That Smell

No, not the Skynyrd song,  but a brief, very unscientific look at our my  brain and how we I recall events by smell.

Since a teen, I have always used an after shave. I realize that some folks consider them to be poison, but I do not.  Over the years I have tried several different “flavors”, but have a few that keep finding themselves in my virtual shopping cart.

Through the day, I’ll catch a faint whiff now and then and it helps me relax.  At the end of the day as I losen my tie, the now released, faint reminder of twelve hours ago, gives me a little jolt of energy.  Think of time released aromatherapy.



My wife and I went simple on Christmas presents this year.  I offered a list of a few DVDs and books I was interested in and on a whim,  a couple of “retro” after shave lotions that I hadn’t used in many years.

One of them was Halston Z-14.   I’m not sure when I stated using this, but now recall events from senior year in College, graduate school and my first job as a licensed funeral director in Freehold NJ, ( that would be 1982-1984).  As soon as I “slapped some on” Christmas morning, my brain was startled by the memories that came flooding back. The elements of the the aftershave quickly opened up pathways in my brain that had laid dormant for several years. It was almost distracting.

I poked around a bit and came accross this article by Tom Stafford, Why Can Smells Unlock Forgotten Memories?  The article reminded my of a neurophysiology class I took in college…fun, but heavy-duty learning.

Copyright: Science Photo library, taken from Stafford article

Copyright: Science Photo library, taken from Stafford article

Enough with the rambling.  In conclusion, aftershaves have at least two  common denominators with wine.  One being alochol and the other being funny descriptions of what they taste/smell like.

Here is the description of Z-14:

Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Green Note, Basil, Cypress, Gardenia. Middle notes: Geranium, Jasmine, Coriander, Cedar, Vetiver, Patchouli, Cinnamon. Base notes: Musk, Tonka Bean, Oakmoss, Amber, Benzoin, Leather.

Does anyone have a similar experience with smells?

The “com-box” is open and waiting for your thoughts.


About Ray V.

Living in Aiken, South Carolina, USA, I like to share what I am looking at, thinking about or listening to. I refer to this as the view out my window. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Smells, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to That Smell

  1. My grandmother was an avid gardener in Maine, and when I visited her home in the summer during my childhood years she was always drying flowers in an attached shed in her home (actually an old attached stable converted to a drying shed) for winter use. She always had fresh cut flowers in her home in the summer, and dried flower arrangements out in the winter. I can’t smell certain floral scents (sometimes even perfumes) without being transported back to that Maine drying shed …

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Eily Nash says:

    My Mother wore Chanel No.5, as soon as I smell her signature perfume she is near. I cannot pass the perfume counter without a little spritz. My Daddy smoked Havana cigars, again one whiff and I am transported…Johnson’s baby talc and I am back in Galway with my much loved, cuddly Grannie. Scent is truly evocative 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah yes, Chanel No. 5. I once knew it well and just the mention of it makes me sigh. I will assume you mean Galway, Ireland?…..our middle daughter spent the summer of 2013 studying there. She said it was the most beautiful place she has ever been to. I believe my masthead photo is from there. Thanks for following, reading and commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Eily Nash says:

        You are so welcome! I am glad your girl loved Galway, it is indeed beautiful in a wild and wonderful way, Yeates wrote of Connemara that it was a ‘terrible beauty’. Your daughter may have come across the works of the late Galway Novelist Walter Macken, his books totally capture that sentiment. Happy New year to you and yours 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. nlhartmann says:

    Ray, may I introduce you to Mr. Marcel Proust? He’s into tastes. Same difference, I guess. Oh, and does anyone remember Shalimar? Or L’Heure Bleu? Happy hols to you and your family.


  4. Last Christmas someone gave me some ginger-scented perfume. I know, weird, right? Ginger? I wore it one day on a whim, just on my wrists, and noticed that every time I caught a whiff of it, I calmed down just slightly. Since then, I’ve worn it every time I have to dress up for something professionally – a seminar, a convention, a class I’m teaching, a performance etc. After a year of this, whenever I catch a whiff I feel more confident, stand a little straighter and without fail, get a broad smile across my face. I do believe I have trained myself into this reaction by using it on the days when I felt empowered and intellectually stimulated!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Morguie says:

    Oh myyyyyyyyyy…Halston Z-14 was like an aphrodisiac to my senses! It was a warm, cinnamon infused sort of wonderful…I fell in love with more than one boy who wore that….it drove me crazy..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LittleFears says:

    I, unfortunately, grew up in the brief but ‘orrid era where young lads wore Lynx instead of anything less noxious n the nose.

    Was in my 30s before I could take anything with a smell for men seriously. o.o

    Liked by 1 person

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