Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tracking Down a Memory

I don't know how your memory works, but mine tends to shake me to attention without any obvious provocation. So it was when I caught myself thinking about my mother, and not ten seconds later was on eBay bidding on a bottle of perfume I hadn't thought about in (at least) forty years. I'd have been happy to find an empty bottle with a residual scent, but $27.00 dollars later I had half of a large bottle of Judith Muller's 60's scent, Bat-Sheba. A bit leaked in the shipping, but there's still a lot of perfume that has concentrated over the last four decades. I wiped off the bottle, and an hour later the scent is still clinging to my hands. This isn't a perfume for the timid.

I smell patchouli, sandalwood, the head shop/record store on Skokie Blvd, and my mother around 1970. I know that's kinda a vague description so here's a better review of the fragrance that isn't caught up in all the emotional baggage of a middle aged woman missing her mum.

http://yesterdaysperfume.typepad.com/yesterdays_perfume/2010/01/bat-sheba-by-judith-muller-1966.html

There's definitely an incense smell. Danny retreated to his room to escape it, but I can't stop sniffing my hands (which would look kinda weird if I were out in public, but I'm at home). This isn't an everyday perfume (or a long ride in the car perfume unless you knew the other passengers liked it)but I can see occasions where I would (very sparingly) wear it. For me, it is a memory in a beautiful little genie bottle I can place on my perfume tray to summon a memory (and if I'm honest, a good cry) when I need it.

2 comments:

pastcaring said...

Olfactory memory is the most powerful, I think. I only have to smell pipe smoke (which doesn't happen very often, no one smokes a pipe any more) and I am transported to childhood - my dad, uncles and grandad all smoked pipes. I used to love the smell of tobacco and ask them to undo their tins so I could stick my nose in it. The smoke, well, that's not such a nice smell (and those yellow ceilings as a result...) but still very nostalgic.
I've never heard of this perfume, but I totally understand the desire to smell that smell again. Anything that includes the description "my mother around 1970" must smell great, right? I'm sorry you miss her. xxxx

Connie said...

This is such a wonderful post. I've never heard of this perfume but I TOTALLY know how it smells. You describe it so well. Such a sweet memory of your most amazing mom. When my kids were born I made a conscious decision to wear the same scent always so that they would have a scent memory of me. For better or worse when they smell Tresor they will think of me.