Following the publication of my recent Grazia article on the latest crop of 'sexy' perfumes, I received several emails from non-UK-based readers who were disappointed that they couldn't get their hands on a copy of the magazine in their own countries. So, now that a few weeks have passed since the piece appeared, I'm able to reveal which scents made the final cut.
In brief, the idea was to recommend new (or fairly new) feminine compositions which might feasibly fall under the 'sexy' banner. The exercise proved more interesting than I thought it would, as it re-emphasised that transparency remains the primary mode of modern scent aesthetics. Even when reaching for somewhat predictable sensuous materials (ie woods, spices, white florals) most of the perfumes below stop themselves from conveying an excessively retro vibe because of a sheer, illuminated quality they share. Is this a sign that we're finally moving away from sticky fruitchoulis? We can but hope.
Here comes the list...
Orchid Soleil from Tom Ford
A curious gardenia-tuberose hybrid (garderose?) paired with a fenugreek-like note and a lickable, saline quality makes for a pulse-pounding, knee-wobbling, collar-loosening brew. Easily the best of the Ford orchids, it unfurls into the air like lashes lifting to reveal eyes that know exactly what they're looking for.
Blackpepper from Comme Des Garcons (Antoine Maisondieu)
I haven't been enamoured with many of Comme's recent releases, but this one recalls their former brilliance. Pepper is a very fleeting material, which makes Maisondieu's technical achievement here particularly noteworthy. Using an evaporation-defying mix of cedar and musks, he enables the eponymous spice to last for hours, wafting an inky trail of danger and darkness so seductive, I haven't been able to stop plunging into it since our first encounter.
La Petite Robe Noire eau de parfum intense from Guerlain (Thierry Wasser)
The tannin-like blueberry note at the apex of the familiar black cherry + sugar construction makes this flanker to Guerlain's bestseller an appealing little number.
Scent Of A Dream from Charlotte Tilbury (Francois Robert)
This one's already been reviewed on Persolaise.com (click here) but for the sake of today's post, I'll just say that its sinuous update on the Aromatics Elixir structure of patchouli and florals demands more attention than you might expect.
14Hour Dream from Jusbox (Antoine Lie)
One of four debut scents from the family-run Jusbox brand, this Antoine Lie composition doesn't re-invent the olfactory wheel (patchouli + vanilla is a combo you've probably encountered once or twice in the past...) but it displays a tactile, furry quality (perhaps through the use of some ingenious musks) which makes it an instant attention-getter.
Solar'1 from Jazmin Saraï (Dana El Masri)
Here's another one that I've already reviewed (click here). Probably the most old-school release on this list, it whips up a bold cocktail of osmanthus, coffee and leather... and just sits back and waits for hearts to melt.
Baptême Du Feu from Serge Lutens (Christopher Sheldrake)
And here's yet another one already featured on these pages (click here). It's as quiet as the most recent Lutens releases, but it's much more full-bodied, with its eyebrow-raising juxtaposition of ginger and dry spices.
Midnight Shimmer from Michael Kors
Oh, look, this one's been reviewed too (click here). Yes, I know it's a caramel bomb, but it's a very convincing caramel bomb, and that really does make all the difference. This is the sort of stuff I feel I could lick off someone's skin, unlike most examples of this genre which make me grimace in pain with their overly synthetic sickliness.
Modern Muse Nuit from Estée Lauder
It's the central contrast that makes this blue-juiced flanker so compelling: florals on the one hand, woods on the other. The two run alongside each other, throughout the scent's development, with such precision, you can almost hear the unnamed perfumer chuckling in the background at his or her cleverness. And deservedly so.
Oriental Express from Thierry Mugler (Olivier Polge & Jean-Christophe Herault)
This one's been pre-reviewed as well (click here). My love for it remains undiminished, all the way from its carrot-seed opening to its curvaceous, Shalimar-esque foundations.
B. Balenciaga Skin from Balenciaga
A welcome example of a 'skin' scent which delivers the goods. Everything here is pitched just right, from the mandarine top notes, through to the whispered tea inflection and the intimately musky dyrdown.
Radio Bombay from D S & Durga (David Seth Moltz)
Yes, it may present little beyond a cedar note, but it does so with such bed-hair insouciance that it's hard not to give in to its louche charms.