Sex sells, as they say, and the world of perfume is certainly no exception. We are constantly bombarded with hyper-sexualised images of men and women, gently caressing perfume bottles and writhing around in faux wind-machine-assisted ecstasy, all just to spur us to part with cash at our local branch of Debenhams. Some brands go even further and play with the naked form in a deliberately shocking way, like Tom Ford with his verging-on-the-obscene Terry Richardson ad campaign for Tom Ford for Men, for example, or even Yves Saint Laurent and their slightly more tasteful, but still completely full frontal print ad for M7 (both NSFW links courtesy of Mr. Ford’s artistic direction, FYI).
But what makes a perfume sexy? Well, one would think that the answer to this question is entirely subjective, and in reality I think that is most likely to be the case. I imagine our idea of ‘sexiness’ in scent to be similar to the appearance of love potions in the world of Harry Potter (bear with me here), where the smell that each potion exudes is unique to the individual that sniffs it, depending on what they find attractive in a person. To put it another way – one man’s sexy fragrance is another’s olfactory cold shower, and it would be true to say that many supposedly ‘sexy’ scents fail to deliver, whereas the most seductive scents seem to be those that aren’t necessarily billed as such – sexy surprises, if you will.
One fragrance that makes rather bold claims about being ‘hot’ is 4160 Tuesdays’ ‘The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO)‘. Well, that’s what one would think from the name, but in reality this perfume, which was originally created by perfumer Sarah McCartney as a base for her Gin Garden scent and inadvertently named by a Tatler journalist, has a moniker that is served with tongue pressed firmly in cheek. The truth however, is that this fragrance is wonderfully executed, delicious and one of the easiest scents to wear on the planet. Ever.
Bergamot, Vanilla, Woods, Musk and Ambergris
How Does it Smell?
Opening with the sweet, fluffy quality of bergamot, The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO) (hereafter simply referred to as ‘The Sexiest Scent’) gives off an irresistible ‘Earl Grey Tea’ vibe – in fact, despite its lack of black tea, it has become the Earl Grey perfume that this writer has long been searching for, perfectly capturing the powdery sparkle of sweet bergamot that bursts forward when one breaks the seal on a brand new box of tea bags. It is divine.
Subtlety and simplicity are the key to sexiness here, and underneath that Earl Grey-esque start, The Sexiest Scent is one heck of a smooth operator, boasting the softest, smoothest and velvetiest woods that drape one’s skin in a plush layer of scented silk. The cedarwood at the perfume’s heart hints at warm bodies, making for an olfactory experience that could be neatly described as being ‘your skin but better’. And to be fair, If my actual skin smelled this good, I would never leave the house.
Then comes the vanilla. Ah, vanilla – the trusty base material that is so often misused and turned into a cloying, gourmand nightmare, but of course, as already demonstrated, perfumer Sarah McCartney knows exactly what she’s doing and the use of vanilla in The Sexiest Scent is blooming marvellous. I would describe the woody-vanilla base as being “so delicious it is likely to inspire cannibalistic inclinations whilst worn”. It’s that lovely, and as I’ve said all along in this review, the approach is that of subtlety – this is no honking great big vanilla, it’s a sweet and spicy babbling brook of a vanilla. A body of water that one simply cannot help but dive into.
The Sexiest Scent is a remarkable essay in restraint. It shows that something soft, subtle and relatively quiet can be phenomenally enjoyable and incredibly satisfying to wear. It’s one of those perfumes that wears as an aura with moderate sillage but excellent longevity and its addictive nature means that one finds themselves with their wrist firmly pressed against their nose for large portions of the day. In summary, this stuff is excellent, but I suppose you’re all wondering whether it’s sexy or not and I guess the only answer I can give to that question is – “hell to the yes”.
4160 Tuesdays’ The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO) is available in 30ml (£40), 50ml (£49.50) and 100ml Eau de Parfum (£80).
Sample and notes via 4160 Tuesdays. Image 1 (i.e. Jamie Dornan’s ruggedly handsome face) via popsugar.com. Image 2 via 4160tuesdays.com.