Over the last couple of months we have been running a competition called Rook Scent Memories. We asked people to submit memories which they strongly associated with scent. We received so many incredible entries but in the end we had to choose just three! We are excited to share our winning memories.
Runner up: Carl Trahan
My Scent Memory:
My scent memory is related to my grandparents house in a village south of Montreal. I would visit them often as a kid and I would occasionally stay there for a couple of weeks in the Summer. I loved helping my grandmother with the garden, feeding the neighbours cow's with the rest of the corn cubs we hate for lunch, play near the train track and go in the attic which was a magical and mysterious place to me, where I would discover old objects, toys and furniture that seemed like a treasure, a door into an unknown and past world. When my grandfather died, my grandmother had to move to the small town where I lived. I was 16 at that time.
Years later, I must have been thirty something, I was shopping in a second hand store in a small village. They had furniture in the attic of the barn where the shop was installed. As I arrived at the top of the stairs, I was overwhelmed by the smell of the place, so similar to the one of my grandparents' attic. Strong emotions filled me and I immediately started to cry. Just writing and remembering this fills me with melancholy! It was a distinctive scent of old timber wood, dry and dusty, and I guess the cedar chest that gave a faint comforting aspect to this mixture of old and secret smell patina that the place shared with the attic I knew as a kid. I always hoped that I would stumble on a perfume that would somehow remind me this smell, created by some perfumer who would have been inspired by such a place...
Runner Up: Ievgeniia Tolstiakova
My Scent Memory:
This story happened to me about 15 years ago but I still remember it well as smells are really perfectly connected with the people or situations or some period of your life. With your memory in general.
At that time I lived in my native city and worked as a show manager in a night club. One day while surfing through the merchant stalls of a big shopping center I heard some hideous smell. I didn’t know where it had come from but it was looked like a men’s cologne. It had some such a repulsive perfume note that it almost made me throw up.
For the next couple of months I began to “meet” that mysterious fragrance more and more frequently, it really became very popular. I still didn’t know what was the name of the perfume. I even started to examine all unknown for me men’s fragrances in stores just to meet the enemy in person at last. All in vain.
And there was a guy working at my club, he used to wear a giant Balu the Bear costume and amused guests during night parties. He was dancing among people all the time and the bear costume was thick, heavy and furry so it was always a sauna inside. Poor guy! We tried to help him not to stink dramatically as much as we could. We bought him a talcum powder, antiperspirants, external absorbents and so on but nothing helped really. The bear guy suffered very much and I suffered with him because during the party and even after it I couldn’t come close to him, but he was my colleague and we had to communicate for work.
One night I was going to drop him home after work as I intended to drive by his district. We chatted to arrange things and then I turned back as he began to pull off his killer-costume. Just on my way out of the room I literally heard a few rich sprayings of a deodorant right behind my back. And then...yes, it was exactly that poisonously disgusting men’s perfume! I turned around very slowly:
- What the hell is that???
- It’s just a deodorant. I’ve freshened me up a little, you know my situation.
- Oh my gosh, show it to me immediately! I need to know what it is just to make everything possible to avoid it forever then! And please, never, never, never use it here again!
Thus I found my root of evil . And though I still don’t remember the name of that deodorant but fortunately I stopped running into it everywhere. The bear guy really never used it again in my presence but that freezing winter night we were driving home in a car with all the windows wide open
WINNER: Amel Suljic
My Scent Memory:
Today I was walking with my husband at the street. Without any warning or even a clue, we passed a house where there was a fire not so long ago. That reminds me on my childhood taken with violence and enormous hate. I was a child and over the night I had to grow up. During the time from 1992 until 1995 there were several scents I will never forget. The scent of burnt houses was always present. It was not just the smell of smoke and ash, but the smell of sorrow, sadness and destroyed memories . As same the smell of gunpowder. The smell of death. oh you could smell the fear and feel it from everywhere as same like you could feel the death. Looking back, I thought that death only walked through the streets of Sarajevo. The whole suffering of this humanity was in these streets .The scent of peaches, ohh no we didn’t have peaches during the war. We used a peach aroma. We used the aroma to give our food an taste and smell. That was a dessert for us, made of water and flour and we call it pudding. Last but not least, there was a small gift that I bakam from a girl that I loved very much. I can't remember what it smells like but I remember it was the smell of innocence and love.