Monday, October 4, 2010

My nose in Italy, it's not about meatballs.

Annick Goutal's Petit Cherie, the same bottle I bought in 2004.
A teeny car parked in a strange piazza, although I don't remember which one. On the corner of Via del Giglio and Via Faenza I think.

Above: Via Cosimo Ridolfi 2, 50129 Firenze, Toscana, Italy

Six and a half years ago, during the spring semester of my last year in college, I lived in the building above. Thanks for taking me back, google maps. I was 23 in this last semester (I spent 5 years in college, go UMASS!) and was looking forward to living in such a historic city, drinking cappuccinos, and going on "la passegiata" after dinner. I did all this, and more, but to my surprise, I did it mostly alone. Maybe it is because most of the Americans that chose to study abroad that semester were 4 years younger and usually drunk. (Underage in America means bottoms up abroad). All I remember were Uggs, lots of Uggs, hot off the press. And juicy couture sweat suits. (you know you had one) I befriended some Italians but my Italian

So I strolled and I shopped, oooh did I shop! One day I decided it was time to purchase a perfume by which to remember Italy. I popped in to a perfume shop with a mission. Because I had never bought a real, grown-up perfume, I put my olfactory fate in the hands of the expert. I asked the shop girl to chose a perfume for me. If I were a perfume, what perfume would I be?

She took one look and decided that I was Petite Chérie by Annick Goutal. The perfumer describes the scent as being "reminiscent of a young girl's cheek that you want to lovingly kiss." Well, I don't know about all that, but... I wore this scent walking around a rainy Florence, writing, taking photographs, and listening to Aphex Twin on my first generation ipod. The time spent alone, in such a beautiful place, was pure indulgence. Smelling Petit Cherie now reminds me of the adventure that the 23 year old me started to madly crave. I guess if I had a signature scent of all time, this would be it. I buy new perfume every so often, but this is the stuff that grounds me, makes me feel like I'm walking on cobblestone streets again.

Petit Cherie Olfactory family: Fruity, floral, musky (pear, peach, musky rose, fresh cut grass, vanilla)


  1. This is so funny because I was thinking recently how petite cherie really takes me back too. On my 17th birthday I asked for some fancy perfume because I felt that I was now very grownup and should stop with the VS body spray and have a classic scent. My grandmother gave me Annick Goutal's Petite Cherie and I smothered myself in it as I opened the rest of my presents, one of which happened to be the keys my very first car sitting in the driveway with a big red bow! So now whenever I smell that scent I am transported to the sweet feeling of joyrides and new found teenage freedom. I love being taken back there so much that I don't even want to wear petite cherie in a casual way anymore. Its like I want to preserve the memories in the little bottle. Which sucks because its such a great perfume. What does one do, Elise's nose?

  2. excellent question, Brita's nose.
    I say use it, but sparingly. Use it when you want to be taken back, but keep it special. Sometimes I like to think of certain scents like I think of french fries. So wonderful and delicious, but only in moderation. I want to eat french fries when I'm feeling really playful, excited (and on the thinner side). Eating them out of that context would sour the wonderful relationship i have with them. So, treat your day to day perfume like an Ice tea and a great salad, "this is good for me and I enjoy it" Bring back your memories as you'd (hopefully) eat french fries... whole heartedly but with purpose. As for the scents that remind you of sticky situations or gnarly ex boyfriends, treat those like you should treat luke-warm weak coffee... hell to the no.


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