THE FRAGRANT APE WEARS SCENT:
WHY THE APE WEARS IT
It was a canny Guerlain Nose who said that a woman without a perfume is a woman without a future, and there’s no doubt that the same goes for men too.
It is natural for Man to perfume himself: we have been doing it in one way or another since the dawn of our creation, beguiled by the extraordinary power and mystery of the sense of smell. So little understood but so powerful, smell is primarily a survival sense to detect danger and to stimulate that animal attraction necessary to perpetuate the species. So be prepared for your nose to play you all kinds of psychological tricks: be ready to be entertained.
Fragrance is one of the most expressive and individual ways we have of expressing and expanding our moods, personalities, desires, anxieties and comfort zones. It is still relatively inexpensive (convert into petrol, grocery bills, dry cleaning or train fares if you feel guilty about the cost); it’s portable, accessible and comes in a multiplicity of formats and formulae. What a grand little bargain to keep in the bathroom cabinet and your back pocket.
The guy who’s missing all this is cheating himself of a most desirable slice of life. So why miss out on a minor art form and a lot more fun, adventure and luxury in your life?
Perfume is sybaritic – it laps you in luxury, it bucks you up, it’s a tonic. It does all the things an aromatherapy oil will do and more: a fragrance of any quality and interest will consist of a blend of mind-altering oils both organic, natural and synthetic all of which play on different parts of your nervous system.
Fragrance will enhance your mood: arousing, comforting, soothing, energising, and relaxing: it can give you confidence, make you laugh, render you melancholic or extroverted. A sweet oriental cologne laced with vanilla, milky notes will lull you – think Mona di Orio’s CARNATION; a brisk woody green fougere (Creed’s BOIS DU PORTUGAL) brisks you up, pulls back your shoulders, even buffs your shoes.
Fragrance brings out and colours different aspects of your character: you are not one man but many. Advertising and PR may turn this idea into a cliché but as with all clichés there is truth in it: the sporty, gymnastic type may go for a brisk clean citrus, the intellectual for a dark fougere, and the extrovert for oriental leather. Look into yourself and, as the old army recruiting poster advised, see what kinds of man you can bring out.
Fragrance should also be fun – it’s amusing to match your wardrobe of a morning with a scent that fits; or, more challengingly, reverse the process – first pick your scent, then dress to suit. If you find yourself smiling, even laughing when you try a new scent for the first time, you can bet you’re onto a winner.
Try to realise that without perfume you are not fully dressed – it’s like business dress without the socks: clothes may not make the man but fragrance often can.
Perfume is a time-honoured aphrodisiac, arousing both you and your partner. Certain animalic notes – musk, civet, ambergris – have worked successfully for 5,000 years: why stop now? The fragrance won’t do all the work but it will give you a head start and it sets a certain atmosphere. Different strokes… animal oils is only one side; others are turned on by leather, celery seed, tuberose (finally getting a look-in in masculine scents), good old jasmine (at the heart of nearly all classic scents of the world), vetiver and patchouli. If you are turned on by your perfume there’s every chance your object of desire will be, too.
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Written by James Craven, LES SENTEURS’s nationally quoted fragrance archivist and expert chronicler of all things culturally fragrant, lends his invaluable service to the business as it continues to guide customers through its unparalleled collection of fine fragrance and scented accessories. Please visit Les Senteurs here: http://shop.lessenteurs.com/