I’ve talked up and down this goddamn website about scent and memory, and how the two are so closely tied. I romanticize scents all the time because I think they’re a really beautiful thing. I love that you can feel tied to a certain time in your life simply by the way you smelled then or the way someone you loved smelled. At the same time, I’m the guy who can barely read a text I sent last week, or reference an email from a year ago. The past freaks me out. Looking back just a couple of years gives me enough anxiety, but thinking back to when I was *shudder* a teen…
NOPE. Count me the fuck out. I’ll let my parents hold on to those agonizingly embarrassing memories while I stand by the illusion that I appeared, fully-formed, at the age of twenty-four, with my act sort of together.
That’s why the piece of beauty news that you’re all losing your minds over is the same one that strikes fear into my cold, rhinestoned heart:
Bath & Body Works is reissuing eight of your favorite scents from the '90s.
NO. GOD NO. ANYTHING BUT THAT.
I’m kidding, of course. I know a bunch of you are stoked, and I completely see why! A lot of us grew up with these scents and created a bond with them in our formative years, only to have them taken away from us. Personally, I could never approach a bottle of Sweet Pea or whatever the hell, in the same way I can't smell Burberry Touch without having a full blown panic attack. But that’s me. If you’re into that kind of nostalgia, then getting your hands on your favorite rerelease is going to be exciting! Hell, maybe by now, you’ve got a kid of your own who you’d want to share your old favorite scent with! That would be kind of cute.
Not me, though! The minute I adopt a mini-me, I’m gonna throw a bottle of Frédéric Malle at them and send them to their first day of kindergarten, having neglected to buy them any school supplies. At least they’ll smell better than all the other kids.
The scents that are being brought back are Peony, Country Apple, Freesia, Brown Sugar & Fig, Mango Mandarin, Cotton Blossom, Sun-Ripened Raspberry, and Cucumber Melon, of course.
They will be available in body lotion, body cream, and fragrance mist, so you can really layer it up and catch the eye of your crush in study hall.
Bath & Body Works scents were one of my first introductions to fragrances, aside from the perfumes that my mom wore. I remember being in, I don’t know, fourth grade, and all the girls had their favorite Bath & Body Works lotion in their backpacks, and I thought it was so cool and luxurious, how they’d re-apply between classes, at lunch, and at recess.
“They have soft skin AND smell great,” I thought to myself. I just wanted to be a cool girl that smelled good. I still do.
When I got my hands on my first Bath & Body Works fragrance of my very own (OH MY GOD, this is so embarrassing, why am I telling you guys this?) it was, unsurprisingly, Warm Vanilla Sugar.
I stood in my bedroom, surrounded by posters of NSYNC and Britney Spears, and slathered it on. I wasn’t exactly sure what “vanilla sugar” actually was, I’m still not, but all I have ever wanted is to smell like candy. In fact, the new fragrance I’m wearing as I type this has notes of macaroon and cotton candy in it, so not much has changed.
I was always fascinated by Cucumber Melon, too. A vegetable being worked into a scent really blew my mind. Listen, I was in, like, sixth grade, okay? I didn’t take much to impress me.
That scent, at least when I was in middle school, was the one that all the girls wore. We were all strutting around smelling like cantaloupes, raspberries, and, cucumbers, I guess. I think the lotions made us feel like adults. We were all getting ready to start high school and doing all the weird and terrifying shit that you do in middle school that makes you feel like an adult, and we all felt like these Bath & Body Works scents were sending us careening into adulthood. I think the small line of scents gave us this feeling of individuality, too, even though we were all wearing the exact same things.
Then, during my freshmen year of high school AXE Body Spray was released, and I watched all of the guys in my grade have the exact same experience with Axe scents as the girls did in middle school with their Bath & Body Works lotions.
(For the record: I never.)
Walking into the locker room after gym class, when all the guys were spraying their body spray in unison, felt like walking through a dense, wet fog of cheap, awful smelling young men. Actually, that’s exactly what it was. I never used an Axe product because, as it turns out, I do have a tiny bit of self respect. But, I still peek in to Bath & Body Works every time I pass one. The packaging is new, the scents are new, but they're smart enough to stick with what works, and what we grew up loving.
What was your favorite Bath & Body Works scent growing up? Tell me in the comments! This is so embarrassing!
Tynan is mortified on Twitter @TynanBuck.