Entice the senses with these amorous blends, perfect for the month of love.
The power of scent to evoke emotions has long been acknowledged and admired. In Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is said to have bathed in a concoction of saffron and milk before meeting a suitor. Another royal, the French king Louis XIV, earned the moniker le doux fleurant or the “sweet flowery one” because of his love for fragrance, even commissioning his perfumer to create a new scent each week.
Centuries later, Marcel Proust would write of the olfactive déjà vu triggered by a tea-soaked madeleine, that brought him back to the days of his youth.
One of film’s most coquettish figures, Marilyn Monroe, also relied on the seductive quality of fragrances and was famously quoted to only wear “five drops of Chanel No. 5” to bed. To better embrace her allure, Ana de Armas spritzed Monroe’s signature scent while channeling her during the filming of Blonde.
But one need not be royalty, actual or otherwise, to experience scent’s ability to seduce, enchant or bring about waves of nostalgia. Given that our olfactory receptors are closely linked the brain’s regions related to emotion and memory, it’s no wonder scents can at times elicit instant visceral reactions.
Some scents are also said to be aphrodisiacs, and with Valentine’s Day upon us, now might just be the perfect time to test out these theories. Be it to romance a paramour on date night, or as a luxurious act of self-care, revel in enchantment with these intoxicating potions.
Romantic Rose Scents
Nothing signifies romance more than the rose, a bloom that according to mythology was named after Aphrodite’s son Cupid, also known as Eros (of which the name rose is an anagram). It’s one of the most popular notes in perfumery, its sweet floral scent and versatility giving heart to many illustrious blends.
Delina by Parfums de Marly is a feminine bouquet of Turkish rose, peony and vanilla with fruity top notes, encased in a bottle that wouldn’t look out of place in the powder rooms of Versailles. Equally tempting is Louis Vuitton’s Rose des Vents, which blends the aroma of three kinds of roses with iris, peach, and blackcurrant.
Chloé Eau de Parfum Naturelle is another rose scent of note, combining the bloom with a citrusy opening and a woody base. Also paying homage to the bud is Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Rosa Rossa Forte, a beautiful mix of sunset roses with juicy white peach.
Capturing the vivaciousness of a lush bouquet, Bulgari’s Allegra Fiori D’Amore marries Turkish and Bulgarian roses with the succulent scent of summertime raspberries. If you want to smell like Rihanna, however, indulge what is reportedly her signature scent. Love, Don’t be Shy by Kilian is as exhilarating as first love’s innocence, with rose mixed in with honeysuckle, orange blossom and marshmallow.
Sensual Vanilla Blends
Reminiscent of childhood and desserts, the creamy and saccharine smell of vanilla is certain to make anyone feel at ease. And while scent preferences are extremely personal, a study has also shown that the scent of vanilla can have aphrodisiac properties for men. Romance aside, it’s a scent that is easy to wear and like, and in the hands of an expert perfumer, marries innocence with sensuality and seduction.
An arresting scent for both men and women, Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille is a heady potion of vanilla, swirling with creamy tonka bean, cocoa, and tobacco flower. Another grown-up concoction is Maison Martin Margiela’s Replica By the Fireplace, which incorporates vanilla with the scent of orange flower, clove oil and chestnut.
Velvety soft Madagascar vanilla is mixed in with toffee and santal in Bon Parfameur Eau de Parfum 402, resulting in a lush, and creamy blend. To discover vanilla’s sultrier side, spritz on Heretic’s Dirty Vanilla, which is finished off with amber notes, patchouli and bit of spicy coriander.
Inspired by the sensual world of burlesque, Viktor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb Ruby Orchid combines vanilla with a floral heart of ruby orchid, and juicy top notes of peach. Another rich gourmand is Jimmy Choo’s I Want Choo, which fuses the sweet bean with florals like jasmine and lily, and top notes of mandarin orange and peach.
Glamorous and sensual, YSL’s Libre Eau de Parfum Intense combines the warm scent of Madagascar vanilla with fresh lavender essence, and floral accords of orange blossom and orchid. Just as sophisticated and luminous is Jean Paul Gaultier’s La Belle, which weds the aroma of the vanilla pod with crisp pear and bergamot notes.
Intoxicating Jasmine Scents
Heady, indolic, and yet simultaneously fresh and sweet, the scent of jasmine wafting through the air is reminiscent of tropical paradise and the mysteries around it. It is prized in many cultures, symbolizing eternal love in ancient China, and adorning the hair of brides at Indian weddings.
In aromatherapy, it is believed to have mood boosting and aphrodisiac properties, and is likewise a favorite of perfumers. A particular species of this white bloom, jasmine sambac or sampaguita, is the national flower of the Philippines, it’s unmistakable scent and simple beauty an inextricable part of the local culture.
Radiant and uplifting, Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine is a feminine scent with a heart of jasmine blended with magnolia and rose. Another impeccable composition is Aerin’s Ikat Jasmine, which pairs the beloved bloom with tuberose, honeysuckle and sandalwood.
Evocative of a stroll through the fields of Grasse during a sun-drenched summer, Dior’s Jasmin des Anges is a floral made more hedonistic with notes of ripe apricots, peach, and vanilla. Equally sensual is Narciso Poudrée by Narciso Rodriguez, a fragrant rendezvous of velvety jasmine with sensual wood and powdery musk.
Take a trip through the rainforest, redolent with the aroma of jungle flowers with D.S. & Durga’s Jazmin Yucatan, which enhances the bloom with passion flower, bergamot, and crisp green notes. Vilhelm Parfumerie’s Don’t Tell Jasmine is another contemporary rendition, marrying Egyptian jasmine with camellia, lemon and kir royale.
Elegant Lily of the Valley Fragrances
Also known as muguet, the adorable bell-shaped woodland bloom has been a mainstay in perfumery for years, and in the language of flowers signifies a return to happiness. It was also Monsieur Christian Dior’s favorite, sprigs of which he would gift to all his seamstresses on French Labor Day and also sew onto the hems of his couture gowns for luck. Further associating the delicate flower with notions of romance are the bridal bouquets of royalty, like those of Grace Kelly and Duchess Catherine Middleton.
Having put the lily of the valley on the fragrance map with its 1956 blend Diorissiomo, the brand continues its love story with Miss Dior Eau de Parfum. Another springtime blend is Byredo’s Inflorescence, which captures the aroma of a wild garden bursting with life and reaching its dramatic peak.
Bright and optimistic, echoing the softness of dappled light and morning dew, Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley is a refined potion certain to beguile. Those who prefer the elegance of solifleurs, or single note scents, might however be delighted with Cartier’s Pur Muguet Eau de Toilette, which deftly captures the femininity of this white bloom.
Sultry Sandalwood Potions
Woody and sophisticated, almost like second skin, a sandalwood scent is what you reach for when you don’t want to smell like everybody else. Used extensively in ayurvedic medicine, it’s has likewise been touted to have aphrodisiac qualities. Needless to say, this Oriental note gives perfumes a creamy richness and a slight musky feel, making it an inspired and memorable option for date night.
A list of notable sandalwood scents wouldn’t be complete without Le Labo’s Santal 33, a cult favorite that blends the aromatic wood with cardamom, violet, iris, cedarwood and amber. Another genderless stunner is Diptyque’s Tam Dao, which draws inspiration from the forests of Indochina where the milky scent of sandalwood dance with notes of cedar, cypress and coriander.
Jo Malone’s Orris & Sandalwood Cologne Intense is a woody floral that’s reminiscent of Tuscan hillsides with irises in bloom, finished off with a warm and earthy facet. Aesop’s Karst, on the other hand, is a moody and fresh scent inspired by cliffside vegetation and the seashore, with notes of sandalwood, juniper and cumin.
- Valentine's Day