What Did Your Grandmother Wear?



On another thread, I just wrote about how my grandmother used to only wear Diorissimo, and how one of my most formative memories was how on summer vacation at her country-home in France, I would wake up early just to go into her room and watch her by her dressing table, doing her hair, putting on make-up, jewellery, and then, Diorissimo.

And this got me wondering, so I thought I'd ask the question: what scent did your grandmother wear? What are your memories of it? And have you ever tried wearing it yourself? (I never could, Diorissimo always seemed too much like her, and I love how it only ever reminds me of her when I smell it).

Look forward to reading your stories!


Well-known member
Jan 18, 2011
My mom's mom smelled powdery. She had Coty scent of some variety. I remember her sitting on the porch with her boyfriend, shelling pecans. She was tall, and skinny, and blonde so when her hair turned white it wasn't very different.

My dad's mom smelled like cigarettes and soap. I remember her lighting cigarettes on the gas stove, and oyster dressing at Christmas, and her hair, it was long and she always wore it rolled up in the back, it was black with a dramatic white stripe.


Be Here. Now.
Basenotes Plus
Dec 31, 2006
Shalimar. I think that's why I like it so much. Her blankets and sheets smelled of it. Which is primarily, I think, why I wear Shalimar to bed almost every night.

She also wore Beautiful by Estee Lauder. And Oscar de la Renta in that beautiful flower shaped bottle with the Body Cream and Powder.


Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 30, 2007
Mine wore Bellodgia and Shalimar. When she died, when I was very young, my mother started wearing them herself in memory of her mother so I have very strong, positive associations with those two scents. I never knew my other grandmother--I should ask my aunt what she wore.


Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
When my grandmother passed in 1988 I inherited her perfume collection of 3 bottles, which surprised me because I didn't know she had any scent at all. I never smelled her wearing anything. Besides a Prince Matchabelli or Dana that I can't remember she had Fabergé Woodhue, and Tigress which was fun.


Well-known member
Apr 27, 2006
My Grandmother on my mother’s side died when I was only 1 year old. My mom tells me she wore Chanel # 5. My grandmother on my father’s side never wore any perfume. I have owned a bottle of # 5 extrait and now I own a bottle of the Eau Premiere version.


Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
My maternal grandmother died long before I was born, but my mom has told me that her mother had a treasured bottle of Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass that she wore only on very special occasions. As this would have been the late 1930s to early 50s, and the family was rural and not of means, I would imagine she wore it on religious holidays only.

My paternal grandmother was an immigrant, and relatively poor. I have no memory of her ever wearing perfume, but she always smelled of Rose Milk Skin Cream.


Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
I don't know about my paternal grandmother, but my maternal grandmother daubed her neck with vanilla extract from the kitchen.


Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 17, 2016
I remember she smelled of Noxema face cleanser. It's the smell of her bathroom I remember most though.


Well-known member
Feb 17, 2005
This really opens up a whole different world. Both my grandmothers went through the depression, and couldn’t really afford perfume. But that made it all the more important, because at that time it represented a special luxury and indulgence, a small touch of beauty in their lives. I remember they both had a fragrance of some sort but it wasn’t so much what it was, but that they had something.

I remember the energy in the air as they went about the ritual of getting ready for a rare evening out - bringing out their one special dress, not their church dress but their evening dress, ironing it, washing their hair, carefully creating a hairdo with Bobbie pins and a type of gel that preceded hairspray, applying makeup, most importantly lipstick, always a type of strong red, which I found very beautiful, very compelling, and at the end dabbing on the perfume. It felt like a ceremony. It made me look forward to the day I would be able to do the same. As poor as they were they always had a little table or area of the bedroom that was ‘theirs’. I liked to go in and look at their ‘stuff’. My grandfathers never bothered that.

Sniff, I wish I knew what fragrance it was that gave them that little pleasure. :sad::engel017: But I know for one grandmother it was one of several perfumes in stock at the local general store, and was displayed in a glass cabinet behind the counter. I believe my other grandmother got hers from a traveling dry goods salesman who stopped by their ranch. So I don’t think they were brand names we’d even recognize. Things are so different now in the perfume world.


Jan 24, 2019
I don't know who this was made by but I recall the fragrance grandma wore was called Ashes of Roses.
The name puzzled me as a kid, I thought why would anyone want to smell like a burnt flower lol!
I can't recall the smell, sadly.

My mum was't really into perfume, we were poor too, but did have a bottle or two of some cologne made by Penhaligan.


Well-known member
Nov 9, 2009
My maternal grandmother wore 4711. My mother inherited a big bottle after my grandmother died.

My fraternal grandmother was long dead before I came along. I don't think there was money for a luxury like perfume.


I smell something…
Basenotes Plus
Jun 19, 2005
I don’t remember either of my grandmothers wearing perfume but:

My mother had a box of Avon Here’s My Heart dusting powder that she said originally belonged to my maternal grandmother.

And during one visit to my paternal grandmother I was wearing Cinnabar, and she loved it.


Well-known member
Dec 7, 2013
My grandmother from my father's side wore Chanel No.5 the pure perfume. My father had brought her a 100 ml bottle from Paris in the fifties.
This flacon was the gem on her dressing table.


Common Lackey
Basenotes Plus
Jan 6, 2012
I don't know who this was made by but I recall the fragrance grandma wore was called Ashes of Roses.

Bourjois made a fragrance by that name - long discontinued. I don't know what it smells like, either.

Such a beautiful name I had to look it up. Check out this gorgeous flacon. Apparently Bourjois also made one called Ashes of Carnations. A little weird that the cap looks like a cremation urn.



Jan 2, 2019
My fathers mother wore Je Reviens, L’air du temps, and something by Worth.
My mother’s mother wore April Violets and 4711

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30 Roses

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
My grandmother bought me a bottle of Tabu when I was not even 10! But I don't recall her wearing it, or any other perfume.


Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Me too, dammit. I feel an obsession coming on.
Shaded graveyards at twilight with filmy maids floating among tombstones and mausoleums in mauve gowns...it's too much, off to eBay. I thought I was done collecting! We can blame LittleArtist for this.

Liz B

Well-known member
Jun 26, 2015
I am guessing about my father's mother...she died when I was 30, but that was long before I developed this interest. When I tried Joy, it reminded me of her, so maybe she wore it. I am pretty sure she also had Jean Nate bath products or powder. (I am positive that her daughter, my aunt, wore Obsession in the 80s. When I tested it a few years ago it took me immediately back to my trip to visit her in Oklahoma at age 11.)

My mother's mother is still alive, but doesn't wear perfume anymore. She did have a small bottle of Organza the last time I visited her before she moved to a nursing home. She wore perfume to church on Sundays, though, like all the other ladies.

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The power of bleu
Basenotes Plus
Jun 3, 2005
I was much closer to my paternal grandmother. She didn’t really wear perfume, but always wore Jergens lotion (the original, cherry/almond scent) which I love to this day.

I don’t recall my maternal grandmother actually wearing perfume, but she had a few bottles of Avon on her dresser.

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