Charlotte Tilbury’s Scent of a Dream might be the most NSFW fragrance ever

Photography by Carlo Mendoza

Just one sniff of Drakkar Noir and I’m sent hurtling back in time to when I was 14, feeling the adolescent intensity of infatuation with my first boyfriend. Scent, more than any other of our senses, has the power to trigger visceral responses. “It’s directly the second link in the brain,” says Andreas Schaefer, professor of neuroscience at University College London. “It’s already in these emotion centres. Fear or desire can be triggered, or old memories. There’s barely any control over our sense of smell,” he says.

Makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury has long believed this based on her own experience, and sought out Schaefer to verify her theory when creating her first perfume, Scent of a Dream, launching next month on and at Holt Renfrew in September. “I love the fact that we’re not able to control it,” she says sitting in her London office. “It’s this animalistic reaction.” Knowing there was scientific proof to back that up, she set forth in developing her fragrance, which is based on her own mix of oils she’s been wearing since she was 13. “We’ve built this fragrance very much thinking about the ingredients that were inside it. It’s the key to attraction.”

It opens with notes such as lemon, peach, and bergamot, followed by heady floral notes like tuberose, jasmine and violet. But the real magic happens with the psychoactive notes of fire tree, hedione and ambroxan. “These ignite the power, sex and psychoactive pheromones. These molecules are what trick the brain into feeling desire.” It remains to be seen as to whether Scent of a Dream is going to incite perfume stalking as it did for Tilbury; people have stopped her everywhere from airports to weddings to bathrooms to ask what she’s wearing. But here’s to finding out.

Watch the promo featuring Kate Moss below.

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