Tag Archives: LP No 9

The Scent Of Comfort

A few years ago before a long trip overseas, my wife asked me give her a shirt that I previously wore so she could take it with her. She wanted to sleep with it while we were apart. At the heart of her request is what science and myriad studies have shown, there’s a link between scent and emotion. In this instance, my scent would enhance my wife’s mood.  I experienced this very same thing as a child when my dad came home and hung his work shirt on the doorknob. As I ran past it, I could smell the powder he wore. If you put a blind fold over my eyes now and put a scent strip with that smell to my nose, I’d instantly think of him and that French blue shirt hanging in the hallway.

Today, as part of a special series of group posts with my cohorts, Eyeliner on a Cat, Olfactoria’s Travels, Persolaise, and Candy Perfume Boywe’re talking about mood enhancing perfumes. I’ve gone about this a bit differently than the others but here are a few of my fragrant moments that bring me comfort. 

Scents of Comfort

A few days ago, I inherited the safety razor I watched my dad shave with as I was growing up. If you’re following me on Instagram, you know safety razors are my latest obsession. When I look at the one my dad just gave me, thoughts of him prepping to shave in his Hanes V-neck t-shirt and the scent of Noxzema and Obsession, which filled the bathroom, come rushing to mind. Those scents will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s one of the reasons why I love the scents Dear John (formally by B Never now by Lush) and Sartorial by Penhaligon’s. The masculine appeal of both scents remind me of my dad and some of the other men in my family and wearing them brings me instant comfort.

LP No 9

Another scent that I would characterize as traditional is Penhaligon’s LP No. 9 and it brings me both comfort and sadness as it reminds me of my beloved brother Lamont, who is no longer with us. I gave him that fragrance years ago and although he owned others, he never got rid of it. On the day he passed away, I walked into his room and as the magnitude of my new reality was setting in, it was the first thing I gravitated to. I now have it in my possession and will forever. I wear it from time to time and sometimes I just smell the nozzle and think of him.

Smokin a stoggie

If there’s one thing I really enjoy, it’s a good cigar. It truly is a relaxing experience that’s enhanced by aroma and taste. The scent of tobacco, hints of coffee and chocolate sprinkled with some pepper and bourbon and we’ve got ourselves a good smoke. That could also read as a cologne, which brings to mind one of my favorite tobacco based scents, Thierry Mugler’s A Men Pure Havane. It’s centered around the art of making fine Cuban Cigars and it’s good. This cigar talk is prompting my desire for a good smoke. Catch me on Foursquare and see where I check-in tonight.

Eliana's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Marcel Proust is a critically acclaimed French novelist. In his book, In Remembrance of Things Past, Proust recalls involuntary memories brought on by smell, taste and sound. In one particular episode, Proust recalls eating a madeleine cake and drinking tea. The scent of the cake ushers in a flood of memories from his childhood. That must be the reason why my wife’s homemade chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite treats. I’m a big kid when those bad boys are in the oven. The scent of the sugar, butter and chocolate forces me to pace around the house asking, “Are they done yet.”

This was a light-hearted look at how my mood is enhanced by scent. My brother always told me I smell everything. He was right and my life is better for it. Be sure to check out Eyeliner on a Cat, Olfactoria’s Travels, Persolaise, and Candy Perfume Boy to see what scents enhance their mood.

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Sartorial by Penhaligon’s

The very first time I smelled Penhaligon’s Sartorial I thought barbershop and tradition. It opens with a soft powdery smell that reminds me of the Saturday morning/afternoons I waited to get my hair cut, the sound of the clippers, the requests,” let me get X or Y,” those final moments before I got up from the chair; that stinging sensation from the alcohol as my barber went along my hairline and that fresh clean feeling of being a new man. How is it possible to have such details summoned from one smell? That is best answered by something I found on Penhaligon’s website in the “About Us” section and it says, “fragrance is liquid emotion.”

Scents that produced this sort of memory used to turn me off as I felt they leaned too heavily on tradition and the idea that “this is how men are supposed to smell.” But that didn’t happen with Sartorial. Perhaps that can be attributed to my new-found love for LP No 9 or my recent return from Barbados where I spent time with my uncles who are all very traditional in their fragrance and grooming habits and it’s starting to rub off on me. But as I thought deeper about the name and read its supporting press materials that talked about the tailoring tradition that influenced this scent, I began thinking of my own tailor.

Mr. Henry is a Trinidadian tailor I’ve been going to for well over a decade now. He’s old school, he knows my parents, is genuinely interested in how I’m doing, but more importantly, schools me on the finer details of menswear. But that last point needs qualifying. There’s an old adage that says, “rules are meant to be broken.” Mr. Henry is the first to tell me, “no cuff on flat front slacks, but the choice is yours, or the break in your slacks should be here but they are wearing it shorter these day so you tell me where you want them. He allowed me to make a choice that made me comfortable. His willingness to strike that balance, which is an update from the tailors of yesteryear, compliments my feelings toward Sartorial. While the dry down beckons tradition, woody and earthy, it opens with a softness that shaves off the overly masculine edge of tradition. A beautiful balance that speaks to the modern man.

Sartorial is inspired by the scents of the workroom at Norton & Sons, Bespoke Tailors at No. 16 Savile Row. Mr. Henry’s shop didn’t smell like that. It was old, filled with scraps of material; lose pins, chalk, measuring tape, a sewing machine and an old radio that cranked out soca music. But Mr. Henry smelled of a deodorant mirroring Old Spice, Brut or Right Guard. For him that was how a man was supposed to smell, fresh and clean but not frilly. Sartorial embodies the masculinity of today’s man and I think Mr. Henry would say, “Young fella, a man is supposed to smell like that.”

Sartorial by Penhaligon’s will be in stores October 11, 2010.

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My New-Found Love For Penhaligon’s LP No 9

LP No 9
I remember in the late 90’s someone turned me onto Penhaligon’s and I instantly became intrigued by their history. Anyone that’s been in existence this long must be doing something right. As an impulse shopper, I ran to Saks Fifth Avenue to experience their magic. Of all the scents I smelt, LP No 9 stood out the most. It was warm and very masculine in a traditional sense. It seemed like something a banker would wear. I purchased it and after wearing it for a bit, didn’t like it anymore. Why, my taste started to change. I longed for something new. So I offered it to my brother because I could see he took a liking to it.

On Thursday May 21st, New York City Policeman shattered my world when they told me my beloved brother, Lamont R. Bishop, collapsed and passed away on his way home from the gym. My body went cold and I felt alone. Nothing would ever be the same.

After I returned home from the hospital with my family, I walked into his room as I began grappling with my new reality and there it was on his dresser staring at me. I’ve gone in there hundreds of times to ask him to cut my hair, for advice, to watch Sportscenter, help him pick out a shirt and tie combo, to compare who had a better Windsor knot, to give him a hug and never paid much attention to it. But on this particular day, the first fragrance I ever gave my brother, sorely stood out. After holding it in my hand and remembering the moment I gave it to him, I took it back into my possession. I then took a quick shower because there was much to do and proceeded to spray a bit on myself. The next day I sprayed a bit more on myself and did so every day for the next week. So many things have been running through my head but in a weird way LP No 9 has bought me a bit of comfort and it will forever be a part of my scent wardrobe.

Ya see, LP No 9 will forever remind me of my brother. It is indeed masculine and very traditional. But now it also represents everything that made my brother loved by so many, endearing, smooth, sweet, familiar, and strong. LP No 9 just feels right and that’s how you felt when in the presence of Lamont.

I feel cheated by life because Lamont was a mere 35 years old when he passed. He was on his way to receiving his PH.D in psychology, is survived by his 1 year old son named Aidan A Bishop, was making plans to marry his fiancee Aquila Lovell and had an entire life ahead of him. But most of all, he always had a moment to listen because he cared. He embodied all of the good qualities we’ve come to understand a man is to stand for. He loved his family and inspired his friends and colleagues to strive for greatness.

As I sit outside his room writing this post, I’m reminded by its stillness that my beloved brother is gone. Its surreal because he was only 35. It’s surreal because we spoke the night before and he told me he was proud of me. It’s surreal because we were supposed to grow old together. It’s surreal because my brother, my only brother is no longer here. But the memories are deep, the love is deeper and I can thank God we had the best relationship one can ask for. Best of all, I can spray a bit of LP No 9 on myself and remember L, aspire to be the man he was and look forward to hanging with him again one day. In the interim, I pray for strength and understanding and hope you will pray for me as well.

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