Very Sexy Eau de Parfum by Victoria’s Secret Review

Collage of Very Sexy by Victoria's Secret and its notes including clementine, cappuccino, blackberry, amber, mimosa and musk.

Before I had the vocabulary to describe scents, I’d simply describe this as perfume-y. You sniff it and respond: yep, that’s a Victoria’s Secret perfume. It’s a fresh-ish, synthetic-heavy, drugstore sort of scent, with some pretty, powdery pink floral soap in the background.

Right from the beginning, Very Sexy is actually Very Peppery. This puts a nice twist on the floral heart of the fragrance and obscures its soapier nuances. I can clearly smell the clementine in the opening. I grow cactuses, and sometimes they bloom, but I have no idea what that cactus flower fantasy note is supposed to smell like.

Regardless, this is a peppery floral with a playful, kind of juvenile hint of clementine. I can sense a fruity freshness beneath it all that might very well be blackberry. The clementine and blackberry make up a nice crisp fruity edge to the first hours of Very Sexy. While it fades out, the general mix of musky and flowery notes fills in the middle, with sweet sparkles of sugary amber and blackberry jam in between.

A wedge of pale yellow brie cheese with a hard white rind.

I don’t get anything I would think to describe as coffee, let alone a cappuccino; I can sense a mild lactonic note, but it feels more like an array of fruits and soft cheeses than cafe au lait. It’s an odd description, but… maybe a cheese pizza with clementines and blackberries strewn haphazardly upon its surface?

I don’t know whether I’m the only person sensing something vaguely cheesy here. I don’t notice it unless I’m really paying attention to pick the notes out.

Perhaps the coffee is hiding in that peppery accord, lending it a hint of gauzy warmth. I honestly don’t pick it up prominently anywhere, though, and I don’t think many people do.

This is incredibly musky in a clean, perfume-y, industrial floral sort of way. Blooms of mimosa, camellia, vanilla orchid — not a real floral note, but whatever — and hydrangea, also known as hortensia. They all blend together into a generic red-and-pink sort of floral-tinged musk. None of the individual notes are at all distinguishable to me, nor does this remind me at all of any sort of real flowers, just the sort of soft pink musk I’ve come to expect of generic designer florals.

Very Sexy is a bit woody, only in the way that any musky designer perfume is “woody” when people don’t really know what else to call it. I don’t recognize any particular woods or strong resemblances at all.

Is it sexy? It’s certainly intensely musky in a way that wants to be all red lipstick and seductive glances. Very Sexy smells like something that wants to be very sexy, the sort of perfume you’d smell on a teacher and feel like you’re seeing something you’re not supposed to see.

Very Sexy smells like a Victoria’s Secret store. It has that VS store air freshener DNA. They want you to think this smell is sexy. They want you to come back to the store and buy their underwear. There’s nothing particularly sensually interesting to me about a run-of-the-mill VS floral with a touch of fruit and pepper, but to each their own.

Sweet, peppery, floral without being too soapy, weirdly a tiny bit cheesy… this isn’t unpleasant. It smells kind of cheap in that incredibly musky designer way, but it’s at least semi-unique for a Vicky’s Secret fragrance. I’m smelling an old sheer body mist formula, and I have no idea where, when, or why I would wear this.

Perhaps I’m simply not sexy enough to appreciate its charm.

Three blackberry fruit and a small light green leaf.

The longevity on this is terrifying. I’m going on 48 hours and there is still a very noticeable skin scent where I sprayed lightly one time.

Very Sexy is sharpest in the opening, with an edge of black pepper and clementine leading the musky charge. At the heart the hints of vanilla orchid and blackberry are most present, jammy and sweet in the midst of the industrial red-and-pink musk bomb. And finally, in the final hours, Very Sexy takes a turn towards a slightly powdery finish, the hints of warm floral musk drying out as they evaporate.

This isn’t an unpleasant perfume. I just can’t imagine anywhere I could wear this, and I’m not someone who’s usually a stickler about time and place of use for fragrances. Everyone should wear what they like, when they like to, but I have no idea what kind of weekend-long panty shopping bender I’d have to be on to want to smell like a fruity Victoria’s Secret store for two days straight.

This is a very designer-musky mall bomb. It’s red and pink and incredibly early 2000s. A very traditional Y2K idea of sensuality: clean, fresh, very musky, vaguely floral. It’s pleasant, sure. And definitely not shy about what it is. This yells “Victoria’s Secret perfume with the word ‘sexy’ in it” from miles away. If that would make you feel confident and empowered and, well, sexy, then give it a try. If you’re not one for musky designer perfumes, though, this might not be for you.

At first blush, Hugo Boss’s Deep Red reminded me a little of the Very Sexy vibe. But Deep Red feels a bit lighter to me, definitely pink and not red. Very Sexy is deeper, redder, more intense and unapologetic in its designer musk. Deep Red and Burberry’s Burberry Brit Rhythm for Women both have that peppery-clementine-blackberry-floral-pink-sparkle thing going on that makes me think of VS, but Very Sexy is louder and more intense than those two, more overt in its sybaritic designer style.

There have been numerous incarnations of Very Sexy over the years. I’ve sampled the 2007 concoction, but there have also been 2002, 2012, and 2018 releases of the concoction, as well as a handful of flankers. Though the bottle shapes, sizes, and colors have all been radically different, the note lists on each incarnation of Very Sexy have been similar enough.

I have no idea what the true concentration of this is. The bottle only coyly refers to itself as a “sheer sexy mist.” It certainly isn’t some sort of cute, light body spray for teens: this stuff is heavy and it will last for days. I’m calling it Eau de Parfum based on sheer strength and statistical likelihood, but that’s a shot in the dark, confusing world of random Victoria’s Secret re-releases.

Half of an unwrapped clementine, the smallest kind of mandarin orange.

It’s got a confusing release history, but Jean Claude Delville’s Very Sexy is a general formula you’ve probably smelled before. It’s both unique and somehow ubiquitous; it feels like we’ve all smelled this in an alley or bar somewhere on a twenty-to-fortysomething woman around 2011 or so. Very Sexy is Very Musky, Very Designer, and, indeed, Very Red Magazine Insert With A Seductively Pantyhosed Leg Peeking Delicately Out of a Taxi. It’s not my idea of sexy, but this delivers on a certain glossy magazine fantasy of shopping mall seduction to a tee.

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