The scent of seduction

Tamara Hinson
Yahoo Lifestyle

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, smelling good has never been more important.

Whether you’re single and ready to mingle or just on the hunt for a new scent with which to seduce your other half, January is the perfect time to treat yourself to a new fragrance.  Investing in seasonal fragrances may well sound somewhat extravagant but with spring on the horizon, (let's face it, the recent cold snap calls for some positive thinking), there’s never been a better time to update your fragrance collection.

Getting fresh

“In the winter we generally tend to like scents which are cocooning and enveloping, whereas in the spring and summer uplifting fresh scents work better,” points out master perfumer Roja Dove. “We like to feel fresh as the temperature rises - heat tires us, but freshness revives us." The good news is that new developments within the world of fragrance means that some fragrance notes usually associated with certain seasons can now be worn all year round.

[See also: The truth about aphrodisiacs]

Traditionally, fragrances from the florals, fruits and green perfume categories (the green fragrance being typified by notes such as mint or grass) have dominated spring/summer. However, if you’re drawn to deeper, heavier scents, the good news is that new extraction techniques have enabled perfumers to incorporate these fragrance notes into perfumes whilst still creating a scent that’s feminine and fresh.

For example, fragrances with sandalwood or musk base notes are being increasingly used alongside fresher top notes such as mint, whilst heavier floral notes such as lavender and tuberose have also become more popular during the warmer months.  “This year the trend seems to be for sheer, bright tuberose notes,” says Nick Gilbert at bespoke perfumery Les Senteurs. “A lot of women find tuberose notes too sensual and by making them softer and brighter, it's easier to wear.”

Sensational scents

Those with a sweet tooth will be pleased to learn that sugary fragrances, which are ideal for year round use, continue to dominate the fragrance market in 2012: something testified by the recent launch of Prada Candy (£53, Boots), with its notes of caramel and musk, and Vera Wang Princess Night (£34, nationwide) which contains notes of watermelon and raspberry layered over crushed sugar and vanilla.

[Relevant: How to choose the perfect Valentine's Day lingerie]

If you're keen to try out the trend of combining heavier notes with lighter ones, keep an eye out for Hermès Eau des Merveilles Au Bal des Etoiles which goes on sale at House of Fraser from the 27th of February and uses notes of bitter orange and pepper to liven up darker notes of oak and ambergris.  The Jimmy Choo EDT (£34, nationwide) contains summery green notes with ginger and wood, whilst Diane, the fragrance created by Diane Von Furstenberg (£47, Harrods) is another example of a fragrance to combine fresher notes with muskier ones - in this case it's fig leaf, cedar and patchouli.

The art of application

While it’s great to have a signature scent, fumigating a whole room with your favourite perfume is never a good idea.  When applying perfume, hold the bottle around seven inches away from the body. If your skin’s wet, the bottle is too close – perfume should settle on the skin in a fine mist. It’s also best to avoid dabbing perfume behind the ears – instead, aim for the dip in the collarbone directly beneath the earlobes, as there are glands behind the ears which can affect the way perfume smells.

Certain types of medication can also affect how perfume smells, whilst another factor is spicy foods. For this reason it’s important to smell a fragrance away from the sensory overload inflicted by the average department store. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the alcohol within a perfume can take up to fifteen minutes to evaporate, so always make sure you get a sample to take away with you. If you’re trying several perfumes within a short amount of time, sniffing cotton – such as your sleeve – will help to clear your nasal passages.

Do all of the above, and you really will come up smelling of roses this Valentine's Day!

How the chemistry of smell and attraction really works

Celebrity fragrances: the good and the bad

Independent perfumes set to shine