore it. I take some Neutrogena unscented body oil, pour a little into a diffuser (about the size and shape of a bagel) and spray a few times into the oil with whatever perfume, EDP or essential oil that seems appealing at the moment. This is the plug-in kind, and it heats up just a little, enough to warm the oil and scent a room.

  • Kim says:

    Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice – wonderful room spray, only needs 1 spritz. And I love Feminite du Bois by Shiseido as a room spray. It is nice on my skin but nicer as a room spray, somehow more cedary as a room spray.

    and your Drafty Medieval Castle talk seems to have brought back the Save the Queen ad pop-up – somehow gets through all my various blockers ??

    • March says:

      You made me laugh out loud with Save the Queen…. sorry about that. And I think thus far you win my award for I Can’t Believe You’re Using FdB as room spray. I’ll have to try that, if I can bear to pull the trigger…

      oh! and you’ve solved a mystery! I have some random candle in my living room that I kept thinking I had a room spray that would match, and I realize I’m thinking of Winter Delice! You are right, that would be perfect in the winter.

  • hvs says:

    A spritz of Christian Lacroix Tumult Pour Homme in the water for my clothes steamer – it’s cedar-y enough to remind me of an old wooden wardrobe, but much more interesting. Like maybe a magic wardrobe. With a lion. No witch, though.

    • Melissa says:

      What a great idea! I use a steamer, but some clothes need an iron. This might even motivate me to get to some of the neglected cotton blouses in my closet.

      • March says:

        The prob. with my neglected blouses is they all need to be re-washed, even a smidge of dust makes me sneeze…

    • March says:

      Gah, now you’re making me wish I’d taken your bottle after I guilt-tripped you.


      I keed, I keed. That sounds great, in fact.

  • carmencanada says:

    I use Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Iris Fig as a room spray, but more because I got a bottle given to me and I don’t like to wear it — too much heliotropin in there… And I’ve been known, the blasphemy, to spritz Encens et Lavande (again, a gift) when ironing my clothing. But my preciouses are too expensive to spritz in the air. On the skin they go!

  • bryan says:

    I fell in love with the now discontinued Magic by the House of Celine when in the Celine boutique in Monte Carlo years ago. Since then, I have sprayed my rooms (one at a time naturally, and minimally) with the eau de parfum. It is what my blankets smelled like for the last ten years. I adore it and I am transported back to Monaco in the warmth of an April Sun, doing what I love to do…shop and sniff.
    I also spray the “bleep” out of my rooms, blankets, sheets, clothes, etc, with Annick Goutal’s Tubereuse and Fracas….Or Carnal Flower or Dior Collection Particuliere no. 9.
    Heaven on earth.

    • March says:

      Okay, so you have in one fell swoop relieved any guilt I might have had about room-spraying with fine perfumes. And I’ve never smelled Magic, but having your house filled with those memories must be lovely.