Perfume amnesia

brown bear


This weekend, we went to our nearest outlet mall. Masks required, limited capacity in each store. Some of the clothes I thought I’d seen months ago, before the shutdowns, but I can’t be sure. Most stores did not have their fitting rooms open.

No testing of cosmetics and perfumes is allowed, but some stores still sold boxed perfume in their cellophane wrapping. You had to know what you wanted to buy.


In my grad student days, I lived cheaply and used to shop the clearance sales at Banana Republic, where I discovered their perfumes. Classic became my signature for a few years. It’s a light, fresh, simple, citrus-floral-woody fragrance.

The funny thing is, I remember the perfume, and I remember the time period, but those memories are independent. I suppose I would put on perfume and then forget about it for the rest of the day—possibly because I stopped smelling it prominently as I was so used to it every day. So, I would be hard pressed to associate the scent with an event unaided.


At the outlets, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and the perfumes were half price, so I bought a bottle of Classic eau de parfum. (Is that what I had, or was it the eau de toilette? It didn’t matter—they only carried the EDP anyway.) I also noticed that they had 3 new flankers since I last paid attention: Green, Citrus, and Acqua. Again, it doesn’t matter…


Maybe the olfactory memory will be better than the conscious memory.






10 thoughts on “Perfume amnesia

  1. Hmm Banana Republic discount rack is living cheaply? I’m still at the Macy’s/JC Penny’s discount rack 😉 but yes, very disappointed a can spray fragrances yet at the stores. . . . . ..


    1. Oh I used to scour Macy’s clearance racks as well—usually if I saw something I liked on sale, I would wait a couple of months knowing that the price would drop yet again. It worked out most of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. As one gets older and finally gets a real job, one has less time to spend walking through Macy’s checking on sales.
              I started learning to make perfume last year. All my dabblings are documented in the “Perfume experiments” tab.


  2. I think I remember most of perfumes I wore before I fell into the rabbit hole of niche perfumery. But most of the scents do not conjure any memories of the particular event – unless there was something perfume-specific about that event. Usually, I remember time period when I wore those perfumes, what I thought about them, where/how I bought them, how much I liked them, etc., etc.

    I can’t imagine how perfume sales will be happening now. Maybe it will force brands a) not to produce new perfumes by dozens and b) to make more mini/travel bottles?


    1. Compliments on the perfumes also serve as “time markers” for them, although (or maybe because) they were few and far between.

      When I went into a department store a few weeks ago, the perfume area looked like it was set up to have a sales associate spray the testers onto scent strips for the customers. Otherwise, I would think discovery kits are the way to go…

      Liked by 1 person

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