How To Create Your Signature Scent

Leighton Denny MBE give her expert advice…

Fragrance Cocktailing

Have you ever wanted more depth, more freshness, more edge or even more playfulness in your perfume? Fragrance cocktailing allows you to create a totally individual, new, long-lasting scent, because who wouldn’t want a never-ending wardrobe of scents that is totally bespoke to themselves? Just as two nail colours can blend to create a third so can two perfumes, and this is the concept of my fragrance cocktailing. I perfected the art of fragrance cocktailing whilst creating my LIGHT & DARK collection but once you get the hang of it, it’s so simple – you don’t have to be a trained mixologist to master it, just a few insider tips and you’ll be blending scents seamlessly.


It’s so important to get the order right!  Imagine baking a cake – sponge, then flavour, then icing.  This is key and fragrance cocktailing works in a similar way – each layer of your cocktail should be ‘lighter’ than the last. Think about it: If you reversed them, all you’d smell is the strongest note because that would be on top.

Know Your Notes

For beginners I would suggest starting with a deeper, richer scent like a woody musk as your base, then layering a soft floral or a fresh citrus scent on top. If you’re unsure of where your fragrance fits into then use this as a guide:

Woody: Musk, Amber, Sandalwood

Oriental: Pepper, Incense, Cardamom

Floral: Rose, Jasmine, Gardenia

Fresh: Lime, Grapefruit

Fruity: Watermelon, Apple, Cherry

One perfect combination is my LIGHT & DARK Original (£43.50/70ml) blended with my LIGHT & DARK Delightful (£43.50/70ml).  The red fruits and subtly sweet vanilla of Delightful irresistibly and seamlessly mixes with the sensuous amber of Original, locking the scent in for an all day, perfectly sexy and feminine fragrance with just a hint of mystery.


If it’s your first attempt, I’d advise using scent strips or tissues – spray ONE fragrance on each strip or tissue and label it (it is so easy to lose track!) then pull them together in different groupings until you find your eureka moment.  This will save a LOT of trial and error and messing around – trust me!  Then once you’re ready to commit – apply the stronger scent to skin first and immediately mist the second fragrance over it as a little residual wetness allows the two scents to fuse.  If you have a combination that you love, then you can start bring in a third scent if you want.

Have fun!

Fragrance cocktailing is really only limited by your imagination as fragrance is so personal. My LIGHT & DARK Discovery Collection (£38) is perfect to get you cocktailing for the first time. It contains each of my four fragrances in a 5ml, purse spray so you can play around with different combinations that work with your body to create your own signature scent.

Leighton Denny LIGHT & DARK fragrances are available from


Audrey Patterson

Having started my career at My Weekly on Real Life stories, for the past 8 years I have been Beauty and Fashion Editor. I also write Travel and Homes features, plus the odd book review. We’re a flexible team! I also write features for Your Best Ever Christmas covering a variety of topics.