It was an extremely unsurprising development when, in July, word spread that Rihanna smells incredible. A Twitter thread compiled video after video of various celebrities raving about her “heavenly” scent. Ryan Seacrest, king of the red carpet, went so far as to dub her the “best smelling celeb.”
Also unsurprising was our (and everyone else’s) piqued interest in what it was exactly that gave her this supposedly intoxicating aroma. According to a Stylecaster piece from 2016, which was later reported on by Harper’s Bazaar, the fragrance in question, aside from what we assume is Rih’s natural odor, is a spicy, sweet perfume by Kilian called Love, Don’t Be Shy.
Its description on the Kilian website reads as sensually as a Rihanna song itself. “First love’s innocence makes itself known with juicy honeysuckle and plush rose softly caressed by the sweetness of luscious marshmallow sugar accord, satisfying the craving pang of new love.”
Um, yes please. We needed to try the scent, with top notes of neroli, orange blossom and marshmallow, for ourselves.
At first sniff, it’s sweet. Even too sweet for some ― but more on that later. According to my mom, I smelled like “coffee and chocolate, two things I like to smell.” A friend who I met up with at the park later in the day nearly ripped my arm off just to get a better whiff. “Is this the fragrance Rihanna wears?” she asked without a hint of humor or knowledge of my experiment. “I need it.”
I didn’t even care when I was consequently bitten by five mosquitos. Mosquitos know what’s up.
My favorite compliment came from a guy who told me I smelled like “being curled up on the couch with a warm blanket made of cupcakes.”
The most validating part of the experiment came from HuffPost’s senior food and style editor, Kristen Aiken.
“I went to dinner with my music industry friend, who claims to have met Rihanna ‘many times,’” she said. “I warned her that I’d be wearing the perfume, and as soon as we hugged hello she yelled, ‘THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT RIHANNA SMELLS LIKE! Well, this plus Rihanna magic.’”
The fragrance left me feeling like the only girl (in the world), but I felt like we needed a bigger pool of scent subjects. So I enlisted the help of a male co-worker and a female co-worker to get their takes.
Aside from a fear of showing up to dinner with his girlfriend smelling like another woman, our male guinea pig was less taken with the scent than we were. “I immediately recoiled when you sprayed this stuff on me,” he said, calling it a “thick cloud of sweetness.” Over the course of the day he was told he smelled like “weird candy” and “like you fell face-forward into a PEZ dispenser.”
If you’re going to fall face forward into anything, PEZ seems pretty ideal. But I digress. Our female friend had a similar reaction, vividly painting a picture of what she thought she smelled like.
“I smell like your grandma’s friend who wants to kiss you when you’re 7 and smudges lipstick all over you,” she said.
When I revealed who they had spritzed in common with, they gave back a resounding “Nuh uh.” To them, I say, “Yuh huh.”
So, it’s perhaps not a scent for everyone, and it’s certainly best spritzed in small doses. But if it gets us one step closer to achieving our inner Rih, we’ll take it.
Head to Kilian to learn more.