Perfumes For Valentine’s Day Romance, Part 1: The Big Guns

Chanel Coco perfumeJust around the corner is Valentine's Day, and you might already be thinking about what scent you want to wear for the night out. Maybe you even want to try something new. I asked two fragrance experts, Amy Yang of Luilei in Brooklyn, New York and Lisa Slavik of Beautycafé in Plano, Texas, to weigh in on the best perfumes to wear on Valentine's Day. (Both stores sell over the internet, too.) Today's post focuses on the best scents for a full-bore romantic evening. Tomorrow we'll discuss the best scents for a tentative romance and for people who aren't in relationships but plan to go out and have a good time anyway.

For a romantic evening, Amy Yang recommends Tauer Le Maroc pour elle, which she says is "an incredibly sexy scent for a very intelligent woman — one who fully understands that the art of seduction is mainly an intellectual game rather than a physical one". She also loves Serge Lutens Chergui and Chanel Coco and Cuir de Russie, again for their blends of outright sexiness and intelligence. For a man, she recommends Tauer Lonestar Memories, "an incredibly masculine, pensive, and melancholy scent. It's a scent for a strong man who knows a little self deprecation is very sexy". Amy says that Lonestar Memories is terrific on women, too, because of the "contrast and confusion of it all. Your soul thinks it smells a sexy man but the your eyes see a sexy woman — incredible!"

Amy brought up another good point: If you plan to go out for dinner, you might want to consider that as you choose your scent. She says that The Different Company Sel de Vetiver is a great restaurant fragrance because "it is a scent with great personality and so it makes for good company, but it's not incredibly dense so it won’t interfere with great food, great wine, and great friends".

Lisa Slavik chose L'Artisan Parfumeur Patchouli Patch as a sure hit for Valentine's Day, and she says men compliment her on it all the time. It sounds like her real love of the scent might be for more personal reasons, though. "I first started wearing Patchouli Patch a few months ago, when the gentleman that I started dating was wearing a patchouli-based fragrance. Gawd, it was so intoxicating on him and I just couldn’t get enough of it or him." Patchouli also reminds her of her younger days and wearing an old boyfriend's shirt. "It's a very sensuous and intoxicating fragrance, and, well, there is nothing wrong in my book with having your neck nuzzled by that special someone, especially on Valentine's Day, no?"

To me, Valentine's Day is about celebrating a bond that, if you're lucky, you've shared with someone for a long time. The evening, then, is more about intimacy than sex, and Rochas Femme is all about intimacy. On a man, I'd love to smell Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. Another fragrance choice might be to embrace the symbolism of the day and go with the scent of roses or chocolate — or both, in S-perfume 100% Love. Whatever perfume you choose, though, I can't think of anything better to breathe in than the smell of each other, maybe a fire, and the warmth of being together.

Note: image via Images de Parfums.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree with Le Maroc Pour Elle. One of the most romantic scents that I know, that one. Love the idea of Coco and Femme for V-Day seduction too.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can I just say how stunned I was with the selections they'd made? I was all prepared for something … else? Not sure what!
    My nominations, right off the top of my head (although old or new Femme would be perfect)
    RL Double Black for men (no, SERIOUSLY, that mango note drives me wild)
    Armani Prive Cuir Amethyste on either gender
    For a woman, Patou Vacances or that other one I can't spell at all (help me out!) that's Femme-ish.
    Femme is criminally sexy, either version.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I like Le Maroc pour elle, too. The rose in it really pumps up its romantic quotient. Coco and Femme are definitely not shrinking violets!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think you mean Patou Que Sais-Je? I agree, I was kind of surprised at the choices, too, but that's what made it interesting. I expected more *romantic* rather than *sexy* fragrances. I love the concept of playing to the intellectual side of seduction, though.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely agree with Coco and Cuir de Russie as more intellectually seductive scents. I don't suppose anyone knows if Cuir de Russie (and the other original exclusives) will now be available as a great big honking bottle of EDT (what was it – 250+ ml?) the same as the upcoming ones?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely loved Amy Wang's logic for the appeal of Lonestar Memories on a woman. And I also agree w/ her about the need to take care that you don't wear a scent to dinner which will interfere excessively w/ the food and wine. That said, I think that the best scents for V Day are those which you feel are most in sync w/ your inner self, not necessarily the outer persona. That to me is in keeping w/ the intimacy of being w/ someone who loves you and knows you to the core. It's akin to a secret shared w/ them.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I'd like to know about the Cuir de Russie bottle size, too. I bought a 100 ml of No. 22 (another scent slated for Les Exclusifs) just in case, though.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I love your analysis of the best scent for Valentines Day! So, what would that perfume be for you?

  9. Anonymous says:

    That's the one! I should have been clearer in my original comment: I thought their choices were *great.* Interesting, thoughtful selections rather than some obviously “sexy” fragrances. I think intellectually, many fragrances can be seductive. If I smelled something unusual on a man, or a “feminine” fragrance, I would be intrigued. I wish more men would venture into femme fragrances with the same abandon we shop their aisle. One of the best things I have ever smelled is Mitsouko on a man.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yes, the Cuir will be in the big bottle in EdT, is my understanding. I think the question is whether that means they will stop producing it in other forms/sizes…and that I don't know.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So true! And I can imagine that Mitsouko on a man would be wonderful. Some of the Carons–Poivre, Tabac Blond, Alpona, even Nuit de Noel–come to mind as having potential on a man, too.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I still think they could make a mint doing a collection of 10 ml bottles…I know I'd buy one.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Angela and Robin — I have noticed the sudden, suspicious disappearance of 19, 22 and Cristalle from many of our mid-level Chanel mall retailers … I resent their making these even more impossible to smell. One baby step toward d/c?

    On the other hand … you never know what you might run across. Robin, I was stunned to discover TESTER bottles of the highly elusive Cristalle EDT *and* the EDP at Tysons Nordstorm, along with bottles of Guerlain parfum (!) and Houbigant Apercu, which I don't think I've ever seen anywhere in a dept. store.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I noticed one-ounce bottles of some of the Guerlain parfums, too, at Nordstrom. I even saw testers for the parfums in a little locked glass case (a nice lady from Nars snuck me a squirt of Chamade before the perfume SA locked the case up again and told me they were “just for show”, even though the parfum was in a plain glass bottle and not in its normal bottles).

    On the other hand, that same Nordstrom used to carry a number of the Caron EdTs and EdPs but seems to be dropping them.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I'm completely agreeing with you and Marina here; those three are perfect. The L'Artisan Patch, though – yikes! My husband has a visceral hatred for that one; I can't picture getting away with it *any* day, let alone Valentine's. That was an interesting, ballsy choice, anyway – people have very heated opinions about patch.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I can see where Patch might amplify someone's personal scent, though, and that would make it sexy. Still, it seems like people either love it or hate it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    That's a pretty good list! I like the intelligent choices instead of the blatantly over the top sexy ones that most women's magazines would make at this point. Sel de Vetiver is perfect any time. The longer I smell it, the more I think it is just perfect.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Cuir de Russie or Orris Noir. Possibly Untitled #1 and Bois et Fruits as well. The list could go on – which nicely reflects my inner fragrance sl*t. :-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    I agree completely about Maroc pour Elle. I just received a decant of it, and I tried it this morning…driving to work, I kept thinking, “wow, this is sexy!” What a way to feel driving into work on a Monday–if it works then, it'll work anytime!
    But you know me…I'll be wearing Vol de Nuit. ;-)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well, since these scents reflect who you are, you must be pretty terrific. I'm picturing well traveled and slightly exotic with a good sense of humor.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I know, wasn't that a great characterization of Amy's, to seduce intellectually as well as physically? I just put a dab of Sel de Vetiver on my arm and I think I'm going to have to wrassle with my budget so I can order a bottle ASAP.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Maroc pour elle is a sizzler, but still womanly. But, yes, Vol de Nuit, how I love it so! It isn't overtly sexy at all, but it is all lush personality: velvety, independent, and warm.

  23. Anonymous says:

    M, the first time I ever tried Apercu was in the TC Neiman Marcus…don't know if they still have it though. But how nice to see testers of both the EdP and the EdT of Cristalle! Have never seen that anywhere, even in the Chanel boutique in NY (which actually doesn't do nearly as good a job with the perfumes as say, Hermes).

  24. Anonymous says:

    Yes, but will Maroc work for a fair skinned, blonde like me? Just like Coco, it smell great on others but on me it's just too much. It smells like I'm trying too hard. I believe on Valentines day you should just wear his(or her) favorite. There are plenty of fragrances that I love that he thinks stinks! Why not please them all day and wear what they love best… now thats love! :-)

  25. Anonymous says:

    Such a good point! If he has a favorite, why not wear that?

    I can see where the Tauer scents might overwhelm you. I'm trying a few from The Different Company today, have you ever tried those? (I'm determined to find some great fragrances for you, K!) The TDC scents I've tried so far are structured light and ethereal, but still interesting, and not overwhelming at all.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Great article and list! My list–

    for women (i.e., me:)–Cuir de Russie parfum (seems to be on everyone's list)

    SL Rose de Nuit

    Musc Ravageur (great on a man, too)

    Montale Aoud Rose Petals

    and I should point out that, although I don't perceive it as sexy (just good), DH always compliments me on Sel de Vetiver.

    On a man (i.e. DH)–though I love these on me, too:

    Montale Aoud cuir d'Arabie

    Le Labo Vetiver

  27. Anonymous says:

    Great list! It's interesting that Cuir de Russie has kept showing up. I like it, but I've never thought of it as a particularly romantic scent. The leather is so ladylike. But on the right person, I guess it could be really sexy.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Yes A, find me some great frags!!!!! I've tried all the TDC's to no avail. All pretty but not sexy. Did I mention I live in Florida where it's going to be 78 degrees today? What a winter! So the heat and humidity really play a role in what to wear as well. I might be hopeless?!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Not hopeless! Maybe something with a little fruit but still sexy? I'll keep thinking. The Holy Grail is out there somewhere.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Gosh Amy Yang is the true romantic! She's made great choices, although I have a little hard time with Cuir de Russie. Smells a little to independent and self-assured to me. Smelling Chergui reminds me so much of puff pastry (in a good way) that it makes me want to eat the wrist that wears it, including my own!

    Roses and chocolate…Cannabis Santal has it, but doesn't really smell like it. Makes me that much more desperate for a full bottle. *SIGH* the hunt continues for a bottle online at a discount price, or at least offer them in 50ml bottles!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I'm with you in wishing that more companies offered smaller bottles. Chergui is pretty terrific (although I don't know how it would blend with gnawed flesh!).

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