Six perfume bloggers around the world, one word, every first Monday in a month: Scent Semantics are back, and the word is NOSTALGIA.

The perfume I choose is  Miracle of Roses by Miguel Matos, as a reminder of kindness, and how we all can act and help in times of distress. Here is my story.
Ah, nostalgia! I thought this would be easy, but the more I thought about it, the more complicated it became: at first I thought my feeling of nostalgia is connected with people, than places, and when I reduced all the noise around the feeling itself, it turned out that it boiled down to – scents.

Scents and how they made me feel, there and then, brief moments that seemed unimportant at the time they happened, and yet leaving long-lasting memories, which became  more intense as time passed by.

Let’s take a look at the definition first, just to be clear:

  1. a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.

Back to the past, then…Yes, to my childhood, of course: ah, those sweet times of youth and sheer joy of discovering the world around me. And let’s narrow this down to just one moment, one that I remembered last week, a moment of sentimental longing that took me back in time.

I found a perfume to match it, but allow me to describe the setting and atmosphere: during my pre-teen years, I used to spend one month of summer holidays with my grandmother and great-grandmother.

They lived in a small village, their house surrounded by beds of flowers, a lush garden, and an orchard of various fruit trees. Including a large mulberry tree, one that I loved to climb on and get my clothes stained by black mulberry juice, dripping from my mouth while I ate ripe, dark, juicy, and raw berries, wiping my hands on my t-shirt (“Lord, child, I told you a million times that’s hard to wash away!” – grandma would complain, but with a happy grin on her face).

Her hands smelled of home-baked bread, fresh milk, and sometimes chicken-broth she prepared for me – because that’s “how you start your healthy meal”.

My great-grandmother let me wander around the garden, gently explaining every plant to me; how it’s planted, grown, and harvested, and the ways it can be used: things that she needed to pass on to me, even if I didn’t understand it all back then. She used to say that “Nature provides.”, “You need to respect the land and everything that grows on it.”, and “Never forget that land can feed you in the darkest of times.”

NOSTALGIA Scent Semantics
Wearing my great-grandmother’s hand made wedding folk costume

She knew what she was talking about, surviving WW1 and WW2, and everything in between: acres of land she owned were fertile fields covered with corn, wheat, and oat. I distinctly remember a couple of plants she didn’t let me touch:  big white poppy flowers growing in the garden, and oleander tree. Only later did I understand why.

I was told never to climb on the lilac tree, she used to say that its branches might look strong but that she didn’t want me to break an arm or leg (oh, yes, I was trying to climb any tree in the garden, usually ending up with scratched legs and elbows).

She taught me things “any true lady needs to know”, practical handiwork like knitting, embroidery, how to crochet, make soap, all-natural face and body creams, even lipstick – with beetroot juice. And also how to milk a cow, make  butter and yogurt, use herbs as medicine, make rose water and oil from Turkish roses that grew by the fence, and many other “practical” things.
She used to say, you have to be able to stand on your own, be independent, always have your own money, and invest in gold jewelry – because money can become worthless in just a couple of days. Also, never – ever  trust a man courting you if he’s using big words like always, never, or forever. Deeds, not words!
Little did I understand back then, only years later her words made sense, and only much later I grasped fully how strong and resilient that woman was, totally badass.

Her pockets were always filled with small surprises and goodies. Each evening when we sat together, she would pull out something just for me: a shiny, sweet red apple, a couple of walnuts she cracked open for me, or sweet and sticky raisins, small treats handed out with love, bringing feelings of comfort and safety…love and belonging.
And while I was sitting beside her, my head in her lap while she told me stories from her childhood and youth, her black apron smelled of Turkish roses and lavender, fresh dough she prepared every single evening, and hot bread she baked early in the morning.
Her lap was the safest place in the world, a center of the universe, a source of wisdom, caring and compassion, and by the moment my head would touch speckless white, starched, and embroidered pillows in my bed, while tucked into large feather duvets, I would fall asleep happily and immediately.

Roses and bread, and miracles of a happy childhood!


Miracle of roses bottle with roses

Miguel Matos created Miracle of Roses in 2019, inspired by a sculpture of St. Elisabeth Queen of Portugal upon which he stumbled one day while walking around Funchal, Madeira (and now I’m getting nostalgic to visit it again, it’s a lovely town on a truly fascinating island…).

Elisabeth fed the hungry during her husband’s rule, and got cought because what she was doing was prohibited. When she was caught, and accused of treason, bread hidden in the folds of her dress turned miraculously into roses  that fell to ground.
Her compassion, faith in God, and goodness are remembered to this day: not only was she a wonderful model of kindness toward the poor, she was also a successful peacemaker between members of her own family, and between nations.

Retable of the Queen Saint Elizabeth (16th century), in the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro.
Retable of the Queen Saint Elizabeth (16th century), in the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro.

Miracle of Roses is technically an amber floral perfume, quite different than what you might expect.

It’s a fine blend of roses, impression of freshly baked bread, and spices. Warm, melancholic, and very tender in woody notes, it is a unique rose perfume – perhaps polarizing to some.

Vulnerable roses at Miracle of Roses heart are dipped into a lovely heliotrope, and framed in deep immortelle tones, while cinnamon and and nutmeg add warm-spice nuances to lactonic notes rolling around them.

Just what I needed: a nostalgic memory of my great-grandmother, and a fragrance that’s insipired by goodness, love for those in need, and peace on Earth: Miracle of Roses.

Notes (as listed by the brand): Bread, Milk, Cinnamon. Rose, Iris, Heliotrope, Immortelle, Honey, Sandalwood, Incense, Woody Notes. / Miguel Matos Perfumes (please check, I purchased my bottle some time ago) 

Tell me about your interpretation of NOSTALGIA in terms of scent! What perfume would you choose?

Scent Semantics
Please do check out the rest of our Scent Semantics crew, blogging about NOSTALGIA:
Daisy also created a LinkTree which has us all organized in one place!
The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: The Plum Girl archive/ Miguel Matos


  1. What beautiful memories — thank you for sharing them! My paternal grandparents were also great gardeners, who grew a lot of food for their household before, during, and after the Great Depression. Miracle of Roses sounds very lovely, I will look out for it. The fragrance I chose for my Scent Semantics post on nostalgia was Molinard de Molinard.

    • Yes, they had a totally self-sufficient household. And I didn’t even mention all animals they had! I hope you’ll enjoy Miracle of Roses…

  2. WOW! Your grandma sounds wonderful and so knowledgable. How lucky you were to have her growing up.
    The perfume sounds like a perfect fit.
    You know how much I love a rose frag….
    Portia xx

    • Yes, well I guess that you don’t want to mess around Slavic woman left alone to provide for 5 kids and a farm – yet taking good care of themselves. They were both my sheroes. I love this perfume, and it’s a very different take on rose!

  3. Roses and bread! How absolutely fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your grandmother. I was also very close to mine and she was the most glamorous woman, even after she lost everything in the Cultural Revolution and made it to Hong Kong with almost nothing to start over again. My grandmother always smelled of Chanel N. 5 and make-up. She had flowers in her garden too. Roses were her favorite. She had white lilies in the garden too, which I know some people don’t like because they remind them of funerals. Because my family is Asian, we don’t have the same associations. Anyway, you made me feel quite nostalgic for my own grandmother and her love. Thank you ❤️

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