“One of my most cherished possessions is a gold-rimmed glass tray in which my mom would showcase her perfumes—a tray that belonged to her mother. She let me have it when I moved away from home. It may hold my fragrances now, but I can still remember the scents that used to sit upon it when it was hers: A bright orange-blossom option for day, an airy beachwood summer number, a thick amber-and-jasmine blend for evenings. It’s a lesson she never said explicitly, but I learned instinctively: Fragrance is elemental, it’s magical.

Now as a beauty editor, I have only learned to appreciate the world of perfumery even deeper. I’m endlessly fascinated by how certain notes can change your mood—or by how smell works in relation to memory and sensory experience. I love learning how other people use and embrace scent in their lives, whether it be through aromatherapy, essential oils, or the new crop of clean perfumes. I love seeing how perfumers work, drawing inspiration from the far flung corners of the globe and blending notes together to create something that’s never been before. I love how fragrance is never final—it’s a dynamic, changing thing that evolves and blossoms on its wearer. 

And, ultimately, I love how fragrance can blanket us in comfort and connection. Recently my mom shared with me that she still repurchases the perfume I wore in high school—so she can spritz it on whenever she misses me most. I, too, keep my mom’s signature notes around me: And whenever I smell them, instantly I’m back at home, sitting on her bed, and watching her get ready for the day. I can’t tell you how many times over this past year that there was no place I longed to be more.”

Alexandra Engler, mbg Beauty Director.

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