In the summer of 1996, I went to France for summer school. Nice. I didn’t take advantage of any of the tours you could book for non-class days, but I did spend a fair amount of time shopping in Vieux Nice. I bought some perfume extracts there. Colorful liquid in mass-market bottles with the name on a band around the cap.
The scents weren’t complex. Violette, patchouli, lily. The liquid was a color to match the scent. The shops selling the scents were abundant. I bough several, although I only have one left. Years, moving and broken glass took care of the others. I didn’t ever wear them as perfume. I would just open them and smell them to bring back memories of my summer.
I’m someone who likes to wear perfume. If the perfume is too spicy, though, it can give me a migraine. I started using the sweet pea perfume, sometimes adding a spray of The Body Shop strawberry with it. I loved it. And I would get compliments on it. I decided to buy more. That’s when I found out what flower of the year meant.
But the bigarade jasmine perfume is very heavy. It isn’t an everyday, go to work fragrance. The sweet pea had been.
I still have an alert on eBay to let me know if someone is selling their bottle of sweet pea. Unfortunately, the $25 (at the time bottle) now sells for $100 when one turns up. Too rich for me. Maybe one day they’ll look back on their best of the best flowers of the year and make it again.