I’m not sure how much I’ve talked about my dad’s mom here, but she deserves a post all on her own. She’s a good woman and the love we have for each other is undeniable.
When I went to visit her in Israel last summer, I also found out that despite her reputation as a clean-freak, she’s quite a hoarder, and has kept many things past their expiration date (figuratively and literally). She waited two whole years for me to come along and help her throw her old cosmetics out.
Of course, I couldn’t just toss some of this stuff. It didn’t hold sentimental value for me, but this stuff is really interesting historically.
Today (and in the next four posts), I’d like to share with you the wonderful garbage that came out of my grandmother’s closets.
Final note: this is a wake up call for those of you who keep fragrances and other types of cosmetics for decades. Most cosmetics have a shelf life of 3-5 years once opened, and should be routinely cleaned out.
1. Mäurer & Wirtz Original Aftershave Lotion:
This was an interesting find for me. Grandma says it was gifted to grandpa a few years ago, but after sitting broken in the closet for the majority of that time, she decided it was time to let it go. Remember, uncapped (broken) cosmetics expire much faster!
Turns out this is a classic scent that’s still around, and came out originally in 1959. I’d never seen it sold in North America, but here in Israel it retails for about 300 NIS. This is the Original scent in aftershave lotion, and comes in a bigger than life 300 mL porcelain bottle, with a screw-on plastic cap.
I didn’t dare to put this on my skin, and I’m not a big fan of animal testing, so putting it on my brothers was out of the question. In the bottle it smelled faintly like Aramis, with a rich, old-school masculine blend of citrus and herbs, ending up in a sort of powdery, smoky thing.
Although I can see many people enjoying this scent, it’s overpowering even in the bottle at low concentration.
2. Judith Miller Bat-Sheba:
There’s not a lot of information out there about this stuff, so I’m glad to add my thoughts. I suppose the reason so little is known about it is because Israeli perfumer Judith Miller made the stuff in the 60’s.
Grandma didn’t have a back story for this one, but my other grandma apparently wore this stuff when my mom was a kid. It’s not hard to imagine grandma getting this as a gift at some point, although she didn’t mind letting it go.
The bottle’s really something; it looks like it came straight from an archaeological dig site, featuring a long-necked glass flacon with a screw-on cap made of metal. There’s a label tied to the neck in gold string, claiming this is an eau de toilette. On the worn bottom you can barely make out the ‘made in Israel’ in raised glass.
The fumes coming from the opening tell me of a sweet Aromatics Elixir that still has the power to clear the nose 55 years later. It’s essentially rose with a lot of honey.
Cute piece of Israeli olfactory history!
3. Galimard Eau de Lavande:
This one’s especially unique, because I couldn’t find a single mention of it anywhere online.
It was so deep in the closet that I had missed it during my cleaning out. Grandma pulled it afterwards, asking “What about this one?”
In terms of packaging, this looks more like a Walmart bargain bin find than the product of a French house. There’s no stickers with additional information anywhere, and what’s on the front label in minimal. The bright purple fluid makes me think this might actually be a fairly recent acquisition.
The plastic screw-on cap encloses a fresh, green lavender, slightly reminiscent of scented toilet water. It’s got a hint of bakery-esque to it, and all together it is an unfitting, unflattering, and previously undocumented fragrance.
That’s it for this edition of My Grandma’s Fragrant Treasures, I hope you learned a bit about some of the many mysteries of scent. Until next time, you should be sniffing!