When it comes to the art of silent seduction, nothing comes close to the subtle power of fragrance. Just a hint of an aromatic perfume has the ability to trigger an inescapable, visceral reaction deep in your heart and your body. And that’s precisely what makes fragrance so wonderfully complicated: the flashbacks they evoke, whether it’s the nostalgia of your first love or a comforting childhood memory, transport you back to a moment in your life and strengthen your connection to the aroma — and the person wearing it.
Fragrance’s profound effects on the human body are not just whimsical flights of fancy — far from it. In fact, scientists have proven that smell has a stronger link to memory and emotion than any of the other human senses. Scent is managed by the front of the brain, which sends information to other areas of the body and is immediately redirected to the regions responsible for interpreting emotion and memory, the amygdala and the hippocampus.
Scent is undoubtedly subjective, just as the memories they evoke, but there are specific fragrance notes that have been known to spark arousal in humans for centuries (just ask Cleopatra), and now, we have actual evidence that connects scent to sensuality.
Look no further for the notorious notes and scents famed for their aphrodisiac properties for your next bewitching hour. Vanilla
“We know from research that sensuality in fragrances tends to be associated with the idea of a slow release,” says Pierre Negrin, master perfumer for Hope Fragrances . “The structure of each fragrance note and molecules give it a particular evaporation rate, and those that evaporate more slowly are those that linger on the skin, that take their time revealing themselves and are present throughout wear.” Madagascar vanilla, according to Negrin, “evolves slowly and is present throughout an evening and well-beyond.”
Shop now: Tom Ford Vanille Fatale Eau de Parfum, $240, sephora.com