We all know that the five senses are important to writing. I never feel I incorporate them enough. While I’m primarily a visual person in RL, I’m pretty sensitive to scents, and love to wear perfume. Unfortunately the woman I work with is allergic, so I’ve abandoned my Chanel No. 5 in the interest of keeping my job. The most aromatic I get on weekdays is from applying Gold Bond Skin Therapy Lotion, which works wonders on my dry elbows and feet. It has a very pleasant smell that so far has not made my boss sneeze. But I miss eau de cologne.

My first grown-up perfume was Arpege by Lanvin. My parents always bought it for me for Christmas, but I can’t even remember what it smells like anymore. I was a Charlie girl in college (cheaper), tried Shalimar but it stuffed me up. Chanel No. 5 and 19 are old favorites, but I also loved something called Champagne, which had to change its name because of conflict with the wine trademark. I’ve worn Beautiful and Sunflowers and Green Tea. I like floral and citrussy things, but can’t deal with musk. One whiff of something and I can be instantly transported to a different time and place. Who will ever forget the sharp tang of Clearasil at a high school dance or the soft scent of baby powder on a little bottom?

My interest in aroma must be genetic. Distant relations manufactured Murray and Lanman’s (my maiden name) Florida Water, which has a pretty bottle. (That monkey above thinks so too. The illustrations here are from vintage advertising cards.) In doing research on the product, I’ve discovered some people use it in witchcraft rites. I don’t think my dead relatives would approve. *g* I prefer something less spiritual on the men in my life—Old Spice will do just fine. My current hero Edward’s signature scent is lime; his heroine Caroline wears jasmine.


Are you a perfume person? What do your characters smell like? What’s your favorite scent? I love fresh-cut lemons and oranges. Peonies and lilacs. Raspberries and blackberries. Coconut sun lotion and ocean breezes. Fall leaves and summer rain.

Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume. ~Jean de Boufflers