On Scents / by Stella Kim

Scents play such significant roles in memories. They are immediate attention-grabbers that turn heads in curious attachment (or detachment), and are also powerful mood-shifters that so easily sway us into a realm of nostalgic contemplation.

My father and I have lived apart ever since I was 4 years old. When I was much younger, he would come to the States to visit every now and then; and when he left, it would feel as if I had woken up to, what seemed to be, an extension of a sad dream. I think this was when I developed an inclination to suppress elated, happier feelings, because I knew that those moments would sooner or later come to an end.

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He wore Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Eau de Toilette for the longest time. He was also a smoker. My perception of a fatherly figure / masculinity has largely to do with the mixed scent of cologne and cigarettes. This strong fusion of scents would linger in the house for days, and I vaguely remember falling asleep easier with his pillow in my arms, face snugged into the worn softness of the fabric.

This became his scent, and it still is to this day. 

Mine are Diptyque Eau Duelle Eau de Toilette / Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne, and have been for years now. Whether itโ€™s family, friends, lovers present and past, I want to be remembered and thought of wherever life takes them - not for the person that I am, but the occasions and pleasant words we have (or had) shared.

Because there is a strange power in these scents that are redolent of those memories when...