What Did Your Grandmother Wear?

teardrop

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
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.

This reminds me of that scene in The Thorn Birds where the colour of Meggie's party dress is described as Ashes of Roses. l can't seem to post an image, but if you do a search there are pictures of it online. lt was a kind of pale, ashy pink with a vaguely lilac cast, what we used to call dusky pink. l guess it was very fashionable during that time period.
 

Ken_Russell

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2006
None of my grandmothers interestingly.
On the other hand, my parents and the generations of aunts and uncles of about the same age are far more involved in fragrances (liking to think to may have partly influenced them and also to be in turn influenced by them at least to somehow, to certain extents regarding the fragrance hobby).
 
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ComDiva

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2006
This is so interesting to me. My much-beloved paternal grandmother's signature scent was Elizabeth Arden White Shoulders, and my maternal grandmother, with whom we had a much more complicated relationship, was a mystery, fragrance-wise... Though I have in my head that, as an older sophisticated woman at the time, she would probably have worn Arpege. What's particularly interesting to me is that the notes in both - with the exception of White Shoulders' gardenia, which is a note I personally cannot abide - are all notes I adore.

Go figure.

White Shoulders fragrance notes: Neroli, Tuberose, Aldehydes, Gardenia, Jasmine, Orris, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Lilac, Sandalwood, Amber, Musk, Oakmoss

Arpège fragrance notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Peach, Orange Blossom, Honeysuckle, Iris, Lily of the valley, Neroli, Clove, Ylang ylang, Rose, Jasmine, Tuberose, Mimosa, Violet, Geranium, Camelia, Genet, Coriander, Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Styrax, Musk, Benzoin, Ambergris.
 

Hazel5

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Jul 25, 2016
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.

11651_vmnocw_ashes_of_roses_720.jpg

Great bottle. And I particularly like the cap. If anyone finds it perhaps they could report back. :)

My maternal grandmother was poor. Perfume was not part her of toilette. She smelled "old" to me (or what I now associate with old)--a little like mothballs and cedar and oilcloth. She worked hard and I didn't appreciate her before she died.

My paternal grandmother wore Shalimar because my grandfather loved it. She herself loved Opium the most. And Safari. And she had a big bottle of Arpège from which she would pour a few drops into my bath when I visited. I thought she was the moon and stars. I still love all of those fragrances and keep a bottle of Shalimar close.
 

Kaern

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Apr 2, 2008
she used to 'wear' me out -- running down the 'offy' to get her whisky

Johnny Walker Red Label -- God bless her!
 

theoleigh

Well-known member
Feb 4, 2019
My grandmother on my mother's side (my favourite) was the first person to teach me about fragrance (and a lot of other things), and she wore White Linen (her favourite) the most, though sometimes she also wore 4711 and the original Miss Dior

4711 doesn't do it for me, and I've never smelt Miss Dior original (come to think of it, I don't think I ever even consciously smelled the current one.. I mean, I must have, on someone walking down the street sometime, but I wouldn't know it), but once in a blue moon I toy with the idea of getting myself a bottle of White Linen

On my father's side, my paternal grandmother didn't care much for perfume (as she didn't for a lot of other life-enhancing things), but every now and then would wear something when someone would give it to her as a gift
 
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Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
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Jul 25, 2015
I contacted a fellow collector (not a member here, as far as I know) who told me that Bourjois created an extensive line of "Ashes of..." fragrances - Ashes of Violet/Heliotrope/Carnation/Rose/Wall Flower/Lavender/Gardenia/Sandal/Muguet/Jasmine/Cyclamen and Chypre. She said that Beaux created Ashes of Roses and one other. The word "Ashes" in the name was not intended to convey a cremated or dusty tone, but to suggest that each perfume was redolent of the last remnants of various flowers. But that bottle sure looks like an urn on top of an urn to me!
 

Hat and Beard

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Apr 10, 2012
My paternal grandmother was also a part of the Jean Nate club. My maternal grandmother wore the sensorily oppressive Estée Lauder: White Linen. Talk about instant headache with that one...
 

SmellyEllie

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Dec 26, 2018
My paternal grandmother didn't wear fragrances, but my maternal grandmother wore White Linen. Although I don't remember it myself, my mother says that's what got me into perfume in the first place. She said that when we spent a Christmas at Nana's house one year when I was very young, I got into the White Linen to such an extent that I could be smelled downstairs before anyone had realized I was in Nana's room. After that Nana bought me various perfumes for Christmas that were popular at the time like Tabu and Imari. I even got Opium one year even though I wasn't in middle school yet. That was a hard wear in south Louisiana heat, and I still don't like the stuff today for that fact. Arguably I wore better stuff in elementary school than I do now, but that was Nana's taste. I think she might be disappointed that I grew up to be as low-brow as I am.
 

theoleigh

Well-known member
Feb 4, 2019
My paternal grandmother didn't wear fragrances, but my maternal grandmother wore White Linen. Although I don't remember it myself, my mother says that's what got me into perfume in the first place. She said that when we spent a Christmas at Nana's house one year when I was very young, I got into the White Linen to such an extent that I could be smelled downstairs before anyone had realized I was in Nana's room. After that Nana bought me various perfumes for Christmas that were popular at the time like Tabu and Imari. I even got Opium one year even though I wasn't in middle school yet. That was a hard wear in south Louisiana heat, and I still don't like the stuff today for that fact. Arguably I wore better stuff in elementary school than I do now, but that was Nana's taste. I think she might be disappointed that I grew up to be as low-brow as I am.

Hey! My maternal grandmother's love of White Linen was also what got me into it

Nice to hear it!
 

Kotori

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Aug 17, 2006
I remember she smelled of Noxema face cleanser. It's the smell of her bathroom I remember most though.

I was going to mention Noxzema! Both my great-grandmother and my husband’s paternal grandmother used to smell like Noxzema.

My maternal grandmother has worn Poeme since the 90’s, but she really can’t afford perfume, so doesn’t wear it often. She is now a paraplegic, and getting dressed is a big deal, let alone wearing perfume.

But my paternal grandmother! When I was little, she wore Giorgio Beverly Hills. Back then, she taught me how to care for my skin and how to do my nails and my makeup. Things my mom still doesn’t really know. Later she wore Bvlgari Rose Essentielle, then the Red Tea. Later it was Coco Noir and Soir de Lune. The last one I remember her wearing was the pink Miss Dior, and I inherited it. She wore it on the last day I spent with her before she found out she had stage 4 cancer. We were out on the deck watching the boys play and listening to the river. I was downwind of her enjoying her perfume. She couldn’t remember the name— just that it was Dior. I wish I’d also asked for the Sisley.
 

Kotori

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Aug 17, 2006
Great bottle. And I particularly like the cap. If anyone finds it perhaps they could report back. :)

My maternal grandmother was poor. Perfume was not part her of toilette. She smelled "old" to me (or what I now associate with old)--a little like mothballs and cedar and oilcloth. She worked hard and I didn't appreciate her before she died.

My paternal grandmother wore Shalimar because my grandfather loved it. She herself loved Opium the most. And Safari. And she had a big bottle of Arpège from which she would pour a few drops into my bath when I visited. I thought she was the moon and stars. I still love all of those fragrances and keep a bottle of Shalimar close.

And Safari! I almost forgot this one! I think my paternal grandmother wore Safari for the longest of any of her many perfumes!
 

Kotori

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Aug 17, 2006
After that Nana bought me various perfumes for Christmas that were popular at the time like Tabu and Imari. I even got Opium one year even though I wasn't in middle school yet. That was a hard wear in south Louisiana heat, and I still don't like the stuff today for that fact. Arguably I wore better stuff in elementary school than I do now, but that was Nana's taste. I think she might be disappointed that I grew up to be as low-brow as I am.

Can relate. Grandma bought me Spellbound when I was maybe 13. Then Anne Klein (the galbanum tuberose one). I wore really nice stuff back then. Tiffany, too. And Dior Dune. Way too old for me.

Lol thanks! My mother, though, would tell you that I was a raging jacka**, and not one bit fun at all.

Well, there’s no accounting for taste.
 

SmellyEllie

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Dec 26, 2018
I was going to mention Noxzema! Both my great-grandmother and my husband’s paternal grandmother used to smell like Noxzema.

Lol, there were probably 5 years in my life when I smelled perpetually of Seabreeze astringent. L'eau d'Acne that stuff was.
 
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SmellyEllie

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Dec 26, 2018
Can relate. Grandma bought me Spellbound when I was maybe 13. Then Anne Klein (the galbanum tuberose one). I wore really nice stuff back then. Tiffany, too. And Dior Dune. Way too old for me.

I'm not sure perfumes had an age association back in the day though, at least not before the 90's. Maybe Love's Babysoft, but otherwise I can't think of any that were marketed to a specific age demographic. The first one I had that was specifically for young people was Debbie Gibson Electric Youth. Before that, I literally wore my grandma's perfume.

Maybe an historian on these forums can chime in on this one?
 

Kotori

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Aug 17, 2006
I'm not sure perfumes had an age association back in the day though, at least not before the 90's. Maybe Love's Babysoft, but otherwise I can't think of any that were marketed to a specific age demographic. The first one I had that was specifically for young people was Debbie Gibson Electric Youth. Before that, I literally wore my grandma's perfume.

Maybe an historian on these forums can chime in on this one?

That is a very good point. I remember when Electric Youth came out. My cousin had it.
 

PerfumedLady

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Jul 4, 2010
Lol, I had Electric Youth! I already had what I guess you'd call "better" perfumes at that age but it was totally uncool to not have Electric Youth. Of course I had it, along with every other girl at school.:grin:

One of my grandmas wore Coty's Emeraude mainly, along with whatever else she occasionally felt like purchasing. But the Emeraude was always well-stocked, as well as the matching powder.

My other grandma wore Ivoire by Balmain and Dana's Ambush. The entire family preferred Ivoire. Strongly.

Great thread; loved reading these replies!
 

Primrose

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May 22, 2009
My mother word Chanel No. 5 and in the 1970s wore Chanel No. 19. The smell of No. 5 always brings back memories of her.
 

SmellyEllie

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Dec 26, 2018
Lol, I had Electric Youth! I already had what I guess you'd call "better" perfumes at that age but it was totally uncool to not have Electric Youth. Of course I had it, along with every other girl at school.:grin:

One of my grandmas wore Coty's Emeraude mainly, along with whatever else she occasionally felt like purchasing. But the Emeraude was always well-stocked, as well as the matching powder.

My other grandma wore Ivoire by Balmain and Dana's Ambush. The entire family preferred Ivoire. Strongly.

Great thread; loved reading these replies!

Lol, the halls of my middle school reeked of Electric Youth.

What's up with Dana? I've never smelled that one.
 

PerfumedLady

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Jul 4, 2010
Lol, the halls of my middle school reeked of Electric Youth.

What's up with Dana? I've never smelled that one.

Ambush was a case of "does what it says on the bottle". Very, very potent stuff. I find a lot of reviews describing it as "soft", with which absolutely none of my relatives would agree. I recall it as blow-your-hair-back strong! A cacophony of aldehydes, spices, florals, patchouli and woods. Really nothing shocking, especially for its time; just didn't particularly appeal to any of us (except grandma:grin:). We loved her so we tolerated it, lol. Like other Dana classics it was well made and interesting. Even though it's not my taste, I do think the vintage is worth sniffing if given the chance.

Important to note that Ambush was reformed sometime in the 90s, I'm thinking. Sounds like it is not the same at all now. But back in the day, Dana feminines were bold and unique.
 

SmellyEllie

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Dec 26, 2018
Ambush was a case of "does what it says on the bottle". Very, very potent stuff. I find a lot of reviews describing it as "soft", with which absolutely none of my relatives would agree. I recall it as blow-your-hair-back strong! A cacophony of aldehydes, spices, florals, patchouli and woods. Really nothing shocking, especially for its time; just didn't particularly appeal to any of us (except grandma:grin:). We loved her so we tolerated it, lol. Like other Dana classics it was well made and interesting. Even though it's not my taste, I do think the vintage is worth sniffing if given the chance.

Important to note that Ambush was reformed sometime in the 90s, I'm thinking. Sounds like it is not the same at all now. But back in the day, Dana feminines were bold and unique.

I'll have to keep an eye out for that one next time I'm at the antiques village. Thanks!
 

Heawns

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2008
Nivea Cream and nivea lotion! I don't know what or if she wore actual fragrance. However she would have likely enjoyed L'eau d'hiver a lot if she ever got to smell it, which is a scent that for reasons including Nivea remind me of my mother's mother. It's probably the additional fact that she liked to drink warm honeyed water that L'eau d'hiver has this association of her for me. Pretty sure she didn't spend any significant money on fragrance and rarely used any.
 

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