Some fragrances, particularly those rich in white flowers, woods and spices, have so much character that they enter the room with you and linger behind long after you’re gone. Others, such as citrus colognes, give an instant lift when splashed on in the morning and then vanish before you even reach the office. Since we wear perfume for different reasons — to please ourselves, to delight others, to create a fantasy or just to smell wonderful – each fragrance genre has its role and purpose. On days when I want to keep perfume as my intimate scented talisman, I reach for the skin-like scents.
They don’t have a big presence (or sillage, in perfume jargon), but like a beautifully crafted piece of lingerie, they instantly make me feel more glamorous. Take Hermès’ Hiris (£91 for 100ml eau de toilette), for instance. This composition of iris and jasmine petals is so delicate that if it were a piece of clothing, it would be a lilac-tinted silk slip. Similarly tender is Love by Chloé (£39.50 for 30ml eau de parfum), a charming vignette of orange blossom dusted with rice powder that lingers under my office uniform of black polo neck and jeans.
Perfumes laced with soft musk can also create a beautiful aura. The creamy musks and suede notes in Donna Karan Cashmere Mist (£68 for 100ml EDP) evoke the sensation of a soft white pashmina. Another interesting choice is Olfactive Studio Lumière Blanche (€85 for 50ml EDP), a sandalwood accented with musk and cardamom. It sits close to the skin, which makes it perfect for days when I’m in meetings and don’t want to impose my perfume on those around me.
If I’m craving something richer, I opt for Kiehl’s Original Musk (£38.50 for 50ml EDT), an earthy blend of patchouli and musk that’s been around since 1963. Applied generously, it’s a statement-making perfume, but a discreet touch under each clavicle makes it the ultimate skin scent. Another unusual option is Infusion d’Homme by Prada (£35 for 50ml EDT), for which I’m happy to raid the masculine side of the perfume counter. Its scent of iris wrapped into orange blossom and vetiver is slightly austere, but the smoky incense gives it a sensual twist.
Recognising the allure of a skin scent, Guerlain recently released Eau de Lingerie (£60 for 125ml EDT), a perfume that doubles as fabric spray. It opens up on the velvety accord of rose and iris before melting into vanilla and sandalwood. To get a whiff, you need to lean in for a kiss. Now, isn’t that seductive?