Killer Combinations

serge lutens fleurs d'orangerIt’s Sunday night and I got nuthin’.  I’m not even going to lie.  I’ve spent the past week enveloped in some long-outstanding tax stuff requiring insanely tedious amounts of detailed preparation and copying and trips to the post office.  I’ve also spent the week enveloped in four particular scents – Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, Miel de Bois, Santal Blanc, Cedre.  (And a shout-out to Nava for Friday’s post – I love Encens et Lavande!  Go, Serge!)

The Big Cheese and I share an office at home, and I am quite confident at this point that he wishes I had almost any other obsession besides perfume — online gambling, perhaps, or internet porn.  He’s told me he will be spending much of this coming week away from the office.  I’m sure it’s a coincidence.  The folks at the post office have looked at me funny once or twice — I’m sure I’m wafting pretty intensely for 10:30 a.m., and you know what?  I just don’t care any more.  Desperate times, desperate measures.

The nice thing about these four scents I’ve been wearing is that I can layer them – or, more precisely, I can wear them one right after the other and come up with delightful combinations.  Miel de Bois layered with Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger is lovely, although you need more Fleurs d’Oranger, as Miel de Bois will eat almost anything in its path.   Miel de Bois layered with Santal Blanc would be lovely, and is lovely, for about ten minutes, until Miel de Bois kills it off.  I’m still tinkering with the ratios.  Cedre is a bit trickier in rotation, as its poisonous, viscous tuberose trends a bit in the direction of Poison if you put too much on, although eventually it smells more like woodsy honey.  Cedre, Miel de Bois and Fleurs d’Oranger are each slightly strange, and all possess a potentially lethal sweetness (tuberose, honey, and orange blossom, respectively) that has driven me once or twice to the shower, so I can … start over.  Usually with Santal Blanc.  Sort of as a palate-cleanser.  And then I go from there.  I’m probably killing off brain cells doing this, but I’ve still got some to spare, and the reward is worth it.

So today I’m asking: is there a group of scents you find yourself juxtaposing?  Not two or more entirely different, beloved scents that you find yourself wearing regularly (on different days) and don’t really expect to play well together.  I’m talking about some combination of scents that seem to complement each other, even if you aren’t precisely layering them, so that at the end of a week all your clothes smell like a glorious combination of all of them?  I’ll probably have to take everything I’ve been wearing to the dry cleaner in March, or just burn them; maybe the snow will have melted by then, and I’ll be ready to move on.  I’ve worn my snowboots more in the last two months than in the five years I’ve owned them.  For all I know, they smell of Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger.  It wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Alison says:

    Some days I just “must smell” certain specific scents to feel good. What they are might have no logic at all. For example, I’ve been on a Daim Blond kick lately and simply must smell it to get my head right. But I might also “must smell” one or two others that same day – . Then they go on different arms.

  • Olfacta says:

    I put on multiple perfumes all the time, but don’t write the combinations down — usually it’s one on my wrists, another on my collarbone/chest, like that. I do remember that SL Fleurs d’Oranger is good sprayed together with Mona di Orio’s Nuit Noire — it “cuts” that heavy fecal note at the opening of the latter and then the combination just smells great all the way through.

    Another one is Paloma Picasso EDP — the cheapie one from Maxx — and Jean Louis Scherrer # 1 EDT; they just seem to compliment one another, with a little rose added to the green chypre. I goty favorite compliment ever with this one.

    I got some vintage YSL “Y,” which is really dry, and think it would make good layering with slightly sweeter or richer scents in summer.

    I’m doing more and more of this lately, especially before going to sleep.

  • Joe says:

    OOOOOH, lady! I don’t have any suggestions at the moment, but I have to say that your choices last week Kicked Serious Butt. I own three of those four scents (most recently added Miel in that discontinuation myth-frenzy), and they are so fabulous. The only one I don’t own (have only sampled once) is Fleur d’Oranger.

    The others (and I’ll add Chene, Arabie, and El Attarine to the list) leave such an AMAZING scent on my clothing for days afterward. I love it. Compared to most of the “stuff” they’re calling EdP these days, Serge creations live up to the hype in strength. Love, love, love.

    The others recently that linger on clothing and add a delicious “base” to anything I wear subsequently are Mona di Orio Jabu and HdP Tubereuse 3 L’Animale. All of these scents are like nice warm undergarments on a chilly day (and yes, I’m talking California chilly… smack me now).

  • Winifreida says:

    Sounds like nearly everyone simply cannot resist having more than one ‘fume on at a time! (So many ‘fumes, so little time!!)
    I know I can’t…start out with good intentions in the morning…yes, will only wear one today etc. But I’ve developed a sort of style since its summer here of quickly giving in to spraying the hands, arms, etc with samples and serious comparisons, then if I need to go out its easy to wash off and put S.O.D. back on.
    I sometimes spray something I don’t like with something I do instead of washing it off, and have experimented with trying to put the old musks and ambers back into modern stuff, but mostly leave it up to the perfumer.
    During the Mitsouko years, when I still only wore it for night, I found L’ Heure Bleue my main daytime rotation… although since doing the time-travelling thing on the bay this year, I am surprised at how many things I did manage to fit in, such as Fidgi, Caleche, Diorissimo, Dolce Vita, Ysatis, Bal a Versailles, Cartier Must, O de Lancome ALL OF WHICH I wore to work as a secondary Art teacher!!!:o:o

  • Leslie says:

    This isn’t exactly layering, but I have la Chasse on one arm and Passage d’enfer on the other. It works somehow, as I’m getting wafts of one or the other, and enjoying it quite a bit…

    • Musette says:

      Butterflies from Hell? (if you are talking about la Chasse aux Papillions)

      I think I LOVE that!:o

      xo >-)

      • March says:

        Yes, I believe translated it’s “The Evil Swarm of Butterflies”.

        Although, actually, I love La Chasse. Just can’t wear it.

        • Leslie says:

          Hmm, either name here works for me on so many levels. What great names to throw out if someone actually asked me what I’m wearing!

    • March says:

      No, that counts. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. In fact I like to wear perfumes that way (on different arms) and I can switch back and forth.

  • Shelley says:

    You know, I need to do a better job of keeping notes on happy accidents…I rarely layer on purpose, but occasionally a sampling day (or a mistaken sense that one perfume had run its course) leads to pleasant outcomes. There is a kind of running theme of woods/incense under other things in the “works for me” column…

    Your sandalwood + fig combo has me intrigued…and Musette’s alde-combo has blown my brain. 😮

    • March says:

      Sandalfig, I’m tellin ya’, it’s jean-yuss. Somebody should make it already. And woods/incense is great under almost anything, yes?

  • mariekel says:

    Lord only knows what it is my winter down coat sleeves smell like – it is a gutsy floral, green combo that I wish I could pin down to actual perfumes. It smells a whole lot classier than the coat looks (it does double duty as heavy cold repeller and dog park togs).

    I once, by accident layered Divine by divine over some Norma Kamali Ceremony and the effect was fantastic — light incense curling around peachy flowers. I have also found that CB Wild Honey combines well with woody scents and is also wonderful with 5 O’clock Gingembre. I’ve also found that a light oud will work with almost any flower (except carnations, the big loudmouths. they seem to shout over everything I have tried them with).

    Still looking for that elusive combination of leather, incense, iris and earth that will mimic Andy Tauer’s Orris and make me cease lamenting that extraordinary fragrance is no longer made.

  • Meliscents says:

    My favorite layering option is a light spray of FRACAS & a touch at the pulse points of BANDIT.
    For me, the touch of BANDIT cuts the sweetness of the FRACAS a little. Although I wouldn’t recommend this for office wear. It could kill someone. :d
    I also find that the older ESTEE frags layer well. Like PRIVATE COLLECTION lotion & a light spray of AZUREE. I also tried Chanel NO#5 lotion with a dab of #22 perfume. Not too bad!
    Hey, ya never know until you try! 😕 That’s what soap is for.

    • March says:

      Bandit and Fracas I think I’ve actually done, having found myself standing in front of both bottles somewhere once. And you’re right, it was great. Also your Estee and Chanel combos make sense — layering those smoky scents and aldehydes.

      Azuree cracks me up. I love that thing so much it’s ridiculous.

  • ScentRed says:

    My winter scarf, which I toss and wrap in a variety of ways so all parts of it eventually touch my skin, currently smells like an outrageously fantastic mélange scents. I can’t really discern which specific fragrances are where but I’m guesing that the star players are Bois des Iles, Theorema, Chaos, Sacre Bleu, Frangipani and my newly purchased (thanks for the encouragement March) Escale a Portofino. I don’t think I could re-create it if I tried, but I love getting a waft of the combination as I get dressed.

  • Karen G says:

    I don’t layer intentionally; that requires me to think way too much, and I don’t think I’m brave enough, especially with the Serges. But I did stumble upon a great combo accidentally…A la Nuit and Ambra del Nepal. I haven’t tried it on skin yet, but the remnants on a wool jacket were amazing. Sexy and cozy at the same time.

  • Ursula says:

    Hello, scentlovers,

    I don’t dare to juxtopose anything that a famous perfumer has spent years to blend and develop just right.

    Usually I make transitions from one similar scent to the next. I take care to be certain of the foundation of layering – the shower with a product that can support what I then choose to add on.

    Maja soap serves well for most of my oriental scents. Those are really my favorites and I go, for the choice of SOTD, from Fath de Fath to Royal Secret to Obsession to Maja to Salvatore Ferragamo.

    Then it is time for a change to green and flowery. Here the transitions would be from Norell to Maja cologne, to 24 Faubourg to Chanel No. 5 to Bois Blond cologne.

    You have to make sure to wear the heavier scent first, then let it dry down, and when only a small aura of those molecules is left, then transfer on to the next,

    The American in-the-morning shower ritual is absolutely essential.

    Happy experimenting !

    U

    • March says:

      Certainly many perfume nuts are horrified by the idea of layering (or even sequentially wearing) scents so that they interfere with each other. And I agree that truly great scents can (and should) be appreciated on their own merits.

      OTOH I am pretty sure that no less august a personage than Frederic Malle came up at some point with a list of layering combinations he liked (and not just among his perfumes.) Some purveyors of “simple” scents like Jo Malone devote entire books to layering suggestions. And I might be wrong, but I thought Serge Lutens didn’t object to layering a couple of his scents.

      Unlike you, I avoid base product (like shower gels or lotions) because I don’t want anything else in the mix. 🙂 It certainly makes sense to try sequences of scents that share characteristics — greens, or aldehydes. At the same time I’ve enjoyed combining things with very different elements — like smoke and honey. And I still haven’t found an off-the-shelf equivalent to the sandalwood and fig combo of Santal Blanc and Philosykos.

  • Scent HIve says:

    On a whim I applied Kelly Caleche later in the day after I had started it with La Via del Profumo’s Mecca Balsam. It was a gorgeous combo.

    ~Trish

  • Jared says:

    Back on my birthday I tried putting Iris Silver Mist (damn I need a bottle of that) and Avignon together. Very nice. Both kind of dusty, but it gave a nice woody iris. I also put Black Aoud and MKK together. Talk about two heavy hitters! But you know, it was fantastic! They both could connect in the middle at the rose.

    • March says:

      Huh. Now there you go. I can totally see how ISM + Avignon (or some other plain incense) would work. Although I can hear the ISM purists screaming in the background. /:) As I find ISM a hair sweet, much as I admire it, I can see adding the woods/incense base.

  • Marsi says:

    Try Fumerie Turque as the base and a few spritzes of Fleurs d’Oranger on top. It’s the only way I’ll wear either of them — together. Fleurs d’Oranger is awfully sharp on me without a little something under it to sweeten it up. It’s an extremely nuzzle-worthy combination.

    A Guerlain combo I was wearing during the fall was a base of Spiriteuse Double Vanille with Bois d’Armenie. Sported that during a visit to D.C. in November, so now that’s what D.C. currently smells like in my memory.

    • March says:

      Ooooooooooooh — SDV + Bois d’Armenie sounds extremely cuddly. And I love it when a scent(s) becomes associated with a place, assuming it’s a good association.

      Fumerie Turque is weirdly sweet on my skin, in a way I don’t care for (the same thing happened with Chergui.) FdO on the other hand is heaven, once I got used to the odd, cumin-y start.

    • Louise says:

      Another nice layering with Fumerie Turque is Bell’Antonio-both are tobaccos, balance the sweetness of FT with the BA :d/

  • mals86 says:

    I’ve been wearing tuberose scents for weeks now, as well as vanillas like Shalimar Light, Org Ind, and Havana Vanille. Wouldn’t have guessed it, but Tuberose + Vanilla rocks my world. (Best combo? Beyond Love and the clear, boozy, far drydown of Havana Vanille. Stupendous.)

    • March says:

      REally, tuberose + vanilla? I’d have thought it would be too sweet. Well, I’m game, I have plenty of both, I’ll try it.

      • mals86 says:

        It surprised me too, especially since I often find scents too sweet for me. HV is borderline too sweet, as is Alien – but in that, “Fine, I’ll just go to hell” sort of way. Awww, c’mon, try it. YOU wear Poison… which, come to think of it, is the ultimate sweet tuberose.

        BTW: Poison used to frighten me out of rooms, but I just tried a bit (a TEENY bit) on one wrist the other day, and it wasn’t nearly as lethal as I remembered it to be. Do you think they’ve Messed With It? It didn’t seem to have that grape cough-syrup overdose that rasped in the back of my throat.

        • March says:

          Oh, they’ve definitely Messed With It. There’s a review on here where I went out and stalked a bottle of old Poison on evilBay. I can’t say that the current version smells all that different (it’s recognizably Poison) but it’s been muted. Or neutered. As the case may be. I lurve Poison. You should smell the stronger version, I have that too!

          http://perfumeposse.com/christian-dior-poison/

  • Musette says:

    Alison –

    For a real aldehit, layer Cartier Brilliante over No 5 edp. Let me know what you think. No 22 with Bois des Iles is interesting (the 22 has to be on the botton, else it eats the BdI).

    xoxo >-)

    • March says:

      Damn, that sounds great — the Brilliante and No. 5. I’m going to try that. And 22 with BdI as well, although I hear you about the 22.

      • Musette says:

        you must be sure to use the EDP (or parfum) and not the Edt – the Edt is a vicious beeyotch who will eat Cartier’s lunch, your skin and the nails off your hand (IMO, of course 😀 – the EdP is lovely,lovelyLOVELY and plays well with others. Brilliante is absolutely gorgeous but the ‘thinness’ sort of shows through in the layering, which is why it needs a bit of a soft cushion. Otherwise it’s like throwing a live water buffalo on top of a box of crystal.

        I tried Brilliante with No 22 and that was just 8-x.

        xo >-)

    • Shelley says:

      Alde-RAMA! I’ll bet you rock that.

      • Musette says:

        I’ll let you be the judge, next time I see you. what did you wear to play yesterday?

        xo >-)

        • Shelley says:

          No. 19. Parfum behind the ears, edp on the wrists. Because…a) the galbanum doesn’t run the risk of making my nearest mates queasy (I applied lightly, mind you, but in deference to my mates, if I do carry at all, I want it to be refreshing; gotta keep focus)…b) I love the outer shell of “armor” up (that was some challenging playing, and I was fierce about being ready)…c) in the end, I end up revealed as a softy anyway, so when it was over, I was ready to be white floral.

          I still seriously debate wearing anything at all…because I have been seriously annoyed by fragrance on fellow players in the past…so I have a light touch when I decide to try. Remember the huffing as soother we were all discussing a short while ago? I decided to go for it for that reason…that one wrist *is* so close to my nose…

          • Musette says:

            19 EDP is so lovely (and I’m sure the P is even lovelier) that it would be difficult to offend with that – you are way likelier to uplift, as long as you’re not drenched in it (nothing smells good in ‘drench’)! I wish I could’ve attended – alas, we were getting hammered by more snow here in Cowtown. And there is possibly more to come tomorrow. Wearing Cuir de Lancome today – love that synthetic suede opening! Dries down something wonderful, too!

            xoxo >-)

  • Alison says:

    Love to layer! I am an aldehyde girl through and through, and my signature scent has been Paco Rabanne’s Calandre ever since I was 15 years old. Others that I love to layer with it are Chanel 22, Hermes Caleche, and Cartier So Pretty. It also takes the edge off L’Artisan The Pour Un Ete when I want green but not too sharp.

    I have Serge Daim Blond and A La Nuit – think I’ll try them together today!

    • March says:

      Now that’s a completely different, interesting way to layer — aldehydes. I can see how your combinations would work.

      A La Nuit I love on men but it never smells as great on me. 🙁

    • Suzy Q says:

      Alison, this is just too funny. I’m wearing a sample of No. 22 edt today which smells so bad I was just about to scrub it off. Then I read your post and ran to get my FB of Calandre. You’re right: works great! Sounds like what I need is No. 22 edp.

  • rockrose says:

    I have discovered the new Diptyque body line and the Huiles Precieuses layers beautifully with just about anything iris.

  • kathleen says:

    The following is not a good combo. Last night Don spritzed CDG Luxe Patch over NM Hippie, from earlier in the day. When I caught a whiff of him, I said, why do you smell like a salami?

    Cedre is a tuberose? I didn’t know this, and I love tuberose.

    • March says:

      Cedre IS a tuberose, and I’d not tried it until quite recently, because I am not the #1 Fan of Serge Cedar, which smells very dirty and hamster-ish on me. It is quite sweet, faintly honeyed, and as I said above, has a bit of the death-by-cherry of Poison. I don’t know how you feel about Poison, but that might be a guide. Here’s my review:

      http://perfumeposse.com/2009/10/25/serge-lutens-cedre/

      No, salami is not what I’m looking for in my layering.

  • monoi says:

    Two I recently -and accidentally- layered are Hiris and Kiehl’s Musk. I know. But it’s surprisingly good, ackshully; iris has a tiny bit of dirtiness to it anyway, and Kiehl’s brings it out nicely.
    I’m careful not to get mish-mashes on my unwashables/coats, though – not all of my favourites play nice with each other. Luckily, I usually wear leather jackets, which don’t retain scent much.

    • March says:

      Hm, Hiris + Kiels is not something I’d have thought of, but as I own both I’ll try it!

      Some of my coats have wound up smelling very strange, it’s true. And if it’s a new scent that is a scrubber, I’ve had to resort to dry cleaning. You’d think I’d have learned that lesson by now.

  • Melissa says:

    I don’t really have a group of scents that I wear in heavy rotation like this. But now I’m curious. This seems like layering on steroids, but also a bit more flexible. Layering one day, single scent with traces of the others the next? I’m usually pretty careful to air coats, sweaters etc out prior to applying something else. I even use a clothing steamer to assist in the process.

    Now I think that I would like to try this with some of the Guerlain L’Art et la Matière collection. Applied very lightly if I wear them together to work!

    • March says:

      You’re much more careful than I am, although I know you sample a lot. My coats and sweaters at this point probably all smell like some perfume or another — or a melange. With a few exceptions, it all dries down into something generically pretty.

      You know, I bet those Guerlains would work nicely, they’re relatively light and share some characteristics.

      • Melissa says:

        So, I thought that I would just throw all caution to the wind this morning before I walked out the door. My mega-Guerlain-layering combo:

        The base-Tonka Imperiale
        The middle-Cuir Beluga
        The top-Tokyo

        My perfumista-partner-in-crime at work complimented me within an hour, so I know that this one’s working for me. The Tonka Imperiale is definitely the strongest and most tenacious of the three, but the Cuir softens and rounds it out and the Tokyo adds a little jasminey kick. My OCD self doesn’t even care if this stays on my clothing!

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    I don’t layer (intentionally) often, but when I do, Tam Dao is usually the base. It seems to go well with most everything, but especially Philosykos or Do Son.

    • March says:

      Tam Dao and Philosykos is stunning — as is any sandalwood + any fig, IMO. Sandalwood and fig is delicious.

      • aotearoa says:

        This sounds fantastic – I haven’t really gont to the figs yet apart from demoishing most of a tree ful here in our summer.

      • Robin R. says:

        Hey, March, better late than never. Finally got up off the couch and sprayed on some 10CC and PG Jardins de Kerylos (awesome, awesome fig) and wowsers. That works. I mean, that WORKS. Can’t tell where the sandalwood ends and the fig begins. It’s just one big fig ‘n’ wood love-in. MMmmm. :)>-

  • Louise says:

    Incense, baby. I layer my various incensey things with wild abandon-and havent found any real stinkers /:)

    Norma Kamali is huge by itself, even on me, but makes the equivalent of a perfume RedEye with Black Cashmere, Avignon, Messe de Minuit. I’ve been wearing Incense Rose a lot lately, and other incenses are great with it-yesterday a dab of Balsamo del Mecca was delicious. Oh, and Fourreau Noir layer very well with Silver Factory-I suppose the lavender ties them.

    One random layering I like-Jubilation XXV with a spritz of MH Fleur Oriental-just sweetens the mix, with each scent maintaining some “integrity”. And most of my Arabian Ouds work as a tiny dab with any rose scent (the latter trick not one you’re likely to employ, Marchele) @};[email protected]};[email protected]};-

    • March says:

      Man, I love incense, and that NK is Too Much for me. I prefer Ceremony. But I don’t kill things off like you do. Incense Rose was utterly lovely. I am still waiting for my bottle of Mecca Balsam, which is on its way…

      Oh, I can totally see the Jube with the MH (which is the only one of that line I really like.) 😡

      • monoi says:

        I tried Ceremony not too long ago, and found it extremely fleeting and airy version of CdG Ouarzazate, which I already own. What say you, do I need my head examined or do you concur? 🙂

    • janh says:

      Wow, I th ought I was the only one reeking of incense rose with some sacred fire to really gag ya.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Oh dear, I don’t have anything to add except tax (yes, the Across the Pond sort) – yay! That’s what this perfumista does for a living, and it is better done swathed in scent. As I work at home I can wear whatever I like, but here in the UK there isn’t any kind of backlash against perfume in the workplace so I would wear anything anyway. That and the age thing, of course. No-one is going to tell me what I can and can’t wear!

  • carter says:

    I got nuthin’ too, since I don’t mix it up too much, or at least not on purpose. By accident? More often than I care to admit.

    But listen to what happened tonight! Melissa (the sweetie-pie) sent me a lovely sample of Tarantella (thank you, Melissa, you sweetie-pie) and at the EXACT MOMENT that I began to spritz it on with abandon, a pair Olympic ice dancers launched into their program which was The. Freaking. Tarantella 😮

    I KNOOOW!

    • Melissa says:

      Oh, that’s just too, well, Freaking, something. :d

      Glad ya like it!

      • Musette says:

        Tarantella! That was one of my first dips into irregular perfumistaland. I got a samp of that from those lovely people in Australia? New Zealand? (why is the computer flagging Zealand? Am I spelling it incorrectly?) – anyway, I ripped the package open as I was driving through the curvy road to the next town (I’ve since quit that dangerous habit, ever since I met the Giant Grain Truck coming in the opposite direction – we missed #:-s) and ‘meh’. So I forgot all about it…until 30 minutes later, when I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist for all thelovely leather bits!

        xo >-)

        • March says:

          Tarantella is so pretty, and old-school in a way I love. I wish more places carried it, I’ve never seen it anywhere and I think you have to order it up from the company.

        • Shelley says:

          I thought it was Australia…Tommi Soon, Australia…at least that was what was dancing through my head while they danced across the ice (see below).

    • March says:

      That’s so great! And Tarantella I thought was fabulous, I wish it were easier to find. It’s one of those scents that perfumistas talked about for five minutes and then it was gone from the radar. 🙁

    • Shelley says:

      ACK! I was watching that last night, and when they started up, I *immediately* thought of my sample! How **weird** is this? Is my brain infected? Are we in a cult???

  • tmp00 says:

    Well everybody is in the same situation so I suppose they’re all in line wondering whether they’re rinse or bedazzled sweater or experiment with mint green eyeshadow cuts the mustard. I think the only place I would consider wearing something more challenging would be the DMV. MKK and MdeB?

  • k-scott says:

    Thanks for your musings March! This may be a little bit off topic, but I am hoping for some kind perfumista input here. I am going to go ahead and admit the embarassing fact that I have not yet dipped my toes into the pool of Serge. I know some of the scents can be considered “difficult” so I have been trying to decide for awhile which Serge scents to start with. I was hoping that maybe some of y’all here could recommend some good ones to start with? I tend to like white flowers (tuberose, jasmine, neroli) and as such love Fracas, Carnal Flower, Chasse Aux Papillions, most Annick Goutals, Gardenia Petale and the like. But I also like some dusty, spicy, ambery, and incensy things like L’Air du Desert Morocain,Incense Extreme, okay basically all Tauers, Chinatown, Field Notes from Paris, Prada L’Eau d’Ambree, etc etc. From what I’ve read, I thought I might start with Bois de Violette, Encens et Lavande, Fleurs d’Oranger, and Daim Blond. Any feedback please? Thank you all!

    • carter says:

      Sounds like you might like BdV and Chergui, or perhaps Un Lys. All three would be great starters IMHO, particularly the first two.

    • aotearoa says:

      Definitely Fleurs d’Oranger-beautiful. I don’t like Bois de Violette myself – it smells like weak cordial to me, others love it. Maybe also Santal Blanc and for jasmine Sarrasins and A la Nuit?
      I reckon you could also go crazy and do Miel de Bois because I thought it was going to be all big and scary and I loved it at first sniff.
      And then all the fun of Tubereuse Criminelle….
      Fiona

    • Louise says:

      Datura Noir may be your perfect gateway SL scent…:d/

    • monoi says:

      +1 on Datura Noir for the white flower part of the equation, and possibly À La Nuit, too. For the incense-and-amber end, definitely Chergui. Bdv, FdB and Daim Blond are not my personal favourites, but well-loved by others and worth a try.

    • March says:

      Everyone’s given wonderful advice. I’d second Datura Noir and a la Nuit.

      I’ll add: don’t fear the Serge. In a way I’m glad I started sampling the line without any knowledge whatsoever, so I wasn’t afraid. In a very general sense, SLs are: 1) strong; 2) sometimes very sweet; 3) possessing an odd opening accord that then gives way to something completely different; 4) complex in that they take several hours to unfold.

      If you tend to “cling” to scents, if they wear heavily on you, I’d try very hard if you can restrain yourself to sampling *one* or two at the most (on opposite arms) and apply lightly. You really need to give them time, like the whole day, to do their thing.

      I will add that SLs were some of the scents that on first sniff I thought, well, I don’t know about *that.* And yet I, who do not buy many bottles for a perfumista, now have more bottles of SL than any other line besides Guerlain. Which is my way of saying that their charms are not always immediately apparent, and they tend to grow on you. Some folks hate almost all of them and that’s fine; maybe Serge won’t be your thing. But I think they are unusual and often quite beautiful, and well worth trying. Also, do a little research and don’t entirely trust the name. Cedre, for example, possesses very little of the notorious SL cedar notes; it’s mostly tuberose.

      • k-scott says:

        Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Think I’m going to start with Datura Noir, Flers d’Oranger, and A La Nuit. Maybe I’ll get into some of the funkier stuff from there… /:)

  • Style Spy says:

    I have a scarf that’s a combo of Ambre Sultan, Tolu, Ambra del Nepal, and Amoureuse right now and I want to sleep with it over my face. Divine.

    • March says:

      Yum, I could see how that would work. And scented scarves are the best.

      • Musette says:

        Scented babies are even better. Back in my Calyx days I handed a baby back to his mom after a few minutes snuggling with his Evil Auntie Anita and she said ‘wow! he smells so GOOD!” . of course, nothing beats plain ol’ (clean) ‘baby’ but in a pinch, Calyx isn’t a bad option.

        xo >-)

  • WD says:

    Back to Black and Montale Crystal Flowers!

  • HemlockSillage says:

    My wool coat has this mix of TF Oud Wood, Urban Musk, AG Musc Nomade, Prada’s L’eau Ambree, and Amouage Tribute. . .and *dang* it smells wonderful.

    I wouldn’t dare layer those apurpose, but *wow*. Gentle curses to you for starting the crazy expensive layering habit for me. I was just telling a fellow perfumista about my love of Kilian’s Pure Oud with Back to Black, and it started right here with Perfume Posse 😀

    Still haven’t graduated to layering Lutens. They are so rich and complex, I fear the scrubbing. Heck, I just tried Daim Blond for the first time on Saturday, and it was love, love, love. More of a scent than a fragrance on me, with a weird synthetic note flurry to suggest the suede, but fascinating.

    Blessedly I’m still on perfume embargo, and enjoying the samples and FB I have. . .but all bets are off 03/01/2010!

    Perfumistas across the world, fragrant dreams.

    • March says:

      Oh, your wool coat sounds lovely! I’m impressed that you can pick all the scents out. Sometimes I get frustrated trying to figure out what I sprayed on that smells so great.

      Daim Blond is a very interesting scent. I think it would work under sweeter things, although it’s quite nice on its own.

      Wow, perfume embargo! You have more fortitude than I do.

  • aotearoa says:

    Oh! I forgot – Miel de Bois and heat/sweat. This is possibly one for my nose only but it’s fantastic….I put it on before a good walk/run on a hot afternoon and it’s incredible – hot honey and wooden hive. Seems a shame to shower afterwards

    • Silviafunkly says:

      Must include this in my perfume-for-jogging experiments !

    • March says:

      We’ve talked about wearing unexpectedly heavy scents in warm weather, and the sometimes quite pleasing results. I’ll have to try MdB when it warms up. If it ever warms up. :-w

    • Shelley says:

      Aotearoa, this is so weird…I had commented on March’s honey scents post about wearing MAC Naked Honey and thinking it was not for me…going out to cross-country ski…and taking off the outwear when done to discover it had evolved into something most pleasant. To me, at least. Who knows…maybe honey requires exertion to properly bloom??? 😕 (or should that be :o)

      • aotearoa says:

        I think a whole list of sweaty jogging scents is an excellent idea
        M de B is particularly wonderful with a good sweat – and it lasts too – no sweating off this one!

  • aotearoa says:

    I mistakenly layered Miel de Bois with Etro vetiver and it was quite good. I get a lot of lovely hot woodsy stuff anyway in
    M de B so don’t usually think it needs a tone down/tune up.
    Cedre was my only Lutens scrubber – awfully sickly sweet and no redemption! It’s in the same disgustingly sweet category as Back to Black (the horror haunts me still) and Bond No 9 Chinatown, which was like watered down Back to Black on me.
    Yet I can do M de B and Rahat Loukhoum no worries – not together mind you…
    Odd.
    Fiona

    • March says:

      None of the Kilians works for me, so I hear you there. And Cedre is very sweet, and has a note of that death-by-cherry that Poison has … but I love Poison, so there you have it. Rahat scares the bejezus out of me. I should retry it.

  • Francesca says:

    I have not graduated into the layering/combinations thing at all. I don’t know if I will ever have the knowledge of what combines well with what. I only know I have no fear of wearing seriously skanky stuff to the office, because I’m 60, and if somebody doesn’t like it? Hell with ’em.

    • March says:

      I don’t know if it’s “knowledge” so much as stupidity 😉 and a side-effect of my aggressive sampling of several scents at the same time, often looking for something to review. And as far as wearing seriously skanky stuff to the office — if you can do it and people aren’t begging you to stop, I say go for it. I don’t work in an office, although I wore Poison and Coco (not at the same time!) to the office for years, back in the day. The only time I restrict myself is if I’m going to work out, or visiting a medical building, where I figure people have a legitimate expectation that I won’t be wearing something powerful.