After reading this post over at Cornflower I indulged myself with a year's membership of The Perfume Society and received, for £25, this lovely box of treats.
I was busy when it arrived and it wasn't till very late that I opened the box and began to slowly sample some of the eight perfumes - each one comes with a card with questions to ask yourself 'smelling notes to delve a little deeper into the world of perfume' - all very intriguing and pleasant. I was really relaxed and enjoying the experience. After spraying a few on wrists and hands I found to my great surprise that tears were streaming down my face.
I don't cry easily. In fact I very rarely cry.
I asked myself what exactly is making me cry?
I smelled again the palm of my hand, and I was sixteen again and my extended family were all still alive, my aunts and my great aunts. My great Aunt Jen (I will tell you about her one day) wore a fox fur and perfumes from Switzerland, my Aunt Peggy had a pretty dressing table with pearly backed brushes and a perfume spray bottle of cut glass with a little pump, and my first boyfriend had just given me a tiny glass heart shaped bottle of Nina Ricci's Coeur Joie. I was back in the warmth of my family. I was in love.
It was such a powerful feeling!
It made me think of Proust and the madeleines and I stayed up for hours reading excerpts from La recherche du temps perdu (here and here) and all the time smelling this scent, perhaps Lady Million by Poco Rabanne, or perhaps it was the combination of the three or four I had tried, and the tears kept coming, silently. It wasn't distressing crying. In fact looking back they might have been tears of joy for happy memories of being loved.
So the box of perfumes, the world of perfume, can be an emotional place - I am fascinated.