We put heart-fluttering scents into the ring with their sensual sisters to see who comes up trumps.
“The question that women casually shopping for perfume ask more than any other is this: ‘What scent drives men wild?’ After years of intense research, we know the definitive answer. It is bacon,” writes perfume expert Tania Sanchez, author of Perfumes, The Guide. Jokes aside, sex sure does sell but often women are more in the mood for romance than seduction. So, what smells sexy and what smells like love? And, yes we know what you’re thinking; the two aren’t mutually exclusive (well, we sure hope not!), but sometimes it’s handy to use different fragrances to set different moods.
Romantic fragrances often have classic floral notes such as rose at the heart – in other words the middle note (often considered to be the fragrance’s “true” personality) is an ode to rose. You may find that fragrance your granny or mom wore, had a lot of rose in the composition. Estée Lauder’s Beautiful for instance has been described by Sanchez and her co-author Luca Turin as, “classic rose”. It is and always has been a big hit with brides on their wedding days. Why? Well, because exchanging vows is the height of romance and maybe not the best time to haul out your sexiest scent! And what about that all-time favourite Chanel No. 5 parfum? We love Sanchez’s poetic description of this fragrance legend: “It is an ideally proportioned wonder, all of a piece, smooth to the touch and solid as marble, with no sharp edges and no extraneous fur trimming, a monument of perfect structure and texture. And some people think perfume is not an art.”
And now that we’ve pulled at your heartstrings, let’s talk about scent that many of us (especially with the big V-day approaching) are out shopping for: fragrance for seduction. Traditionally, sensual scents would have been animalistic musk or the heavy and heady scents of base florals such as jasmine and tuberose. But before you’re completely turned off by ingredients sourced from animals in your perfume, feel rest assured that today’s musks are synthetically produced in a lab. And the reason it’s as popular today as in years gone by, is because musk develops in the dry-down (the late stage of a scent) and results in a sensual and warm “musky” note rising up to the surface.
What other smells in a fragrance immediately say sexy? Like musk, sandalwood is said to help boost attraction and is often found in the base of a fragrance. And we can’t talk sexy and not mention vanilla. A gourmand scent ingredient (that means it’s designed to smell like dessert) it’s also commonly found in base notes of perfume. We recommend you “bring some sexy back” by spritzing a modern classic like Narciso Rodriguez EDP Essence, an ode to modern, white musks. And for those who like to mix a little masculine in with feminine, Thierry Mugler’s Angel (think flowers and candy) has long had a cult following.
Happy Valentine’s Day!