How McQueen was first on scent of aftershave that turns women on
With his ice-cool demeanour and smouldering good looks, it is no surprise that the actor Steve McQueen was attractive to women.
But new research suggests he may have had a little help from his aftershave.
McQueen was known for wearing Christian Dior's Eau Sauvage, and scientists have discovered that a chemical in the cologne stimulates an area of the brain which is responsible for releasing sex hormones in women. Based on the evidence, it appears that the aftershave can, literally, turn women on.
Although it has long been debated whether humans can actually communicate via pheromones - the chemical signals secreted by animals to help find a mate - researchers have found that scent of Hedione generates 'sex-specific activation patterns' in the nasal tissue which links to the brain.
It is the first time that a scent has been known to activate the pheromone receptor VN1R in humans.
"These results constitute compelling evidence that a pheromone effect different from normal olfactory perception indeed exists in humans," says scent researcher Prof Hanns Hatt fro, Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany.
Hedione (chemical name methyl dihydro-jasmonate) - derived from the Greek word "hedone", for fun, pleasure, lust - has a pleasant fresh jasmine-magnolia scent and is used in many perfumes.
It is synthesised from the organic compound methyl jasmonate which was discovered in 1957 and which is important in plants for seed germination, root growth, flowering, fruit ripening, and senescence.
Dior was the first perfume house to use the chemical in its men's fragrance Eau Savage in 1966.
It was so successful that many women adopted it as their own perfume, leading to the introduction of a similar female version, Diorella in 1972.
Since then Hedione has cropped up in First, by Van Cleef & Arpels; Chamade by Guerlain; Chanel no. 19; L'Eau d'Issey by Issey Miyake, Angel by Thierry Mugler. (© Daily Telegraph, London)