“As for women, I have always found that the one I was in love with smelled good, and the more copious her sweat the sweeter I found it.”
So wrote original man-about-town Casanova in his memoirs, The Story of My Life. The 18th century seducer, swindler, diplomat, alchemist, and all-around roister-doisterer is back to school a new generation of swingers through an exhibition of his writings at the National Library of France. The show, entitled "Casanova -- The Passion for Freedom", displays the original manuscript of his tell-all memoirs for the first time ever, reports the New York Times.
The man wasn't just a horny pony -- he was also a learned connoisseur of perfume. Casanova placed much importance on the right scent, and heaped scorn upon fragrances that did not meet his epicurean standards. Surprisingly for such a sex-happy scoundrel, the smell of musk was not one of his favorites. In his writings, he refers to a lecherous duchess who stinks of the stuff:
“Ah! This is a good-looking man! Come and sit near me, my fine fellow!”
I obeyed respectfully, but a noxious smell of musk, which seemed to me almost corpse-like, nearly upset me. The infamous duchess had raised herself on the sofa and exposed all the nakedness of the most disgusting bosom, which would have caused the most courageous man to draw back.
More to his liking was the smell of incense, which he burned during happier intimacies with the young ladies. Casanova also had a nose for rose:
M___ M___ had amongst the charms and trinkets fastened to the chain of her watch, a small crystal bottle exactly similar to the one that I wore myself. I called her attention to that fact, and as mine was filled with cotton soaked in otto of roses, I made her smell it.
“I have the same,” she observed. And she made me inhale its fragrance.
“It is a very scarce perfume,” I said, “and very expensive.”
“Yes, in fact it cannot be bought.”
Hmm, the old nicher-than-thou one-upmanship game? 18th fumeheads: they're just like us!
Casanova print via