Smoke without fire….

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I have a love/hate relationship with cigarettes. Am I allowed to say that? I hate them for all the same reasons you do but the evocative power of a lit cigarette is haunting in its ability to transport me to another time. It’s not the raw in-your-face-sitting-next-to-a-chain-smoker sort of smell I mean, but the subtle aromas it leaves on my clothes and on my hair that only makes me miss it when I come across it again.

In Prague last weekend it was like being in a time machine. No smoking ban there. We were eating, drinking and dancing with smokers and it was the stale, morning after the night before, aroma that transported me back to another place. There was booze, there were men, there was dancing. It was a hen. Which meant a sweaty, perfume filled, smoky stench clinging to my hair and my pillow. It was deliciously pungent in the way that it made me feel younger, freer, and a little bit lighter around the buttock area. It took me back 11 years, right back to Uni. The reminiscent feelings vanished into a haze the minute I stepped out of bed, my head went thump and the obligatory cries of oh-my-god-we-stink lead to an orderly queue forming for the shower.

There are a handful of aromas that captivate me. Cigarette smoke is one, Chanel’s Allure for Men aftershave is another (I was living in Paris, Sephora was to Paris what Sainsbury’s Local is to London) and Jordan’s Sauvignon Blanc from Stellenbosch is the another.

Jordan Sauvignon Blanc. Queue dreamy music. It’s unmistakeable in its character, so unique in its aroma that in a blind tasting of South African whites the other day I was whisked from dreary office walls to a magical holiday with Mr B. Our first long haul amazing, fall in love and realise we’re the ones sort of holiday. Basking in the sun on the veranda at Jordan’s winery holding a miniature chameleon on one arm and a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc on the other. At that moment we fell in love with each other, South Africa and its wines there and then.

Think green bell pepper, pea pod, watercress, freshly mown grass, new blossom nectar and the aroma of warm sunshine on your face and you’ll see what I mean about this wine standing out from the crowd. The scent of Allure for Men and cigarette smoke fade into insignificance against this wine and while Uni and Paris may well have ‘been the days’, growing up isn’t so bad if it means cleaner clothes, friendlier hangovers and much, much nicer wine.

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