Perfumes Are My Time Machine: Here Are The 4 That Really Send Me Back

Because they smell great, obviously.
Publish date:
July 18, 2013
fragrances, perfumes, essential oils, Escada, Paul Smith

I have an addictive personality. Not in the sense that people are easily addicted to my personality (they are, of course, but that’s not the point of this article); it’s that I get obsessive over things I enjoy.

Once, I went eight months eating Tom Yum seafood soup for lunch every day from one single spot, and after that I haven’t gone back once. And then there was that time I felt so fat I would only wear one tunic top that I had everyday for a month. I would wear it, come home, hand wash and dry it so I can wear it the next day.

My addictive personality has somewhat subsided as I got older, but a little part of it remains in the form of my love for fragrances. From the first time I started owning my own perfumes at 17 instead of swiping them from my mother, I never had more than one scent in my possession. I’d buy that scent continuously until I stopped, and then the cycle continued with the next. So different scents remind me of different times of my life.

And then there are people who have found their signature scents, or somehow managed to stick to one perfume in the time that I’ve known then, so whenever I get a whiff of their scent somewhere, I get a sense of deja vu.

Escada Island Kiss

Island Kiss was the first perfume I received in a swag bag when I was interning at a fashion magazine when I was 17, and I continued buying it for at least two years. It’s sweet, fruity with floral undertones and it was relaunched last year as part Escada’s Best of 20 Years of Summer Fragrances campaign.

A whiff of the fragrance reminded me of a life long gone. Times when it bothered me when people give me the once-over at fashion events, or times when I’d doubt myself several times over when it comes to pitching ideas at work. Of course, those were also times when I could pull off multiple all-nighters and not even have eye bags to show for them. I may have smelled like a baby prostitute, but man, did I have youth on my side.

Acqua Di Parma Colonia

I had a massive crush on an art director I worked with, and Colonia, mixed with his Marlboros, was super-sexy to me.

He was tall, suave and clothes hung on him like a hundred tiny angels bathed and dressed him in the morning and doused him with Colonia so gently and effortlessly that it seems like the smell radiated from his pores. It’s a scent that oozes severe man sexiness that feels out of my league but makes me desperately want it even more.

Paul Smith Extreme

My boyfriend wears this fragrance, and only this fragrance since I introduced it to him. It’s mostly for a selfish reason because I loved Extreme so much when I first sprayed it on the inside of my wrist at a Paul Smith boutique years ago, and I knew it’d be an instant knicker dropper.

Extreme stays on for long, and it smells even better when all that testosterone gets mixed with the notes of the cologne. Seriously the best cologne on any man.


My mother is a hardcore believer of using alcohol-free fragrances and products, and thus, she uses alcohol-free essential oils as a perfume.

Her scent is jasmine, and I’m pretty sure she sweats jasmine oil after having used it for so long. It’s nice, though; no matter where I am in the world, a whiff of jasmine takes me to the sweet comforts of home.

Right now, my scent is Penhaligon’s LP No. 9 for women. I’m pretty certain it’s my signature scent, but who knows? Maybe in time a whiff of Penhaligon’s will remind me of this pretty awesome period in life that I’m currently living in.

Do scents remind you of people, or times of your life too? What are they?