I have a boudoir fragrance. It’s to be worn exclusively in my home, spritzed only over my skivvies in the moments before I slide into bed. While the specific fragrance has changed over the years, it’s always something dangerously sexy. Aerin® Tuberose Le Soir® ($235) fits the bill; the deep floral has functioned as the unequivocal highlight of my nighttime routine for the past few months. Recently, though, an unexpected newcomer has been vying to take its place: NARS® Cosmetics Audacious™ Fragrance ($180).
Initially, I was skeptical; to be perfectly frank, I wasn’t sure why one of the preeminent purveyors of color cosmetics were entering the already-cluttered fragrance space.
Yet, according to François Nars, the brand’s founder and creative director, the decision to release a fragrance was far from impulsive. “I have always wanted to create a scent,” he shares with Spotlyte. “I guess you can say it took 25 years to happen!” (The brand was established in 1994.) The actual creation process for the scent, however, started about a year and a half ago. “Audacious is based on a source of great inspiration for me — Tahiti,” Nars notes. The beauty guru loves Tahiti so much, in fact, that he famously bought his own island in Bora Bora.
To help evoke the island aura in the fragrance, Nars tapped esteemed nose, Olivia Giacobetti — a French perfumer who has created scents for the likes of Diptyque®, Guerlain®, and Frédéric Malle®. Tinkering with various ingredients was a process. “[Olivia and I] went through all the emotions and senses you feel in French-Polynesia, one being the mix of darkness and lightness,” Nars shares. Eventually, they landed on notes of tiaré — a gardenia native to Tahiti — and woodier notes of incense and sandalwood.
“The combination works well and is very unusual,” Nars says of the final product. “This unusualness is something I stressed to Olivia that I wanted in the scent: There are already so many fragrances on the market, so we aimed to create something that we have never smelled before.”
To me, the unfamiliarity of the scent gives it a sexy je ne sais quoi; in my years of spritzing various perfumes, I haven’t smelled anything like it. (Not even the brand’s Tahiti-inspired body oil.) I’m not sure the fragrance transports me to Tahiti (though I’ve admittedly never been), but it does make me feel instantly more elegant. It’s sexy without being heady, and the unique blend of scents is truly addictive. In fact, merely thinking about it makes me crave a spritz.
Lastly, I’d be remiss not to mention the Audacious bottle — obsidian, glassy, and ever so slightly curved. It’s free from frills, yet it still manages to stand out among the gilded, glittering bottles on my vanity. Ultimately, it’s fair to say that I am wholly impressed with the launch — especially since it marks the brand’s foray into the perfume space. “As it’s the brand’s first fragrance, I wanted to make sure I would be very happy with it,” Nars says of the tedious creation process. “I love how it turned out.”
I love it too. So much, in fact, that you’ll never catch me wearing it in public.
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