9 Fragrance Experts Share Their Picks for the Most Romantic Scents
Fragrance is perhaps the most intimate and personal beauty category. A scent can bring someone right back to a distant memory they thought they'd forgotten, stir feelings of nostalgia or simply serve as an olfactory backdrop to life's biggest moments.
Though fragrances have the power to evoke a wide range of emotions, their ability to incite attraction and inspire romance are among their most important. (Just ask literally any perfume ad.)
As the warmer weather finally approaches, summer love is in the air. To prepare for those late-night hand-in-hand moments and vacation meet-cutes, we asked fragrance experts to share their insights about what makes a scent truly romantic. Read on, and prepare to fall in love — with a potential new signature scent, at least.
Ourside Nostalgia Eau De Parfum
"For me, romance is tied to memories and emotions. Scent memory is a powerful thing that can evoke feelings of nostalgia. The most romantic scent for me feels like a warm embrace, and it's our scent, Nostalgia. It's inspired by my mom's travels to Tunisia and smelling midnight jasmine by the waves.
"What's romantic to one person may not be romantic to another, but a few notes that are commonly found in fragrances deemed romantic are rose, sandalwood, jasmine (a note featured in Nostalgia) and vanilla. Rose accords are often associated with love and romance. Vanilla harkens romance in a form of comfort, while sandalwood is warm, inviting and intimate." — Keta Burke-Williams, founder, Ourside
Lafco New York Signature Blush Rose Candle
"I find that most people find typically 'feminine' scents, such as rose and other soft florals, to be romantic. For Lafco, these types of fragrances evoke a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and candlelight dinner, or a walk through a flower garden with a lover.
"On the flip side, more 'masculine' scents take the form of sensual, sultry and earthy fragrances that are more 'manly,' yet still evoke a similar romantic effect. Following those ideas, I consider our most romantic candles to be our Blush Rose and Feu de Bois." —Jon Bresler, CEO and founder, Lafco New York
Kilian Paris Love, Don't Be Shy Eau de Parfum
"Studies have shown culturally-driven cognitive associations to play a strong role in mood and behavior. Hence, fragrances with floral notes, especially red roses, are top of mind for me when I want to express romance. Likewise, notes that smell either spicy, sensual or jammy get my vote: amber, musk, honey, star anise, vanilla, tonka bean, patchouli, pink pepper, cream, fig and so on.
"This might be the biggest cliché ever, but Love, Don't Be Shy by Kilian Paris has been a personal favorite for years. I was introduced to it by a former roommate when building out my collection. Ultimately, I grew even more attached to the iconic fragrance once my now-boyfriend caught a whiff of me in it. The compliments rain down every time." —Brianna Arps, founder and CEO, Moodeaux
Parfums de Marly Valaya Eau de Parfum
"A romantic smell must be refined and warm. These elements draw in a wearer to be surrounded by comfort and delicacy and entices one to come in closer and smile.
"Delina La Rosée and Valaya are the most romantic in our collection, seducing and enrapturing the wearer and passerby to inhale deeply into a floral fantasy, which can be playful and airy or nostalgic and elegant." —Yvan Jacqueline, president of the Americas, Parfums de Marly
The Maker Stag Eau de Parfum
"A scent must be equally loved by both sides. When you are with somebody — either in a long-term relationship or if you are on a first date, both people notice the smell of a fragrance and it attracts them. It becomes immediately part of their memory, and that triggers a feeling of attraction and makes that connection more intimate.
"Right now, I'm into Stag, as it has lots of pheromone notes such as palo santo, agar wood and labdanum. Together, they create a very sensual combination of notes that make me feel romantic." —Lev Glazman, co-founder and fragrance architect, The Maker
Hope Fragrances Hope Night Parfum
"A romantic scent can be directed outward to attract and entice. It can also look inward, so that the wearer improves their mood, increases confidence, or feels desirable.
"There is nothing more romantic than receiving a bouquet of roses or other fragrant flowers...Hope Night is made with notes of amber, vanilla, patchouli and plum, on a luxurious bed of white flowers: lily-of-the-valley and gardenia. It's perfect for your most romantic side, and the soft and sensual moments of the evening." —Audrey Gruss, founder, Hope Fragrances
By/Rosie Jane Dylan Eau de Parfum
"Timeless, classic perfumes are the most romantic to me…ones that have many memories associated with them. Generally [the most romantic fragrance notes] are florals like jasmine and rose, but I love woody masculine scents. Nude musks and hinoki wood — these feel like wearing your boyfriend's T-shirt.
"[Our fragrance] Dylan is all about love, romance and of course, sex. It combines the soft woody notes of cedar, the spiciness of frankincense with a base of white musk to create the ultimate romantic yet unisex scent. Dylan feels like being in love, brave and carefree." —Rosie Jane Johnston, founder, By/Rosie Jane
Relevant 13 Stems Eau de Parfum
"Everyone has a different interpretation of romance, so you have to follow your intuition. For me, a fragrance needs to feel intimate, sensual and speak to my soul — that, to me, is romantic.
"I consider my Relevant: Your Skin Seen: 13 Stems to be the most romantic perfume. It really embodies sensuality, earthiness and magic. I say it's where scent meets soul, and that couldn't be any more true. This is perfect to spritz on, whether you're going out with a special someone, or just need a day of grounding self-care." —Nyakio Grieco, founder, Relevant
Elorea Be By My Side Eau de Parfum
"Romantic scents are closely linked to individual preferences and memories. For some individuals, a romantic scent may be a floral fragrance like rose or jasmine, while others may find musky or warm scents more romantic.
"This fragrance was inspired by the poetic Korean word 'hūnoni,' which means 'missing someone dearly.' It combines the bittersweetness of ginseng with rich floral notes of roses and forget-me-nots to create a complex, warm and glow-y scent. The dry-down is soft suede and vanilla, leaving a silky and skin-like finish that is both sensual and addictive. Overall, the fragrance is perfect for leaving a romantic impression." — Su Min Park, co-founder and chief creative officer, Elorea
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