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Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Once in a while, when I suffer from a blogger's block, I turn to Mr Colombina for post ideas. Yesterday he asked me an interesting question: do the scents that a couple wears have to be coordinated, and if so, which feminine fragrances would go best with which masculine fragrances, and would I list some of my most favorite men's scents and pair them with their ideal feminine counterparts. I firmly believe that everyone should wear what they like (and what the other partner doesn't actively dislike) and only be concerned about the amount of scent they put on (so as to not overpower the perfume the other person wears...I for one resent it tremendously, when, going out and having put on the rarest and the most expensive of parfums, I am then unable smell to it, because my nose is simply stuffed with the fumes of my partner's cologne of choice)...But I thought it was a fun exercise.

So here is the list of my favorite masculine perfumes, coupled with the scents that I think "go" with them the most. No thorough analysis was put into this, I went with my first instinct, which, looking at it now, was to complement what I feel are the main notes in masculine scents with similar notes in feminine scents. And thus we have:

1. Dior Fahrenheit for him - L'Artisan Dzing for her
2. Chanel Egoiste for him - Chanel Bois des Iles for her
3. Dior Eau Noire for him - Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande or Montale Boise Vanille for her
4. Annick Goutal Duel for him - Bond No 9 West Broadway for her
5. Caron Yatagan for him - Guerlain Jicky for her
6. Dior Eau Sauvage for him - Diorella or Diorama for her
7. D'Orsay Le Dandy for him - Lubin Idole for her
8. Geoffrey Beene Gray Flannel for him - Caron Violette Precieuse (old version) for her
9. Guerlain Derby for him - Miss Dior for her
10. Knize 10 for him - Caron Tabac Blond for her
11. Terre d'Hermes for him - L'Artisan Dzongkha for her
12. Gucci Homme for him - Caron Parfum Sacre for her
13. Dior Homme for him - Prada Infusion d'Iris for her
14. Czech & Speake No 88 for him - Gucci L'Arte di Gucci for her
15. Amouage Jubilation XXV for him - Montale Golden Aoud for her

There is a practically limitless amount of ways in which one could go about coupling scents. (You could, of course, take a shortcut and wear the ready made his-and-hers scents offered by companies, but that is kind of boring.) For example, instead of matching the main notes, as I did, you could choose to complement the less prominent accords: the powdery floralcy of Fahrenheit would go wonderfully well with a soft violet scent, say, LesNez The Unicorn Spell, and an iris fragrance like Iris Silver Mist would highlight the delicate orris in Duel. Contrasting scents might work just as well and perhaps be even more fun than the matchy-matchy approach. Imagine the rich darkness of Knize 10 next to the dazzling whiteness of Lys Mediterranee! Or the resolutely non-floral Yatagan next to the exuberant tuberose of Carnal Flower! The smoldering Gucci Homme next to the ethereal Clair de Musc. (Again, I can't stress it enough, please, be mindful of the amount you apply!)

By the way, nothing should prevent you from reversing the list! Let him wear your Miss Dior and wear his Derby. Fahrenheit is perfectly wearable for a woman, and a man can easily pull off wearing Diorama. And this brings me to Mr Colombina's second question: can women and men share perfume? My answer is a resounding Yes! I think there is nothing sexier than sharing a scent with someone you love. My favorite perfumes to share: all listed above, plus Chanel Coromandel, Bond No 9 Silver Factory, Montale Black Oud, Histoire de Parfums Marcquis de Sade, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir...

I was also asked whether I think that some scents should never be worn together. I honestly can't think of an example of completely clashing fragrances. Pink Sugar and Cool Water? Or is it just my dislike for the scents talking here? If you love each other, perfumes you wear will always seem perfectly matching and ideally suited. Just please don't over-apply.

So what are your ideas on the coupling of scents? Do you match your perfume to that of your partner? What are your favorite combinations?


Blogger elle said...

What a brilliant post! DH obstinately refuses to wear any scent (except for when I'm using him as a skin chemistry guinea pig), so I'm thinking that your list sounds absolutely ideal for left hand/right hand choices. In the wonderfully bizarre respite from winter we're having w/ mid-70 degree temps, I'm thinking I may actually go w/ something equally unusual like the Yatagan and Carnal Flower.

9:51 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am glad you liked!
I am obsessed with Coromandel lately. I don't know what's up with that. just can't get enough of it.

10:02 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

elle, that's funny, i was just thinking the same thing about trying these combos left hand/right hand! though i don't have a dh to put any scent on, so i couldn't do it anyway, unless i put some perfume on my cats ...

hey now, there's an idea! here, kitty, kitty ... ^_^

anyway, wonderful list, marina, thanks! (i just love lists!)

-- erin

10:52 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas, I have yet to find a man who likes to wear scent - my dream is to find one who wants to wear what I like and does not care much what it may be, LOL!

I love your pairings and I have no better suggestions. However, I do have a DON'T for you - Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue (her) and Drakkar Noir (him) - the combination would be as deadly as a nerve gas attack, and possibly less pleasant. ;-)

1:17 AM EST  
Blogger Gail S said...

This is with my daughter, not a significant other, but I have a couple of observations :) both of which were surprising to me.

The lovely and simple Violetta di Parma does not play nice with anything. My child loves this but if I'm wearing anything at all, it smells positively sour.

Even stranger, Chinatown smells great with everything. I don't know how such a bold, loud scent blends so beautifully with other perfumes, but it does. Smells great with strong-smelling ethnic foods too.

1:41 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Love it! This is too obvious, but DH and I like to wear the Montale Aouds, Cuir d'Arabie and Rose Petals. Coromandel, huh? No longer smells like Prada? I need to try it again (and I do have some. . . somewhere).

7:19 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina -

...but how do you feel about over-applying?

Cute post, dearest. Interesting enough, the list only has one or two that I wouldn't wear myself making it also the perfect list for *ahem* same-sex couples. YAY!

I'll willing wear the floral if I have to. Takin' one for the team...

I really need to smell this Amouage Jubilation. And while Im on the subject, will the person who keeps making me raise my bid on eBay please stop? Thank you. Here I am all ready to buy it unsniffed - something I never do - and somebody wants to put me through hell. At any rate - they can have it. Im past my limit on it already. It was fun while it lasted, though.

Thanks again, dear one.

8:27 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating post! Like Elle, I love your suggestion of the very austere Yatagan paired with the oh-so-lush and dazzling Carnal Flower.

So glad to hear a blogger finally giving some love to Coromandel. I think its such a gorgeous combination of balsamy frankincense and dry patchouli and could never understand why it seemed to generate the least amount of love among the exclusifs. Maybe it has to do with the season in which it was released?

9:11 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

What larks! Thanks Marina. I particularly like the Dior, Knize Ten/Tabac Blond combos and am now lemming that Czech and Speake (since I love L'AdG). I suppose that is one advantage of the single state - no perfume wars!

9:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well then you could layer to your hearts' content, and no one would make comments like: what is this strange smell? is something burning here? :-)

10:14 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

In my humble experience, if they are willing to wear scent at all (if they are not, there is nothing you can do, sadly), you can usually eventually make them wear anything you want by means of flattery and bribery :-)

10:15 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

How interesting with Violetta di Parma. Who would have thought!
Even more interesting with Chinatown. Really, who would have thought!

10:16 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Mr Lily wears Roses Petals? Respect!

Coromandel didn't smell of Prada as much as of Obsession, which is infinitely worse. It doesn't anymore. We are in love. :-)

10:17 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I thought of that. My first instinct was to think that a same-sex couple would have it so easy! Just borrow, steal and share each other's scents. Idyll! But then I thought, wait a minute! What if one loves Drakkar Noir and another loves, oh, I don't know, a softie scent like the new Gucci. The former will have to give up Drakkar Noir, because that is one scent that is impossible to apply lightly, in my sad, sad experience :-)

10:20 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

PS. I hope you do win Jubilation!

10:21 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I actually think a lot of people loved Coromandel. I know that Ina of Aromascope used to. Cormandel and I went through a complicated period of love-hate relationship. But we made it. Now it is forever :-)

10:22 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I can think of many advantages :-) Including that one :-)

10:23 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M -

Soo true, but then you try and find a respectable gay man who wears Drakkar in public...

I suppose it actually could go either way, really. Id imagine you're more likely to find a gay couple who both prefer masculine scents rather than a couple where one prefers overly masculine and the other is either on the border or likes florals. I happen to like it all, but Ive always been aware that I was different...

If they both like uber-mascs - then thats high-risk clash territory. Its, dare I say - Clashtastic!

Oh, I've given up on Jubilation. They can have it. I got disgusted.
I always hear of these people getting these amazing finds on eBay. Shalimar parfum for pennies or something uber-rare for a few bucks. I try to be positive and think "One day Mark, that will be you. You, too, will strike it eBay rich." But it has yet to happen.


10:43 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It will happen. Just keep watching and sniping :-)
I love the term Clashtastic!

10:56 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Post Marina

What would you think of Men and Women wearing their respective leathery or woody chypres? Or vice versa?


12:23 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think any sorts of chypres go very well together. From personal experience, Paloma Picasso, worn next to Quorum, smells divine. :-)

12:28 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Great post, M! My dh wears one scent: Guerlain Vetiver (he would wear 2, but I've hidden the Vetiver Tonka) and luckily, nearly anything goes with that, and I can wear it myself for that matter.

1:53 PM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

I love this post! Complimenting scents is something I surreptitiously do if I'm dressing after the partner...

If he is wearing Pi, I have free reign to wear spicy or floral scents. Its warm ambery vanilla glow provides a brilliant backdrop for "ooh me me me" scents. It's wonderful with Monyette Paris, in fact.

If he's wearing Mark Birley, I can go green -- Tea scents or mimosa. The bitter patchouli greenness of Birley is nice with them.

Profumum Fiori d'Ambra is his soft skin scent. I like it with softness of my own -- Lostmarch Lann-Ael, Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille, and so forth. Or on the complete flip side, with dramatic little Mitsouko!

His favorite these days is Ambre Narguille. It's got enough force of personality that I've only got two strategies... something cushy and vanilla based, or something totally over the top like Dinner by Bobo or Jubiliation XXV (men).

2:03 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Why did you hide it? Saving it for yourself? :-)

2:04 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I love your partner's taste in perfume, wow, wow, wow! Love yours too and your pairings, of course.

2:05 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I love this post! It's so much fun to watch your mind at work, Ms. Columbina...

I think Knize Ten might get along with Carnal flower as well -- or how about Gardenia Passion? That sounds a little like your HG mod. How's that project coming along, BTW? Just loving the whole idea of dark and strong with white and dazzling.

My DH doesn't wear scents, but he is perfume-curious :-). We went to the L'Artisan boutique together on our last trip to NYC and the charming SA loaded him up with samples. He never touches them, but every now and then he asks me, with great concern, whether or not I still have them...

2:24 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That totally sounds like my HG. leather and gardenias, ah! I MUST, must write a review of the last two mods in the next couple of days.

I love the term perfume-curious :-)

Which L'A boutique was that?

2:32 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post, but it was the Cormandel comment that caught my eye... I too have been loving it lately. Was a little concerned some considered it a gourmand at first and I didn't think I liked those... guess I'm still learning.

3:48 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Anonymous,
If it is gourmand, then it is the most abstract and vague way possible, I think.

3:49 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

BRILLIANT idea for a post!

Seriously, why don't you get a 'unisex' fragrance that YOU like ... we'll both wear it and see what happens!

Your 'DH'
Mr. Colombina

4:01 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear DH,

Brilliant idea brilliantly brought to life :-)

I have all of the scents I mentioned, silly. You are welcome to share most them. :-) (Not only that but you have worn them many a time in the past :-))

4:03 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I love this idea!

Certainly if I em ever coupled again I hope that he will allow me to tell him what (and what not- anything in a bell jar) he can wear...

4:20 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Ah, you wouldn't share your MKK with the one you love?

Nor would I. :-)

4:21 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

after reading gail s' comment that everything goes with chinatown, i realized that i had put chinatown on one wrist earlier today - and right now, i am trying lutens' rose de nuit for the first time on the other wrist. so i put both wrists together and inhaled deeply, and omg it's great!

i'm single at the moment, but the next man i grab, i'm going to douse him in rose de nuit (wait, sorry marina, i mean i'm going to lightly apply it :-) ) because i think it would smell HOT on a man! and i'll be sure to wear chinatown!

-- erin

5:54 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Grab and douse, I love that :-) Rose de Nuit deserves to be applied generously, as it is so gorgeous. :-)

6:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M -- it was the one over by the the Met, on 84th maybe? My NYC geography is fuzzy. It was last February, so I know it wasn't you -- :-). And, her accent was French, not Russian... She was petite, with lots of curly blond hair. Very charming!

6:41 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yep, 82-83rd, that's "us", and I know exactly who it was, very charming indeed. :-)

6:51 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Yes, saving it for myself! I am evil!

10:38 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this post and if my brain was in gear, I'd offer some homme et homme suggestions - had to stop by to say. Been unwell, and that stops me commenting here, and there, and everywhere else.

4:14 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I would have done the same :-)

6:46 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Lee, I am so sorry, please feel better soon!!

6:47 AM EST  
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2:31 AM EDT  

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