Do you have a signature scent?

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Marilyn Monroe the ":new" face of Chanel No. 5

Marilyn Monroe the “:new” face of Chanel No. 5

I’ll never tell, tell on myself but I hope she smells my perfume
I’ll never tell, tell on myself but I hope she smells your perfume
I hide it well, hope you can’t tell but I hope she smells my perfume

Those lines from Perfume, a song on Britney Spears’s new album Britney Jean, speak to the power of a woman’s scent. 

I love exotic Oriental scents. I wear several and they mingle together to smell like me. I know it isn’t everyone’s taste, but I get many unsolicited compliments and have for years. Men and women have actually chased me to get the name of my perfume. It’s nice. Everyone enjoys a compliment, but I wear fragrance for myself. It wraps me in a warm embrace, it lifts my spirits and it carries me away. 

The power of scent is legendary but also scientifically proven. The olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system and has access to the amygdala neurons and the structure called the hippocampus. The amygdala processes emotion and memory. The hippocampus is responsible for long-term memory and association. Studies have shown that I am not alone in my visual reaction to aromas. Certain smells can bring people back in time through associations or evoke deep emotions. I often wonder exactly what is at the emotional root of those who would rid the world of fragrance and render us all scentless. 

Personal fragrance is a powerful statement. People known for their style almost always have signature scents.


Chanel is releasing a new commercial for its classic fragrance Chanel No. 5 this month, with its newest spokeswoman Marilyn Monroe. The movie legend was forever connected to Coco Chanel’s famous fragrance when she was asked “What do you wear to bed?” Monroe’s alluring and illuminating answer: “Chanel No. 5.”


Often celebrities chose fragrances from small, exclusive perfume houses, such as Krigler in New York. It was founded in Moscow in 1870s, and still sells fragrances worn by some of the most stylish people in the 20th century. 

Grace Kelly wore Chateau Krigler, a floral perfume created in 1912 and hand-made with Lily of the Valley, mimosa, white musk, and rose. 

Audrey Hepburn wore English Promenade 19. This Krigler fragrance is said to have been inspired by the French Riviera. It is made with orange blossom, fresh grapefruit, sweet white musk, Oriental Neroli, and ylang ylang.


F. Scott Fitzgerald and Marlene Dietrich both liked Lieber Gustav 14 with notes of leather, black tea, and violet. It was said to be inspired by a love letter.


Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy both wore the appropriately named America One 31. This was the first fragrance created by Krigler in New York.  Masculine notes of cedar, black pepper, and cumin combine with top notes of Mandarin, Neroli, and Vetiver.


The House of Creed was founded in England in 1760 and its generations of perfumers have created scents for royals and luminaries. 

It created the scent Green Irish tweed for Cary Grant. This is an elegant scent of lemon verbena, iris violet, sandalwood, and amber that is still worn by Hollywood’s leading men. 

John F. Kennedy also wore Creed Vetiver, a fresh green fragrance with top notes of citrus and bergamot anchored by ginger, vetiver, cedarwood, and ambergris.  

The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding scent was Illuminum’s White Gardenia Petals, a white flower bouquet of Jasmine, Lily, and Gardenia.  Princess Grace of Monacco also has a special scent created for her wedding day, Creeds Fleurissimo. It is a sophisticated, lush floral fragrance of bergamot, tuberose, Bulgarian Rose, violet, Florentine iris, and ambergris. 

 According to her biographers, Jackie Kennedy Onassis loved fine fragrance At different times she wore Joy, Fleurissimo, Bal a Versailles, 1000 Patou, Jil Sander 4, Jicky, Lorenzo Villoresi, Mad Moments, Personal Artviva fragrance, Fleurissimo, Valentino, Fiori Di Capri, and Krigler Patchouli.  She alternated between sexy Oriental scents and fresh citrusy fragrances. I would not be surprised if she had layered one or two to suit her mood. 

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama wears Creed’s Love in White, an Oriental floral fragrance. The scent is a blend of orange zest from Spain, rice husk from Tonkin, white jasmine from Italy, daffodils from France, magnolia from Guatemala, Bulgarian rose, sandalwood from India, and ambergris. Creed Love in White is also Laura Bush’s fragrance. She was given the first bottle when it debuted in 2005. Creed in Love is sometimes called “the White House Fragrance”.

 Today, Marilyn would have her own perfume line. It would be feminine and sexy – after all it would be her signature. 

What’s your signature scent?