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Good Scents: Doughnuts and Lilies

Baiser Volé Cartier fragrance

I get a lot of emails about doughnuts. This is no exaggeration: Intimate friends send me links about the latest gout-inducing find, acquaintances I’ve met the prior evening pass on roundups of interest. I'm pleased with their gestures, bookmarking their suggestions and planning new culinary excursions, but mostly a little concerned that this gluttonous affection is my stand-out characteristic.

This, of course, is my own fault because one (OK, maybe more) glass of wine coupled with minor social anxiety, and my conversational wheelhouse materializes: doughnuts, Friday Night Lights, and how much I dislike being an only child. But for once, it seems like my fattening interest is a relationship boon.

A recent Jezebel post looks into scents that purport to attract the opposite sex. On the list? My beloved treat. Also, pumpkin and lavender, but I’m not likely to extol their virtues to strangers in a crowded bar. Finally, all my out-of-the-way trips to Doughnut Plant can be harnessed for my greater romantic good. Well, not so fast. The New York Times article it piggybacks onto dispels the idea there is any tried and true scent primed to seduce. If a scent stirs up the pangs of attraction, the lust is occasionally scientifically prompted but most often, rooted in a favorable, or not so favorable, memory. However Baiser Volé ("stolen kiss" in French), the latest Cartier fragrance, still has the man in mind with this new release.


The luxury jeweler's in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent (I loved her Daphne Guinness-esque hair— maybe my next Powder Room?) chose the lily after asking the men in her inner circle about their preferred flower. Using her years of chemistry education and background at Institut Supérieur International du Parfum, de la Cosmétique et de l’Arôme in Versailles (oh yeah, where did you go to school?), Laurent distilled the nuanced scents of the flower’s leaves, petals, and pistil to create Baiser Volé. Cartier isn’t making any Love Potion No. 9 promises, but if some spontaneous, dark-cornered hanky panky occurs, then so be it.

For me, the hallmark of a suitable fragrance isn’t one that spurs a romantic encounter but rather doesn't convince me I have an undiagnosed neurological condition, so susceptible am I to allergic headaches. I'm delighted to report that nearly a week into my daily spritzing, the only pain I’ve endured is from caffeine-deprivation and the intense heat.

Baiser Volé is light, refreshing, a touch powdery but very welcome for hustling around the city in insufferable summertime temperatures. I planned on conducting my own research on the scent's seductive properties this past weekend at a birthday party, swapping my go-to topics of gooey morning pastries and Tim Riggins for conversations that would end with some flirtatious wrist-sniffing. (Clearly, I need Cartier's help.) As the night progressed, I had a much more pressing agenda: catching up with an out-of-town college friend and offering a list of must-see recommendations for the remainder of her visit.

I must say, I'm quite proud of myself: We barely discussed any fictitious football players, I never once brought up my resentment at having no siblings, and most importantly, she now knows where to get the city's best cookie. I didn't even mention doughnuts. And then it was time to go. We parted after running away from a drunken reveler on the street who demanded, thank goodness, only a hug. Maybe Baiser Volé does work; I just didn't have any interest in finding out. But after finding a cab, I caught a whiff of my wrist, and I still smelled the lilies.

Baiser Volé is available exclusively at Nordstrom in stores and online now and in Cartier boutiques in October.