I’ve got wood on the brain, Dear Reader.
Now, before you judge me with your smutty little minds, I am of course referring to wood fragrances and not any other form of wood, metaphorical or otherwise. I’m not sure what may have led you to think of anything else – certainly not the somewhat tongue in cheek title of this post, that’s for sure! Anyway, the truth is that I’ve never really got wood before, as in, I’ve never really enjoyed wood fragrances that much (again, minds out of the gutter please, people). They’ve always felt too subtle or too plain for my exuberant tastes, so for the most part I’ve ignored them or passed them off as lovely, but not for me. That however, has changed very recently.
Over the last few months I’ve started to find wood fragrances a little bit sexy. I’m attracted to them and they are just the kind of thing I find myself wanting to smell on a man. But it’s actually more than that, they’ve also become the type of thing I want to wear when I’m feeling mighty fine, or when I want to feel mighty fine. So in this post I’m going to showcase some beautiful wood fragrances that are more than just a little bit sexy – in fact, they’re all very sexy in their own individual ways. So, please put on some Barry White and close the curtains because things are going to get a little bit hot and steamy up in here as we investigate seven wood fragrances with some serious bom-chicka-wah-wah factor.
So what makes a fragrance sexy, or more specifically, what makes a wood fragrance sexy? Well, as we all know, sexiness is in the eye of the beholder and in this case it firmly rests inside the nose of whoever is lucky to behold a fragrance they find sexy. In the case of woody fragrances there’s a number of elements that this style possesses that can be deemed as ‘alluring’. First off, woods are wonderfully complex and varied, meaning that the world of perfume has got wood for everybody. Cough. I also find that there’s a warmth to woods, whether that be a spicy warmth that evokes the idea of sweat, or even a salty warmth that is undeniably skin-like. As humans, we are very different from trees, but when it comes to wood perfumes we smell strangely alike. So yes, we are as sexy as trees, OK?
Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules
Let’s start with Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules because people literally go nuts for this stuff – no lie, they lose their shit over it. Out of all the perfumes I own, there is no fragrance more guaranteed to receive a compliment than this one. But why is that? It is, after all, simply one molecule, the popular Iso E Super (well if we’re going to be specific – a certain grade of the material called Iso Gamma Super) which is often used to add smoothness and lift to a fragrance as opposed to a strong odour profile, meaning that Molecule 01 isn’t really a perfume at all. Perhaps that’s what’s so good about this one – because it isn’t a perfume, it doesn’t wear like one, which means people pick it out as something unusual.
Molecule 01 and the material Iso E Super/Iso Gamma Super smells woody in a very savour way. It has a salty, nutty and almost maize-like dryness to it that gives the impression of slightly sweaty skin. It’s one of those ‘your skin but better’ fragrances that has a big reach that invites people in, which means that when you wear it, people want to lean in and smell you. Also, because it’s not a perfume (being one material and all) it doesn’t wear like one, disappearing and reappearing throughout the day, almost like magic (except it’s not magic, it’s science). Molecule 01 is a phenomenon and it smells sexy as hell – no wonder it’s Liberty’s best selling fragrance!
Molecule 01 is sexy because it’s a perfume in the nude – a molecule completely in the buff with not a single accessory or accompanying material to cover its modesty. Gosh, I’m getting all hot and bothered just thinking about it.
Available in 30ml (£36) and 100ml (£72) Eau de Toilette from Liberty.
Santal Blush by TOM FORD PRIVATE BLEND
We move from fake woods to real woods and Santal Blush by TOM FORD. Santal Blush is the sexiest fragrance in the TOM FORD PRIVATE BLEND lineup, and that’s saying something, because there are some seriously sexy fragrances in that collection, let me tell you. But Santal Blush is most definitely the sexiest. Inspired by Mr Ford’s 2011 makeup collection, Santal Blush is an ode to sandalwood in shades of nude and blush. I’d call it an intimate sandalwood – one that does away with the heaviness and creaminess of the material, presenting it as entirely transparent and clear.
Santal Blush starts out spicy and dry, with a handsome dose of cumin up top, which gives it a bit of a sweaty, animalic vibe. Underneath that it’s fairly clean with a crystalline sandalwood note that is nutty and oily (almost with the texture of honey) against the pencil-shavings feel of warm cedar wood. There’s also an ever so subtle tropical white flower thing going on in the heart, which is a little bit milky, but blooms in a way that is overtly sexual. That’s right, Santal Blush puts the sexy back into sandalwood.
Santal Blush is sexy because it is wood turned silk.
Available in 50ml (£158) and 250ml (£380) Eau de Parfum from Selfridges/Harrods/John Lewis etc.
Wonderoud by Comme des Garçons
One cannot talk wood without mentioning oud. It’s just not done. What’s more, oud can be quite sexy (it can also be pretty pungent too, but that’s another feature for another day) with its dirty barnyard and blue cheese vibes. Mostly though, the note is sanitised for the mainstream (and often is a synthetic reproduction and not the real thing) but every now and then a slightly funky oud comes along – enter Wonderoud by Japanese fashion house Comme des Garçons.
Wonderoud is a deep, dark and sexy oud. It opens with silvery streams of black pepper, with the spice of solid cedar for hardness. The oud is rich and smoky, with an oiliness that smells like petroleum on tarmac. It’s a dark fragrance (and a solid one to boot) but it’s not dense – there’s light and shade, and buoyancy. It’s the type of scent that paints the picture of a leather jacket wearing bad boy sat on a motorbike – the type to stare at you intensely as he lights up a cigarette. Yeah, so basically Wonderoud James Dean and we can all agree that’s sexy, right?
Wonderoud is sexy because it’s a badass (a big, beautiful badass).
Available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £80.75 from Escentual.
Woodissime by MUGLER
A feature on The Candy Perfume Boy wouldn’t be a feature if it didn’t feature a token MUGLER fragrance and this feature certainly is no different. MUGLER gives us wood in the form of Woodissime, one of the newer additions to the house’s Les Exceptions collection. This is another oud (I’m spoiling you with two in this post, aren’t I generous?), but it’s far from the Marlboro Man darkness of Wonderoud, in fact this oud is dare I say, a little bit fruity…
In Woodissime oud, cedar wood and sandalwood are paired with the floral note of osmanthus, which smells a lot like apricot jam with a hot breathiness. This fruity note livens up the wood and intensifies its sweetness and in turn, makes it feel more carnal. It is fleshy, funky and sweet in an ‘intimate parts of the body’ kind of a way (I win points for diplomatically referring to genitals there – oh crap, I ruined it by using the ‘g word’). Trust MUGLER to make a woody fragrance that leads one’s mind on a lustful journey down south. No wonder they’re my favourite house…
Woodissime is sexy because it’s a hot and fleshy take on wood. The jammy/fruity osmanthus note brings out the richness of the wood, presenting it as a multi-faceted spectrum of (very intimate) warmth. It smells like hot skin and warm breath and it’s bloody sexy.
Available in 80ml Eau de Parfum for £135 from MUGLER.
Sunny Side Up by Juliette Has a Gun
There are lots of reasons to love Sunny Side Up – the name is fun and the bottle looks like a fried egg when you look at it from a bird’s eye view, not to mention the scent itself, which is pretty sexy. It’s a sandalwood but this one takes us on a unique journey into sandalwood via a slight detour in St Tropez. It’s a lazy, languid wood fragrance that likes to lay on the beach all day reading Cosmo and eyeing up the good looking boys as they play volleyball. Basically it’s me on holiday.
Sunny Side Up amps up the milkier aspects of sandalwood, pairing it with coconut milk to bring out both its sweetness as well as its nutty character, whilst giving it that lactonic, suntan lotion-like texture that is immediately vacantion-esque. The warmth comes from jasmine and cashmeran (a luminous woody synthetic) that brings a solar effect, but also a warm skin vibe. All together, Sunny Side Up smells like salty, beachy skin lightly coated in a satin-like SPF. If you smell it and don’t immediately book yourself a flight to somewhere exotic then there is something wrong with you.
Sunny Side up is Sexy because it’s the smell of sun kissed skin on the beach. It’s a sprayable bikini body, which saves one from having to go to the gym and therefore, it is most excellent.
Available in 50ml (£85) and 100ml (£110) Eau de Parfum from Selfridges.
Le Cèdre by Miller Harris
Le Cèdre is one of my favourite launches this year and it’s also the fragrance that ignited my lust for all things woody, so you have Le Cèdre to thank for this post. Thank you, Le Cèdre! For me, this fragrance was a complete surprise, after all I was completely nonplussed about wood fragrances before I smelled it. But it was the slowly unravelling complexity of this ode to cedar wood that inspired my amorous and unrelenting obsession with woods
On the surface Le Cèdre is a soft, powdery cedar wood that chooses to focus on the material’s spicier facets rather than its nutty, mineral or pencil shaving facets. What makes it stand out (and so sexy) is the adornments that are added to the cedar to bring out its dirtier facets. The powder is extended by mimosa, which also brings a slightly funky pollen facet (and we all know that anything that channels the inner parts of flowers is super filthy), whilst pepper (and definitely some cumin) bring a dirty, sweaty nuance. Then musk just allows it to float all around you in a fuzzy, woody haze. As the great philosopher Paris Hilton would say, “that’s hot”.
Le Cèdre is sexy because it has a little bit of a sweaty armpit vibe, let’s be real. Le Cèdre is soft and subtle, but it also has this underlying skanky quality that speaks of pure animalistic attaction. You know how people can sometimes describe a person’s look as ‘freshly shagged’ if their hair and clothes are deliberately dishevelled? Well, Le Cèdre is the olfactory equivalent of that, which is to say that it is utterly marvellous (and politely dirty).
Available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £165 from Miller Harris.
Wood of Life by Anima Vinci
Anima Vinci is the hottest brand that you don’t know about yet but that it is absolutely change very soon. In fact, I’ll be brining you a piece dedicated solely to Anima Vinci next week, so do keep your eyes peeled for that. But for now, let’s round things off in this sexy little wood fest with a fragrance that I guarantee will be a an absolute revelation to you. Intrigued yet? Good!
Anima Vinci worked with perfumer Michel Roudnitska to create Wood of Life. It features a unique material, a root called piri piri that is exclusive to the Amazon basin. It has been used for medicinal and religious purposes for centuries, but now it finds itself in Wood of Life. The issue with this fragrance is that I’m at a loss to explain what it smells like. It’s an entirely new odour for my nose, but it has a spicy sharpness, a touch of menthol and the richness of wood. One could call it intense, luminous, rich, dark, hot, cold, and fizzy, but that doesn’t do it justice. Instead I will settle one word that perfectly summarises Wood of Life: fascinating.
Wood of Life is sexy because it literally smells like nothing else. It is unique and therein lies its attraction – not only does it boast a beautifully handsome blend of spicy, menthol-esque woods, it’s also one of a kind. Wood of Life is the guy (or gal) that stands out to you because he or she doesn’t look like anybody else and if you sniff but one fragrance in this edit, make sure it’s Wood of Life. It will give you as much wood as you can ever ask for, but will also give you LIFE!
Available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £150 from Anima Vinci.
Join the Discussion!
Well hopefully this article has given you enough wood (stop sniggering in the back, please) but I’m keen to hear what you think is the sexiest wood fragrance out there.
Let me know in the comments below!
Samples via Escentric Molecules, TOM FORD, Comme des Garçons, MUGLER, Juliette Has a Gun, Miller Harris and Anima Vinci. Images are my own.