Perfume is easily the sexiest of the beauty categories. There’s something about the intangible feel of it, the aura, and our primal attraction to scent that makes fragrance so mysterious, and therefore, so appealing. (Or, alternatively, so unappealing — but that’s another story.) And, we wear perfume for different reasons: We may have one for big work meetings, one for cocktail parties, and one for the day-to-day — but most of us probably have a signature “sexy” scent or two for dates and saucy evenings. It’s what Beyoncé might call a “freakum scent,” if you will. So, when quintessentially chic French ladies Pauline Rochas (yep, as in that Rochas) and Carole Beaupré came to chat with me about Le Premier Parfum, the scent they created in collaboration with master nose Patricia Choux that’s intended to “activate the sacral chakra — the energy located beneath the navel that unlocks sensuality and eros,” I wasn’t exactly surprised by the idea. But, after one spritz on my wrist, I was officially hooked: It’s a warm and sensual fragrance, comprised of notes like sandalwood, patchouli, ylang-ylang, and resin. I hate saying that it “smells like sex,” because that’d sound stupid — who knows what your sex smells like? Latex and sweat? Leather and candle wax? Desperation and salty tears? But…it kind of smells like sex. Like, really great, a little bit dirty, and a little bit torrid. When it’s first in the air, it kind of gives you a head high, which only inspires naughty thoughts. There’s a musky effect that happens on the skin. In fact, “musky” is the word people use to describe it when they smell it, but there’s a complete absence of musk from the formula, which is interesting. “You’re single?” Carole asked me on the day we met. I nodded. “Newly so. But, I have a date tonight!” “Wear this,” she advised. “Then, tell me what happens. You’ll be surprised.” Apparently, Le Premier Parfum has inspired many sordid stories, which wearers tell Carole and Pauline the morning after trying the scent. There have been tales, they say, of marriages rekindled, passionate trysts in exotic places, and sex lives reawakened. I was tempted to be extremely cynical — but something about the duo made me believe them. You know how we post countless stories about French girl this and French girl that? I never used to get the appeal, but they made me a believer. I sprayed it once on my neck, once on my wrist, and went to meet my date. In brief, he was a total dream: so handsome, delightfully intelligent, and extremely open. We stayed at the bar chatting for hours, although he remained firmly in his seat, hands politely by his side the entire time. We talked about politics, our jobs, our families. Hell, we even talked about sex. But, other than that, the fragrance seemed not to work its charms. He embraced me at the end of the date, and walked out into the night. The French girls had let me down, I thought. I began my walk home, considering the events of the evening, when I bumped into an old flame. At first, he kept walking, so I thought I would too, but then I actually stopped and turned around. There, a half-block away, he had done the same. We walked toward each other, smiling, and exchanged pleasantries. It was cold outside, though, so we decided to continue our conversation indoors. Let’s just say that Carole ended up being right about my surprise. And, I’ll be saving this very chic little bottle for those evenings when I’m craving a little bit of adventure. Freakum scent, indeed. Coolife Le Premier Parfum, $175, available at bycoolife.
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