NOSTALGIA Scent Semantics #5

Hey Crew. Scent Semantics?

We get a word, we get a date, we have to choose a single fragrance that fits the word and then have to explain how it fits together, in our way. As much or little as we feel the word/fragrance connection needs. We are going to probe a little into how each of us bloggers see the world, fragrance, ourselves. We get to see how one word can inspire different directions in connection. or not.

NOSTALGIA Scent Semantics #5

Undina’s word for this month was our easiest yet for me. The moment the word came through I knew exactly the perfume I’d pick. Then I found a picture that captures exactly what In wanted to show you all. to give you a sense of my feelings of nostalgia. Even saying the word fills my mouth with happy memories, so many of them. I’m not saying all my childhood was blissful or that were zero problems or trials, far from it. What I try to keep front of mind though is the good stuff, the nurturing, laughter, closeness and feelings of love. The feeling of story book family. We had those moments, lots of them.



  • a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.
  • something that elicits or displays nostalgia.

Shalimar by Guerlain

My Mum was the most beautiful woman I knew, outside of TV and movies. There was something so regal and eye catching about the way she held herself. Sometimes it was like watching a movie star do the groceries. She was never a very flashy dresser but bought good to last a long time. Dad being a jeweller/watchmaker meant she did have some very good bling. Ropes of pearls, diamonds and aquamarines were her favourites but she also had some opals. Amusingly, she would also buy cheap junk jewellery. Because of Dad’s business people just expected it all to be real and no one ever called her on it.

I digress.

Mum and a few of her girlfriends all wore the same daytime fragrance, Shalimar. I’ve no idea who got it first or how it came to be the fragrance they all loved. Maybe that happened before I came along. It was never a story shared with us anyway. It made them smell like an exclusive club to me. Also, if one or more of the women were over for coffee or a drink and I was home the smell would be so alluring, I’d just have to follow it to the laughter, or secretive murmuring (usually a sign they were bitching or venting).

Here is a photo of me. I can’t tell you the year, how old I am or who took it. I can tell you though that I was on that tricycle scooter day and night for years. We had a slightly sloping block and quite a lot of that cement pathway. I could whizz from the top of our driveway at the street, go down beside the house, beside and then around the back of the pool, around the orange tree, up the other side of the house all the way to the laundry. Then I could do it the other way and then do it all over again. This boy that grew into this man remembers the scooter, remembers the smell of my Mum and her friends and remembers it so wistfully. Now she’s gone, taken far too soon by leukaemia. Most of her friends have also gone, cancer of some kind mostly. Just two left that I love so much and try to keep in touch with regularly. So I wear Shalimar now. I wear it because it’s beautiful. I wear it for my Mum and her girlfriends. No other fragrance fits the word NOSTALGIA better, or more perfectly.

Just before we go. I’ve been looking at this picture. Wondering what I’d tell this kid if I had a chance and if he understood that it was grown up him talking. Loads of things went through my mind and then a few things that I tell all the new drag queens that I have a chance to get close to felt right.
That bit of you that people mock and disrespect and beat up and try to crush is the part that will get you through. Cherish and feed it. It will make you stand out above the crowd. It will be the thing that gets you where those assholes will never go. It will call to you a tribe and it will make the dreams that are in your best interests come true. That bit, it makes you something powerful. You can use it to change the world for you and others.

How do you interpret and what perfume would you associate with the word NOSTALGIA?
Portia xx

Please go check out the rest of our Scent Semantics crew, I’ll be leaving messages at all of them.
Daisy also created a LinkTree which has us all organised in one place


Filed under Perfume Reviews

16 responses to “NOSTALGIA Scent Semantics #5

  1. Great advice, and what a touching and inspiring post. You were one cute little kid! I have recently discovered Shalimar, and though it has no nostalgic associations for me, I would really like to get hold of some and start creating new memories while the going’s good…


  2. Nostalgia to me is Coco Chanel, the first “grown up” perfume I owned. My grandmother gifted it to me when I was a late teen. I was so infatuated with Chanel perfume, the perfume counter at our “high end” small town Canada Eaton’s store, and the perceived glamour of the perfume sales ladies. I still adore Coco in all forms.
    I love that Shalimar is your nostalgia (I have always loved it as well), and you remember your Mum and her friends with such love. How cute were you as a little boy! You are still super cute and a good soul. xoxo


    • Hi Kathleen,
      What a classic beauty! One of our BFFs Alice is a Coco wearer. It sits on her so comfortably. So rich and luxurious. LOVE that it was the one for you growing up. Super sophisticated.
      HA! I was basically Damien Omen but looked like a should have been a saint. Now everything is reversed.
      Portia xx


  3. What a beautiful perfume story and a wonderful attitude to life. To all of us who ever felt that we were from another time or another place. Our love of perfume is not always understood. But that’s ok. My haunting fragrance is L’Heure Bleue. Not because an older woman or my mom wore it, but because I read about it in Vogue, and dreamed of it, desired to possess that bottle, and I would turn into the woman I wanted to be, it could and would open the world to me


  4. Sorry… wipes eyes…. Me cry? No it’s the allergies, honest. The new drag queens must feel so welcomed by you & I found that paragraph so powerful yet so sad somehow.

    Shalimar spoke to me for decades. My eldest son once told me, when he was a little boy, it smelt like my skin but better & liked to have a little on his pillow. Now I can’t wear her after the Le Lion watchstrap incident.


    • OH NO! Sorry Alityke. It wasn’t meant to inspire the weeps. I’m not so involved with the new girls anymore since I moved to the suburbs and work in the clubs out here too. Still, one of our most famous Australian exports Courtney Act often references this exact conversation I had with her nearly two decades ago.

      OHHHH! I love your son’s response to Shalimar.
      BUMMER about it being a loss in the great Le Lion Watchstrap Debacle. Hopefully one day you’ll come back to it.
      Portia xx


  5. matty1649

    You were a very cute kid,Portia

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post and I love that photo! I can see the Portia of today in that little boy’s smiling eyes. What a great anecdote about your mum wearing costume jewelry as well as the good stuff!


  7. Elena

    Wise words! Looking at that photo, thinking wow, you’ve come a long way. And Shalimar fits NOSTALGIA on so many levels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Elena,
      HA! Yes, we alll have come a long way to get here. One of the reasons I like our Scent Semantics crew so much. Our stories are so chequered and vast. Each month we learn more about each other and that is what brings the world together. Now, it seems necessary more than ever.
      Portia xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What wonderful memories and I can’t get over that adorable picture of you! Wonderful advice too. Thank you for that meaningful reminder to love what makes you, you.

    I’ve often thought about what advice I would give to younger me, but the only thing that ever comes to mind is “Don’t call that man!” It’s not as powerful as yours, but um … it would have saved me loads of wasted time and energy!


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