OSMOZ magazine

Seduction 101: The Sexiest Notes in Perfumery

04 february 2014

People may say that “Love is blind”… but no one ever says it has no sense of smell! In fact, it has often been suggested that attraction is essentially a question of chemistry, in which the smell of the other person and of their skin plays a big part. As does their fragrance. Because a few drops of a magical elixir are sometimes enough to make you feel like a femme fatale or a Don Juan, some accords are unequalled at revealing your charms and enhancing your sex appeal. In the same way you’d pick and choose clothes depending on your mood, find out which of the fragrances in our selection of olfactory trends will draw them to your trail...


1. Back to basics with musk

If there’s one note that’s intimately tied to the history of perfumery, musk is it. And for good reason: this ingredient, with its skin-caressing scent can work either as a fixative or to enhance the voluptuousness of olfactory compositions.

Although they used to be extracted from animals, nowadays, musk scents are recreated synthetically. They can go clean and cottony, as in “white musk,” or carnal, for “dirty” musk and its feline sensuality. Two faces, two kinds of charm that are radically different, but equally sexy...

Some perennial favorites include Khiel’s Original Musk, a purring musk that’s misleadingly well-behaved; Serge Lutens’ Musc Koublai Khan, feline, animalic, untamed and very sensual, and Narciso Rodriguez For Her, a floral bouquet wrapped in a bubble of lush, shimmering musk that the male of the species adores.


2. Bewitch them with white flowers

Hypnotic notes of jasmine, the exotic aura of ylang-ylang or frangipani blossom, tuberose’s arousingly intoxicating  milky-coconut accents, to name but a few.

All these sun-drenched flowers and more evoke tropical beaches in exotic places halfway around the world. But it is the essences themselves that radiate from the skin, creating a sweet, lasciviously feminine glow that’s irresistible!

Cast your spell with the sensual incantations in the vanilla-floral bouquet of Annick Goutal’s Songes. Or try the dazzling modern gardenia that’s introduced by a flight of fruity notes in Jovoy’s Gardez-Moi. Unless of course, you’d rather vamp it up for a night with the waves of tuberose in By Kilian’s Beyond Love.



3. A pinch of spice to heat things up

While spices have long been known for their aphrodisiac effects in food, they also know how to arouse desire at the heart of a fragrance. Ginger, of course, but also cinnamon, pink pepper, cloves, cardamom and saffron: there are lots of ways to spice up a composition. Androgynous spices lend their charms to women’s scents, but can also be found in the men’s department. Cinnamon, for instance, features in both Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb and Chanel’s Egoiste.

For women, the spicy-milky sweetness of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Safran Troublant, the ginger in Etat Libre d’Orange’s Like This, and even the cumin in Parfum d’Empire’s Aziyadé, are all love potions to draw him into your web...


4. Flaunt your femininity with powdery notes

Nothing expresses timeless femininity like a perfume with waves of rice-powder and other cosmetic notes. Lush, soft and creamy – powdery notes are to perfume what plunging necklines are to fashion: the very definition of the word voluptuous.

So luxuriate in notes of iris, rose and violet, as well as the sheer, floral-almond scent of heliotrope. Two legendary fragrances that incarnate this register to perfection are Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue and Jean-Charles Brosseau’s Ombre Rose. More recently, Flower by Kenzo and Frédéric Malle’s Lipstick Rose looked to powdery accords for their most stunning effects.

5. Dazzle with the charms of the Orient

Because they count on balms and resins for their warm tonalities, oriental fragrances are veritable love potions. From benzoin “tears” to black-vanilla absolute via labdanum, and tonka bean’s gourmand lushness: the amber accord is garbed in ardent nuances that exalt its sensuality.

A few must-have scents to keep the mercury rising: Guerlain’s Shalimar and its variations in Ode à la Vanille, the ultra-sexy pairing of musk and amber in Frédéric Malle’s Musc Ravageur, Molinard’s absolutely torrid Habanita, and Hermès’s Ambre des merveilles. For men: Bois d’Argent by Dior or Pi by Givenchy.


6. Let gourmand notes be your weakness

Appealing, alluring, enticing… These are words that connect sweet treats with other, more carnal desires. If candy makes your mouth water, there’s no shortage of perfumes that let you regale yourself with berries, caramel and other treats.

You’ll smell good enough to eat with the sassy Jordan almond shaded with orange blossom and vanilla in Reminiscence’s Guimauve (“Marshmallow”), or the almond in Lutens’s Rahat Loukoum. Those who like to have a treat without overdoing it will love the subtle mischief of Prada’s Candy and its caramel heart elegantly trimmed with powder notes. The sultriest among you won’t want to miss out on gourmand classics like Angel and Lolita Lempicka.

Men can try out the tasty repertory too, thanks to Thierry Mugler’s A-men and its choco-coffee delight, or wrap themselves in the honeyed tobacco notes of By Kilian’s Back to Black.


7. Be inspired by the legend of the Thousand and One Nights...

The result of an infection on a tree that grows in Laos, Cambodia and Burma, costly oud wood truly is as precious as gold. Long a staple in Middle Eastern fragrances, it now flaunts its mysterious charms in a wide range of scents in the west, too.

The precursor of Yves Saint Laurent’s M7 melted the smoky-animalic essence of this highly atypical wood into an ambry-woody accord that was burning hot.

Both consumers and fragrance houses have become intrigued by this singular resin’s dark aura. Its arousing powers have been captured by intertwining its carnal smoke with rose and saffron in Heeley’s Agarwoodand with ambry-woody-animalic-spicy notes in  Tom Ford’s Tobacco Oud, to name but a few.

Sophie Normand

Sophie Normand

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Even though I’ve been fascinated by perfume since I was a teenager, I still studied first law and then journalism. I started writing professionally, and then about three years ago I thought of doing a blog about perfume. Alongside that, I share my passion for perfume through other media as...

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