Remember the post I did a month ago on the comic book ad for Trulove perfume? The perfumes that drive men to distraction? I just discovered its modern equivalent: the Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie.
The Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie is in downtown Vancouver, Washington, on a block that used to hum with business but is now quiet but for a bar and passersby on their way to the pawn shop on the next block. Once you’ve entered the shop, walk past the impressive collection of tarot card decks, a Star Wars teapot set, and the rack of magic wands, including reproductions of wands used in the Harry Potter movies. Tear your gaze from the glass-topped counter full of crystals and jewelry, and head to the shop’s rear.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be helped by Jennifer, a soft-voiced woman who, when I arrived, was designing perfume labels for the summer fragrance collection and who also offers psychic readings. She showed me the shelf of Love Potion fragrances created by Mara Fox, the shop’s owner (and guitarist for the 1980s rock band Precious Metal). Mara Fox’s first fragrance, created in 1986 and sold at crafts fairs, was called Love Potion. She trademarked the name.1
Jennifer explained that from the original Love Potion the collection grew to include Love Potions Pink, Black, and Red, and a variety of seasonal and themed collections. Fox also started “brewing” — the shop assistant’s chosen word — specialty pheromones. Besides inducing lust, the pheromones purport to give you confidence, attract opposite or same sex partners, make you appear younger, and more, depending on which pheromone is added.
Looking at the racks of vials with their variety of names — Compromising Positions, TMI, Sneaky Clean, and Vampire Bait are a tiny sample — I didn’t know where to start. The assistant glanced at me, maybe catching me fumbling for my reading glasses, and mentioned that Cougar was popular. It has the bonus of a pheromone that’s supposed to make you appear younger. Hot diggity, I thought and dabbed a drop on the back of my hand. Its refreshing grapefruit top note rapidly burnt down to a nostril-searing musk.
Maybe Cougar wasn't for me, but I wanted to buy a few samples to test run. Lord knew I could use the extra mojo, and, magical perfume? Irresistible. I thought about sampling Love Potion Red, but, I won’t lie, it scared me. Here’s a bit from Love Potion Red’s online description:
I certainly understand the attraction to the idea of a perfume potion that drives men insensible with lust, but I do not exaggerate when I say that the wearer should absolutely wear this fragrance with caution. I would not, for example, wear this out for a night on the town with the girls. I wouldn't walk alone while wearing it, either. [….] I relate this to you from personal experience. When I was first creating Love Potion®, I tested each adjustment by wearing it around for a week or more. With the original version of this, I had three very unnerving scary days in a row, where different men stalked me down the street, at my shop, and as I went about my day. Not the kind of guys one dreams of attracting, mind you, but the hungry wolf-ish predator types, that look like they are waiting for the opportune moment to grab you and drag you into an alley.
Yikes. I settled for a sample of the original Love Potion, plus a few milliliters of Honeyed Love Potion, which contains some of Fox’s “Gotcha” pheromone. Then I took them on the road.
Love Potion’s notes include “Irresistibly delicious full-bodied Vanilla, with subtle notes of Amber, Rose, Verbena, Greenery, Apricot, Patchouli and more.” According to its description, Love Potion “helps remove inhibitions, amplifies and stimulates feelings of love, lust, passion and desire. Stimulates sense memories of nurturing, comfort, love and home. Excites oral fixations... makes wearer smell, and feel, delicious!”
Love Potion oil smells like butter cookies from the oven with a bit of muskiness. At first, a peachy green note rises, but it’s quickly subsumed by a flat vanilla and amber. In short, it’s a comforting, shallow scent — sort of the Keebler Elf shortbread of perfumes. But I’ll say this for it: it wears like iron. Multiple handwashings, two helpings of lotion, scrubbing a sink of dishes, and twelve full hours barely diminish a swipe or two with the sample tube's plastic wand on the back of my thumb. Apply with restraint.
As for Love Potion’s lust-provoking powers, I wore it twice and didn’t attract unusual male attention. No love letters, no soulful glances. I did snack quite a bit, so maybe the part about oral fixations holds some truth. Since I didn’t really line up a good test situation, I’ll call it a draw.
I was more strategic about Honeyed Love Potion, given its dose of the Gotcha pheromone. The Gotcha pheromone is supposed to pair the ability to attract romantic attention with a knack for overcoming fear. I followed the Love Potion Magickal Perfumery’s instructions for applying it and drew the sample wand a few times between my belly button and chest, and I dabbed it on the nape of my neck.
I couldn’t have applied more than two drops in total, but, good grief, did I ever smell like honey. And that’s it — no complexity, just honey. Really strong, acidic honey. I fixed my hair, carefully applied lipstick, and went to a gathering where I was sure to spend at least a few hours in the company of a live prospect. All the while, I was practically choked by honey, and it showed no signs of diminishing.
I smelled so much of honey that it morphed to the reek of cat pee. Any charm I might have been able to muster was overcome by the horror that I smelled like I’d been cleaning the cages of badgers in estrus. Worse, I detected no noticeable uptick in romantic interest.
Now, maybe that’s just me. Or, maybe men around me were swooning with passion and had the good manners to play it cool. Or, maybe I need to try repeated applications and wait for the orchid bouquets and love letters to roll in. If there are further developments, I’ll be sure to let you know, but for the meantime I'm sticking to modest applications of perfume I love.
Love Potion Magickal Perfumery’s website offers scores of fragrances you can sample to nudge the needle in various areas of your life. Samples are $5, or $6.50 for those with pheromones. Perfume oil roll-ons "brewed" without pheromones are 10 ml for $24.95. A 30 ml spray is $39.95. Try one with pheromones, and prices run at $32.95 for a 10 ml oil roll-on and $44.95 for a 30-ml spray.
1. She’s serious enough about the trademark that she sued Jessica Simpson perfumes when it tried to include love potion in a few of its fragrance names.