Special Post: Fragrance Memories


No matter how many people wear your favourite scent, there truly is nobody out there that will wear it quite like you, or have the same memories that you have. Even if I’ve smelled a fragrance just once before, I can easily identify when somebody is wearing it later down the line. I’m not the Rain Man of scent (although that would be amazing) – that’s just how closely linked scent is to memory.

From first kiss fragrances to wedding day scents, borrowing your mum’s fragrance to buying your very own, there are some fragrances that will always be special. With this in mind, I asked Escentual staffers and beauty bloggers alike to share the story of both their first fragrance and their signature scent, so that we can all share in the nostalgia.

Get yourself settled with a cup of tea because is a post of epic proportions!

Sherrie (Mirror Mirror On the Wall)
My first ever fragrance was Nino Cerruti 1881, I was on holiday with my mum and was around 15 years old and begged my mum to buy it for me! I felt so special to have what I call a “woman’s’’ perfume!

My ultimate signature scent would have to be Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood, I will always be a true devotee to Boudoir!

Yinka (Vex In The City)
Estee Lauder Pleasures which I received as a 16th birthday gift.

Hugo Boss Deep Red – I can’t get enough of it. it smells so good and evokes so many memories 🙂

Louise Escentual
First fragrance – Givenchy Fleur D’Interdit – A ‘posh’ friend of mine had this first, and I loved the smell – so I bought it in a desperate hope it would make me posh and sophisticated like her too. Plus I loved the bottle, with its pretty detailing and frosted finish. Not sure if it made me posher but it did make me feel like a proper grown-up!

Signature fragrance – DKNY – First bought this while backpacking in New Zealand. I’d been away for 5 months already in Australia and was desperately missing the little luxuries. I found this fragrance and as soon as I smelled it I fell in love! It was so fresh and clean, and different to all the others, that I had to buy it – even if it meant cutting into my backpacker beer budget! I always have at least one bottle on my dresser – sometimes two – one for handbag one for home (oh and just remembered I have a summer version of too!)

Karleigh (Secret Beauty Blog)
Ha, my first ever fragrance was the Impulse Vanilla body spray, in school we all used to have them! Even smelling it now takes me right back. My first actual EDT was Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise, I bought it on the aeroplane on the way back from my holiday to Zante when I was 16. It was way too ‘grown up’ for me but I loved it!

My ultimate signature scent is the original Lolita Lempicka, I don’t know how but on me it smells very unique and I always get a tonne of compliments when I wear it, it must work well with my body chemistry. Also it’s not too well known so you never smell it on other people, plus the bottle is really unique and Alice in Wonderland-esque!

Louise (Get Lippie)
My first ever fragrance (aside from the perfume oils I used to mix up for myself in The Body Shop – why won’t they bring those back?) was O de Lancome. A bright, citrussy, zesty burst of pure sunshine, it was a perfect entrance into “fine fragrance” for a 13 year old girl. I think my mum had got fed up with me nicking her Opium!

My ultimate signature scent? Gosh, that’s so difficult to answer! I guess though, it would probably be Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir. Smokey, dark and mysterious, it’s like nothing else available on the high street. I love it, and wear it whenever I can.

Matt Escentual
My first fragrance was by Adidas. I bought it in France when I was 13 – no idea on the name of it (cannot find it on Fragrantica it looks a bit like the Adidas Sport Fever on there but I owned it in 1999) but it was in a clear bottle with a red top and red box – It was really nice and everyone loved it, but I could never find it over here.

My favourite now is JPG Le Male, but also use Armand Basi Homme Original.

Jane (Modesty Brown)
I struggle to remember exactly which perfume was my first. It may well have been something pink and girly from the back of the Avon catalogue. The first fragrance that I remember choosing to wear was Paloma Picasso (by Paloma Picasso). From memory it was quite a strong perfume and, no doubt, I thought myself terribly cultured for wearing it! I really ought to revisit it and remind myself exactly how my teenage self actually smelled.

My signature scent is Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. I don’t think it’s that well known but it’s a really subtle feminine, yet quietly sexy perfume. I found it after years of searching for a new scent when pregnancy hormones made Kenzo Flowers unwearable. I find Cashmere Mist really easy to wear and I enjoy the scent right from the initial spray, which is unusual for me. I think suspect this will be a favourite for many years.

Emma Escentual
The first scent that I bought for myself was YSL Baby Doll at 15 years old. I bought it with the money I had from my first job because it looked really pretty, and I shared it with my best friend. We drenched ourselves in it every time we were going to meet up with the boys to watch them play football in the street!

My ultimate signature scent is so hard to choose. I have three that are in constant rotation: YSL Elle, Stella, and the original Anna Sui in that gorgeous deep purple baroque bottle (now discontinued and very hard to find :(). I’m extremely indecisive with my fragrance, and could probably name tonnes more, but those are the three that I always make sure I have in my collection.

Helen (Just Nice Things)
My first ever fragrance was The Body Shop’s Dewberry, when I was about eleven and The Body Shop gift baskets and products were all the rage. Walk into any Year 7 classroom at my school and you’d be hit with the full assault of a combination of 20 girls all wearing Dewberry, White Musk or Fuzzy Peach! We all quickly graduated onto Charlie Red, Tribe and Exclamation. Recently I bought a Dewberry shower gel when The Body Shop were running a retro campaign and discovered that I still love the fragrance.

My signature scent is Dior Addict. I have loved it and worn it since it was launched. It smells amazing to me and I always feel peeved when I’m in the vicinity of someone else wearing it as it’s MY scent! I may dabble with the occasional other perfume but I always return to Addict. Yep – I’m Addicted!

Shifa (Get Gawjus)
My first ever Fragrance was Thierry Mugler’s Angel, when I was 16. My classmate was wearing it one day and I just could not get over the beautiful scent it left by in the room. Before that, it was stealing mum’s fragrances, you know how it goes.

My ultimate signature scent is something sweet, sensuous and memorable like Angel. I still haven’t found a replacement for it! Cerruti 1881 and Femme by Hugo Boss are also my favourite.

Alan Escentual
Calvin Klein CK Be was my first fragrance. It was given to me as a gift and a couple of years after it had all gone I brought a new bottle!

Paul Smith Man or Dior Homme Intense or Davidoff Hot Water! But those would be my current 1, 2, 3! Incase you were wondering number 4 would be Issey Miyake Pour Homme.

Fei (Peonies and Lilies)
My first ever proper fragrance was Anna Sui secret wish.

I’m far too indecisive to have a signature scent, but right now I’m loving Armani diamonds and Liz Earle Botanical essence No 1

Jennifer (Lipstick Luvvies)
The first ever fragrance that I bought myself and wore everyday to school (before then I usually stole some of my mum’s Chanel collection) was Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger. I remember feeling very grown up to have my first bottle of perfume and a couple of friends bought it after I introduced them to it, but the funny thing is I can’t remember what it smells like at all! I like to hope it was a fresh scent that was quite unassuming, but I think my main memory of scent in my teenage years was boys stinking of Linx!

I have loyally worn Chanel for about a decade now, alternating between Allure, Chance, Mademoiselle, Chance Eau Fraiche and Chance Eau Tendre so anyone who knows me would definitely say my signature scent was Chanel. My mum has always worn their perfume so I think I wore it at university as it reminded me a lot of home, but I adore all of their fragrances as they aren’t overpowering or too sickly sweet that they give you a headache. Chanel always conjures up an image of elegant, subtle sophistication and I suppose that by wearing their scent, I hope to aspire to be those things. Whether I succeed is another matter entirely!

Richard Escentual
Lynx Atlantis. I was at the age where reluctantly washing was no longer enough to stay out of trouble, and I knew Lynx was a popular brand. Atlantis won out as a product, chiefly because it had “NEW” all over it, and because I liked the swirly blue logo.

I’ve never really been one for scents, other than avoiding the less desirable, “natural” alternatives. That said, I recently picked up a bottle of Davidoff Adventure and can see myself sticking with it for quite some time.

Bettina (Beauty Swot)
My taste in perfume has come a long way since I was given my very first one – I cannot remember what age I was when I received it but it was most probably early senior school – Charlie Blue.

My signature perfume by day is PureDKNY bought for me by my husband for Valentine’s last year. I love this as an everyday perfume as it doesn’t make me sneeze (which a lot of perfumes do) and would go so far as to say this is one I would purchase over and over again. By night it is Givenchy Ange ou Demon Le Secret, a gorgeous perfume that I love wearing for evening and I love that it is fresh but strong, a real statement.

Louise (The Beauty Pages)
My first ever fragrance was Cacharel Lou Lou Blue. I bought it in Duty Free on a ferry on the way over to a school French Exchange, aged 13 or 14. It probably cost my entire pocket money allowance for the trip – but it was worth it to own by very first bottle of scent. I still have the bottle (I keep every perfume bottle, as they bring back so many memories) – and whenever I remove the lid, I am taken straight back to that trip. I can almost feel the heat of the Loire Valley, smell the mustiness of the farmhouse I stayed in, and taste the fluffy pain au chocolats that we devoured every morning.

To be honest, I probably chose it because of the name (I was known as Lou Lou in those days) – but there must have been some sniffing involved, as I didn’t go for the original ‘Lou Lou’. It was a really sweet scent (definitely my preference when I first started buying scent) and I would spray it into a cloud above me and walk through – a tip I picked up from Just 17 magazine and still do occasionally today.

I’ve been wearing Chanel Coco for the last 10 years. I chose it because I loved the glamour of a Chanel, but No.5 was too strong for my tastes. Coco is still quite heady, so I save it for formal events and the occasional night out. For that reason, the scent reminds me of various weddings and black tie events. I own several travel-sized bottles, which live in various clutch bags. When I delve into the section of my wardrobe that contains them, I can smell Chanel Coco. It’s very evocative and it makes me smile.

For my wedding a few months ago, I decided to borrow my Mum’s Chanel No.5 as my ‘something borrowed’. My tastes are more sophisticated now (or so I like to think!) and it suited the day, which was on a very snowy day in December. I hope that in years to come, when I pull the lid off a bottle of Chanel No.5, I will be taken straight back to that day.

Cat Escentual
Wasn’t quite sure about my first scent, probably had some others before but the one that sticks in my mind is Hugo Deep Red which I wore a lot when I was a teenager.

Working here I have SO many perfumes, so it’s hard to pinpoint a particular one, but I usually go for warm, woody and spicy scents – Thierry Mugler Alien and Agent Provocateur are faves. Ooh Givenchy Very Irresistible Sensual EDP is probably my default smell when I just spray something on quickly so I would say that one is my ‘signature’.

Charlotte (Lipglossiping)
My first fragrance was Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison which I bought when I was 17 – it made me feel all grown up and womanly, it still carries a very special place in my heart but not quite the same love as it used to!

I’m not one for ‘signature’ scents as the phrase precludes so many stunningly beautiful fragrances but I will wear a perfume to death before rotating it in my collection! At the moment, after a brief dalliance with a sample vial of Miss Dior EDP, I’m pining for a full-size bottle – my next obsession!

Rowena (Cosmetic Candy)
My first ever fragrance was gifted to me and was Exclamation! – it came in the White bottle that looked like an exclamation Mark! I loved it to death it was my first proper vestry product.

Stella will always be my favourite perfume. It had the right mix of floral and musky for me, and It reminds me of fun times and falling in love

Jo (Beautylicious Love)
I remember receiving my first ever scent when I was about 12 (many moons ago now) and it was Exclamation! It was the teenage scent of the moment and everybody was wearing it. I thought it was the best smell in the world and felt like all grown up! haha. My first “grown up” scent was J’Adore by Dior which I first received in my late teens I think. For years I wore this and I would always receive a bottle on my Birthday and at Christmas. Whenever I smell it now, the memories come rushing back.

Ahh this is a tough one! I have so many scents and am constantly adding to my collection that I no longer stick to one scent anymore. I suppose the one I have re-purchased most though is Dior Addict.

Ali (Vaguely in Vogue)
My first ever fragrance would be ‘Tribe’ by Coty! Do you remember it? It was the height of chic (hahahahaha) for any teenage girl in the 90’s. I vaguely remember the advert having some ‘trendy’ *laughs* teenager jumping about like a lunatic. I honestly thought I was the coolest kid ever for wearing it, when in actuality I probably wore far too much of it and smelled awful.

My ultimate signature scent now is Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Ooh la la! 🙂 I’ve come a long way since Tribe haven’t I? lol I used to hate ‘Chanel’ type smells because they were too grown up…I think this probably has something to do with the fact that my Mom has worn Chanel No. 5 since I was a kid. I don’t even know why I settled on that particular Chanel fragrance in the first place…I have a feeling it had something to do with the Keira Knightly advert that plays on repeat over the Christmas period though. 🙂


Fee (Makeup Savvy)
Looking back my first ever choice of fragrance was actually quite odd! I would of been around 13 and in a duty free perfume shop at the airport. I remember testing so many over powering perfumes and then I came across Petits et Mamans by Bvlgari and compare to all the rest it was just soft and chamomile like. At the time I didn’t realize that it was actually a fragrance for mothers and there babies! But never the less I spent around £25 and came away quite happy with my first ever fragrance purchase.

I’ve never really had a signature scent as such, as I love so many different perfumes. Though I definitely has key scents for each season – Spring has to be ‘Lovely’ by Sarah Jessica Parker and ‘Tuberoli’ by Space NK (now sadly discontinued) . Summer has to be ‘True Star’ by Tommy Hilifiger and ‘Eternity’ by Calvin Klein. As for winter I love deeper scents like ‘Eau De Star’ by Thierry Mugler and Prada Amber.


Jen (Mizz Worthy)
My first ever fragrance was probably something cheap and cheerful like Charlie Red, which was a big hit amongst my crowd when I was a teenager! Not proud of that but there you go! My first “proper fragrance” was actually Chanel No19, which I adored at the time, however now find a little too floral, so I prefer something lighter Like Chanel Coco or Mademoiselle now…

I’d love to say I’d found my signature scent but sadly I have a short attention span with fragrance. I also like changing my fragrance to suit my mood – I generally love fresh green or citrus scents for the day time, such as Issey Miyake or Liz Earle’s Botanical Essence No 1. For night time, or times when I want to feel a bit more feminine, I cant get enough of YSL’s Belle D’Opium or Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique.

  • Great post! It’s interesting to read everyones favs and firsts!

    Emma I loved Anna Sui it reminded me of Parma Violets 🙁 we should start a petition to get it re-produced again! lol 🙂

    Sherrie xx

  • I managed to buy a gigantic tester bottle of it about a year ago, and treat myself to a tiny bit every now and again.

    We want Anna Sui back in the UK!!!!! (um, please :))


  • Nicolattt

    My first was Anais Anais by Cacherel, which was ever so classy to a 15yr old girl!

    I really struggle to choose my signature scent, but it would definitely be by Marc Jacobs. My current favourite is Lola, though I’ve also loved Daisy and Essence.

  • Great post! My first fragrance was by Versace – I can’t remember the name but it was in a big bright pink bottle. I wore it constantly and that’s why I can’t stand the smell of it anymore. I don’t really have a signature scent, I love having a lot of choice when it comes to perfume 🙂 x Klara

  • I agree, Anna Sui is lovely. I hadn’t realised it had been discontinued.

    It was really interesting reading everyone’s choices. I remember many of those first fragrances very well. Tribe, Exclamation and Lou Lou certainly bring back a lot of memories from my early teenage years!

  • @Nicolattt: Marc Jacobs fragrances are something else 🙂 Have you tried the new Eau So Fresh? It’s got a big buzz around it atm!

    @Klara: Thanks Klara 🙂 I was actually surprised no one had said Versace as a first fragrance – Red/Blue/Pink/Yellow Jeans are a rite of passage! I love having a lot of different fragrances too – my scents completely depend on my mood.

    @ModestyBrown: The Exclamation train was slowing down just slightly by the time I bought my first fragrance – it was around the time that celebrity fragrances were just starting to become big business. I’m amazed that I resisted that trend at 15! (although I did choose Baby Doll because it was pink, so I can’t claim even the teeniest bit of the moral high ground!)

  • EMMA!!! I just remembered I even had some Anna Sui bath flakes which were the beautiful pale purple colour! Did you have ever have them? x

  • The first proper fragrances that I bought myself were Givenchy’s Fleur D’Interdit and Calvin Klein CK One whilst I was in America, aged 13. Until then I had used things like Dewberry from The Body Shop, Tribe, So…, Exclamation! (anybody remember the advert? “Ex-Cla-Mation…. make a statement, without saying a word”) etc etc. I also borrowed my sisters’ LouLou, Poison and Anais Anais – much to her annoyance.

    I don’t really have a signature scent; I have way too many perfumes to limit myself to just the one. Calvin Klein’s Eternity & Dolce & Gabanna’s Light Blue were my signature scents when I used to go clubbing, many years ago but since then I’ve amassed a huge selection that I wear whenever the mood takes me!

  • HFO

    Thanks for your tips. Awesome.