Go big or go home: Powerhouse scents

One recent dreary morning I could hardly drag myself out of bed and get moving. Cold, drizzly, gray, no sun in sight for the whole day: What’s a girl (or guy) to do? So I put on my favorite royal-blue turtleneck, my best red lipstick, poked through my perfume drawers and pulled out a couple of big (for me), powerhouse scents.

On the one hand (wrist), Hermes 24 Faubourg. On the other, I sprayed Givenchy’s Ysatis.

powerhouse ysatisNow as some of you may know, I’m fairly understated with my scents, usually erring on the side of conservative application (I’m more inclined to dab the big guns, rather than spraying). So this was a big step for me, although I see some of you out there rolling your eyes and thinking, “Oh, good grief! What a ‘fraidy-cat she is.” 🙂

Hey, it could have been worse! Dueling sprays of Angel and Youth Dew, anyone? (Apologies to those of you who might feel a headache coming on at the mere thought of this combo.)
I must confess, for a moment there, I did ponder pulling out the Poison as well, but quickly thought better of it. Two’s company, three’s a crowd, especially if the perfumes in question have diva-esque tendencies.

Nevertheless, my spritzing did the trick; it energized me and had me feeling like a beautiful, fragrant force of nature. Who wouldn’t, with all that gorgeous orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose, floriental goodness swirling around you?

That went so well I decided to repeat the experience again. One rainy afternoon at home alone, I was looking through my Serge Lutens stash. I spied and applied two very different powerhouse scents: Tubereuse Criminelle and Ambre Sultan. For the rest of the day I kept getting wonderful wafts of one or the other. It turned out to be a great mood-lifting mix: a bright, energizing blast countered by waves of deep, rich, sultry comfort.

So if you want to pull out all the stops and make a scent statement, what do you apply? What are your powerhouse perfumes, your go-big or go-home scents?

97 Comments
Linda March 11, 2013

Diva for me! Many years ago, used to wear it to work, would you believe. A coworker told me she hated it, and I was mortified. So now I wear it only on weekends. I do still love it so!

mim666 February 26, 2013

Tea for Two has quite an outsize personality when sprayed liberally, and Bulgari Black, DK Black Cashmere, and Montale Patchouli. Ooooh and Jubilation XXV! and Frapin 1270 and MKK. I generally do this only on my own, am mostly a dabber. Many people are sensitive to fragrance around me, had a couple kinda mortifying moments...Will think about combining more too, this was interesting.

Elia February 25, 2013

For me I'll mention one that has a surprisingly huge sillage. Gucci pour Homme II. Distinguishable and well liked.

Persolaise February 25, 2013

Goodness me, I've got too many :-) But if I had to choose 3 right now, off the top of my head, I'd say: Amouage's Tribute attar Malle's Portrait Of A Lady and Chanel's Antaeus What were you saying about 3 being a crowd...?

Jennifer Counts February 25, 2013

I don't have many heavy hitters, but when I want one I go for Bulgari Black or Angel. If I owned bottles, Rossy de Palma and Jub 25 would be right up there too. One really great dueling arms combo came about when I was sampling Rossy de Palma and Musc Tonkin. I had one on each arm, getting alternating whiffs of each, and it was fantastic.

Missyl February 25, 2013

Hey all! Can anyone give me a shout out on what I can layer with La Chasse Aux Pappions with..L'Artisan Perfumer..to make it last longer or be stronger? Love that stuff but Id love to find a 'layer'...

Ramona February 25, 2013

Kenzo Jungle l'Elephant- I bought a 30ml blind based on reviews and I absolutley LOVE it- Big, Beautiful, and Bodacious!

Millions February 25, 2013

While I have a number of powerhouse perfumes, my default power of nature scent is Kenzo Jungle l'Elephant! It really takes no prisoners... (and I love it so much)

Snowshoe February 25, 2013

My "heavy hitters" are, indeed, Angel and Youth Dew. I also like Cinnabar and essential oils like cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, etc. Indigo Wild has heavenly soaps and Auric Blends has great essential oils.

maggiecat February 25, 2013

Thanks - I'd love this scent in a body lotion!

tammy February 25, 2013

My default perfumes are all huge (Part in Manhattan, Jub 25, Joy, Poivre, Opium) but I am a very discreet sprayer, so ya gotta be right up on me to smell them. (I spray with abandon at home, though) I do love rose soliflores and violets, but more and more I slap on the Grand Dames daily, just because. I have never tried Ysatis.....should I? YSL generally work well on me.

Farouche February 25, 2013

I adore Ysatis, and it was my signature for many years. If I'm looking for a powerhouse, I wear Versace Blonde or Krizia's Teatro Alla Scala, but never together!

Sherri February 25, 2013

Just about any Amouage is a powerhouse and guaranteed to get noticed, but my favorites are Beloved and Jubilation 25. I can't imagine them one on each wrist though--it seems someone would get hurt (or worse have their perfume allowance cut off) for sure! :-)

Martha February 25, 2013

My BIG perfume would be Fracas or Rush by Gucci.

arline February 25, 2013

Today I am wearing patchouli oil and amber paste behind my knees and inner elbows, and Chanel Coromandel!!! I like to wear heavy essential oils and resins, strategically with my perfumes. It usually works, because I get a lot of complements. BTW this is my first time commenting, but I love the content of this blog!!!!

FearsMice February 25, 2013

Since I'm afraid of blowing away my scent-averse colleagues, I mostly just dab, and rarely Go Big. However, when I want to enjoy myself and remember my long-ago youth, I bring out my Fidji!

Ann February 25, 2013

Hey, everyone! I have to go out of town for most of the day but I'll be back late this afternoon to chat. Hope you all have a great day!

Diana Ross February 25, 2013

You guys must have smelled me doing this yesterday. Exhausted at the end of the world's longest workweek, I grabbed the Big Gun: Alien. 2 sprays. I smelled fantastic all day even though I felt like a slug LOL Other times I'll do Angel, or Youth Dew Amber Nude... but I never thought of putting them together! Sometimes I'll roll around in the Tom Ford private blend coffret. Tuscan Leather and Amber Absolute are a fave combo.

Jodi February 25, 2013

I give myself a full dose of Chanel No.19 Eau De Parfum - There is something very familiar (yet I can't put my finger on it) about this scent. I bought my first bottle of it when I was 22 and now at 50, I still reach for it :)

chrissyinoz February 25, 2013

Powerhouse for me always means Opium (pre-reformulation of course!!!) Lucky enough to have a few bottles of vintage in my collection & with the hot & humid summer weather we're experiencing here in Australia I find that the clove & carnation are amped to the max on my skin. I've been dabbing rather than spraying (trying to be considerate to those in my vicinity) & it blooms beautifully.

australianperfumejunkies February 25, 2013

Hey Ann, I love wearing more than one and quite often do it while reviewing because it allows me to follow each fragrance better if I have something completely different to compare it to. It also stops me becoming nose blind to the fragrance so quickly. I can imagine you smelled gorgeous. Portia xx

elvie February 25, 2013

I used to be a notorius oversprayer, (blush), though I've learned since my babies were born that this is not always a good thing. I'm more discreet now, but there are days when I need something more... there. I turn to Angel, Garofano, Ambre Russe those days, but at home at night, when the kiddles are asleep and only my hubby's (often ignorant) nose to offend, I sometimes dare to apply two sprays of YD Amber Nude, Nasomatto Black Afgano, or even Black Aoud. On most days though, I'm too intimidated (Ha! Given my past of wafting clouds of Samsara or Angel... ?) to apply those heavy hitters. I don't know, maybe it's penance for my hideous perfume past:D...? Great article again! Have a nice day, e.

shaney February 25, 2013

Bulgari Black, Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Ormonde Woman, and Tom Ford Bois Morocain are all my favorite stronger scents! [though I'm also not averse to wearing them to bed!]

ScentofaMan February 25, 2013

Mitsouko and Habanita

Lisa D February 25, 2013

Ambre Narguile, Bois de Paradis, Kenzo Amour Le Parfum, Amouage Memoire Woman, and Vero Profumo Onda. All go big, and then maybe get SENT home perfumes. Lovely, but dabbers only for me; I'm skeered of spraying them more than once!

Jackie b February 25, 2013

I love the idea of having a different fragrance on each wrist, you'd never get sick of smelling yourself. Jubilation 25 is my biggest hitter...but what on earth would you wear with it. Nup, can't imagine... And I also have Profumum Alba, but like it dabbed only, it will last a Long Time!

nozknoz February 25, 2013

I also like wearing different complementary scents on my wrists. It doesn't always work but it's so much fun for the nose and brain when it does! Not a powerhouse in the 80s way, but sometime on the weekend during the day I find a great vetiver especially stimulating and refreshing. Today was sunny after a slew of dreary days, and I went to the Roads of Arabia exhibit and wore Turtle Vetiver Back. The exhibit is about archeological finds along the ancient incense and pilgrimage routes through Saudi Arabia and the incensey side of bracing vetiver was just perfect.

spiker February 25, 2013

I'm a little tentative with my perfumes - never more than one spray and I tend to save Hypnotic Poison (my guilty pleasure) for when I'm going to be home cuddled up with that yummy toastiness. Still you've inspired me. This week requires a little fierceness and I'll go loud or at least increase the number of dabs and keep it interesting (2nd Cumming, perhaps?)

Rina February 25, 2013

Good thing you passed on adding Poison! It would have kicked ass and taken names. Which is why it's my Go To when I need to do the same!

Tiara February 25, 2013

The thought of Angel AND Youth Dew together....seems like something would blow up if they met. My biggest scent that I wear often is Songes with Angel as a rare pinch-hitter. Angel smells gorgeous on me but it just commands too much of my attention.

rosarita February 25, 2013

Hi, Ann! I love the smell of Ysatis; it was the signature scent of a good friend for many years. I like the thought of being a beautiful, fragrant force of nature. My current go big scents are Donna Karen Gold edp and, always, Shalimar.

eldarwen22 February 25, 2013

One of my guilty pleasures is CK's Obsession. Just the tiniest bit goes a very long way. Some days Patou's Joy can be pretty loud with the indolic jasmine (does pack a punch when humid too). After the Arabie/Sarrasins/MKK layering, I haven't even attempted to layer anything since. All of my Amouages and Mitsouko refuse to be layered with anything else, they are good enough on their own.

Angelique February 25, 2013

I just got my sample of Kiehl's Original Musk Oil 160th Anniversary Blend from you... it's a strong scent that is Laying it *HOT.* I'll need an escort to wear it out. *Laugh* Love it.

maggiecat February 25, 2013

Ormonde Jayne Woman is my go-to need to be strong scent. It energizes me and boosts my confidance.

linda February 25, 2013

i'll boldly wear jean patou's sublime, sprayed once only! the rest i dab on, probably no matter what. i love 24 faubourg and can sneak that one by at work, even (dabbed, not sprayed)