Estee Lauder Cinnabar – (MEMORY LANE)

Estee Lauder Cinnabar

(Estee Lauder Cinnabar is your Memory Lane post today – I was really going to have a post up today, but I couldn’t get my poll thingie to work, and I ran out of time to switch to Plan B)

So when I am fixated on the new to the extent I can’t see anything else, I cast my eyes to the old – the perfumes that are full of memory and the power only memory can bring.

Memory lives in another place, the room at the top of the stairs where all painful sharp edges have been removed.  The rotten parts of the body of the memory have been scoured away by nature and  time, and the wounds are just thin white scars.  All that is left is the purified essence of a place/time/person/relationship –  the complexity fuzzed up to be a gorgeous faded tapestry on the wall that you can’t see clearly anymore.  The memory is soft, shabbbily beautiful.  You ignore the fraying because it isn’t important now because that memory doesn’t live in the present – it is safely in the past.

Cinnabar in the EDT/EDP was the first perfume I picked solely on my own.  My first grown-up girl perfume was Estee Lauder Private Collection.  I picked it only because my Aunt Nelda wore it, and she was so chic and smart, I trusted her taste implicitly.  Never mind that I was probably 10-20 years too young to be wearing it.  I was 19.  One day I sniffed Estee Lauder Cinnabar at the Macy’s perfume counter, probably around holiday time.  Amber, spice and incense. This was like Christmas Day come to visit, and it settled me mentally in front of the fire with my cocoa and flannel nightgown.

I wore this for years off and on, mostly in the winter when the heavy orientals are so magical.  Then one day, probably the same day I got rid of all my clothes with the 2-inch thick shoulder pads (well, except that one red dress with the cinched in waist that I can’t bear to part with) I stopped wearing it, moved on to Chloe or KL or something sunnier.

The years of Estee Lauder Cinnabar took me through my first brief marriage to a man that was wild, destructive, lying, cheating, funny, gorgeous, smoking hot and in possession of the most beautiful pair of blue eyes I’ve ever stared into.  That’s a memory I never thought I would be able to look at without doubling over in pain.  Not because I loved him that much, but because he came close to destroying me.

And I loved him a little bit less than that much.

It took me years to smell Estee Lauder Cinnabar again.  Cinnabar in the EDT is nice, but it wasn’t until I smelled the pure parfum that I got the distilled memory of Cinnabar and the bleached, beautiful memory carcass of that time with that man that was so wrong, but made me laugh as none have since.  Cinnabar in parfum smooths out the edges, lets me drink in the richness and comfort of feeling so warm and alive but with none of the pain.  It lives in a beautiful gold room with red carpets at the top of the stairs, and I like to go up there and rock from time to time by the fire.

Everyone has that perfume that brings back a chaotic or magical time in your life that is filled with intense memories, don’t they?  What is yours?

  • Dina C. says:

    My bff who I’ve known since sixth grade wore Cinnabar in high school and college. It was her signature scent. So that’s who I think of when I think of Cinnabar. She was and is a very put-together, smart, classy person, and I was always impressed that she wore a department store scent. Back in those days I used to wear Jontue from the the drug store.

  • Musette says:

    wow, Patty! Such an evocative post! Interestingly, I don’t…. wait! I do! It just hit me. YSL Paris. Nothing too dramatic – just a weird experience. I was at SFA, hanging out with my SA, who was waiting on a youngish (like me back then) man – he kept looking at me, then said something to my SA… finished his transactions… smiled and nodded to me as he left. She then presented me with a gorgeously wrapped gift box, saying it was from the man, who thought I was gorgeous and just wanted to give me a gift. YSL Paris.

    And that was that! I never saw him again. No relationship, no nothing.. just that weirdly charming gesture.
    Gosh! I’d forgotten all about that until just now! I need to sniff Paris again.

  • March says:

    What a wonderful post, Patty! I LOVE Cinnabar. I’m glad you found a way to love it again. I’ve never really had a terrible love affair (well, my last marriage was pretty terrible — but by then I was a full fledged perfumista and so he didn’t manage to become associated with any particular scent). He used to bitch about the Posse all the time, I guess because it made me happy and took away from time I could be spending on him, lol. What an ass. Glad I got rid of him and kept the perfume.

  • HeidiC says:

    Oh, I LURV Cinnabar! My favorite aunt wore it, and used to let me spritz myself with it. My chaotic evil era smelled like Victoria’s Secret — Rapture, which come to think of it is a cheap, trashy version of Cinnabar or Samsara.

  • Bee says:

    I love Cinnabar! It was my signature in the 80’s and everything I owned smelled of it including my cat (accidental transference). I once split up with a guy and then decided I wanted him back so I sprayed Cinnabar through the letterbox of his front door to remind him of what he was missing! Of course it worked. I also wore it on my wedding day years later (different guy) because it always made me feel so confident and joyful – and it still does!

  • rosarita313 says:

    Mine is Pierre Cardin for women. It brings back my hard partying, night clubbing single girl far from home in a big city in the early 80s. I have a tiny bottle of the parfum that I sniff maybe once a year, when I hear Duran Duran on the radio and look at my thinning hair and think back to my big 80s hair and and size 28 Levi’s.

  • Cinnamon says:

    Oh, Patty.

    No Cinnabar — never smelled it or wore it — but Santa Maria Novella Patchouli. Mega love affair that ended badly. Then, pregnancy which did something to my chemical makeup so no longer can wear anything patchouli heavy. So, bitter sweet: the man who turned from wonderful to awful overnight, but the baby (not his) who wonderfully came after.

  • Liz | says:

    Chanel No.5. It was my first expensive fragrance. I bought it when my Family and I lived in Texas. It was my only luxury apart from Vogue and a Lancôme eyeliner.

  • Elizac says:

    This was my first real perfume other than a few mini bottles. With most of my family allergic to scent, it was a treat to be in college and be able to wear this elegant and spicy scent (not sure how I managed to buy a bottle during my broke college days?). Bought a bottle a few years ago – I dont wear it but will occasionally sniff it for a blast of memories.

  • Gina T. says:

    I love Cinnabar. Thanks for sharing. Fahrenheit reminds me of a high school boyfriend. I used to sleep with my sweaters because they smelled of him. I wore Raghba on the day my dad died. He didn’t like it or thought it was too strong and curled his nose at me and made the PEE EEEWWWW motion. So, I am transported to the day I watched him die when I wear Raghba. It is comforting as if he is there watching me and saying PEE EWWWW. LOL