What scents would you take to a desert island? Here in the UK there is a long-running weekly radio programme called ‘Desert Island Discs’ where a famous actor/author/composer/painter takes us through the ten pieces of music they would take to a desert island and why. They are also allowed the complete works of Shakespeare, the Bible and the choice of one luxury item. After listening recently, I got to thinking about desert island perfumes and what I would bring with me. What would I take if I didn’t need to worry about sillage, appropriateness or cost? (In my fantasy, I am allowed to buy as much of whatever I choose- hey, a girl can dream, right?) Would I bathe in Bal a Versailles with no one around to raise an eyebrow? Would I lavishly spray MKK and worry about fending off amorous wildlife later? What would I choose with all the choice before me?
Well, I started to compile a list, certain that it would be difficult to do but rather found that I very quickly had a list comprised of lifelong favourites and seasonal scents. The idea of living on a desert island, under perpetually sunny skies, caressed by sultry breezes and cooled by turquoise waters, made me immediately wish to conjure up the seasons that I would miss. In fact, tempting as I find desert islands, with their implied escape from reality and their peace and tranquillity far beyond the reach of deadlines, door-to-door salesmen and traffic jams, I would be bored stiff after about 2 weeks, maybe a month at the extreme outside. Sure, reading as much as I wanted with no’ to-do list’ guilt and eating fresh coconut with my toes in the surf would be fabulous but the monotony would do me in. (Not to mention the fact that I am violently allergic to fish so my diet would be a bit limited!) I want, no, I NEED, to have brisk days with smoke in the skies and autumnal leaves flickering like firelight; moody grey days with rain that blunts the edges of the world; bitingly cold winter days with snow that sparkles like shards of glass; glorious spring days where you feel so full of life that your heart could just burst. I need my favourites as well: I fell in love with Shalimar when I was 15 and she has seen me through other first but less enduring loves, world travel, marriage and children and to not have her would leave a hole in my soul. Chaos just spoke to me from the first moment I sprayed her and is always right and always me, like a favourite pair of jeans that make your bum look just right or that cashmere scarf that goes with everything. And, as I adore libraries and bookshops, In the Library would be a comfort scent of the first order.
(Mmm, the smell of books – now a Kindle just doesn’t hold a candle to that does it? My husband keeps offering to buy me one but, whilst I love the idea of having lots of books with me at all times, I would really miss the sensory experience of reading an actual book. The smell, the feel of the paper under my fingers, the sound of those pages turning, the act of placing the bookmark to hold my place- all so personal and integral to the experience for me that I can’t get behind the idea. Yet, at least. – Kindle lovers, please don’t flame me!)
…Right, sorry for the digression there. So, my Desert Island List would look like this:
- Guerlain Shalimar- of course and always
- Editions de Frederic Malle L’eau d’Hiver
- CBIHP Burning Leaves/ Gathering Apples
- Caron Nuit de Noel
- CBIHP Black March
- Donna Karan Chaos
- CBIHP In the Library
- Guerlain Chamade
- Ormonde Jayne Woman
- Hove Verveine or Tea Olive
And my luxury item? MacGyver, so he could get me the hell out of there and back to my daughters and husband. Using only duct tape and a paperclip, of course.
Over to you- What would your Desert Island list look like and why? And what would your luxury item be?