Sprawled on the sofa next to our red sequinned Salvador Dali lip phone last night, mulling on Italia and sipping some celebratory red with an order in pizza,  I found myself nonchalantly reaching out for the bottle of Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre that resides there like a patiently waiting hand grenade (the original flacon also had black lace stretched over its perimeter).  I inhaled.  Same reaction as always. Yes, it struck me once again: this really might just actually be the sexiest perfume of all time. It is crazily, ludicrously seductive – if by seduction you mean the stereotypical  puta/ madama and mistress and mother and goddess tropes all wrapped into one in the shameless classic virgin/whore duplicity ; a perfectly constructed and balanced floral explosive device that D brought me out of the blue three years ago when I was in hospital and where, with the sterile surroundings,  it could not have been more out of place if it triedI remember laughing out loud impotently as I smelled it. Useless, and sutured; still convalescing and painfully immobile in my pyjamas, I wrote in my notepad :





‘Ferre di Ferre. This is one of those mad, lipsticked Italianas I remember from the early nineties;  a glammed-up, Monica Bellucci bombshell whose bottle was even shaped like a grenade and whose smell: sweet, heady, aldehydic, heavily floral, mightily musked and sandalwoody, is proclamatory:  gorgeous.  You almost fear her.’








You do. This is one mean femme fatale. Una donna fatale. ‘So sexfully ripe and bustiered Bellucci it could practically turn a gay man straight’, I also wrote, trapped in my wheelchair ( you see I just could not get myself away from Monica). But imagine this woman striding into a room, chest forward, all eyes on her, breathing it in…………..with a hot, powdered, musky fever of jasmine, orange blossom, and a pheromonal, Samsara-like sandalwood that is nevertheless far more suggestive and unbuttoned brassière-about-to-pop-open come to mama than any Guerlain could ever even dream of being, this really is the aforementioned Monica Bellucci, bottled: Bond girl, Matrix dominatrix ; (im)possible sex object of ferocious Sicilian adolescent lust in Malena; ex-wife of the dastardly Vincent Cassel; Mary Magdalene in the Passion Of The Christ; muse and lipstick queen of D+G and Dior; bloodthirsty vampiressss in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Dracula’ ………………… with this perfume drifting like sweet poison from her shoulders you know this woman could easily have you for breakfast.


























Despite what some people say, sex has always been the main push point for popular perfume; it is what the adverts sell to us; secretly, we want that magnetism. Many fragrances these days for women though just pile on and compress too many nasty, melding synthetic ingredients into the chamber pot; ‘patchouli, synthetic vanillins, ‘woods’, ‘fruits’, ‘head space flowers’ and ‘spices’ all ramped up until the point of nausea and for me – most unforgivably –  deep vulgarity (there is vulgarity and vulgarity). What is fascinating about the only delicately vulgar Ferre is the very simplicity of its formula; smooth, contoured, deep, it is certainly over the top but somehow isn’t too much ; the perfume veers to the edges of ridiculousness but just about holds itself into its garters and stockings and other strategically worn lingerie so you never get to see the naked, flagrant full picture. The poussing aldehydes and vanilla do make some wearers think of Chanel Nº5, or even Arpège on certain fragrance fora; but to me those perfumes belong to Ferre’s more restrained and older female forbearers, more mannered and more welcomingly dressed back home in Roma and Umbria. Ferre by Ferre is classically ordained, but a product of the eighties and nineties: big, bold. Di Napoli. Cannily beautiful. A bombshell.






































Filed under Flowers, SEX BOMB

51 responses to “MONICA BELLUCCI : : : FERRE by FERRE (1991)

  1. Some random tidbits: Dior’s Fahrenheit gets plenty of people into a frenzy; my sister goes rampant over it, my cousin Dominic gets frantic smelling it on other men and even gets all hot and bothered smelling it on HIMSELF (I have also had that reaction to that scent….it is damn horny).

    On me, it is the ambers that get D going. The other day I had on me a little Shalimar and a dot of Vaniglia Del Madagascar from I Profumi Di Firenze that led to some frenzied Afternoon Delight; I find the Ungaro I deodorant ridiculous on him (the best patchouli of all time, under the arms……blimey).

    What are the real Hall Of Fame Sex Corkers?

  2. I would say Givenchy Ysatis is another one. CRAZILY SEXY.

  3. Tom Ford Oud Wood Extreme is also absurd.

  4. Cath

    I’d follow a man wearing Cacharel pour homme (I wore it myself though 😄).
    For a woman I think Boudoir is sex(y) as hell.
    Btw, I love how you added a pic of the Sicily add in your post for Ferré 😄

    • Ooh yes I forgot the picture was for that. She is classic Dolce & Gabbana, isn’t she?

      Cacharel….. my god yes. Sexy AF. D wears that one sometimes. That hard note of nutmeg, but without the tedious fougere/’amber’ male base…Love it.

      Boudoir……WAAAAAAHH. Incredible. I can wear it (on me it goes all joss sticky in quite a nice way) but on a woman it is incredibly sexy.

  5. David

    My sexiest perfume is Chaps (haha) by Ralph Lauren. I’m down to just a fourth of a bottle. I have no idea if there is a reformulated modern version.
    I don’t go out to bars or nightclubs any more, but I still love to walk the streets (walk the streets, not work the streets, haha) in my neighbourhood looking at all those long haired slender tattooed pierced skateboarder boys. Everybody in this city checks everybody out. It’s the national pastime. Men here are into Valentino and Spicebomb and 211…not my favourite fragrances, but they work on spicy Brazilian men… I think Vincent Cassel got Brazilian citizenship. He lived in Rio and was quite famous for his shenanigans there….but then again, who doesn’t have shenanigans in Rio.

    • !

      Have I told you about my bottle of Chaps? My friend Zubeyede who works in construction here literally dug up a bottle of the Lauren that had been buried underground but is still half full. She gave it to me because of my name…..but it is actually a really interesting, soft leather isn’t it. I might wear some now for bed!

  6. Tora

    I hadn’t even gotten past your first paragraph when I found myself buying a mini of Ferre on eBay. The photo of Monica Bellucci and the words “the sexiest perfume of all time” was enough to insure I had to try this. I had never heard of Monica Bellucci until I saw her enter the scene in Matrix playing Persephone. When she wore that pale nude cocktail dress of sheer latex, I was so in love and smitten I could barely breathe. My son and I have the same taste in movies, (mostly) and we watched the Matrix over and over together. Watching Monica eat up a scene thrilled me each time. So, I really have to try this perfume, Neil. I will report back.

    As far as my favorite sexiest perfume choices, I would say Alahine, Dali, Shocking, Halston Couture, George Sand, Flos Mortis, Rose de Nuit, Sung, Or Noir, Prada No4 Fleur D’Oranger, and Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs Parfum.


      I would love to smell Sung on you. I dropped and smashed my bottle!

      What is Alahine like?

      Even if you hate the Ferre, which I doubt, you could still use it as a costume perfume. My black bottle is RIDICULOUS.

      • Tora

        Alahine is my most favorite perfume of all time. But Teo Cabanel changed the formula and it is not the same. When the post office is not a scary place to go anymore I will send you some. Also Manny’s new Tuberose and Moss he will be releasing mid-summer. To die for. I don’t even know why Alahine reigns so supreme in my heart. It is just f***ing awesome.

      • I shall have to read about it and drool. And I have already been thinking about Rogue’s next tuberose. WHAT DIRECTION IS HE GOING IN THIS TIME? CAN’T WAIT!!!!!

      • Tora

        Oh, you will love it! It’s the most wearable of all of his tuberose perfumes. It’s absolutely fantastic. I’ll make you a decant tomorrow.


  7. You had me at red Dali lip phone.

    As for perfume, I’m not familiar with most of the ones discussed here (yet), but the opening of Ligno by Jeroboam had an effect on me – an ambery, animalic musk barely veiled by sheer bergamot and aromatics. The first half hour or so was infatuation, but I can’t recommend it after that as it turns into mild armpit odor to me.

  8. Fabirss

    After reading your article I searched the internet (without much hope) and was shocked when found a mini of Ferré by Ferré available in my country. Now it is on its way to my wardrobe. Can’t wait to try it!

    • I thought this article would be off-putting rather than a lemmingmeister! I am glad that it appeals instead. This kind of exaggerated curvaceous classic femininity is almost preposterous now, but that is precisely why I like it I think.

  9. bibimaizoon

    I guess my libido has inexpensive taste as I find 70s musk bombs sexy on men. The sort of musk reminiscent of fresh sweat found in Paco Rabanne pour Homme or Jovan Musk for Men. Not sure if that gets me all hot & bothered because I hit puberty in the 70s? They sure don’t make mens’ scents with that much machismo & bravado anymore.
    Tuberose will always be the scent of the sex siren for me. Guess that notion was formed in my teenage brain in the 80s when the giant neon yellow nuclear tuberose/pineapple Giorgio was a hit. Perris Tubereuse Absolue Extrait is my current “va va voom” ‘fume. Fracas, Gardenia Passion, and Versace Blonde have taken their turns as femme fatale fragrances in my collection. Versace Blonde is particularly “morning after’ naughty with a hefty dose of civet and lush indoles.

    • Yes yes yes – I love all of those, and I think that Giorgio is sexier than it is given credit for (it’s just the dosage). I still wear vintage Paco Rabanne sometimes and agree – it IS fresh sweat, isn’t it; but aromatised and made herbaceous and gentlemanly. I really love it.

  10. When I think about it properly, it is Kouros that has probably given me the strongest reactions. I am slightly over it now, but I know that in the past it has practically had my tongue lolling out on certain people.

  11. Robin

    Great piece.

    I’ve had to do a 180 on “sexy” fragrances. Ric — as red-blooded a male as they come — finds them anything but.

    Le sigh.

  12. They don’t make them like that anymore…movie stars or perfumes.

  13. Love this post! Sadly, they don’t make them like that any more…movie stars or perfumes.

    • You are right. This perfume to me is intoxicating and womanly and just a TINY bit crass, but so utterly gorgeous at the same time. If Ms Bellucci walked into the room trailing this everyone would be a goner.

  14. Beau de l'Air

    My lady almost ate me up the other day when I had Eau d’Hermes on for the first time around her…Kouros does it too sometimes, I suspect both would have the opposite effect on today’s youth lol
    I’ll be on the look out for Ferre, for her, she has something of La Bellucci…

  15. I would say that Papillon’s Salome is one of my sexiest smelling perfumes, while Zoololgy’s T-Rex is a true beast of a fragrance.

    • Honestly, T-Rex almost made me RETCH out in the open in Shinjuku and YET: yes. I was mesmerized. I should write about it. That perfume is like being mauled by a cigarette-smoking beast from hell that you secretly WANT to maul you (maybe).

  16. Tara C

    My sexy scents used to be Poison, Byzance and Ysatis. Later, Nuit de Tubéreuse. Most recently, Amouage Fate, Papillon Bengal Rouge, Atélier des Ors Rose Omeyyad. On my husband I love Joop, Fahrenheit, SL Fumerie Turque and Musc Koublai Khan. I think generally I find narcotic florals rather than skank sexy. TRex was absolutely ghastly on me, but I do wear Salome occasionally.

    • Narcotic florals are gorgeous when done properly. Joop! That’s a throwback – I had a bottle once, or still do; pink and syrupy, very smooth and sexy – I once met the half-Japanese/half-Hungarian son of the person who created it or was involved with it. Joop was quite an original creation.

      I have yet to smell the Atelier Des Ors range. Do you recommend?

      • Tara C

        I like the Atélier black cap line, not so much the white cap series (which is lighter and more summery to me). There is a common base that has a hint of dirtiness, if you don’t like their base you won’t like any of them, but I enjoy them and own all but Bois Sikar (which was quite masculine on me and probably has oud, which I dislike).

      • I have missed out on these!

  17. Although I love perfume and will wear it until my dying day, I think it was more special in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2.000’s. Now there are too many houses that have cropped up, too many perfumes (most of which are not that special) and too high price tags. When more people got into perfume and started wearing it every day and perfume sales sky-rocketed, too many companies and individuals jumped on the bandwagon and started creating perfumes with a frenzy. Even some of the established houses started coming up with new collections of 5 and 6 perfumes (or more) at a time. To me it was more about making money than creating something special, for the most part, but that’s just my opiniion.

  18. Tora

    I just got my mini of Ferre. You are so right, it is tres sexy. The sandalwood is transportive. The sparkly musc and ylang are swoon-worthy. It has gotten warm here (I know, a miracle!) and this is a bit much in the heat, but I am so smitten I found a Big bottle that is now heading my way. I kinda knew I would love this from your description, but, honestly, it is bigger and better than I imagined.

    • Ooh that is fantastic to hear! Did the Romeo Gigli also work, or not quite? I DO thing that the Ferre is the kind of va-va-voom scent that you put on for special occasions or just to feel fabulous……isn’t it a total PRODUCTION FOR SEDUCTION ?

    • DAMN SEXY AS HELL! You practically want to make love to the bottle just smelling it from the spray hole! Delighted the full bottle is coming. Is it the black or gold bottle?

  19. Tora

    It is the black bottle. This perfume is so tantalizing and voluptuous. It makes me want to have discovered this when I was young and beautiful and enter a room in a gorgeous gown wearing this Luscious sandalwood dream.
    As for the Gigli, I have not tried it. Was that the one that smells like Calandre? I need to go through your older posts to find this one.
    Thank you, Neil, for helping me feel a little bit like Monica Belluci.

    • I thought you ordered the Romeo Gigli directly after the post I wrote on it?

      Never mind: that is the one for you in crisp white shirts.

      Whether you feel that the Ferre would have been better when you were younger (I get that) to me the point is that this scent THROBS WITH PASSION in its own juices and therefore will have that effect on other people.

      so glad I wasn’t wrong.

      I will send my list of the pipettes of shame I would love – if you honestly don’t mind. I feel that you have given too much away already.

      • Tora

        Well, I have been ordering a lot of vintage lately so I may have thought I ordered it! Tell me again which Gigli it is. And I am grateful to make you decants. it gives me something to look forward to other than, cleaning house, cooking and walking the dogs. As much as I love domesticity and hanging out at home, this is just overkill, and I long for social contact. But, I do feel quite safe up here, if not bored.

      • Today was the day when things exploded a little. You can adore your partner, but still need a fucking break. I think today was that day.


  20. Tora

    I hope you are okay. Sending kisses.

    And I know why I did not order the Gigli……..ASAFOETIDA.

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