Eau de Nose


lindaname.jpgOver the years I’ve written a lot about barbers in the old West. Every town had one. No matter how rough and wooly it was men loved to get a shave and hair cut.


Old Spice MugBarbers back then used a soap cake that was round and hard. They put it in a shaving mug, added some water, and whipped it into a lather with a soft bristle brush. I watched my daddy do the same thing in the 50’s and apply the lathery cream to his face. And I can’t think of Old Spice aftershave today without him coming to mind. As a little girl I loved the smell of it. Even today I relate that to love and a feeling of security. This mug and brush belonged to my dad.


vintage old spiceIn the old West the most common aftershave was probably Bay Rum. I’m sure it depended on what part of the country the barber shop was in and what was available. And I think the barber might’ve made his own most of the time. It was easy to soak bay or mint leaves in rum, water and oils and let it sit for a few weeks or so.


Then one thing led to another in my research. You know how it goes.


Before long I was deep in the history of the perfumes. The very first form of perfumes was about 4,000 years ago in the form of incense. Shortly after, ancient cultures began soaking fragrant woods and resins in water or oil and rubbing the liquid on their bodies. Perfumes were also used by the Egyptians in the embalming process.


By the way, did you know that the pharaohs, queens, and wealthy Egyptians took several baths a day? They must”ve liked cleanliness.


France quickly became the European center of the perfume industry and they took it to another level. Perfumes were needed to mask body odors resulting from the lack of hygiene practices of the day. In the 18th century, King Louis XV demanded a different fragrance for his apartment every day. Napoleon had two quarts of violet cologne delivered to him each week and it’s reported that he used 60 bottles of double extract of jasmine every month. I wonder if he drank the stuff. That’s a heck of a lot! Josephine had stronger perfume preferences. Musk was her choice and she used it so heavily that the scent lingered in her bedroom 60 years later. Can you imagine how that must’ve overwhelmed?


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the West, rose water was the preference of most women. It was very easy to make.


All it took was putting rose petals in a pot, covering with water and boiling until it reached the fragrant stage desired. Then it was strained and put into some type of container with an airtight lid. Of course, if roses weren’t available, any type of flower worked. Women were resourceful in the West and learned to make do with anything. They also were known to dab household vanilla and other flavorings behind their ears.


My mother didn’t wear perfume, but she loved bath powder. I still remember the special fragrance of her Cashmere Bouquet.


When I was young, I had Blue Waltz perfume. Does anyone remember that? Five and dime stores sold it for around fifteen cents. I thought I was really grown up to have a bottle of Blue Waltz. It was sweet and floral and if memory serves it didn’t smell all that bad. Unless you used too much. Then it was awful.


Do you have a special perfume or cologne that you like and if so, what kind? Or is there a scent that reminds you of times past and holds pleasant memories?   
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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

34 thoughts on “Eau de Nose”

  1. Linda, you sure brought back memories when you talked about barber shops and shaves and such. As a little girl, I went to the barber shop on many a Saturday morning with my daddy. I can still remember seeing men’s faces lathered up from the barber taking his cup of soap and brush to their prickly whiskers. My daddy had his own cup and brush like your dad’s and yes, Old Spice was right there to be splashed on too. I remember when I got old enough to really use perfumes, Youth Dew was a big favorite.

  2. Hi Linda! Super fun post! Nothing takes me back to a time or place like a certain smell. That’s particularly true in the fall when the leaves change and the air smells like high school football.

    Re: fragrances. Dolce and Gabbana will forever remind me of my sons. I was at work one day in a doctor’s office, when a twenty-something guy walked in. You guessed it–D&G. And a lot of it! LOL! Sometimes less is more 🙂

  3. This is a very interesting article for me because I am a perfume collector and have probably over 100 different ones on my bedroom dresser. I think if I had to choose one as a favorite, I would go with Flowerbomb. It seems to be the one I go for when I can’t make up my mind. I really don’t have a scent that brings back memories since no one in my family was really into perfumes. Opium brings back memories of my high school days. That was the first one I ever got. It was a gift from a boyfriend at the time.

  4. What fun info! Wow, I cannot imagine the use of that much perfume by Josephine or Napoleon. I can’t stand when I pass someone in a store and smell them! I like the subtle tones of perfume on people. I had something called Electric…, can’t remember the second part. It was my first perfume and I loved it to death!! I kept the bottle for years but finally threw it away when I moved. Great memories.

  5. Linda, fun post. I can’t wear perfume because of family allergies. I remember Blue Waltz and bought my first bottle with baby-sitting money!

    I don’t understand this thing with food fragrances. When you walk into a bath shop everything smells like food–strawberry, vanilla, cherry and yes even chocolate. Why would anyone want to douse themselves in a vanilla or blueberry fragrance? The smell of food makes you HUNGRY. That makes you want to EAT. And they wonder why we have a weight problem in this country.

  6. You made be giggle with the Blue Waltz reference!! I remember my grandmothers dressing table and all the beautiful bottles!! And how my dad smelled of Old Spice!

  7. Good Morning Melanie………..Tears never fail to fill my eyes when I look at my daddy’s shaving mug. Such a simple thing really but it makes the memories flood back. I’m sure mugs like this were in a good many homes because there wasn’t that much back then. Simpler times but I sure wish I could go back if only for a minute. Thanks for your comment.

    Have a great day!

  8. Hi Vicki!!!! It’s great to have you stop by. I hope things are going really well with you. Yes, smells certainly can stop me in my tracks and bring back memories that I’d tucked away and mostly forgot. I agree about the over-applying of perfume and cologne. Really strong smells like that actually give me a headache. I stopped wearing perfume when I married because my husband was allergic. Take care and drop by again sometime!

    Wishing you much success and love and happiness!

  9. Good Morning Janine……….How interesting that you collect perfume. That’s really neat. I’d love to see all those bottles. Bet it’s a sight to behold. I’ve never heard of Flowerbomb. But then I don’t wear perfume. Thanks for stopping by and chatting a minute.

    Wishing you a wonderful day!

  10. Good Morning Susan………I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. I actually wrote a similar one the first year P&P was born. A lot of readers weren’t around then. I can’t stand strong perfume either. Actually makes me sick. I think what happens is that people get immune to the smell when they wear it for a long time so they keep putting more and more on. Yes, I can’t imagine Napoleon and Josephine. Blows my mind.

    Have a very blessed day and if you’re where it’s cold stay warm!

  11. Good Morning Margaret………….I’m glad you enjoyed my post and glad I could bring back a memory with Blue Waltz. It puzzles me too why anyone would want to walk around smelling like a cherry cake or blueberry muffin. And you’re right it does make you want to grab something and stuff it in your mouth. I think this country is food crazy. No wonder there’s so many overweight people!

    Have a wonderful blessed day!

  12. Good Morning Cate S……………..Glad I could make you giggle. Another perfume I remember buying when I was young is Evening in Paris. It came in this dark blue bottle and made me feel so scandalous when I put it on. Glad I could bring back memories of your grandparents.

    Hope you have a great day!

  13. Good Morning Sherri………I’m glad you enjoyed my post and that I brought back memories with Cashmere Bouquet. I’m sure it didn’t cost a lot because we never much money back then. But my mom wanted to smell nice. And she did. I loved snuggling up in her lap. She smelled like love and I knew I was safe and cherished.

    Hope you enjoy your day!

  14. Linda, I only wear Cinnabar perfume anymore. It lasts and it smells wonderful on. Some perfumes don’t smell as good on some people as others, and it happens that Cinnabar is “mine” as far as the scent smelling great once I put it on. I have had people stop me in stores and ask what that was I was wearing. LOL

    My mom’s perfume that I remember from early on was White Gardenia. She loved that. Later on, she would wear Red Door. I still have her last bottle of that on my dressing table.

    This is a great post! Love to think about these scents and what they represent, and your story about your dad and the shaving mug brought tears to my eyes.

    Thanks for a great post, dear friend!

  15. It is funny… Glade has a melting oil candle that smells like my dad’s cologne… not sure what type of cologne it is… I will have to ask. Now a smell that is not perfume that always reminds me of someone is baking pumpkin pie… I always think of my grandmother….

  16. Linda, what a terrific post! My gram loved violets and always wore powder and colognes that smelled of violets. I wore Je Reviens perfume in college and this post reminded me how much I loved it. Might have to revisit the scent. What I use mostly these days are lotions and soaps of lavender. I love it!

    My mom used to love “Charlie.”

    Last “Movember” –the month when guys grow a mustache in support of awareness for men’s cancers (Hubs is a survivor)…our daughter got her hubby, her dad and her brother all authentic barber shop hot towel shaves for Christmas! They had some real male bonding that day LOL.

    Thanks both for the info and the memories today, filly sister! xoxox

  17. Hi Cheryl……….I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I vaguely remember Cinnabar. The name makes me think of pirates on the high seas for some reason. Bet it smells good. White Gardenia is a nice scent. Bet you think of your mom every time you smell it. How neat that you still have her bottle of Red Door on your dressing table. We do love to hold close things that remind us of our loved ones.

    Wishing you all the best today and everyday!

  18. Hi Mary……….Oh I remember Emeraude. It was in a very pretty bottle. Very sexy name. Almost as sexy as Evening in Paris that was another one I had back about a hundred years ago. I thought that was so scandalous and quite sinful. Ha! You wear Crest now and I wear the fresh scent of Dove. We’ve come a long way since our misspent youth!

    Have a fun and exciting day!

  19. Hi Colleen……….Always great to see you stop by, girl! How strange that your Glade melting oil candle smells like your dad’s cologne! Too funny. But on the other hand, anytime you want to feel his presence you just have to light that candle. I know you love smelling the fragrance of a baking pumpkin pie since it reminds you of your grandmother. These things are priceless.

    Have a great day!

  20. Hi Tanya…………I’m glad my post brought back pleasant memories. I love the smell of lavender too. It’s so calming and relaxing, especially when I take long soak in the tub with that in the water. What a sweet thing for your daughter to do! I think men like to be pampered more than we know. And what’s more pampering than a hot towel shave.

    Hope you find plenty of fun and laughter today!

  21. Great blog, my friend. Lots of memories. I remember Midnight in Paris (I believe it was called) that you could buy at Woolworth’s, when I was growing up. I’m a bit older so I wear Shalimar now. I began wearing it when I was younger, so now it’s kinda a Granny perfume, but I still love it. Thanks for a great blog. Lots of love, P

  22. Great blog, Linda. I know it was about perfume, but the pictures of Old Spice just brought back a wave of memories. My uncle always wore Old Spice. I still remember following him all around the farm “helping” while he did his chores and then watching him shave and splash some Old Spice on before heading into town.


  23. Hi Phyliss………Seems my blog today really sparked memories. That’s always a good thing. I’d hate to have amnesia and have my memories wiped away. What a horrible thought. Midnight in Paris was the second perfume I owned when I was a young girl. It was very cheap; I think maybe fifteen or twenty cents. You’ve reached the age where you can wear anything you dang well want. That’s a granny’s prerogative! Glad you enjoyed my blog.

  24. Hi Kirsten……….I think my blog was a mismatched bunch. It’s just about fragrances I guess. I can tell how much you miss your uncle. I hear the longing in your voice. I’m glad you have such pleasant memories of him. The smells I think of most are the ones that make me feel loved and cherished. However, this may sound strange to you but after my husband passed away I kept smelling cigarettes. He was a pretty heavy smoker but he didn’t smoke in the house so it couldn’t have gotten into the walls or anything. And it wasn’t all the time, mostly whenever I felt really in the depths of despair. I felt then and still do that he was trying to comfort me.

    Take care and stay warm up there! Bet it’s pretty cold.

  25. I can remember my mother using only powder. Cashmere Bouquet was her fav too. My great-grandmother used vanilla as her quick go-to when company came. Just a dab behind the ear. I really like Mary’s perfume. I seem to use the same Crest tube as mine.
    I always wondered about the over use of ‘toilet’ water that was used in the 1800’s and throughout Europe and early America. A hot bath at least once a week would have helped a whole lot. Of course the ‘old wives tale’ about getting undressed in winter you would catch p-new-monia was always on the mind. No wonder the Indians could smell them coming across the plains! UGH. And Josephine and her Musk odor. That has got to be the worst smell anyone could use. My boys used to trap and use some foul smelling scents. That could have easily been one of them.
    Otherwise–great blog today. Loved it. Brought out some great memories. Thanks.

  26. Great Blog today, Linda! I remember all those old favorites. Until the day my father died, he used the old bristle brush and soap in a cup to shave. My sister keeps it on her bathroom vanity now. Do you remember Taboo? My mom’s favorite.
    I love Vanderbilt…that’s my scent. I rarely change it, but I do love anything vanilla, for candles, bath gels etc.

  27. My husband uses Old Spice most of the time and I love it. My dad also used it. I have the Old Spice shaving mug you showed in the picture above. I also have an old McCoy shaving mug and shaving brush that belonged to my grandfather. Over the years, I have acquired a couple of straight razors, a few old razors, and a hanging leather strop and another one that coils back into a silver case.

    In college I used Aquamarine perfume which was discontinued. I then found and loved Old Spice For Women. It had a wonderful, mildly spicy scent. Unfortunately, it was discontinued sometime in the late 1970′ or so. I have tried and liked several others since, but most of them have been discontinued. My husband bought L’air du Temps for our first anniversary and it has been my choice for special occasions since.

    There are several variations on a sea breeze type scent. One is Sea Level by Mary Kay. There is also one imported from Ireland that is similar. I often use the one from Mary Kay in the summer.

  28. My mother’s favorite perfume was Avon’s Cotillion. She passed away in 1971, but every once in a while i can smell it. She has never been in the houses where I have noticed the fragrance. I think she is just saying Hi.

  29. Hello Linda. I have seen many of the Shaving mugs and brushes, with my dad and husband using them and at relatives homes too. And, I’ve always loved the Cashmere Powder, and for sure remember the Blue Waltz too. Had that also. So many have been my Favorites through my many years. But, I used to use several different ones and at some point now usually always wear the same. I love Imari.
    Maxie Anderson

  30. I remember the shaving mugs too. My dad and grandfather used them. Daddy loved Old Spice.Charlie was one perfume I loved. I accidentally got too much on me one time and couldn’t wear it again. I get migraines now when I am around strong perfumes. I guess that time was what set me off. I remember one man I was around a lot wore musk but not too much. I also remember Stetson as a good men’s aftershave. Still Old Spice brings good memories. Mother used Moonlight Magic until she couldn’t use them either but Cashmere Bouquet was her powder of choice. Great post. Great memories.

  31. I love perfume. 10 years ago we sold everything to become missionaries. The one thing my heart didn’t give up though was the love of NICE perfume, to which a friend keeps me in supply of…that and nice hair gel that keeps my hair nice & spikey! My current scent is Narcisco Rodriguez.

    Wild Turkey, Old Spice, High Karate, Trouble… my brothers and dad took turn with these. What memories a scent will bring back.

    Thank you for sharing – how very interesting!

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