“… I carried to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had let soften a bit of madeleine. But at the very instant when the mouthful of tea mixed with cake crumbs touched my palate, I quivered, attentive to the extraordinary thing that was happening inside me.”
“À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu,” 1913, Marcel Proust
The scene that Proust describes is still as beautiful and poetic as the day when it was written. The only difference today is that we have hard science to explain it.
Smells evoke such strong memories because they have a direct link straight to the limbic system in the brain - the amygdala and the hippocampus - the regions related to emotion and memory.
The science is interesting….but to be honest, it doesn’t really add much much to me. Because for me, scents hold a magical power.
They are the closest I can get to time travel….to going back in time and almost…..just almost…being in that place again….or with that person.
Nostalgia can be a potent emotion; one that often has hue of melancholy about it. Revisiting the past is human, but I’m pretty sure it’s best served in micro-doses.
This poetry and magic is the reason why I decided to do something that’s almost counter-intuitive………to sell perfume online.
Often the more profound purchases we make, are not so much about the physical product itself, but about what it represents, and the emotions it creates.
In early 2022 I was visiting a distributor near us in north eastern Italy. ‘Distributor’ doesn’t do him justice. His name is Cesare, and he is one of the good guys in this industry.
Whilst walking around his showroom, selecting pieces for next winter’s collection, I kept smelling this incredible scent. Eventually I had to ask what it was: and that’s where our relationship with the perfume maker ‘Naso di Raza’ began.
Cesare reached into a box and brought out a bottle of perfume. He then started to tell the story behind it.
The maker of the perfume is from Rome, but trained in Paris, the heart of scent production and know-how.
This particular perfume was called ‘Giuseppe’. The maker had wanted to recreate a scent that would remind him of his father. Many years of hard work later, the perfume which he named ‘Giuseppe’ was made.
The way in which we react to scents can vary greatly from person to person. My sister likes the smell of freshly laid asphalt on the road……I love the smell of Hyacinths and Lapsang Souchong tea……my wife loves the smell of mountain forests.
I will tell you with complete honestly that the scent of the Giuseppe perfume, is the most beautiful scent from a perfume that I have ever experienced. It creates such a reaction when I smell it, that it’s almost confusing….I keep smelling it to try and understand what is so wonderful about it.
I can’t say it smells like my father….because he used a different type of cologne (Wellington Cologne from Geo F Trumper in London to be precise). But, Giuseppe is the kind of scent that made me immediately say….”this is how I want to smell”…..this is the emotion and experience I want people to have when they encounter me.
And so, we placed an order for a small quantity of the ‘Giuseppe’ perfume, and today I am writing this, to accompany the launch of this perfume in our store. There is just far too much to say…..and a little product description would not do it justice. Not everything needs to be squashed into a soundbite.
The discovery of Giuseppe has now become part of my evolving story. I use it every day, and perhaps in twenty or thirty years time, it will become part of my children’s fabric of memories and stories.
So, how do you sell a perfume online?
With each order from today, we will include a little tester card sprayed with the perfume 'Giuseppe'. This will be placed inside a sealed bag, to ensure it stays fresh and doesn’t transfer onto the products in the box. This will allow our customers to experience the scent first, as returns will not be possible of perfume purchases.
You can find the perfume for purchase here.
By Jonathan Maher
Store Owner @ The Revive Club