I am a small town girl from the town of Malacca on the West side of Malaysia. Brands were an unknown thing and I remember my first introduction to perfume was my mom’s Elizabeth Arden perfume aptly titled ‘Red Door’. My parents were teachers and we lived in a decent size terrace house with a red door. It was a rusty, orangey red hue. The neighbors all knew my house from its distinct door.
Mom would always use her perfume sparingly. It was very precious to her. Just a few sprays and she’ll be out the door heading to school. Occasionally, and only on very special occasions, she would let her three daughters, including me, put on a little bit of her perfume so we could smell like her. It had a floral woody scent, which I remember till this day.
Every holiday, we would head up to see some of my mom’s family in Kuala Lumpur. There, my family would stay with my mom’s brother who also had three daughters. Being in the big city, all the three girls were so different to my siblings and me. Their rooms were nicely decorated and their counter top had multiples bottles of perfumes to choose from.
The eldest of the girls usually had the latest perfume for that season. She frequents this guide to women's perfume which has the latest updates on the best perfumes for ladies in the market. Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Davidoff, Gucci etc. She usually uses her favorite perfume for that season, and when she fancies something else, that bottle of perfume would effectively go to waste.
I remember visiting their house one Chinese New Year and there were approximately 20 different bottles on the counter top. I was shocked and have never seen one person own so many bottles. She told me that she had just flown home from London and there was a massive sale in the lead up to Christmas. She intends to sell a few bottles to her friends.
So I sat with her that afternoon going through a range of perfumes from woody, floral, sweet, fruity, spicy and all sorts. I was helping her choose which to keep for herself and which to sell. I fell in love with a particular scent, which had a breezy, sea salt scent, which was fresh, and not too overpowering. It came in a pretty blue hourglass bottle labeled Davidoff. I told her that I liked that perfume the most and that she should definitely keep that one.
We went through several bottles that afternoon and she chose her favorite perfume to keep. She was going to keep 5 new bottles, and then she handed me the Davidoff perfume and said that the perfume is mine to keep, as an early birthday present. I was a lovely surprise and I was overjoyed. I still remember that day so vividly. I ran downstairs to show my mom my new present and sprayed a dash of perfume on her wrist so she could now smell like me.
The Davidoff perfume has been with me since then. I am now 10 years older and I still go back to Davidoff once in a while and it conjures up many happy memories.