Mixers, anyone?


by our Mixologist, Ann!





Most days, it’s challenging enough to wear one complicated scent,beautiful though it may be.
But there are other times, when wearing something fairly simple, I’ve thought,

“Hmmm … how can I jazz this up a bit?” Or “Wouldn’t a spritz of XXXX really make this sing?”

I’ve not experimented a whole lot, for reasons of economy (I own
very few full bottles with which to spray with abandon) and fear

(if it’s awful, will I scrub my skin raw trying to get rid of it?).


Now I doubt that anything will help me to cover up or camouflage my nemesis, cumin,

(apologies to all you fans out there), but if you know of something that tonesit down, please share.

In my limited experience, however, I’ve happened upon a fewthat really work for me.


My utility player, Guerlain’s Cologne du Parfumeur, quite nice on its own,
creates a great base for nearly any other scent.

And, at least on me, has proved to have a sort of soothing effect

on scents have gone a bit off-kilter on my skin. If you can’t scrub ’em, dilute ’em, I say.


Then there’s Profumum’s Acqua Viva, sent to me by a sweet friend.

Its near-pucker-inducing tang is quite the wake-up call for quieter

scents. For instance, SL’s Fleurs de Citronnier is lovely alone but can

go a little too soft after a while. So when I want some real citrus fireworks, I light the SL

up with a tiny spritz of the Viva. The AV also pairs nicely with Kai, adding a new

dimension to one of my favorites.


I know that Bond No. 9 is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find that a great

yin and yang vibe emerges from combining their Little Italy and New Haarlem

scents (each terrific on its own as well). It’s perfect for those in-between days when

one’s too light, the other too heavy — thus, they happily meet in the middle.


On paper, Bond’s Chinatown sounds like it should be perfect for me,

but alas, it lists something fierce on my skin. But in a happy accident,

I found that a spritz of Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom atop it rights the ship and makes the C-town go from nearly scrub-worthy to something approaching lovely.


Now I’m not much on fig, but in experimenting one day,

I tried Diptyque’s Philosykos under a spritz of their Do Son and it was unexpectedlynice.

The fig created an elegant base and toned down the brightness of the Do Son.

And I suspect it would be good paired with the line’s Eau Duelle too.

Because it seems to play so nicely with others, it might be the very thing to make a fig fan out of me.
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear what scent combinations (hits or misses) that you’ve created when playing mad scientist.


  • Ann says:

    Wendyb, Patch 24 is great, isn’t it? I’ve only tried it with a couple of vanillas, but would love to pair it, as you did, with my new (old) summer love Calyx. Give it a shot with the Tom Ford and do let us know how it goes. I am loving everyone’s suggestions so much.

  • Wendyb says:

    I like Patchouli 24 under things that are too sweet. Just a touch on the skin under my bra adds some density to 31 Rue Cambon or Caylx, and I just thought of it, but I wonder if it would work with Tom Ford Black Orchid too?

  • Joanie says:

    I’m so happy to see this post, I love layering, although I often don’t end up making note or remembering the pairings. My favorite combo ever was layering Badgley Mischka with Jo Malone’s Blue Agave and Cacao. The result is an enormous mixed bouquet of decadent flowers just at the edge of wilting, soft, luscious and opulent! I also like to layer DSH Cuir et Champignon with anything that needs an edge of leather… which is almost anything, really! :d

  • Teri says:

    I’m ordinarily not much of a layerer (is there such a word?), but I did happen to discover a lovely one by accident when I dabbed two PG samples on the same wrist. Cuir Venenum on the bottom with Iris Taizo on top is a wonderful marriage. I bought bottles of each scent with the express purpose of wearing them together. People often ask me about my unusual scent, and I say it’s custom blended, which it kind of is. Sort of. :-\”

    • Ann says:

      Perfect, Teri! And unless you spill the beans about your “secret formula,” you won’t have to worry about anyone else wearing it.

  • Nick says:

    Forgot to say that last night Philosykos and Abysynthe (Lacroix/Avon) kinda worked for a while then Absynthe took over (which is good cos I really like it), but the mix wasn’t long lasting.

  • Nick says:

    Inspired today, Knize Ten and Dior Homme Intense. I really like it, but am not sure that anyone else within 200 miles does. Perhaps not a work frag LOL!

  • Ann says:

    Hi Millicent, that sounds pretty much like what I do, as well. I’m not familiar with the Close Your Eyes scent, but I do enjoy (and have a bit of) the Serge, so I look forward to giving it a try. Thanks …

  • Millicent says:

    I don’t layer or mix that often, but today called for a few spritzes of Ambre Sultan followed by several spritzes of Miller et Bertaux’ Close Your Eyes… (the pear-gaiac one) They’re great together! The amber beast gives an interesting backbone to the softness of the CYE.

    Most of my layering successes have been along the same lines: something to toughen up or ground — choose your metaphor — a scent that’s airier, sweeter or “higher,” if that word makes sense.

  • mariekel says:

    Dearest Musette,

    After coming up with many unspeakable combinations (don’t ever insult Shocking — even the non-vintage version — by trying to mate her. She will take your nose right off in a tarragon hissy fit, trust me), I have come up with two winners: Norma Kamali Ceremony mixed with Divine by Divine. The light incense underpins the florals in a beautiful, soulful way. Number two is CB Wildflower Honey with Montale Golden Aoud. I always though GA had a honeyed quality and wanted to accentuate it, so dabbed a generous amount of the CB and, voila! Honeyed aoud and roses….mmmmm. So gorgeous in the heat.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks for the warning to leave Shocking solo — or else! :)
      Your other recipes sound very interesting, especially the honey one. I’m woefully underexperienced with honey scents, so need to remedy that ASAP. Thanks!

  • Joanna says:

    I got samples of Tabacca by Costamor and Havana Vanille from L’Artisan and neither one on their own was really wowing me. I layered the two and fell in love with the combo.
    I have a bottle of Memoire Liquide’s Nudité Absolue, which is my go too potion for layering to tame scents that are too crazy for me. I also find that Dark Rose from Czech & Speake plays well with others.

    • Ann says:

      Joanna, I’ve often thought the Havana Vanille would be a good mixer, so thanks for that tip. Not a rose gal so will have to pass on the C&S, but the Nudite sounds like it would be an excellent peacemaker.

  • I’m not much of a mixer but I did try Vamp à NY and Lubin Idole because they were both by Olivia Giacobetti and had common spices, and it worked pretty well.
    Way back when, one of the first boys who turned me on to fragrance wore a combination of 4711 and Bal à Versailles, which somehow makes sense through the orange blossom. Never tried it, but it’s intriguing.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Denyse, I so wanted to love Vamp but it just did not work for me. Perhaps the Lubin will make it more amenable on me. The 4711 and Bal mix definitely sounds intriguing, though I am a bit leary of the skank in Bal. Thanks!

  • AnnieA says:

    I beef up the citrus-less new Cristalle with a grapefruit body spray…

    • Ann says:

      Now that sounds absolutely mouth-watering! I may give that a whirl tomorrow — thanks!

  • Ann says:

    Another Cabaret fan — cool! I like the YSL Y and love oak moss, so will have to give it a go. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer says:

    Caberet with Wrapped With Love by Hilary Duff or Body Fantasies Vanilla Fantasy made wearable combos.
    YSL Y with BBW Japanese Cherry Blossom amps the oakmoss!

  • Ann says:

    Hi Mirandajane, love your “flowers in a confessional booth” mix. And the Coney Island duo sounds quite fun!

  • mirandajane says:

    CdG Avignon under Narcisse Noir–it’s like burying my nose in a bouquet of flowers in a confessional booth….

    Also–I don’t know if this is exactly layering but I like to wear L’Artisan Sautes D’Humeur a Rien on one wrist & Bobbi Brown Beach on the other & smell them one after another….Smells like a haunted house on Coney Island.

  • Gina says:

    SOTD is Cabaret and MKK, and it is very nice. I also love Montale Aoud Cuir d’Arabie and SL A La Nuit.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Gina, haven’t smelled Cabaret in years but would be very curious about it with the MKK. What does the Cabaret do to the animalic nature of the MKK on you? The other combo sounds good, too, as I love the Serge.

  • Ann says:

    Ah, another FdO fan. That combo does sound interesting, though.
    Now, I do love me some Safran Troublant, so I’ll be trying that duo as soon as I can get my hands on some of the Les Nereides. Thanks!

  • Lisa D says:

    It’s always a surprise to me, how well layering two scents works out. It’s a rare combination that sends me to scrubbing in the sink. I used to layer soliflores (or perfumes with a very strong note direction) over more complicated stuff, just because I was nervous about my ability to “mix” well. I also sometimes refrained from layering, because I felt that it was a bit, well, disloyal to the original perfume (that probably sounds silly). In my advancing age I’m throwing both nerves and respect out the window, though, and am happily spraying indiscriminately from more than one bottle. The latest combination that ended up being delicious was Eau de Pamplemousse Rose over AG Ambre Fetiche, two scents I acquired during the delirious madness that was Swapmania. I kept thinking all morning, “Grapefruit and amber – who’da thunk? Somebody should really DO something with this combo!”

    • Ann says:

      You go, girl! Layer away! I’m getting more courageous just from reading everyone’s great comments. And the grapefruit and amber is definitely intriguing. Thanks!

  • Suzanne says:

    Completely by accident, I sprayed Chanel Coromandel over Caron Yatagan. Wow, what a happy mistake. The patchouli unites the two beautifully, yet there is just enough airy, ambery, Oriental sweetness in Coromandel to tame Yatagan a bit, yet not ovewhelm its rough-hewn, masculine beauty. The result was so outstanding, just thinking about it makes me want to run upstairs, scrub off what I have on now, and put these two on.

    • Ann says:

      Hi lady, now that’s quite an endorsement! I love Coromandel so much that I don’t know if I could bear to use any of my precious sample spray for layering, but maybe one day whem I’m flush … Thanks for stopping by!

  • sara levy says:

    my favorite layering combinations are:

    SL Fleurs d’Oranger with SL Cuir Mauresque
    L’Artisan Safran Troublant with Les Nereides Opoponax

  • Marsi says:

    My favorite combo is a spritz of SL Fleurs d’Oranger over a nice base of Fumerie Turque. It’s really scruptious!

    • Lisa D says:

      Oh, that does sound scrumptious!

    • Ann says:

      Marsi, I’m not a huge fan of the Oranger (I’d love it except for that darn cumin) but maybe the FT could soften or lessen its impact on me. One chilly day when I’m feeling brave I will try this. Thanks!

  • Musette says:

    My go-to for summer cologne layering is Agraria Bitter Orange over Malle Bigarade Concentree (it’s also great layered over the Atelier Orange Sanguine – cuts that ‘schweeeeeet’ down and makes it less overwhelming.

    But you’ve sparked another thought (my ‘one’ for the day ;)) I’m going to layer Malle’s Carnal Flower over Liz Zorn’s Tobacco and Tulle. If you hear sirens………/:)

    xo >-)

    • Ann says:

      You’re a brave woman, attempting to layer anything with Queen Carnal Flower. I think I’ll let you be our perfume guinea pig on this one, dear. ;)Please do report back and let us know how it goes.

      • Musette says:

        wearing it now. It’s ….interesting. 😕 Actually, it’s lovely! Sort of Tribute Attar Lite (or lite-ish). CF Body Butter as a fixative, with a hit of the Tobacco and Tulle, then a hit of CF scent. It’s actually gorgeous! huh.

        I never thought I would put Tribute Attar and ‘lite’ in the same phrase. 😕

        xo >-)

        • Ann says:

          Wowza! Who’d a thunk it? Thanks for being such a brave little toaster (oops) — tester!!

  • Olfacta says:

    This summer, green tea EO and/or Arden’s green tea fragrance layered with citrus-based colognes like 4711. I also find that Habanita is good layered with lots of things but that’s more for winter. I’ve been experimenting with several skin oils — frangiapani, white patchouli, green tea — as bases for the short-lived citrusy colognes which have been about all I can take the last couple of months!

    • Ann says:

      Hi lady, I hear you! This heat is putting a damper on things for sure. Will have to try your tip about the EOs under the colognes. Anything to make them last a little longer, right?

    • Perfumista8 says:

      I got a bottle of Habanita recently and would love to know what you layer it with. It’s so pretty on it’s own but I imagine it’d be a beautiful base too.

      • Ann says:

        Lucky you! Maybe for the summer, try something bergamot or orange blossom on top to bring those notes out of the Habanita. Let us know!

        • Perfumista8 says:

          Oh yes, those sound lovely. I think first I’ll try the Tom Ford Neroli (?) sample I just got yesterday. I think neroli is orange blossom thru a different extraction process? I’ll let you knowif it’s a hit or miss. Thanks

        • Nick says:

          Oh, Hanabita and Orange blossom. Makes mental note.

  • Sylvia says:

    For a long time now I’ve used The Different Company’s “Un Parfum de Charme et Feuilles” as a day scent, and their “Osmanthus” over it at night. The “Charme et Feuilles” is a refreshing herbal mint and the fragrant osmanthus warms it up.

    At a Basenote group, “Profumo friends club”, there have been experiments with naturals and I personally was struck by how “Honey” (from http://www.profumo.it) deepened and made more lasting commercial fragrances layered over it. I haven’t tried Kouros with it though. :)

    I also casually use my iris dominant scents by haphazardly spritzing them on through the day. Just to amuse myself. No one’s complained yet! (No they’re still alive..)

    • Musette says:

      CyF is one of my favorites but I never thought of layering it. I wonder what it would be like with Malle’s Geranium pour Monsieur? 😕

      xo >-)

      • Ann says:

        Oooh, yet another Charms and Leaves lover. It’s rocketing right to the top of my “to sample” list. That honey sounds positively yummy too.

        • Sylvia says:

          Very yummy. Was given a vial for the experiment, am going to buy a bottle as soon as I can afford to. :x

          Do try the Charms and Leaves, I hope it works for you! I reach for it when I’m not sure what else to wear, and it’s been asked about more than any other scent I’ve used. In a ‘I like that, what is it?’ way! @};-

      • Sylvia says:

        I have both and now I remember why I don’t use ‘Geranium pour Monsieur’.. overwhelming spearmint… very intriguing drydown though. Huge layering failure on me. Oh my head….

  • Nick says:

    Bearing in mind that I am male but do not like to smell like anyone else I am likely to meet, I often wear SJP Covet as base under many other fragrances. I love Covet by itself, but under something like O de Lancome, or a green tea fragrance it it spectacular.

    I have also been looking for a creamy orange blossom frag with deep earthy woody notes, but haven’t found anything that fits the bill. Then I thought about something over the top of Encre Noir and lo and behold Salvatore Ferragamo’s Tuscan Soul is exactly right, and I have been wearing it most of the summer.

    Encre Noir with Habanita is also wonderful. As is Grey Flannel with a small splash of LouLou – violets, woods and something exotic.

    • Musette says:

      Babydoll! I’m coming right over to sit next to YOU! 😡

      xo >-)

      • Ann says:

        Mmmm … me too! Glad you mentioned Covet. It didn’t get a whole lot of love in general from ‘fume hounds, but I was rather fond of it, and the bottle was fun. And I like Tuscan Soul, too, so will have to revisit that.

      • Nick says:

        Oooh I say! Martha, my fan!


    • DinaC says:

      Hmmm, love Grey Flannel, and used to love LouLou, too, so I can mentally “sniff” those together, and it seems like a great combo. I’ll have to give it a try, too. :-)

  • Your Philosykos/Do Son combo sounds interesting. I always thought there was something fig-like in tuberose. And on the “other end” something coconutty.

    I like to layer TBS White Musk for men over a drop of sandalwood oil (the real Mysore stuff, not the Australian). I really adds weight and richness to the otherwise clean fluffiness of the musk.

    I also like to layer leather perfumes like Gomma and Knize Ten with a tiny bit of Musc Ravageur. MR sweetens the roughness of the leather in a lovely way.

    • Ann says:

      I rarely ever get the coconutty aspect of tubereuse :( but that’s skin chemistry for you. I like your idea of the leathers with the Malle; I like Music Ravageur a lot anyway, so will have to try that. Thanks!

  • Madea says:

    Fleur d’Oranger and DSH Medina Musk. It didn’t quite work, but I think there could be some promise there.

    There’s a giant junk-barn near where I live, and I picked up a bottle of Lander’s Golden Gardenia (circa 1950-ish)there for $2.25. It’s a dark, spicy gardenia with the slight hairspray note you get in those old perfumes (top note degeneration? A deliberate touch that doesn’t translate because I’m not used to it?) I normally loathe gardenia, but I figured for $2.25, I could take the risk.

    I accidentially combined it with some of my precious, hoarded Bulgarian rose otto. It’s heaven–the rose has a honeyed, fruity note that plays off the dark gardenia really nicely.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Madea, so glad you stumbled on that gardenia — the combo does sound divine, and a real bargain to boot!