5 Good Smells, Just In Time For Valentine's Day

Every holiday season, and especially during the run-up to Valentine's Day, my inbox is chock full of pitches about how to buy your loved one the most romantic, luxurious perfume. Apparently, it's the perfect gift to tell someone you love them, and also that you want them to smell like something else. To which I say: Am I missing something? Has anyone ever received a perfume from an acquantaince and said, "Wow, what a kind and thoughtful gift! Also, thank you for excluding me from this very personal and expensive purchase you just made on my behalf."

I love perfume—but I also love picking out my own perfume. It should be attractive to those around me, but it's on my body, so it better please me first. And, of course, I'm happy to hit the refresh button around Valentine's Day, for the sake of pheromones or body chemistry or whatever, but I'm going to be doing the resetting myself. I haven't picked up a new bottle in a minute, so it's been fun for the last couple of weeks to try out a couple that are romantic, but not too sexy that I feel uncomfortable wearing them outside the confines of my apartment. If you're going to drop a Franklin or two on a perfume, it's got to be versatile.

Let this also serve as the quarterly (or at this point, half-yearly) ITG fragrance report. Sure, they're infrequent, but I promise it's because we wait until there's good enough stuff to report. And this time, there are a lot of excellent smells to consider. In no particular order...

My absolute favorite for many reasons: Frederic Malle Outrageous

Even after a few months of purging myself of all the underused fragrances on my shelf at home, in search of a more Marie Kondo approach to perfume, I have managed to find room in my life for this one. It's very fresh—almost too fresh for winter—which I find makes a nice change to both my scent roster and also the typically-offered varieties on offer around Valentine's Day. Give your musk the night off and try this one on for size.

Glossier HQ's Communal Fragrance: Diptyque Eau Des Sens

If this bottle stays at my desk for much longer—and Glossier colleagues keep stopping by for a quick spritz day in and day out—it is going to be gone by the beginning of March. Not since the Glossier holiday party have so many us been intoxicated by the same thing at the same time. This might be because we've all been converted to big time fans of orange blossom notes, which bring some much-needed lightness into the office, but with a base of patchouli, for a firm grounding that doesn't feel too basic.

Because I Made You Wait For Musky, Here Is Musky: Vilhelm Parfumerie Don't Tell Jasmine

Sexy scent; sexy name. New just in time for V-Day, Don't Tell Jasmine is heavy on exactly what you think it's heavy on: jasmine. It's heady and powerful and refreshingly singular, with a little depth added in thanks to petal musk and some lemon for levity. But only proceed with it if you like jasmine. Like, really love jasmine. Or maybe only like jasmine.

For The Traditionalist: Edward Bess La Femme Bohème

You remember Edward Bess, right? He was the beautiful man you saw touching up Betty Halbreich's lipstick in her Top Shelf last year. Well, La Femme Bohème is his take on the jasmine scent (I had to include two because apparently jasmine is an aphrodisiac and it's Valentine's Day and you get the picture...). Except, instead of citrus, here it's paired with amber and honey. A bit more elegant, a bit more mature. Something to grow into.

Let's End This On A Sweet Note: Hermès Eau De Rhubarb Écarlate

Can we just pause for a second and look at this bottle? Love the scent, hate the scent, whatever—that bottle is at a level of chicness to which I hope to one day ascend. The scent is pure fruit but with a wintery soul—juicy instead of just sweet. And rhubarb is more of a root vegetable than a real fruit anyway. And root vegetables can definitely be sexy. Just slap an Hermès logo on it and there you go! Sexy!

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Scents memory: Looking back on our favorite fragrances of 2016, over here.