Okay, you guys, I love Valentine's Day. Whether I'm single or taken or whatever, it's one of my favorite holidays. I love it for all the wrong reasons. I love it (mostly) because everything is pink and the world — finally — looks how the inside of my head looks all year round. And there's candy everywhere. All you need is an excuse to rip a beer bong to set it all off and you've covered the bases of every good holiday.
Jesus, I'm already off track. That has to be record time.
I thought that now would be as good of a time as any to talk about some of my favorite fragrances inspired by love. We've talked about candy fragrances, Sunday morning fragrances, and even weed fragrances. Even so, there are so many great scents built around the idea of love that I'm surprised it's taken me this long to jump on it.
Let's start with one that really gets me in my feelings.
The hardest part of getting into a new relationship is getting out of your old one. No matter how long it’s been or how vast the space is between the new and the old one, I always find myself going back to old habits. Whether it’s the way I brace myself for a potentially negative reaction or being caught off guard by his simple sign of affection, I struggle with a period of letting down my guard and accepting that this isn’t what I’m used to, that this is something new.
Maybe it takes me a little longer than some to shake off the dust from the past. I’ve always heard that the beginning of a relationship is the most exciting, but to me, it’s the scariest. It’s all scary and it always comes back to haunt me at the most unexpected times, like when my arm snakes around his body in the middle of the night. It’s always moments like that — that aren’t even really moments at all — that remind me that this isn’t the same as before. Even on nights when I’m sleeping alone, it’s easy to feel like I’m sleeping with ghosts.
I’m always talking all this bullshit about how fragrances can be more than just a fragrance, and this might be the best example of that I’ve seen thus far. That name. The first time I stumbled across it, it was like someone lodged their Shell Toe right below my ribcage.
Sleeping With Ghosts smells the way loneliness feels. Heady. Addicting. The scent has a dark heart that’s disguised by a sweet opener, which, if you’re not careful, might not ever quite let go of you. Quince gives a deceptive, juicy sweetness at the beginning, paired with marigold to flesh out the top a bit. In the middle, there is a contradiction of peony wrapped in leather. At the base, vetiver grounds the scent while vanilla adds a sweetness that surrounds you throughout wear.
It smells like the middle of the night. It’s soft like a comforter, but big, a big scent, like a void. You can’t ever quite get away from it, which may or may not be a bad thing.
This scent perfectly encapsulates a moment in time for me. I can’t separate it from where I was when I first started wearing it. The afternoon it arrived, I had spent my day on a, *ahem*, party pontoon because I live in Wisconsin and I’m gutter trash.
It was hot as hell. I was sucking down cheap beers like I was still seventeen, and I couldn’t get this one guy out of my head.
Debaser smells like that summer to me, and always will. It‘s green, hot, and sweet, but sweet in both a natural and syrupy way. It’s like drinking cocktails at a barbecue, or sipping lukewarm mimosas on a pier as the sun goes down while warm winds blow through the grass. It smells like his body smelled after being pressed against mine all night, which is the best way to smell your own fragrance. It smells like hot concrete and anticipation.
Debaser starts off with bergamot, green leaves, and pear stem, which all work to keep the fragrance fresh and springy throughout the entirety of the wear. In the middle, there is mellow sweetness from the combination of fig, iris, and coconut milk. Coconut adds a warm, natural sweetness and pairs well with almost anything you put it next to, and is the reason I grabbed this scent in the first place. Fragrances that include coconut are few and far between, but they’re always good. The base is made up of blonde wood, tonka bean, and moss.
It’s as good in the morning as it is in the middle of the night. The herbaceous bits make it a fresh scent for the farmer’s market in the morning, and the sweetness make it great for taking the long way home at the end of a romantic night, which you then ruin when you burst into tears after drinking six beers.
Before I knew it, summer turned into fall. We're wearing hoodies and skipping town on our birthdays. His toothbrush is on my vanity. My makeup wipes are on his sink.
Like love itself, In Love Again comes as a complete surprise. It’s light, clean, watery, and versatile and doesn’t force itself on you. It beckons you to get closer, but only when you’re ready. It's also hard to decipher. It gives you a ton of notes at the top without putting any of them right out in front. Black currant, blueberry, cassia, vodka, grapefruit, and apple make up the top notes. Though it sounds very berry heavy, it trades any sweetness for a light, crisp sparkle (think champagne).
The middle is a floral heart of rose, which takes a back seat to the water lily note which is really the star here, now that I think about it. The base includes blackberry, tomato, sandalwood and musk. You don’t often see many of these notes in fragrances, which is partly why this one is so hard to pin down. Don’t put too much thought into this one, though, just enjoy it. I tend to fuck things up when I over think them.
Love Exposure is part of a collection of fragrances by Folie a Plusieurs, all inspired by film. HOW COOL. Love Exposure was also created by Mark Buxton and was inspired a film of the of the same name directed by Sono Sion. The scent begins like an unassuming white floral, and you might be able to pass it of as just that. But there’s more.
Ylang-ylang opens the fragrance up with the help of magnolia oil, which could lead you to believe that this is an innocent, flowery fragrance. Pay attention, though, because bay and buccu oil provide a shiny, metallic note, making it either violent or overtly sexual, depending on how you interpret that note. To me, it's raunchy. Cumin, amber, sandalwood, and vanilla add a little dry heat, like friction from skin, without making in noticeably sweeter.
I love it when a scent goes the extra mile, when you get a little more of an idea of what inspired it, of why it smells the way it does. Fragrances become a part of your story, and knowing what went into creating the fragrance might just make it more attractive than other scents when you’re picking one out. It does to me, at least. Maybe this one jumps out at you because because you're in love with a film scholar, or maybe you just like to smell like you had sex before church. Either way, this fragrance is for you.
Roses & Chocolate. Valentine’s Day. Get it?
Forgive me for being literal but when else do you expect me to cover this scent? It’s from Mancera’s Greedy Pink collection and this one is a weird mix of on-the-nose, imagination, and magic (well, maybe not magic but the bottle is cute).
I love chocolate, but when it’s included in fragrances I find that it often ends up smelling more like a scented marker than actual chocolate. Mancera uses an expert combination of notes to concoct a very literal representation of chocolate right next to a bouquet of fresh, red roses.
The minute it hits your skin, peach, blackcurrant, and coconut provide the forward sweetness of a cherry truffle. Rose sits behind the initial sweetness and makes itself more known throughout the wear of the scent. Alongside the rose, there is violet to help take the edge off of the sweetness, and chocolate reminds us that it’s the reason we’re all here. The base of the scent is made up of cedar, white musk, and vanilla. I love the pairing of chocolate and vanilla because I am approximately four years old.
So those are what I've been wearing lately to get me in the Valentine's MOOD. Do you guys love V Day as much as I do? Let's chat in the comments. Be mine.
Tynan is your valentine on Twitter @TynanBuck.