That madeleine

(Caution:  this post contains a whole lotta ellipses)

Y’know… that madeleine… I’ve often wondered if the smell or taste of something is required to be persackly what it is remembered to be (and can you even prove that it is?) … or is it the alchemy caused by the attempt at memory… but if that’s the case, then what happens when you bit into/smell/feel something and it is NOT as you remember?  Is it the fault of the thing?  Or the fault of your memory?

Here’s what brought this to mind (and for those of you who are looking for a perfume connection, hang in there – it’s coming!):

Old School. OLD.

So.  Our house was a Nestle’s Quik house – that, and Hershey’s syrup (my dad loved Ovaltine – strange that I would Just Now remember that) but as kids we preferred the super-sweet stuff (mine was chocolate, my brother’s was strawberry – and a sicklier-sweeter taste than Strawberry Quik you’d be hard-pressed to find).  Because it was commonplace in our house it was, well, commonplace.  So when I went over to my prima Sylvia’s house and saw…Bosco…?  I was enthralled!  Drank 2 glasses of it (hey! don’t judge me! I was 8!!!), convinced it was this superior elixir forbidden to me.   I remember it tasting different (i.e. ‘better’) than Hershey’s but I have NO idea what that taste actually was … and I am no longer 8.

So.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I happened upon Bosco at World Market!  I bought a bottle, put it in the pantry … and promptly forgot about it.  We recently had to move that pantry so, in the midst of taking all the goods out, I came upon that bottle of the Forbidden Elixir!  Decided to have my Proust Moment.  Stirred a hefty slug into a glass of milk.  And.

And.  Nothing.

The memory that was conjured – of seeing that bottle of Bosco on my prima’s dimly-lit kitchen counter?  That, along with the ‘maybe’ taste memory?  That was triggered when I saw the bottle on the shelf at World Market.  The taste of the Forbidden E;ixir (those 2, ill-advised glasses of chocolate milk my 8 yr old self chugged) ….I realize now that what I was remembering was the sensation, not the actual taste.

Because, believe me, Bosco tastes like Absolutely Nothing.  Sure, there’s a hint of chocolatey taste (you know it’s gonna be bad when they use ‘chocolatey’) …but the overall impression is…….’eh’.

Where mah madeleine izzz?

Except – and here’s the weird part – the crappy actual experience of tasting Bosco again has not tarnished that odd memory of the glory of the  Forbidden Elixir.  It’s as if they refuse to exist on the same plane.  Huh.

The Perfume Proust Moment was another weird one.  in my mid-teens I wore Nina Ricci Bigarade

photo lifted:

Fragrantica lists it as a Chypre, with notes of bitter orange and citrus, among others.  Well, alrighty then!  Here’s the thing on this one:  it had zero to do with the actual perfume (more ellipses)…… and everything to do with the bottle and the box!  I’d stumbled upon an empty, dusty bottle in the unlikeliest of booths in the unlikeliest of antique malls… and just the sight of the bottle brought back memories of spending weekends at my cousin Wendy’s house, back when we were 14-15 years old (that was the same time I got scalped by a baited fish hook – now that?  I remember as if it happened 32 minutes ago.  OW!)   – ANYHOO!!!  I found a bottle on the ‘bay, compared it to some I got from Surrender to Chance….

….um.  okay?  yeah.  okay.   Still love the bottle!

OOH!   you know what?  I’mo do a post about bottles!  But not right now.  Right now?  I want to know what your Proust Moments are!  I’ll have The Girl pull a couple of folks….. yeah, yeah… those of you who’ve recently won are all ‘where my goodies izz?’ – and rightly so!  But I’ve been in silos (work) for several weeks and before that it was the Hollerdays and guess what?  YOUR STUFF IS ALL PACKED, LABELED AND ON ITS WAY OUT!

Whew!  I can be a bit scattered sometimes.  Forgive me!

Hey (20)19 Winners:




gmail your evilauntieanitaAT and…hey!  I’m being industrious!  so I’ll get it out to you sooner than I got our past winners out!!!  LOL!  sorry, guys – I am either industrious or a total slug.  But I do love you!



  • hczerwiec says:

    Yes pleez — I would love a post on bottles from you!

    My perfume madeleine would be Charles of the Ritz — I have a vivid memory of a very good family friend letting me dig in her purse, and I found a small purse spray of it, and she sprayed me lightly with it, and I loved it so much she gave it to me. I found a vintage sample of it at Surrender to Chance and about died of happiness when I smelled it — a feeling of joy and contentment and being indulged.

    Also? La Madeleine/Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of perfume!

    • Musette says:

      Good grief! The things I learn here on the Posse!

      and I absolutely adore that scent memory! I strive to be that kind of friend, helping people find joy through perfume. Or chocolate. Or both! xoxoxo

  • Kathryn says:

    Vintage Arpege has the effect of summoning my departed mother in law’s presence almost as if she were standing in front of me. The current version of Arpege is recognizable but it doesn’t have quite the same aldehydic blast or the holographic magic of the original.

    • Musette says:

      Kathryn, awhile back, Surrender to Chance got an amazing Lanvin haul – within is an Arpege that is so gorgeous it will make you weep. xoxo

  • Furriner says:

    I think we were forbidden Bosco, too, when I was a child. I don’t remember ever having it in the house. I was the same as you — chocolate Nestlé’s Quik. I didn’t like Hershey’s syrup much….. you had to use a lot in a glass of milk for it to taste like anything and… left ….er….. skidmarks on the side of the glass which we hated. Fluffer Nutter sandwiches were also verboten.

    Sadly, I guess my food madeleine would be SpaghettiOs. I wonder if they taste the same. I can still smell them, though.

    Perfume madeleines, though, I don’t think I have. At least not from my childhood. My father always wore Old Spice, which I never really liked, and my mother wore White Shoulders or L’Air du Temps….. neither of which have I smelled recently.

    • Musette says:

      LOL! ‘skidmarks’! I know what you mean about the taste, as well as about SpaghettiOs! Mine is Chef Boyardee ravioli. 50 years later, I can still smell them, too! 😉


  • Dina C. says:

    As a little girl (8-9-10 years old), I wore Skinny Dip, which was advertised by Sandy Duncan. I went through several bottles of it. Good thing it was dirt cheap. I ordered some through Surrender to Chance to get that “blast from the past,” and I didn’t recognize it. So I think it might also have to do with the bottle, Musette. 🙂

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Yes, Jergen’s Lotion! That lovely almondy fragrance. And Avon Skin-So-Soft.
    (N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles tastes the very best…CHAAAWK-LIT!)
    Oh please, Musette, a post about bottles!

  • Zibbyz says:

    Jergen’s Lotion on my mother, and for some reason the lily-ness of Baiser Volee reminds me of that …somehow….and when I first sniffed a sample of CdG original scent (can’t remember the name), reminded me of…a friend or her sister, but it was initially so strong, but has faded as I have tried to identify it…. But some scent memories are soooo strong. Thanks

    • Musette says:

      I love the smell of Jergens!!! I attribute it to my mother, even though she didn’t wear it – something about it always smells ‘mom’ and ‘safe’ – I wear it myself and love it! And I think I love BV Lys Rose for that very reason, too! xoxoo

  • AnnieA says:

    Childhood Food category: it’s Beefaroni. Childhood Perfume category: Avon all the way.

    • Musette says:

      LOL! Your mention of Beefaroni brought Chef Boyardee’s Ravioli rushing back to my soft palate. That’s gonna be tough to scrub out! xoxo

  • Pam says:

    Ok, I had a weird Proust Perfume Moment a few years ago. I wanted to smell L’Heure Bleu, since I love Guerlain and it is an historic fragrance. When I finally got ahold of some, I sprayed it, and such a feeling came over me that I cried. I knew that fragrance! But from whom and when? The memory behind it is lost. And I still love that perfume.

    • Gwenyth says:

      Oh Goodness…..the same thing, exactly, happened to me. I had not ever smelled L’Heure Bleue (to my knowledge) and when I first spritzed some on my skin….I began to weep. It was a profound feeling; some kind of lost memory. I still marvel at the experience.

      • Musette says:

        L’Heure Bleu seems to have that effect on a lot of people. I think it’s gorgeous but it’s never affected me that way – I’m kinda envious! xoxo