You’ve probably read some threads on sites like Basenotes.net or Fragrantica.com which feature someone asking what inexpensive scent smells like a really expensive one. Aside from ones that seem to be an “homage,” to put it nicely (such as Lomani’s AB Spirit Silver and Aventus), there is also the possibility of layering scents to create a similar effect. It all depends upon what you are seeking, and unfortunately I don’t think many people really know! For example, some seem to want a top notes experience that lasts up to perhaps half an hour, and then the base could be quite generic and they wouldn’t even realize it. In other cases the person is seeking a specific kind of “vibe,” that term indicating that it’s a vague perception for them.
It is the latter kind of quest I’ll be addressing here, because I’m not that interested in top notes and don’t think I can do justice to that experience for “top notes people.” I’ll address two examples of possible attempts to replicate a “vibe” that expensive scents generate, one being Memoir Man by Amouage and the other being Black Afgano. I have sampled MM, and it struck me as being similar to Burberry’s Brit for Men, but it’s not quite the same, note-wise. So, for those who want an absinthe type note, which Brit doesn’t possess, I would try layering it with one of the Lolita Lempicka “masculine” scents or Smalto (1998). The “trick” seems to be to use the right amount of the two (or more scents) you are layering, and the best way to do that might be to decant them into dab vials and apply tiny dabs until you get the right “vibe.” Where you dab also matters – what I’ve found is that you want to dab the stronger scent below the weaker, if you do this to your chest and abdominal areas.
In the case of Black Afgano, I’ve only read reviews, but perceptions seem to be rather diverse with this one. If you’ve already got some Kouros, you can dilute that (if it’s vintage) and decant it, then I’d try decanting some Axis Oud as well. You can then use tiny dabs until you get the effect you are seeking. Now there may be a note in BA that doesn’t exist in any of the scents you already possess and can layer, but again, this is about a “vibe,” which means the loss of a note is not crucial. Of course this idea is much less useful to someone who owns very few scents, and in those cases I recommend buying some samples of what you think might interest you, to get a sense of the variety that exists (especially if you are “newbie”).
If nothing else, layering is an interesting experience. What I like to do once in a while, in this context, is to start the day with one scent and than apply another if I am getting bored and I think the other scent will enhance the first. Today, there are so many niche scents released each year and so much hype that unless you are wealthy this “hobby” might cause problems, perhaps even resulting in a divorce! I’ve certainly known of divorces that seemed to be about less than someone spending thousands a year on fragrances, that’s for sure! All it takes is a little thinking – ask yourself why you want a scent. For example, let’s say there’s a new and expensive “oud scent” that has strong spice and incense elements. Try layering something like Witness by Bogart or Jacomo de Jacomo with Jovan’s Intense Oud. If you want the oud quality to be mild, dab it below where you applied Witness. This isn’t that complicated! And you get to use what you already have while saving hundreds of dollars on just one bottle.