What Scent Attracts You?

I love perfume. You’d think I’d have a particular scent that I wear. But at the moment I’m scent free. In fact, I haven’t worn perfume for some time. Unless Pledge counts, or Pine-Sol.  I didn’t worry about spritzing on perfume to do arts and crafts or car pool. Also, there were so many scent free places that it hardly seemed worth it. But, gosh, I’m finding that I miss the sense of comfort and beauty that comes from dabbing on your favorite perfume. Maybe because I shy away from any other kind of scented product, I miss having a much loved perfume. Or two.


In my twenties Opium was one of my favorites.

A legendary fragrance for the woman who adores Yves Saint Laurent. An oriental and spicy harmony. Sheer sensuality, a voluptuous, provocative and controversial fragrance with notes of Mandarin, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley and Vanilla.

The other was Cinnabar.

Cinnabar Perfume by Estee Lauder, Launched by the design house of estee lauder in 1978, cinnabar is classified as a refined, subtle, oriental fragrance. This feminine scent possesses a blend of incense, flowers, spice and amber. It is recommended for evening wear.

Then I had children and I don’t know…things changed. Something about that time in my life changed what scents I was attracted to and suddenly my favorites didn’t have the desired effect. Hum. Maybe my hormone levels altered my skin’s chemistry. I don’t know. Now, years later, I’m back in the market for perfume.

Choosing a perfume might seem like a daunting decision given the range of choices. But this is one choice that’s completely visceral. While so many of our choices are governed by reason, it’s refreshing to have to make a choice that is purely emotional. Governed by nothing more than, “I don’t know why, but I love it!”

Perfumes have ‘families’. You can start by deciding what family attracts you. Maybe you’re target family has more of a Florals personality – feminine and fun-loving. Could be, like me, you’re drawn to those Orientals scents – exotic and mysterious. Then there’s Fresh and Clean – invigorating and dynamic. Citrus makes me think summer and sunny days – fresh squeezed and sharp. Woody – a power scent – mossy with shades of romantic.

Keep in mind this is not a decision to be hurried. You can’t smell a strip of scented paper and decide it’s the one for you. Or pick one because you fell in love with the packaging. Don’t you adore those pretty bottles? Not to mention the commercials. They’re enough to make you run out on the spot and buy it. Risque, sexy, romantic, bold – perfume commercials definitely invite a reaction.

No. You need to test it out on your skin. Decide on a ‘family’ and start sampling. Note that perfumes have top notes, middle notes, and base notes. Top notes last for the first 5 minutes to half an hour, by then the  middle notes of the perfume’s ‘family’ emerge. Finally base notes show themselves. They give the scent weight or holding power. So dab a little on your skin in a couple of different places and wait it out. We all know about pulse points.

Smell equals memory. Our ability to remember a smell is greater than our ability to remember what we’ve seen. Whether it’s your grandmother’s perchance for Chanel No. 5 or her chocolate chip cookies, those scents pull you in, bring back memories. Memories are how we pick the right family fragrance, choose what attracts us. So why not choose a perfume to help create memories.

A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.  Christian Dior

So how about it? Do you wear perfume? What’s your signature fragrance? Or do you prefer to go sans scent? How about a favorite memory centered around smell? What scents attract you?


7 thoughts on “What Scent Attracts You?

  1. I wear Amarige by Givenchy, it’s the only scent I wear. I was given a sample box for Christmas one year of Givenchy perfumes and this is the one I fell in love with. It just smells good with my chemistry. I’ve gotten so many compliments over the years that I know I made a good decision.

    I love the smell of vanilla and brown sugar. It’s a homey scent. It relaxes me and makes me feel comfortable.

    The scent of Opium reminds me of my mom. That was always the perfume she wore when she and my dad were going out for the evening. That smell brings back happy memories for me.

  2. Oh, Amarige sounds lovely, Erika! An oriental floral. It’s all about the chemistry and how it works with your skin. Right now I’m big into coconut and lime! With scents and food – haven’t figured out what that’s all about yet :)

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    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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