What is a romantic perfume? A few years ago, I structured my Valentine’s Day post around the perfume notes that I found romantic and seductive: jasmine, saffron, sandalwood and furs & ambers, leather, honey, fig. I still like the idea of conveying a certain mood through scent, but I realize that there is much more to the romance of perfume than its list of notes. The most romantic perfume is not a magic potion designed to seduce him, but rather a fragrance that makes me feel beautiful. An opulent composition like Annick Goutal Grand Amour does the trick on some days, while on others the austere Bulgari Black seems more appropriate.
However, a range spanning Grand Amour to Black encompasses just about all fragrance genres. To narrow them down to a list of ten, I included those perfumes that both make me feel good and elicit compliments from my friends, family and my Valentine. In other words, they are the fragrances I enjoy wearing and sharing with those around me. And what is more romantic than sharing pleasure!
From the heady core of jasmine and ylang-ylang to the warm drydown of musk and sandalwood, Songes feels like a passionate kiss.
Caramel, honey, chocolate, cinnamon… Anima Dulcis is a baroque composition that oscillates between dark woods and a mouthwatering dessert before, in a surprising twist, becoming a beautiful amber.
Like This is a rich blend of woods and roses, with immortelle adding its spicy maple syrup note. However, its aura is wistful, even introspective. A gem!
Frédéric Malle Lipstick Rose and Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur
I used to think that Lipstick Rose was the perfume equivalent of Sophia Loren, a dazzling bombshell. These days it strikes me more as the intense and sultry Alida Valli. The initial embrace of rose and violet is coquettish and pretty, but as soon as Lipstick Rose reveals its earthy layer of vetiver and woods, it becomes smoldering. In a similarly opulent vein is my newest femme fatale rose discovery, Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur. It arranges the velvety rose against an intricate base of sandalwood and oud.
Guerlain has made the most unfortunate decision of discontinuing Parure, and I am still in mourning. Parure festoons the honeyed rose and plum with the earthy notes of moss and patchouli. A whisper of lilac lends this rich blend an unexpectedly soft accent.
Hiris is a soft and understated accord of iris and musk, a fragrance that tempts others to lean in closer.
A violet bonbon, a swirl of tobacco smoke, a dash of rose petals. Traversée du Bosphore opens up on an ebullient fruity note before settling into the warm powdery drydown.
Parfum d’Empire Eau Suave
Rose and musk may seem like a familiar idea, but when each element is perfect, it is nothing short of spellbinding. This is the case with Eau Suave, a bold red rose perfume wrapped into a creamy layer of musk and accented with coriander and saffron.
My jasmine gold standard! A sumptuous veil of jasmine tinted with sandalwood and vanilla.
Vero Profumo Rubj
Why did it take me this long to discover Vero Profumo? Better sooner than later, however, and I am making up for my delay by my mad love affair with Rubj. Based on orange blossom, Rubj is one of the most opulent compositions I have smelled recently. It is also brilliant and evocative, smelling of warm skin, overripe fruit and night blooming flowers. My Valentine asked me if I could please wear it today, and I gladly agreed.
What fragrances make you feel most beautiful? What are you going to wear today?
Image: a scene from In the Mood for Love, one of my favorite love stories.