Saturday Question: What Single Perfume Would You Take With You?

We had an extremely stressful week. Tomorrow I’ll publish a detailed account of the events not to keep doing it again and again in private emails to those who were asking me about the situation. But today I decided not to skip the Saturday Question and instead use what has happened as an invitation to discuss the topic.

* * *

With the aggressor bombing Kharkov, the city I was born and grew up in, at some point it became clear that we had to evacuate my vSO’s mother.

Talking on the phone, I was helping my MIL to pack her things for the trip. Since she has not traveled in decades, she didn’t even have a suitcase. So, for the (most likely) one-way trip, leaving everything behind forever, we had to figure out the absolute minimum that she could take with her in a largish bag she had, as a “single small luggage item” she was allowed. It is still winter in Ukraine, so she needed to bring some warm clothes, as well as medicine, water and food for the road. So, there wasn’t much else she could take with her from her previous life. I suggested taking a couple of pictures of her late husband and any jewelry with sentimental value. She isn’t a perfume lover, so the question of perfume didn’t come up.

I tried to imagine what I would have done in this awful situation. Having very limited space, leaving everything behind and running for my life, what one bottle from my collection, if any, would I have taken with me?


Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #105:

What Single Perfume Would You Take With You?

Hoping to never find ourselves in such circumstances and not playing our usual perfumistas’ games of creative counting or sneaking in some extras, being brutally honest: having 5 minutes to decide and extremely limited space, knowing that you would never get back, do you think that you would have taken with you any one of your perfumes? If yes, which one and why? If not, why?

My Answer

Even without having to move, I was so busy coordinating the evacuation and under such enormous stress that for several days I didn’t even think about perfumes. But once my MIL got to safety, I immediately went back to wearing perfumes. This tells me that my love for perfume is very deep, and even in such a horrible situation, not having anything with me at all, once I had calmed down a little, would have added to my unhappiness. So, if I had a chance (and not all people in Ukraine do – some have to leave their houses to hide just to come back to the black hole in the building where their apartment was), I would have taken with me a small bottle of my all-time perfume love, Climat by Lancome. Probably not even to wear, at least initially, but to be able to smell something that I loved back when my previous life wasn’t shattered by the crazy egomaniac.

Lancome Climat

How about you?

What Single Perfume Would You Take With You?


24 thoughts on “Saturday Question: What Single Perfume Would You Take With You?

  1. Thank you, Undina , for letting us know what is going on in your life. What a horribly difficult situation to have to deal with. I am so sorry. But what a good question you have sourced from this horrible situation. I have to say my Puredistnace perfumes, folowed by my Dusita, would be the ones i would grab.

    Part of that is expense, they are both some of my most expensive perfumes. But they are also the ones that speak to my soul, and that because of said expense, I would find the most difficult to replace.

    Hugs to you and your family. I am sorry you are having to deal with this. God knows where we will all be 6 months from now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so relieved to hear you managed to get your mother in law out. I’ve been increasingly worried as Kharkov has been bombed indiscrimately. I appreciate you posting an update tomorrow. I’ve been forcing myself not to email yet again!

    I wouldn’t take perfume because I’d want to take my big bottle of Vol de Nuit edt. It is my most grounding perfume and I’d need that when displaced from everything I knew in such horrific circumstances.
    Hope your MIL is safe and well now despite the grief she must feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad your mother-in-law is out and safe, Undina. Looking forward to your update tomorrow. Sending hugs. The only perfume I would take with me is Masque Milano L’Attesa.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am happy to hear that your MIL is safe, Undina. What a horrific set of circumstances that would bring anyone to this painful decision on what to take and what to leave behind. When a moment like this presents itself, the things that are most important to you come to mind and everything else seems insignificant.

    For people like us that simply love perfume, this desion would be a difficult one at best. I would choose to take a perfume to provide me strength to carry on. That perfume would be Memoir Man by Amouage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thankfully your MiL is now physically safe. The choices she has had to make must have broken her heart. Whilst I cannot imagine the horrors she has seen & of her escape. I pray she finds some solace in the belongings she chose.
    I would choose to take something irreplaceable. Probably my Floris Madonna of the Almonds. It is beautiful, comforting, gentle & smells of valleys full of spring blossoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so very sorry Undina, for your VsO, your MIL and all this needless suffering because of one obsessive and paranoid dictator. I find the suffering of the elder people like your MIL especially heartbreaking. Yet, with all the evil this devillish man does, for me the redemption lies in the thousands and thousands of kind acts towards the Ukrainian people that arise all over the planet and, I believe, especially in Europe. Always look for the helpers, helps me to cope.
    I am not sure if you hear any European news. In my country, the Netherlands, all the time everyone is busy finding ways to support the Ukrainian people. 106 million euro’s was raised by a TV fundraiser (there are 17 million people in the Netherlands). This morning I bought tulips in a small town nearby, 1,50 euro per bunch goes to Ukraine. The guy was so pleased as he had already raised 1000 euro that morning. A guy drove all the way from Spain to the polish/ukrainian border to help the Ukrainian people with their luggage.
    My father, who is 87, lives in Amsterdam. A cousin asked him if he could lodge a Ukrainian family (a mother and 2 sons) from Kharkov I believe. Coming Wednesday they will arrive. It is a large house, and he is married again (my mother died 10 years ago) with much younger woman (a lovely person) who will help, but still they open up their home to people they don’t know. They will lodge 2 Ukrainian students later. Ofcourse we all will help. But this is happening all over the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, France…. Which I hope helps to make you feel a little better, and provides some form of comfort to the Ukrainian people, whenever they have the space and safety to feel again.

    I would take my small bottles of Vero’s perfumes.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am thankful to hear that your MIL has gotten to safety. My heart goes out to her for having her life uprooted at her age. I hope you and your family can have reprieve from this horrible situation. If I had to choose one perfume, it would probably be one that would remind me who I am, and the one that comes to mind is Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am not so good in a crisis-I’d probably take my mom’s bottle of Je Reviens, even though it’s been empty for years. She died ten years ago so it’s more of an emotional security blanket. I found two bottles online-they’ll be here this week, and it will be interesting to see if they’re anything like what I remember.

    I’m so very sorry for what your family, and all the families, are experiencing. All the words I can think of seem trite. I hope you’ll all be reunited, safely, very soon. Please look after yourself.

    Very best regards,


    Liked by 1 person

    • I have found that vintage Je Reviens holds up – I hope yours will be the same. JR is one of my top three, and also because it reminds me of my Mother.


      • MossyBerry-it’s here, and just like I remembered it. I’m so glad to have two 15 ml bottles of parfum. Thank you for the good vibes :)


  9. I am so thankful that your MIL is OK. I can’t express in words how sorry I am for her situation, Yes, in theory thinking about perfume at this point seems rather crazy, but you’re right it can make all the difference in the world in providing comfort. So in thinking what would bring me peace and comfort? At this point in my life it would be Puredistance 12. Hugs to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have continued to offer prayers for the end of this horrible attack on Ukraine. Today, I am so thankful your MIL is safe. For today’s question, I have thought of the “one perfume” question before, and I always surprise myself by “grabbing” my vintage Cacharel LouLou! It is a happy perfume; it is a dense perfume; it melds with my skin chemistry in a way that keeps it interesting and lets it end with a lingering sandalwood dry down. In an emergency, I guess I don’t want my more sentimental and/or sophisticated perfumes loves.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Undina, it must be a relief to know that your MIL is now safe, even if the whole situation is terrifying.
    What a sound approach to think of things that make you happy in times of despair. I should have liked to take Guet-Apens/ Attrape Coeur but it comes in a stopper bottle, and would be unsuitable for travels, so I’d go with Vol de Nuit.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a relief to have your MIL safely evacuated! If I could only take one perfume, I’d probably grab Parure, as it is both lovely and very hard to find. Most other items in my collection could be replaced, though some with more difficulty than others.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chiming in late to say I am glad you were able to get your MIL evacuated. What a horrible situation and frightening for the elderly. I don’t own any really expensive or rare perfumes, I can probably replace most of my favorites. I think I would take my mom’s bottle of Tea Rose. Because it was hers; I never wear it but sniff it from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You and your vSO have been on my mind daily and in my prayers. I am so glad to hear you were able to get your MIL out and look forward to your update. If I had to choose, I’d probably go with Jo Malone’s WIld Bluebell as that’s the one at the top of the list of fragrances I own that I could probably wear daily for an extended period of time before getting tired of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your poor MIL and what a rock star you are Undina. I can’t even imagine.
    There are obviously so many I’d love to pack but having experience of packing super light so we would have only 7kg carry on has me up to the task.
    I’d take Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations. My 15ml from a Take Two set is already in my wet pack go bag with enough toiletry essentials to last a month or more.
    Portia x

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Glad to hear your MiL got out, my mother has three refugees in her house, because her tenant is from Ukraine and her mother, sister and a baby came to germany. I would take my big bottle of L´Air de Rien, because its one of my favorites and its discontinued, the others could be replaced.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh dear, that is so sad. I hope your mother in law is safe now. I would take my Shalimar Millesime. If for some reason I couldn’t find it, I would take Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if. Both of these are very comforting and always make me feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, rickyrebarco! She’s in a much better state now (though, as I said, it’s a veeeery long road for us to reunite with her).
      Ta’if was my second choice – not because I love it less (I’m not sure; I think these two share the first place for me), but because my ties to the old life are with Climat. Besides, Ta’if hasn’t been discontinued, so I figured out it would be easier to replace later.


  18. Sorry that I only just noticed you were blogging again…great news about your MIL being brought to safety, but how distressing for her to have to pare her belongings down to a bare minimum, and at short notice.

    I don’t know what I would do in that instance – I’d probably be more inclined to grab a bag of samples or small decants rather than a single bottle, for their space-saving qualities. But if I did stick to the terms of the question it might be AG Songes. It would have been HOCB Immortal Beloved had I in fact owned a bottle(!).

    Really feel for you at this awful time in your country’s history, and I hope there will be a resolution somehow soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Incredible the way you were able to organize this so well and in the fly. Thank god. Best to your MIL, and all who have been displaced in this awful war. Great admiration for the bravery and grace under fire. Hope there’s an end to this madness soon with justice restoration and renewal of Ukraine. Hope you will see your dear MIL soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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