Valentine’s Day fragrances: Red notes for every taste

Valentine’s Day fragrances: Red notes for every taste

By Alexandra Donaldson

The colour red is never far from our daydreams of romance, and so it’s no surprise that approaching Valentine’s Day we’ve got scarlet fever. Red roses, red lips, red wine—associating the colour red with love comes pretty easily. But red has both a carnal side and a sweet side. It’s the colour of passion, heat and even anger, while also lending itself to sweetness—think licorice, cinnamon hearts, chocolate-covered cherries. While we don’t recommend giving in to anger this Valentine’s Day, passion is another story, which of course can be fired up with the right red fragrance.

Cherries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, even currants, colour the fragrance personality of many red spritzes. The sweetness of these fruits is the red of rosy cheeks, flush with excitement and schoolgirl crushes—the candied precursors to intensely dark ruby-red lust.

Deeper red fragrance notes such as warm woody cedar, tobacco, cinnamon and red sage take the relationship a step further. They smell cozy and intimate, but can just as easily fire up more carnal and animalistic thoughts. Forget a polite bouquet of roses.

It’s no wonder that sex symbols the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Dita Von Teese and Rihanna are known for their red pouts. But stirring the libido can be done in more ways than with lipstick. Think spice. Pepper, cinnamon, saffron and ginger evoke passion, power and heat. And when showcased in a perfume, they’re a sensual and sexy way to up the ante on Valentine’s Day—or any night of the week.

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The 25th anniversary of Elizabeth Arden Red Door has ushered in Red Door 25, a floral scent updated from the original with red notes of Turkish Rose and Rose Absolute. Elizabeth Arden Red Door 25 Limited Edition EDP, $85 (100 ml),

Desire, a fruity fragrance with red notes of apple and rose. Dunhill London Desire Red EDT, $85 (100 ml),

Ralph Lauren’s Polo Red is a woody scent with red grapefruit, saffron and cedarwood at its heart. Ralph Lauren Polo Red EDT, $79 (75 ml),

Lacoste’s Rouge Energetic is a fresh fragrance with pepper, cardamom, ginger and rooibos adding a red edge. Lacoste Rouge Energetic EDT, $81 (100 ml),

Victoria’s Secret’s Very Sexy is a floral and fruity fragrance with blackberry at its heart. Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy EDP, $68 (100 ml),

Red Musk is the latest from The Body Shop and boasts a completely floral-free scent, instead focusing on spicy notes like pepper, cinnamon, tobacco and musk. The Body Shop Red Musk EDP, $25 (60 ml),

Aqua Fahrenheit is a fresh and woody scent that includes Italian grapefruit as its top note. Dior Aqua Fahrenheit EDT, $88 (125 ml),

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Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.