Basenote Bitch

Knowing and Pleasures by Estee Lauder

I think a lot of people can trace one of their first experiences with perfume back to a maternal figure in their lives. My own scent flashbacks of my beloved grandmother Mimi (i.e. Mary Bellor) are what made me the fragrance head I am. She rotated these two fragrances throughout the seasons of my childhood into adulthood. Their familiar aroma has touched every one of our embraces for the 30 years and counting I’ve had the immense privilege of knowing and learning from her.

When she travels somewhere, even if she hasn’t brought a travel-sized bottle she still leaves a trail behind because these two scents are on every piece of her wardrobe. When I smell the blend I think of the delicate skin of her hands grazing over her collection of decorative boxes and the beautiful needlepoint tapestries she’s mastered. I think of her and my late grandfather dancing at a wedding anniversary years past.

I never thought to ask if they were an actual perfume because they are so tied up in my vision of her that they’re beyond a designer. I walked by a woman on the street a couple months ago and I caught a whiff of what I could only describe as Mimi’s essence. I was jolted by a passing moment having the capacity to bring up so many memories. It made me finally ask—what is your signature scent, Mimi? I had been so wrapped up in what they mean to me that I forgot some of the greatest stories are why a person chooses the perfume they do.

She told me my grandfather (buppa as his many grandchildren called him) got these two scents for her throughout their many years of marriage together. She received Estee Lauder Knowing on Christmas from him because it’s a gorgeous, woody, chypre. In summertime around her birthday in August it was always Pleasures, which has a bouquet of flowers after the rain vibe.

Their love story spanning just shy of 64 wedding anniversaries is one for the books. My grandfather passed away at the end of 2018, but I feel close to him and the love he had for Mimi when I wear this. I’m more of a Knowing girl because it aligns with what I know of Mary Belmont—a sassy, elegant badass with a natural authority.

Knowing and Pleasures by Estee Lauder