That is, roughly, how many bottles of perfume were left in storage in France when I moved to Canada this winter because there was no way, short of Fedexing dozens of boxes for thousands of dollars, that I could get my collection overseas… So amid the sorting, the selling, the discarding of decades of Parisian life – an archaeological dig through every person I’ve been, persona I’ve taken on, failed intentions and heart-rending memories, sheaves of manuscripts, all the books that have composed the biography of my mind, trifling objects charged with the mana of past lives… I’ve had to choose which perfumes I could take with me. In the rush of the move, there seemed to be no time to think. No considered pondering of what would best suit my new life in different country, which memories I couldn’t tear myself away from, which references I couldn’t do without. I had to choose instinctively, swiftly, the 60 or so perfumes that could fit into the boxes we shipped to Canada or in my suitcases. I did have some idea that away from Paris, and with a smaller collection, I would finally get to enjoy all those almost-full bottles more fully. But why those especially, I ask myself as I gaze upon the ones that made it across the Atlantic?
That is one the reasons I’ve decided to revive this blog, over four years after writing a last post about another, far worse bereavement. As I reexplore this smaller collection salvaged from the panicked sorting of my humongous loot, I hope to reacquaint myself with the pleasure of writing about fragrance just for the love of it (and of writing). Perhaps also, and that is another intention, I hope to explore the culture of scent in Canada through the people who bring it alive. Hence the new subtitle of this (bilingual) blog, in French because there is no possible translation: (Se) sentir au Canada, which both means “feeling you’re in Canada” and “Smelling in Canada”. I promise it won’t all be about maple syrup.