Fragrances for the Id
In the past year, I've been able to sample more than one hundred (count 'em) fragrances -- most high end, niche and/or boutique scents -- thanks to an online fragrance community of which I am a member.
Prior to that, I had spent a phase purchasing what I now sneer at as "department store" fragrances ... and had probably collected nearly one hundred of that genre.
So I've smelled me some perfumes in my life. And besides joking about the real-or-imagined effect of pheromones, I'd given scant thought to the role of perfume in seduction. Really.
Perfume was a dainty, feminine pursuit. You zipped up your skirt, put in your earrings, slipped on your heels and spritzed. Or at least I once did. When I was that kind of woman.
But now, from my current vantage point, I see fragrance's utility in a whole different light. And that light's turned down low, with a few scented candles burning.
Whoa, baby -- hand me the Boudoir! I mean Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood. Or Dominique Ropion's Une Fleur de Cassie ... or Robert Piguet's Fracas ... or Agent Provocateur ... any of those Fragrances for the Id.
Apparently I'm slow. I used to think sweat was the best scent in the bedroom. No, non, no way. Certain fragrances absolutely broadcast the female animal in us (in high definition) to our male counterparts. When you have an ultimate objective and must bring out all the artillery, these are the scents for you.
According to Roja Dove, arch perfumer for Guerlain, in the article "Scents of Desire" for UK Elle, these perfumes are noted for their complexity, their substantial basenote (deep, dark) quality; they can be of any perfume family but are notably found in the orientals and chypres, and most feature a tinge of corruption, that whiff of civet, amber, orris root, musk.
In addition, many of these scents are built around the "carnal flowers" of tuberose, jasmine for their indolic quality, or narcissus. To me, it is the animalic quality of the musk and the spoiled/sweet indoles of the floral in these perfumes that are most surprising and oddly attractive.
The UK Elle article listed a hall of dark fragrance fame that included Mitsouko, Opium, Vol de Nuit and Narcisse Noir -- but mine are different, as would be yours.
It is that one expects -- and even begins -- with one scent and your body chemistry works magic, resulting in something altogether different, unique and arresting that I find most satisfying about these alter-ego, erm -id, fragrances.
Addendum: I do not now wear, nor have I ever worn, Yves St. Laurent Opium. But you have to admit old Tom Ford knows how to sell 'fume.