Valentine’s Day and romance are forever linked, as are all the accompanying flourishes such as: flowers, chocolates and erotic fragrances designed to attract the opposite sex. How did this centuries old pagan holiday honoring lovers originate? Research indicates that much more is steeped in legend than secured by fact. Nevertheless, this day of lovers is always hallmarked by record sales in floral bouquets, candy, cards and perfume, and is vastly celebrated throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.
The Holiday Has Roman Origins
Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and to Romulus and Remus, the infant founders of Rome who, according to mythology, were tended to by a she-wolf or lupa. Celebrated in the middle of February, some believe that the day commemorates the anniversary of the death of a third century Roman priest named Valentine.
As one of the stories go, Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriages in Rome because he believed that single men made better soldiers than those with emotional ties to wives and children. Valentine defied the decree and secretly continued to perform marriages for young lovers. When Claudius became aware of his blatant disobedience, he ordered that the priest be put to death around AD 270.
Others theorize that Valentine may have lost his life because he attempted to save early Christians from the Roman prisons where they were tortured and beaten to death. This legend tells of an imprisoned Valentine who sent the very first ”valentine” from himself to a young girl he fell in love with, possibly the jailer’s daughter, who visited him in prison. Before his execution, he allegedly wrote her a letter signed “From Your Valentine,” an expression still in use to this day. In modern times, about 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making this occasion the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
Although truth and folklore concerning Valentine will never be completely separated, his heroism, sympathy and romanticism are present in all of the legends related to his life, and it is known for sure that at the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius decreed February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day in an effort to “Christianize” the very popular pagan celebration of Lupercalia. It would still take a few centuries before the holiday became associated with love, and some believe that occurred during the Middle Ages, (the 1,000 years between the 5th and the 15th centuries) when scientists in both France and England ascertained that February 14 marked the beginning of mating season for birds.
Perfume, Pheromones, Research And Sexual Attraction
Current research has indicated that scent is a primary factor in sexual attraction, but why that is so remains somewhat of a mystery. Although natural body odors play a role in the mating selection-game, researchers from Switzerland at the University of Bern wanted to know more about the attraction-by-scent phenomenon. They focused their study on the protein, human leukocyte antigen, which is also known as HLA. (An antigen is any foreign substance that evokes an immune response either by itself or after forming a complex with a larger molecule, such as a protein). In addition to detecting foreign invaders, this antigen also influences our personal scent and captures the genetic diversity between humans.
The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLK) is Important to Attraction-By-Scent
Preceding this Swiss study, in 2016, another research team concentrated on female sexual attraction, and it concluded that attraction and sexual desire were more intense between peoples whose genes differed from their own. The Swiss team was more focused on observing HLA influences in men, and the results, despite intricate body odor sampling on pads of cotton, only added to the mystery of sexual attraction. Researchers concluded that based on results of 94 male study participants, HLA played no part whatsoever in the scents they found most appealing.
Janet Lobmaier, psychologist and study co-author, believes that the current study is much more telling than any that came before it because it accounts for women’s menstrual cycles and the others did not. This is significant because most scientists agree that a woman’s scent changes throughout ovulation and men seem to prefer females when they are the most fertile. She said: “Because of the rigorous methodology, our study is probably the most conclusive to suggest that HLA plays an insignificant role in men’s preferences for women’s body odors.”
The Purpose of Pheromones And Attraction
Pheromones are chemicals secreted in sweat and other bodily fluids that influence the behavior of the opposite sex, such as triggering interest and sexual excitement. Within the animal kingdom, pheromones show themselves quite obviously. The idea of ‘presenting’ to the opposite sex is no more clearly illustrated than the male peacock and his dazzling display of vibrant, multi-hued plumage. There is also the aroma of the male musk deer, which is bottled by perfumers everywhere today and during Victorian times, nearly drove the musk deer species into extinction. Humans have pheromones too, and scientists are now convinced that their body odor influences sexual attraction.
The Vomeronasal (VNO) Organ Of The Nose
The Vomeronasal organ (VNO) organ, which is comprised of two little pits in each nostril, detects pheromones and is present in both animals and humans, albeit in years past scientists were unable to locate it within the human nose. During the 1980s, aided by cutting-edge microscope probes that were unavailable to earlier scientific inquiry, a research team led by Luis Monti-Bloch at the University of Utah discovered a minute pair of pits, one in each nostril, nestled and almost hidden against the septum inside the nose. For more on how the nose knows what it knows, we recently wrote in depth on the topic of how we detect scent.
These tiny indentations are lined with receptor cells that burst into action when presented with certain substances.
Scent-communicating chemical compounds are present in sweat, urine, breath, saliva, breast milk and skin oils. According to Michael Stoddart, zoologist and author of The Scented Ape, the skin concentrations of scent glands in humans are denser than those found in almost any other mammal. This alone proves the importance of scent in our lives. There are three types of skin glands in the human body: sebaceous, which are most common on the face; eccrine or sweat glands, which exude water and salt, and apocrine glands, which occur in dense concentrations on hands, cheeks, scalp and breasts.
Barbara Sommerville and David Gee, smell researchers from the University of Leeds in England, observed that smelling one another’s hands or faces is a nearly universal human greeting. This is no accident, as hands and faces are the two most accessible concentrations of scent glands on the human body other than the ears.
The Perfumers At Alpha Aromatics
We’re a pioneer in the field of international fragrance manufacture with more than seventy years of operation under our very fragrant belt. Our perfume masters create and supply scents for some of the most respected brands in the world today. Scented creations are used in a myriad of ways that include: some of the finest perfumes, personal care products such as soaps and shampoos, natural and organic fragrances, candles, diffusers, odor neutralizers and more. Their fragrances are painstakingly developed, created layer by layer by utilizing the most innovative and sustainable technologies available. These professionals enrich the environment as well as the daily lives of their clients by providing the most innovative scented products found anywhere on the modern fragrance market.
Nine Unique Scents That Inspire Attraction
Mood is very definitely affected by scent. This fact alone has been the foundation for the aromatherapy industry, which utilizes aromatic oils that can aid in managing human emotions. For or perfume manufacturers, mood-altering notes and those that evoke the sensual aspect of our lives all blend into each and every original perfume creation. For example, notes of vetiver, iris, incense and musk are highly spirited, multi-faceted and simultaneously animalistic and feminine. Here, then, are the nine most romantic scents Alpha Aromatics has created that promise a most fulfilling romantic experience.
- White Ginger and Yiang
This relaxing mélange of cool and fragrant white ginger blossoms and spicy yiang flowers is comprised of a top note of aromatic white ginger, lemon blossoms, rich, green clover and crisp, complex cassis. Middle notes of heady, potent and sweet night blooming jasmine, mystical violet and yiang blend into woody, spicy, musky base notes that complete the scent and transport the mind very far away to a tropical island with sparkling jade lagoons, balmy breezes and sweet smelling blooms. White ginger symbolizes true love in affairs of the heart, cementing this fragrance as a very romantic emotional love potion.
- Black Currant And Violet
Tangy, woody and fruity with a characteristic “touch of cat,” this fragrance, which is native to Europe and Asia and dates back to 11th century Russian monastery gardens, begins with the distinctive, exotic allure of wild black currant. Middle notes of sweet and powdery violet with its symbolism of remembrance and sentiment, calm and almost animalistic jasmine, crisp citrus and cool, aromatic garden mint comprise the complex middle notes. A warm and musky base note completes this sensual, quixotic fragrance.
- Tonka Bean And Rose
The many aromas of the mystical tonka bean from South America pleasantly assail our nostrils with whispers of spice, vanilla, cherry and almond. This fragrance, with its subtle nutty top note, blends into a heart of sweet, soothing jasmine, fragrant and lemony magnolia blossom, which represent the purity and dignity of love, and a rich, glorious rose middle note. The scent finishes with an ambery-vanilla sweet coumarin and a sultry, musk base note that suggests underlying animalistic passion.
- Wisteria and Jasmine
The stunning, flowering plant known as wisteria, which was so beautifully immortalized in the stained-glass windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany, opens this scent with a sweet, pleasant aroma. Symbolizing mystery and beauty, this alluring wild flower bouquet has touches of mountain rose, green, floral and lemony lily-of-the-valley, sweet, intense lilac, light, floral sweet hyacinth, and night blooming jasmine, which symbolizes the cool, calm beauty of the deepest night and means “gift from God’ in the Persian language. The soft, powdery base note is warm, musky and inviting.
- White Gardenia
The trademark flower of troubled jazz singer, Billie Holiday, who wore a white gardenia in her hair every time she sang on stage, the gardenia’s captivating, sweet yet delicate aroma and a splash of sparkling citrus comprise the top notes of this romantic fragrance. These blend into the heart of a floral mélange of serene jasmine, velvety rose, creamy and intoxicating orange blossom, heady and sweet tuberose, softly sugary lily, alluring, pungent marigold and whispers of gardenia. The scent finishes with an exotic, floral and spicy base note of vanilla musk.
- Amber And Vanilla Blossom
Warm, earthy and rich amber, which derives from the Arabic word, ambar, meaning ambergris, the valued excretion from sperm whales, is blended with cozy, sweet vanilla and tinges of a fruity blackberry and orange mix in the opening notes of this seductive fragrance. These aromas seamlessly merge into a floral middle note and ultimately, a base note of mystical woody sandalwood, sensual musk caramelized vanilla and enduring ambergris.
- Water Lily Passion fruit
The top notes of this intoxicating fragrance are complex and headed by water lily and its fresh, lightly sweet aroma tinged with lemon accents. A tropical floral mix of crisp, tart red currant, citrusy and lightly floral mandarin, subtle and fresh casaba melon, clean apples and uniquely exotic, fruity and savory passion fruit blend into middle notes of peachy, citrus-tinged plumeria, sensual Hawaiian jasmine and piquant, floral orange blossom. The scent finishes with a soft base note of amber and sugary vanilla.
- Lotus Flower And Lavender
The top notes of this fragrance are marked by the pleasant and fruity aroma of the sacred bloom known as lotus that blends into the redolence of both lily-of the valley and extremely sweet, powdery and elusive violet. Middle notes are comprised of soothing lavender, floral hyacinth, whose name derives from the Greek as “flower of rain,” bold, clean and mysterious cyclamen and delicious almond and vanilla-like heliotrope. The scent finishes with the rich allure of tuberose and the spicy dry down of yiang.
- Hawthorn Blossom Cassis
A pleasing and flowery romantic scent that opens with top notes of rich and fruity black currant, bold and flirty cyclamen and fresh, crisp apple. Middle notes consist of highly scented and sexy wild hawthorn, soft, alluring and powdery violet, leafy, earthy and minty geranium and sweet lily of the valley that symbolizes happiness and purity. The scent completes with a base note comprised of a touch of the comforting, milky warmth of vanilla and a soft, earthy white musk.
Scent and romantic attraction are inextricably intertwined and always will be regardless of the time of year. In honor of this up and coming Valentine’s Day, take the time to research and select the perfect fragrance for yourself or your lover (or both). Perfume is fundamental to setting the mood for romantic interludes and Alpha Aromatics can create a unique perfume that will convey the message you want it to.
Call us today and start creating the perfume of your choice to celebrate lovers everywhere.
Final thoughts on perfume: Smells are surer than sounds or sights to make your heartstrings crack. ~ Rudyard Kipling