Its a frequently asked question on the fragrance board at MUA, something along the lines of: "which fragrance is a man magnet? what do you consider to be the sexiest perfume? what scent gets the most compliments?" Usually the question comes from a newbie or someone visiting from another board. Many times the question is answered with jokes, such as "bacon" or "beer" or "just get naked." The question of what is a sexy perfume is asked so often it's hard for board regulars to bother answering it. Mostly, when a few good souls take the time to answer, something along the lines of "wear whatever makes you feel good," is the response.
Wearing what makes you happy and therefore feel good and sexy is the correct answer. But occasionally I get to thinking about what constitutes a generically sexy scent. I've come to the conclusion that a sexy fragrance is one that smells man-made, not something realistic like a soliflore or a specific aroma in nature. I wouldn't consider a scent that smells like true red roses or honeysuckle or peach salsa or cedar wood chips to be sexy. I do, however, think orientals and florientals are the sexiest scents. Chypres, to me, are fragrances one wears for herself. I can't imagine any chypre I own as sexy. Chypres are too complicated, intelligent, wanting to talk. Big aldehydic fragrances are too prissy and pulled together. I adore Le Labo Aldehyde 44 *because* it makes me feel dressed and complete, not undressed in a dimly lit room. I don't think anyone thinks hesperedic or green fragrances are sexy - I wear these to feel fresh and practical.
Here's my list of sexy orientals and florientals:
(in alphabetical order)
Alahine by Teo Cabanel - Alahine is a smoldering aldehydic amber with floral notes woven throughout. It's noticeable, warm and perhaps equally as sophisticated & refined as it is sexy. Alahine makes your skin hot and your mind wander. It's classic with a racy undercurrent. (Alternatives: hmmm, not really similar but picking up on the amber theme - maybe Laura Mercier Minuit Enchante or Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe but these are less polished)
Alien Liqueur Limited Edition - Alien Liqueur is hypnotic. It's the original Alien with a boozy, woody bent. It's heavy lidded and languid. It's sweet, spicy and addictive. (Alternative: Dior Addict)
Amarige by Givenchy - Amarige is perfume wearing stilettos. It doesn't whisper come hither, it announces it with a husky voice ala Kathleen Turner circa Body Heat. (Alternative: Jean Paul Gaultier Classique)
Barbara Bui Le Parfum - Barbara Bui is probably the most low-key and whisper-y type of sexy fragrance I can think of. If you don't want a potent perfume then this is your answer. Barbara Bui is all about the smell of your lovers undershirt and pillowcase. (Alternative: Costes)
Chaldee by Jean Patou - Musky and sweet, warm and animalic, slightly dirrrrty. Chaldee is an olfactory negligee. (Alternative: Bond No. 9 Fire Island)
Divine eau de parfum - Bombshell tuberose-oriental. Hollywood Glamour. (Alternative: maybe Chinatown, not completely sure)
Gucci eau de parfum - Gucci is a sensual skin scent extraordinaire. It's musky, sweet, herbal, spicy and becomes you. Gucci melts into your skin. If I could have sex with Gucci eau de parfum, I would, but then you'd think I was weird.
LouLou by Cacharel - another Hollywood Glamour scent here. LouLou is a bit less extravagant than Divine. LouLou might wear fishnets under her tailored suit and carry an old fashioned cigarette case in her purse for the occasional dalliance over coffee.
Monyette Paris - Now this is one of the most overtly floral of the bunch. Monyette is predominantly gardenia focused scent but it veers away from big in-your-face florals and falls firmly in the camp of sexy with it's luscious nag champa and mind altering musks.
Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle - In some ways, Musc Ravageur is similar in style to Gucci edp. MR is a sweet, vanillic musk with what seems like layer upon layer of different musks. There's a stage of Musc Ravageur when sniffing it numbs my nostrils like novocaine or some such thing (surely the clove). It's a naughty scent, pure and simple. (Alternative: not particularly similar but a runner up: Chanel Coromandel. Perhaps the only Chanel I find sexy).
Songes by Annick Goutal - Another overtly floral fragrance - almost too floral to be sexy but it manages a kittenish little shimmy towards the dark side with it's buttery tuberose, tropical frangipani and indolic white florals. (Alternative: Penhaligons Amaranthine)
I didn't include these in the above list, but obviously Shalimar should be included and the following masculines strike me as having the ability to make a bombshell out of a guy: Hermes Terre d'Hermes, Fahrenheit (don't shoot me), Parfums MDCI Invasion Barbare, Fresh Index Tobacco Flower, Creed Tabarome, Annick Goutal Sables and Caron Yatagan.
So, what fragrances do YOU think are sexy? Do you care? Do you avoid fragrances like these? Can we even define sexy perfumes or are they, like most things, entirely individual? What I'm wondering, is whether there is a culturally agreed upon type of scent which strikes most as sexy. Hmmm...