Fragrance

By Stephanie Nolasco

One of history’s most famous queens may have ended her life thousands of years ago, yet the name “Cleopatra” alone conjures up images of golden chariots, breathtaking costumes, and dashing suitors willing to give everything up for her love. Only Hollywood’s most captivating actresses, like Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie, could be considered to play her in modern biopics.

While many depictions of Cleopatra’s life are based more on decadent fables than on actual facts, who doesn’t like to fantasize about being a living goddess? One thing we believe to be true is that Cleopatra herself fancied the art of perfume. In fact, author and Cleopatra expert Vicky Alvear Shecter even reveals that the queen herself wrote a book on the subject around 50 BCE.

“Cleopatra owned one of the largest cosmetic/perfume workshops in the ancient world, located in the southernmost part of the Dead Sea,” says Shecter. “Originally, Herod the Great built it, but when the Roman General Mark Antony gave his Egyptian lover territories near Judea, he also gave her control of the perfume workshop and its lucrative business. Herod never got over the insult and hated Cleopatra with a passion from that moment on. The great queen, it seemed, was incapable of even receiving a gift without creating a story of wild emotions and great drama.”

In time for spring, we’re paying tribute to Cleopatra with our three fresh picks that will bring out the passion in you.

It’s been said that the queen of Egypt bathed in milk and honey to keep her smooth skin flawless, but if you’re not daring enough to step into a tub filled with the sweet, sticky stuff, you can still smell like a royal. Theme Fragrance’s Melodie Perfumes collection is dedicated to delivering vintage-inspired scents with fresh fruits and flowers, making it a delicious treat for collectors. To channel Cleopatra, we recommend their Honey Love Perfume Oil Roll On, a luscious scent that’s reminiscent of pure liquid honey. With just one drop on your pulse points, Honey Love instantly opens up with rich citrus blossoms and sun kissed peonies. Of course, all you’ll smell is rich, oozing honey straight from the hive.

Honey Love is available in spray at ByBrooklyn 261 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY, roll on at http://www.ThemeFragrance.com.

If you’re looking for something modern, give captivating tuberose a chance. Celebrity preferred perfumery Tocca must have had the same idea when they released Cleopatra back in 2007. Inspired by the Mediterranean seductress, they wanted to offer a sensuous, exotic aroma that’s refreshing enough to cool skin during the steamiest nights, all while leaving wearers ready to conquer the world. Cleopatra is infused with zesty, ripe grapefruit, which slowly fades to a breathtaking bouquet of white tuberose and jasmine, ultimately leading to vanilla musk, a known aphrodisiac. Heads will turn.

Cleopatra is available: C.O. Bigelow Chemists, 414 6th Avenue, and http://www.Tocca.com

According to legend, Cleopatra adored the scent of blooming jasmine so much that she had the sails of her ship doused in the scent for her journey to meet Mark Antony. Reportedly, Antony fell in love with her just by taking a whiff of the breeze. Whether these stories are true or not, there’s no mistaking that jasmine is an enchanting flower. It takes a confidant woman to rock this irresistible fragrance, which is why so many perfumers are fascinated by its properties. British designer Clive Christian successfully captures the powers of jasmine in X, a dangerously sexy fragrance for women that features a dominant note of Egyptian jasmine. The alluring white flower in X is plucked from the banks of the Nile at dusk to capture its intoxicating essence at its peak. From its crystal bottle to its glittering golden crown, X is crafted for a queen like you.

Available at Neiman Marcus and http://www.Clive.com.

Originally published May 2011
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