the scent of celebrity

Which of Her 13 Perfumes Is Britney Spears Singing About?

Photo: Simon James/FilmMagic

As a follow-up to the wonderful “Work Bitch,” Britney Spears has released her second single, the more plaintive and soulful “Perfume.” The lyrics are all about wanting to leave an olfactory mark on her man for the other woman she suspects he’s cheating on her with. With thirteen perfumes to her name, we’ve got to wonder: Which of Spears’s perfumes could she be singing about? We took a deep dive into the verses and paired them with the top notes of her best-selling fragrances.

The song begins with a call for longing:

Do I imagine it, or do I see your stare
Is there still longing there?

Spears must be talking about her first perfume, Curious, whose commercial showed the pop star lusting after another man through a hotel-room door. After all, what smells like innocence and longing more than vanilla, one of Curious’s top notes? But, wait!

I want to believe
It’s just you and me
Sometimes it feels like there’s three
of us in here, baby

Spears actually has as perfume called Believe. Fragrantica describes it as opening “with fruity, mouthwatering notes of guava and tangerine. The maidenly heart is delicate and pure, featuring honeysuckle and linden blossom.” But a song about an affair surely couldn’t be about a fragrance that has a “maidenly heart.” Next!

Have you been thinking ‘bout her or about me
And while I wait I put on my perfume, yeah, I want it all over you
I gotta mark my territory

This could be Cosmic Radiance, which is “inspired by a star which twinkles brighter than all other stars — a star of a distant galaxy, far away from this world.” It contains “strong and optimistic citruses, with a refreshing, glittery red bouquet opening its fragrant petals in the very heart of the composition.” An optimistic citrus certainly sounds like it would leave a distinctive mark, whether it be in this galaxy, or the one that Spears orbits. But then she closes with this:

I’ll never tell, tell on myself, but I hope she smells my perfume.

If she’s talking about Fantasy, that ubiquitous fragrance that remains Britney’s best seller, chances are the other woman will recognize it. If not, Spears’s mystery woman will surely be haunted by the memorable blend of “red lychee, golden quince, kiwi, cupcake accord, jasmine petals, white chocolate, orchid, musk, orris root and sensual woods.”

So, if you want to alert your significant other that you are onto his potential affair, Fantasy is the best of Spears’s perfumes to use. At least it’s much easier than phone hacking.

Which Perfume Is Britney Spears Singing About?