Bella Geraci, Getty Images
Growing up, I was all about fruity, fresh scents. In high school, my go-to fragrance was Ralph Lauren’s Ralph (the blue bottle) with notes of green apple, tangerine, and pink magnolia, described as “fun, colorful, and happy” on the website. In college, I was drawn to Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue, mainly because I studied in Italy and it reminded me of the cobblestone streets in Florence. It has similar top notes as Ralph: granny smith apples and Sicilian lemon, with a base of cedarwood.
When I got pregnant in 2018, my sense of smell was heightened and intensified, and I couldn’t stand the smell of most foods or perfumes. I quickly ditched any scents I had been wearing to that point. After I gave birth in 2019, I didn’t want fragrance irritating my daughter’s delicate, sensitive skin, so I skipped it. As my baby turned one in March 2020, we went into lockdown. I was home with no one to see and nowhere to go, and my shelf of scents I’d amassed as a beauty editor started collecting dust.
I’ve always been a Swiftie — I first met Taylor Swift when I was a teen magazine reporter in 2009—and recently, I read that she is best known for wearing two perfumes. The first is Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf. I’ve tried this perfume before, and I think it suits me: it’s a great daytime fragrance, a very pretty floral with notes of peony, Centifolia rose, and freesia.
“Feminine, floral, and flirtatious,” says Sue Phillips, a New York-based fragrance expert who has created scents for Tiffany and Burberry, among many others, and is the author of The Power of Perfume. “Flowers are the quintessential symbol of femininity,” adds Phillips. “This exquisite, complex floral blend embodies passion and true love, a combination of florals reflecting ALL the facets of YOU—gentle, smooth, caring, easy-going, sublimely sensual, and exotic.” Ooh la la.
This fragrance makes scents…sorry, sense…for me (I had to). I’m “girly” in all ways. I love pink, sequins, and bows, so this was a wonderful re-discovery for me.
What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with Taylor’s other reported favorite fragrance: Tom Ford’s Santal Blush.
Tom Ford Santal Blush Eau de Parfum
Santal Blush is warm, woodsy, and earthy. Described as “exotic spices enhanced with luxe ylang ylang, warm cinnamon, and sumptuous woods…earthy and woody”—this didn’t sound like anything I had worn before and not something I would be immediately drawn to.
It’s also a stark contrast to Taylor’s own Wonderstruck fragrance (which I loved when it came out in 2011), with notes of passion fruit, pineapple, cedar, amber, freesia, peony, and peach.
But just as Taylor has transformed from a curly-haired Speak Now girly to her sultrier Midnights persona and sensual self on The Tortured Poets Department cover, I have also gone through many eras in the past five years. I’m now a wife, a mother, and working for myself — three things that were not the case when I would have reached for a fruity, fresh scent.
When I first read reviews online, and even Swiftie comments on Reddit, I was a little nervous that Santal Blush was going to be super intense and bold, and not match my personality. But I was shocked when I got the bottle into my hands.
To me, it was soft and sexy. Soothing and comforting. Woodsy but not too masculine or overpowering. Definitely smelled like “rich money,” as I’ve read it described. It’s “very popular,” said the woman at the fragrance counter at Macy’s.
It's not clean or fresh but, rather, warm and cozy like a fireplace in wintertime. It gives me Folklore vibes, though Taylor reportedly wore this scent during her Reputation secret sessions.
I would say it softens a bit over time but lasts all day. It’s sexy. It gave me an instant confidence boost I haven’t felt in a long time since my usual uniform is a mom bun and yoga pants. While wearing it when grocery shopping, I even went up to a store employee and asked a question! In my “normal” life? Never!
On a particularly windy day in New York, I swore two separate men did a double take as they passed me on the street. Could it have been my freshly dyed platinum hair or my confident strut as I blasted Style (Taylor’s Version) from my AirPods? Maybe, but I think it was the Santal Blush. Obviously, in the words of Taylor, I don’t dress for men, but it was like the perfume gave me this newfound boldness that garnered attention.
“This is indeed a sensual, sexy, sophisticated perfume,” explains Phillips. “This is not for someone who is into “fresh and clean” outdoorsy light, bright citrusy notes. This is for someone confident in her choices, but who also remains mysterious.”
I love that Taylor’s (and now mine) two go-to scents showcase the various sides I believe we all have. A flirty and fun daytime darling with a bit of sophisticated mystery at night. You too can smell like Taylor and shop Tom Ford's Santal Blush now for $295 at Nordstrom.com.
More fragrances we adore all year round:
Now, watch TikTok star Alix Earle's 10-minute makeup routine for acne-prone skin:
Originally Appeared on Allure