This article was written by The Reverie contributor and perfume historian, Dimitri Dimitriadis. In honor of Mother’s Day, he reflects on his original fragrance influencer, his mother.
In nature, animals and their young come to recognize one another using their acute sense of smell... a biological trait that has evolved over the millennia. The same can be said for humans: long before the introduction of deodorants, fabric softeners, soaps and colognes managed to diminish our basic ability.
This being said, I have come to think of the scent associations I assign to my own mum as Mother’s Day draws near. This year, there will be one “constant” that I know she will have indulged in... and that is wearing her signature perfume: Estée Lauder’s Youth Dew - likely from a bottle my wife and I have furnished her with for some special occasion.
As a 5 or 6 year old, I recall sitting on the edge of the bath as mum put on her makeup in the bathroom mirror. I would chat excitedly about something that happened at school, or something I had seen on television; whilst she would stretch her mouth into an unusual-shaped “O” when applying her mascara. At the end of the ritual, she would spritz her décolletage with Youth Dew and I would watch the thin film of perfumed particles over-shoot her shoulder and drift to the floor. If any scented molecules shifted near me on the air, I would recoil in horror for fear of being perfumed with the scent of a girl.
I would then follow her from the bathroom to the bedroom - cloaked in her sillage - where she would clip on her earrings and decorate her neck with stones, all the while recounting tales from my day. She would listen patiently and respond with an encouraging “mm- hmmm” when needed, as she prepared to go out.
Occasionally, before leaving, mother would ask me to look through her handbag - to pass her a watch or a pen, and I would enjoy digging down deep and rummaging through her fragrant leather satchel. The hide smelled raw and sharp, and the brass button closures ore- like and cold. When diving to retrieve the object in question, my palms would often re-emerge with a peppermint, or a broken cigarette accidentally pinched between my 3rd and 4th fingers. Normally I’d drop the menthol cigarettes in disgust and attempt to wipe the smell off on my t-shirt, or, swoop upon the mint and smell its powdery-white shell, before dissolving it between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. The room was a twirling symphony of scents, and my mother was the conductor.
As one last parting gesture, she would lean down and kiss me between my cheek and my ear, and I would run to the bedroom dresser and wipe away the lipstick smudge left there with my shirt sleeve. I would follow her to the door and wave as she entered the car and she would wave back enthusiastically. Long after she was gone, with the fading taste of mint dwindling on my tongue, I would be left in the house with a fog of Youth Dew imbuing the air around me, and the scent of tobacco and leather on my hands. I thought it was magic.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother; to your mother, and every mum in between.
Inspired by an icon, Promenade Sur Le Rocher was created in honor of the regal aura and heritage of Her grace. Modern, complex and uncompromising in quality.
Visit Grace de Monaco to shop our premier fragrance and other iconic Mother’s Day gifts.
Dimitri Dimitriadis is a perfumer, perfume writer, speaker, curator and historian based in Perth, Western Australia. He has designed and hosted perfume exhibitions and frequently holds speaking and educational engagements for luxury fragrance brands and independent perfumeries across Australia. When he is not burying his nose in a fragrance tome, you’ll find him trawling the antique markets on weekends; having a leisurely game of tennis; or adding to his vast 80’s heavy metal vinyl collection. Follow Dimitri on Instagram @eaudorangeverte and discover more of his writing on his blog The Fumery.