Eros by Any Other Name
Why Certain Scents Arouse Certain Passions
Before you buy your sweetie a bouquet, bottle of cologne or some other token of your affection, consider this: The first union of Cleopatra and Mark Antony took place amid a pillow of rose petals a foot and a half high.
Not only that, Louis XIV insisted that a new perfume be created for him every day. His servants strewed his chambers with rose water and marjoram, and steeped his clothes in a brew of clove, nutmeg, aloe, jasmine, orange water and musk. His great-grandson, Louis XV, delighted partygoers with scented doves released into the ballroom, to fragrance the air with their every wing beat.
Extravagance is the order of the day when it comes to wooing and grooming. Especially on Valentine’s Day. And leading the libido list is fragrance.
That’s because scent and sensuality are intimately linked in our neural pathways. In A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, a chapter on smell brilliantly chronicles how it all works, along with various cultures’ olfactory obsessions, as her stories about Cleo, Mark and the Louises attest.
Indeed, ever since the days of gods and goddesses and their mortal peers, perfume has been in the picture. In ancient mythology, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love (and root of the word “aphrodisiac”), used seductive aromas to entice her muses on heaven and earth. Venus, her Roman counterpart, worked her beauty and charms so well, a planet is named for her. Eros (an anagram of “rose”) was the Greek god of love; in Roman myth, it was Cupid with his bow and arrow.
To get in the mood for love, fragrance only makes sense. “Smell is the most direct of our senses,” Ackerman writes. And perfume can go a long way whether its wearer is in a toga, velvet pantaloons or au naturel.
Scent and sensuality are intimately linked in our neural pathways.
Naturally, people swoon over different scents. Floral aromas, like Kimono Rose, are a perennial favorite as they mimic the flower’s bloom at its most robust, fertile and lusty. Added to that, many florals also have animalic bases, meaning they contain subtle odors that mimic body odors or certain animal pheromones. Rose, ylang ylang, magnolia, neroli, jasmine and cassia are time-honored favorites. (To learn more about them, just click on the words.)
Equally narcotic, certain scents from woods (sandalwood, cedarwood), foods (vanilla, clove), resins (amber) and musk also have their allures. Moonflower, with its deep, rich notes, is a perfect example.
Stacy Brown, Thymes perfumer, incorporates many of these come-hither fragrances into our collections. Such combinations heighten intrigue, compounding familiar aromas into distinctive compositions.
With its delicate florals, Kimono Rose is “really more about being playful, lighthearted, flirty, feminine,” Stacy says. “It has a creamy, edible vanilla base, which makes it delicious.”
Still, Moonflower is Stacy’s pick when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
“Moonflower is a fragrance you’d want to use when you want to have a special night, to feel grownup,” she says. “It has a sultry, warm woods finish, with a spicy element that makes it spirited, energetic, sexy.”
Cleopatra, no doubt, would approve.
Post a Comment
Your email will not be published or shared. All fields are required.