"Skin scent" is a much brandished term among perfume cognoscenti, but what does it mean exactly? Usually its use revolves around two possible meanings: 1) A fragrance resembling the natural scent of one's skin, i.e. "my skin but better" (as in the ever popular "le no makeup look" or "your lips but better" shade in cosmetic parlance) It amplifies your own skin odour and reflects it back as the smell of soft, clean skin. Or 2) A fragrance that projects at such a low pitch that it melds with your natural smell and stays very close, so that only someone hugging you would be able to detect it.
Perhaps it's a bit of both, sometimes.
But why would this idea be so appealing? First of all, there would be the intimacy factor: There is something alluring and inwardly exciting about something theoretically public, which is there in the open, yet somehow delivered only to those who lean closer to discover it. Like the bearer of happy news who smiles a bit inside at the revelation that's about to happen. Secondly, it's often a mark of elegance and timely discretion: A skin scent does not affect co-workers that work a few cubicles away, or people in the subway, it keeps its manners at all times and yet ~if it's a good one lasting the whole day~ it whispers seductively to your lover when you get back home. There's something deeply satisfying about that.
Skin scents usually run the gamut of fragrance families and categories: There's nothing that prevents them from being florals or orientals "in the letter of the law", so to speak. The sun tan lotion note for instance is technically a tropical reference, usually married to wild white flowers, yet, fragrances sporting it aim to smell like your skin while sunbathing, therefore, like skin...Yet usually they veer into either soft woodies or humming muskies. Musk scents are naturally conceived to be smelling of warm human skin, so the association is self-evident. Another quirky category with lots of potential would be "mineral", abstract fragrances with a nuance of warm stones, sand, salt notes or ambergris.
Below, please find a selection of some of the best skin scents out there. Something out of those would satisfy the desire for such an animal. Highlighted links point to full fragrance reviews.
Woody skin scents:
Gaiac 10 by Le Labo
Wonderwood by Comme des Garcons
Poivre Samarkande by Hermès
In the library by CB I Hate Perfume
Musky skin scents:
Muscs Kublaï Khan by Serge Lutens
Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens
Narciso Rodriguez Musk for Her (oil parfum)
Nude Musk by Ava Luxe
No.18 by Chanel Les Exclusifs
Perfect Veil by Creative Scentualisation
Sienna Musk by Sonoma Scent Studio
Voyage d'Hermès by Hermès
L'Eté en Douce by L'Artisan Parfumeur
Mineral skin scents:
L'Eau Ambrée by Prada
Eau de Merveilles by Hermès
Eau de Gentiane Blanche by Hermès
L'antimatière by Les Nez
31 Rue Cambon by Chanel Les Exclusifs
Wild card skin scents (off category players):
Let me Play the Lion by Les Nez
Arsène Lupin Dandy by Guerlain Les Exclusives
Le Parfum de Thérèse by F.Malle
Sonia Rykiel Woman -not for men! Eau de Parfum by Sonia Rykiel
Vanille Insensée by Atelier Cologne
Nude by Bills Blass
Bronze Goddess/Azurée Soleil by Estee Lauder
These are the older sun tan lotion skin note "editions" in contrast to the new Bronze Goddess Soleil which is a tropical citrus.
Which is YOUR favourite skin scent?
Photo by Horst P.Horst "Odalisque" 1943. Stills from the film Last Tango in Paris and Satyricon.