Ahh, That Sweet Smell Of….

They say that a certain song will take you back to an exact moment in your life that the only way you would recall it, is because of that tune.  It happens all the time.  I am 47 and if I hear Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran,” I am 15 years old again playing pool baseball at Burning Tree Apartments and it is 1983.

There is something else though, that takes me back, but not in so much a good way.  I was standing in line a week or so ago and it hit me.  Not a song.  But a certain aroma.  A certain smell that I had long since forgotten about and immediately wanted to pass out.

“Excuse me, I am sorry.  What cologne is that you are wearing?”

“I think it is called Drakkar. Why?

“Oh nothing.  Keep on wearing it.  The ladies are going to love it.”

“You think so?”

“Trust me, absolutely.”

Upon taking a whiff of that awful cologne, I was back in some nightclub in Birmingham, or maybe the Underground on 2nd Ave, or Ace of Clubs.  Just look at the bottle and  you get sick.




No one ever just did a splash of spray wearing that.  When someone wore Drakkar, smog laughed.  And yes, we can all pinpoint that certain dude that always wore this.

So, let’s not stop there with awful cologne.  There are others that literally make me ill when I think about them and I am guilty of wearing them all.




Hello junior year of high school, now where is the nearest trash can so I can go puke.  How in the world can something that smells so bad to me now, smelled so good to me back in high school?  I often think of giving this as a gag gift to friends.



Guilty.  100% guilty.  I wore this all the time.  One Christmas, my sweet mother bought me Obsession for Women.  I wore that for months before I discovered it was for women.  Smelling that now has the same effect of the previous ones but dear God, putting that on and I can recall me strutting into class at Samford University and no one talking to me.  The whole time I thought it was something I might have said.  Instead, it was something I was wearing.  ALL THE TIME!!



Confession time.  I used to be obsessed with the makeup ladies at Dillards at Hickory Hollow.  Obsessed!  They were gorgeous and always smelled incredible.  One day as I strolled by, I stopped to smell some of the cologne.  Out of nowhere was one of the most stunning women I have ever seen and she was walking to me.  She had a bottle of Eternity in her hand.  I would have bought a hang grenade from her at this point.  “Have you tried this?”  “No, but I have an important job interview coming up and I need a strong powerful cologne.” (Such a damn lie.)  “This is called Eternity and you know why?  No one will forget you, for eternity.”  Signed, sealed and absolute delivered.  I was sick from the moment I smelled it when I got in my car.   Every other time I would go through Dillard’s and see her, I would hide.  Pathetic.



One more, “bless her heart,” to my sweet mother.  Stetson cologne she bought me one time for my birthday.  Stetson! She might as well have given me sour milk in a nice designed bottle.  How bad was Stetson? I used to keep that bottle my mom gave me and would spray on spiders around the house I would see, just so they would suffer as bad as I did.

Again, that song can take you back but that smell, oh that sweet smell of awful cologne, will take you just as far.





  1. Elaine May 17, 2016 3:05 pm  Reply

    Love the spider killer comment! I remember one Christmas when my sister and I were so desperate to get my Father away from Wild Country that we stood in (then) Castner Knott’s fragrance department asking all the men that came by to try different scents until we came up with Paco Rabanne. It was a home run (or at least that’s what he told us) and we got it every year. I always wondered if he really liked it or was using it to kill the spiders – LOL!!

    • Joe Dubin May 18, 2016 12:29 am  Reply

      Hahaha…Paco Rabanne…also, which Castners??

      • Elaine May 18, 2016 12:42 am  Reply

        Green Hills – I’m sure I embarrassed my sister to death!

  2. Sarah Wilkinson May 17, 2016 4:54 pm  Reply

    You are too funny! Us old folks remember Old Spice and how offenders (users) would pour it in their hands and “splash” it on their face in a sort of ritualistic way -always the same. No dabbing Old Spice -you SPLASHED it on! And another thing, I never ever came upon an empty bottle of any of this stuff. The bottles just hung around for years-each with just enough for one more splash!

    Thanks for the memory!

    • Joe Dubin May 18, 2016 12:30 am  Reply

      Yes, Old Spice makes my stomach turn….That fragrance/cologne will never die. It will last thru generations
      and generations…

  3. Andrew September 20, 2016 2:12 am  Reply

    I started with the Polo in the late 80s early 90s but as soon as Snoop Dogg rapped about his cool water cologne I switched and still have a bottle to this day

  4. Sarah January 7, 2017 12:57 am  Reply

    Two words: English Leather!

  5. Ken August 13, 2019 2:00 am  Reply

    Let’s not forget Hai Karate, enough said.

    • Joe Dubin August 13, 2019 12:49 pm  Reply

      I thought Hai Karate was a joke for years until I actually saw a damn bottle and was just floored..

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