Tonight we are going to take a gorgeous trip through the land of vanilla. First stop: Guerlain’s Shalimar, the queen of Orientals, the vanillic fantasy goddess. Second stop: vanilla pudding, warm. Third stop: your most comfortable, yet beautiful clothes. Fourth stop: a down comforter, and someone to cuddle with. Maybe you put on a favorite movie, maybe you just enjoy one another’s company, maybe you play a lush, gorgeous album—I suggest Caribou’s Andorra or Iron and Wine’s The Shepherd’s Dog-- and listen to it together. But as you are eating the pudding, think about the sweetness of the sugar, and the way it interacts with the cream, and the smoky softness of the vanilla. Smell the Shalimar and keep the scent in your nose and mind as you sample the pudding. Note how well the two play together.Hug the blanket closer around you and feel the fabric and the plushness caress your skin. hug your partner. Think about whether you these experiences are in accord with the vanilla pudding and the perfume.
The goal here is to let vanilla, one of the most common yet powerful scents around, take you to that paradoxical place that it inhabits so well; comfort and heightened sensory arousal. We humans are programmed to love vanilla, and love it we do. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I will say it all again. It reminds us of the comfort of infancy, of nursing, of love in its most basic form. But because it is musky, and in nearly every fragrance, and reminds us of human skin, it is also a very sexual smell, something that reminds us of physical love, of being close to another human being in a very intimate way.