Use your intuition and layer your scents

Use your intuition and layer your scents

By Deborah Fulsang

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and just aren’t sure what to spritz. You want something different but can’t make up your mind. On a long grey winter day, you crave change, newness, something that shakes things up a bit.

On that note, one recent morning I got to mixing. I had not long before picked up a bottle of Hermès’ Bel Ami (designed by in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena) at a pit shop at Charles de Gaulle airport after jetting over for a fragrance event to The City of Light. I had been wanting to smell the classic masculine toilette for awhile, knowing it was favoured by various women I know who tend to wear as many men’s as women’s fragrances.

It’s bold stuff: cardamom and leather, amber and patchouli. Heady and lush, but maybe more man-in-the-den-sipping-scotch than I was after. But I did love its warmth and its unique spicy stance.

I got to thinking. I had been sniffing YSL Paris lately too and although I appreciated its rosiness—sweet, green and lush—it was a little too femme for me. I wanted to like it more but…

So why not a spritz of Bel Ami followed by YSL Paris? Jean-Claude meet Yves, circa 1986. The meld served a great tomboyish solution to suit my taste.

“Hmmm, what are you wearing,” a perfume-loving colleague said upon a kiss-kiss greeting a few evenings later.

The sentiment was repeated at various events since. “You always smell so good.”

The moral to the story: Don’t be afraid to mix it up. If you’ve tired of one toilette but still bear affection for it, why not layer on another favoured fragrance and see it reborn?

With apologies to Hermès and Saint Laurent, the whole might indeed prove to be greater than the sum of its perfume parts.

YSL Paris EDT, $90 (75 ml),; and Hermes Bel Ami EDT, $138 (100 ml), 

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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.