Bare Skin Scents

Marilyn Monroe in Niagara

Marilyn Monroe in Niagara

Maybe this is an ooh la la sort of question, but I wonder what are the best fragrances for nudity?  Now I realize that the answer is going to vary a good deal because the subject of skin and what works on the skin also varies considerably from one person to another, but factoring that in, which are the very best scents for nothing at all?

OK we already know that Marilyn Monroe’s answer was No 5, but then Marilyn may have preferred nudity because of the unforgiving fashions of her day.  Dropping it all on the bedroom floor and putting on No5  (or some say L’Aimant actually) may have been a relief after ten hours of waist cinchers.  The late Bill Blass made clothes for her after Norman Norell and claimed she was hard to fit because she was bosomy and…”All she cared about was that they were tight over the can.  She was one of the few actresses who was more concerned with the appearance of her backside than her front.”*And what Marilyn poured down that front was a floral aldehyde.

Bill Blass from GQ's Morning Shot

Bill Blass from GQ’s Morning Shot

Mr. Blass seems to have sided with Marilyn on this point himself.  His own bestselling perfume Nude is a floral aldehyde, somewhat defaced by a bad knockoff but still quite wearable if found in the original bottles (not the recent Revlon ones) and probably closer kin to Rive Gauche than to No 5.  Nude had a big galbanum component and narcissus in the original, which made the fragrance a green floral aldehyde verging on a green chypre with oak moss and vetiver in the end.

All this emphasis on floral aldehydes in the altogether makes you wonder if Chanel was correct in saying that a woman should not smell like a flower?  Though Coco was inconsistent on this  point being a gardenia wearer when it came to perfume, first with Krigler’s Pleasure Gardenia, and later with her own Gardenia spiced up by a sprig of pimento in the opening.  Others swear by tuberose in the round, turning to Carnal Flower and Fracas. If you enjoy naturals ,then Atelier’s Cuir de Gardenia is extremely skin friendly and is in the same white floral mode.

Myself, I think a good fruit chypre is one of the most sensual perfumes on earth, with Le Parfum de Therese, Femme, and latterly dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Mata Hari all good contenders for what to wear under the underwear, and if you find an old bottle of Guerlain’s Parure (Samantha from Sex in the City’s favorite) snap it up.

Farnesiana Caron Urn perfume

Caron Urn perfume

Best of all perhaps is a really subtle leather, Cuir de Lancome,  Bel Ami, or perhaps Kelly Caleche.  If you prefer something a tad stronger then Neil Morris’ Fetish (among his best sellers) with patchouli, ambergris, myrrh, musk and leather all putting in appearances in fifty shades of skin tone, is a winner.

Me, I like mimosas, they remind me of baby flesh, and so for me, the altogether fragrance is Farnesiana.  What’s your preferred nude perfume?

* Quoted from Fashion, The Inside Story, by Barbaralee Diamonstein






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9 thoughts on “Bare Skin Scents

  1. Femme for me every time, the reformulated one. I know a lot of people hate the cumin but for me it works perfectly. Femme starts to melt into my skin the instant it’s out of the bottle. The 1990s ads are beautifully done too. They are about nothing other than a woman enjoying her own sensuality.

    Some people might suggest Eau des Merveilles, but I’ve never really clicked with it. I love L’Ambre des Merveilles because of its sweet weightlessness, but I wouldn’t call it a nude perfume necessarily.

    1. Curiously I’ve heard a range of opinions on new Femme, most of it good. It all seems to hinge on the cumin though and whether people like that.

      Agree with you about Eau des Merveilles. Supposed to be ambergris re-constructed, but after five minutes I can’t smell anything. Nope, rather go with an old Creed or even Caleche Eau Delicate for ambergris.

      L’Ambre des Merveilles is one of the best ambers. I also like JC Ellena’s L’Eau d’Ambre for L’Artisan, but possibly the Hermes is better- a nudie? Probably not, but I can’t think of an amber that is…

  2. Can I suggest Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal? Especially the body cream. Sweet at first but not obtrusive; then present but not in-your-face. It is what I think of when I read that a scent is “like your skin only better”.

    1. You bring up two very good points 1) musk, which I often forget but other people love, and 2) body creams- possibly the best way to wear perfume these days. So skin scent times two 🙂

  3. Good question… In my mind a good nude scent is something subtle, not too perfume-y. I’m not sure I have a good modern candidate but what came to mind is CK Truth – both the original one and Sensual Bedtime Fragrance flanker. Or maybe something with vanilla… Wait! I know! Rose Ikebana by Hermes since like a good choice. And Asian Tales’ perfumes from By Kilian.

    1. I hadn’t seen a reference to Calvin Klein’s Truth in a long time, love the silk flower note in it, and a slightly fruity rose of the Rose Ikebana variety might indeed be a good choice for nudity since it’s fresh.

      I’ve just been experimenting with the Asian Tales scents, and can see Imperial Tea as something that might compliment a birthday suit pretty well, but your vanilla suggestion really resonates with me. A light vanilla I think, with maybe a touch of jasmine or lily…

  4. Well there’s Nuda itself, by Il Profumum /-0 (termination is approx). And Clinique Simply is very baby skin like. I am actually just discovering and enjoying Eau des Merveilles today as it happens, and was also going to suggest that! Agree with Musc Nomade and would also mention L’Erbolario’s Meharees (like Musc Ravageur but much more soft and sanitised). I have even been told that blends well with my skin!

  5. Wonderful suggestions for the musk wearers. The true sensualists I suspect 🙂

    There’s a pretty amber floral out there, Givenchy’s Dahlia Divin which at first sniff reminded me faintly of Bronze Goddess, minus the coconut, so perhaps not a bad bare skin candidate, and your recommendation of Meharees makes me realize that I have to try some of the more recent Erbolarios. I have not kept up with them.

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