Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The smell of seduction

“A woman should wear perfume everywhere that she would like to be kissed.” – Coco Chanel

Cleopatra had her own perfume factory replete with the rarest flowers from around the world. Legend has it that she charmed Caesar with her dramatic scent during her famous carpet unfurling escapade. 

In the nineteenth century, any man could sniff out the respectable ladies from the free-loving whores. It all came down to one thing – their perfume. Would you have smelled like a courtesan or a cultured lady of society? Take this scent quiz to find out.

Do you prefer perfumes with:
A. Jasmine, musk or vanilla (Think Dior Poison, Calvin Klein Obsession or Jovan’s White Musk)

B. Floral scents with rose and violet undertones (Think Este Lauder’s Beautiful or Flora by Gucci

Scroll down to see just how nasty you are….

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Did you pick A? Of course you did, you little hussy. Now take your Jezebel scent and go back to cavorting in the whorehouse.

Choose B? You just might get invited to tea and crumpets. 

In the nineteenth century, a society lady simply did not wear musk or jasmine. Ever. Only courtesans wore those scents. (1)Today, not much has changed when it comes to perfumes. We have all had it happen. We are in the grocery store line, or even worse, stuck on the train with our nose hairs burning off because someone is wearing too strong of a perfume or cologne.
The smell of this animal's butt drives women crazy. Men....not so much.

If you find a perfume too strong, it is most likely that you are smelling either the musk or civet contained in it. Aside from more stringent FDA regulations, not much has changed on how musk and civet are manufactured in perfumes. Musk is abstracted from deer testicles. Civet comes from the anal glands of wild cats. Yes, you heard me right. We think we are so civilized, but the smell of deer testicles and a cat’s arse send our olfactory sensors into passionate overdrive. (2)At least they do for women. Women can smell musk 1000 times stronger than men and the smell will actually trigger female sexual arousal. That means that if you are female and you wear a musk smelling perfume then you are just making yourself ridiculously horny, but are doing nothing for the men around you. What does arouse sexual desire in men? Highly accurate and totally quotable scientific studies have shown that men have increased penile blood flow from the smell of pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla, licorice and doughnuts. (3)

Obviously, more first dates should happen in bakeries.

Just like fine dining, the most successful perfumes are the ones that blend the sweet and the savory. The most successful perfume in history began with such an alchemic blend. In the 1920s a manuscript was discovered after excavations in the underground passages of a royal chateau. It contained the secret formula for Queen Catherine de Medici's perfume. 
Coco and Catherine - two women with a nose for seduction.  

Catherine's secret formula would later be the basis for a perfume you might be more familiar with - Chanel No. 5. Rumor has it that Chanel bought the manuscript for 10,000 dollars and hired perfumer Ernest Beaux to recreate it. Chanel was sort of persnickety when it came to scent. She claimed to have a stronger nose than most people and absolutely abhorred musky perfumes. She also was not a fan of scents too heavy on the floral end. She famously quipped, “Women are not flowers. Why should they want to smell like flowers. A woman is not a rose.”

But the true secret behind Chanel No. 5 was not the combination of scents, but the use of aldehydes which allowed a perfume to last. Chanel No. 5 was not the first perfume to use aldehydes, but it was the first perfume to use is so effectively with the perfect combination of musk, jasmine and roses. After WWII, GIs lined up outside Chanel’s store at 31 Rue du Cambon to bring home Chanel No. 5 to their sweethearts.

Chanel No. 5 continues to be a favorite. Today, a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is bought every thirty seconds, making it the best selling perfume around the globe.  In a survey in 2009, it was voted the sexiest perfume. (4)
"What do I wear to bed? Why, Chanel No. 5. of course."

What are your favorite scents? I have to confess that I am a bit of a prude when it comes to perfume. My personal favorite is Marc Jacob’s Daisy because it smells….well, like a flower. (Sorry, Chanel.) No sexy bakery smells for me. My second favorite is Chanel No. 19. Chanel No. 19 was originally No. 31. It was Chanel’s personal favorite and the perfume she reserved for her own personal use.  (It was later changed to No. 19 to honor her birthday) 

(1)Courtesans also bathed more then your typical water fearing socielite so they didn’t need perfume to cover up their body odor.
(2) Calvin Klein’s Obsession truly smells like deer balls. Whenever I smell a man wearing it, I have to keep a safe distance or risk vomiting. 
 (3) Being a visual person, I have all sorts of images of how increased penile flow was measured against the smell of bakery items. I just won’t go there.
 (4) I personally think Chanel No 5. smells like a combination of old ladies and moth balls, but what do I know. 


Amy said...

I love the smell of lavender, cinnamon apples, and Bath & Body Works Beautiful Day (definately flowery). Obsession and Drakkor Noir were the chosen scents of all guys my age in junior high, so the stench of either of those gives me "school anxiety" and reminds me of my junior high crush who destroyed my fragile ego by making out with my best friend in front of me. But that's another story altogether.
I never got the Chanel No. 5 thing either. It always reminded me of musty, unwashed clothes and old ladies.

Bearded Lady said...

I totally forgot about Drakkor Noir! I think I might get all sorts of fragile if I smelled it too. Reminds me of Z-cavaricci pants and Trans ams.