I was wandering round the supermarket a few days ago, probably looking for something like pinenuts or piccalilli as is my habit, I walked past a woman, and instantly it was 1987 again. Rather than having some sort of Back To The Future experience, or travelling in a Tardis (please note, I would love to travel in a Tardis), I'd walked past a woman who was wearing exactly the same perfume as my 19 year old self.
I've always had a bit of a nose for perfume - nothing linked to taste or sophistication, but simply being able to recognise it at first sniff. It gets much less easy nowadays, now everyone and his dog have their own signature scents, and I wouldn't know my Britney Spears from my Bobby Davro but in the olden days (which is how I refer to my youth) I was pretty spot on.
I wish I could remember the first perfume I wore but I can't. I suspect it was some Coty concoction that came in a gift pack with some talcum powder. I do however remember my mum's perfume - she wore Tabu, which I'd recognise now but it was probably discontinued around the time of all the kerfuffle in the Falklands. The first perfume I distinctly remember wearing was exactly the same as I smelled on this woman, and it was Ysatis. I first stumbled across it when one of my friends wore it and I adopted it from then on. There was of course quite some discussion about how it was actually pronounced - my friend pronounced it "whysattis", my mum went for the slightly more unusual "yistarzi" (I don't know either) and I went for "eesattees".
Still no matter how you say it, it's what it conjures up. For me, it was nights out with the girls, first dates, first jobs, falling over drunk, first heartbreak, random kisses, restaurant meals and a first wedding. And every single one of those images whizzed through my mind as though these were my last moments on earth.
I've tried other perfumes, I think it's probably quite rare to stay with the choice of your youth. I've worn Poison, Paloma Picasso, Loulou, Ghost and Beautiful, and countless others I've dabbled with inbetween, those that have slipped from my mind like a half remembered glimpse of a face you once knew. I've tried other perfumes, I've fallen over countless more times, had more random kisses and even another wedding.
I'm now almost exclusively a Chanel woman, not quite ready for No5 but building my way towards it with the baby steps of Coco. I'm a woman now, but the girl still lingers.
So come and tell me, what was your first perfume (or aftershave)? And what memories does it hold for you?