Perfume Partnerships

Rogers and Astaire

Rogers and Astaire

Not the cute pairings of masculines with feminines worn by couples.  What I mean by perfume couples, are scents in your wardrobe which you know will form a stable partnership with at least one other perfume you own. Maybe that might strike some people as odd, but I have done this for years.

Bear with me.  Fond as I am of the fragrance wardrobe concept, I tend to change it seasonally or even monthly, and usually in this way, morning or daytime scent with evening or afternoon one. If you use two perfumes from the same house it’s often easier to pull off since they frequently share a base. Right now I’ve done this with Le Temps d’un Fete and Vanille Tonka from de Nicolai. They play off one another extremely well and can be worn for a month or so at a time. You feel like you have choice but also harmony and some familiarity. Try this with any maker, from DS and Durga to Estee Lauder, the only common point being a house signature.Since the idea is not layering per se here(although you can try that) but to wear both in the same day with one perfume giving out as the other takes over and the overlap smelling wonderful.

One slightly simple perfume will compliment a more sophisticated one

One slightly simple perfume will compliment a more sophisticated one

Sometimes I use a particular theme for the month. Often in June it’s something floral, or I may do a month of roses, then again, I may opt for fruit: Nahema with Keiko Mecheri’s Peau de Peche or possibly Mitsouko, perfumes that contain that same peachy note.  This strategy works particularly well if your morning perfume is less complex than your afternoon one.  In this way you can combine violets and roses, like Rose de Rosine, or Vecchi Rossetti, or Lipstick Rose with a straight violet or rose soliflore.  You’re simply putting together like with like.  It’s not challenging though it is fun. This is very like pattern matching in the same colors.

More fun though is finding perfumes that are completely different, but  that compliment one another.  One of my first such pairings was L’Origan  with Gathering Apples .  You would not believe how well these two play off one another.  One was an old and cheap perfume but together they made a wonderful combination either layered or sequentially.

The castles dancing: elegant cooperation is what you're looking for...

The castles dancing: elegant cooperation is what you’re looking for…

Sometimes you can assume that certain scent varieties will just go together routinely, meaning you don’t have to think about it much.  Such is the case with fruity florals and greens.  Truly, I mean it. Just go rifling about in your samples and you’ll find that most of those simply harmonize.  The same odd fact holds true for Orientals and florals ( I mean straight florals here rather than fruities or aldehydic florals).  If you put say SL’s Arabie together with Antonia’s Flowers the result will be very pretty. You can also do well, surprisingly, with floral orientals and orientals, although your results will be heavier.

This is one way to maintain variety  in your perfume collection but also to have peace in the perfume cabinet.  The things that don’t go together are relegated to another season when they do suit their partners.

Other Good Pairs:

Bois d’Armenie and Une Ville un Parfum Tokyo

Guerlain Vetiver with Plus Que Jamais or Jardins de Bagatelle

Cuir de  Lancome ( or any simple leather) with Penhaligon’s Lily and Spice or DK Gold

PdN’s Number One with L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Mure et Musc ( to emphasize the black currant note)

L’Aimant with Mirra or any myrrh perfume (I Profumi di Firenze)

Caron Poivre with Parfum Sacre

Arpege with a mild Vanilla (such as Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ Vanille)

Il Tuo Tulipano or J’Adore or Liaisons Dangereuses with almost any green but try Le Temps d’un Fete

Fleurs d’Oranger or any orange blossom cologne with Tabac Blond

Musc Tonkin or any animalic with Teo Cababanel’s Lace Garden or other relatively clean jasmine

What harmonies do you come up with?  Please share.

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6 thoughts on “Perfume Partnerships

  1. Mmmmm some really nice pairings, especially the Vetiver JdB combo sounded very inspiring.
    I do pairings as well, but tend to forget which ones, so I can’t really give an example, but in the same vein: if I really crave a certain scent, but it’s either a bit too heavy or mild for the day, I boost it with whatever seems like a good idea.
    Or perfumes that I like, but don’t really find ‘me’ enough, I add a perfume to, which I feel more comfortable in.
    I prefer to not layer though, and instead to spray on different parts, décolleté and arms for example.

    • Spraying on something that is a bit more you sounds like an excellent idea. There are so many wonderful perfumes out there which don’t suit me (De Profundis for instance) and maybe adding something else would help.

      The different parts of the body idea is one I try but do badly, since I generally spritz my feet. Vetiver on the socks for instance? Well, at least my sneakers smell good. I think your plan is a better one!

      • Oh with D. Pro as I like to call it :-) there are many things you could do, but I imagine that oomphing the floral side might work for you?
        I was always flabbergasted that anyone spritzing behind their knees would even be able to smell a thing, but feet? Wow, you must have a very accute sense of smell.

        • Or… I have a very powerful bottle of Guerlain Vetiver that you can smell clear across a room. This is the only thing I spray on my feet. Also use it to deter moths in the storage closet and it works!!

  2. While it was an interesting read, I’m not going to follow your steps: I’m not big on layering/mixing perfumes just for fun and I almost never need to wear two different perfumes throughout the day (unless ocean is involved but there the rules are different). On those rare occasions when I planned to wear two different perfumes, I usually opt for a light first one (e.g. Jo Malone) or indeed perfume from the same brand but lighter than the second one.

    • I used to never do this myself, but when the perfume bug really bit me some (gah how many years ago?!?) anyway, I would do this dual system. On busy days or headache days I don’t.

      Jo Malone encourages layering don’t they? Using one of them as a possible morning perfume sounds like a plan.

      Actually, I’m probably in the minority here as most perfumistas love the formulas they’ve chosen and don’t like to muddle them. But I noticed that Jean Claude Ellena suggested a lot of combinations in French Elle and so tried it. This technique can update some vintage perfumes nicely 😉

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