Why Add Whisky to Cologne? (Quick Guide)

Ethyl alcohol is one of the primary ingredients used in personal fragrances. It acts as a base that helps all of the other ingredients to blend together. So why add whiskey to cologne?

Well, it’s more than a trend. An increasing number of brands add whisky to their colognes and perfumes in order to enhance the scent profile. But this has actually been a practice that many men have engaged in for ages due to the added benefits of increased scent projection and longevity.

Keep reading to learn more about this interesting addition to your cologne. I’ll also include guidelines on how to add whiskey to your cologne bottles.

Why Add Whisky to Cologne

Reasons to Add Whiskey to Your Cologne

Whiskey is a grain alcohol that can be made from rye, corn, wheat, or barley. There are different grain varieties and whiskey is often distilled more than once.

And then the aging process often occurs inside a wooden barrel. American whiskey has to be aged within a charred oak barrel, as does rye whiskey. Corn whiskey isn’t always aged. The amount of time it takes for each whisky barrel to mature depends.

Unlike other distilled spirits, there’s variance in how whiskey is made. Because of this, its color and aroma differs by brand and region.

How Will Adding Whiskey Make Your Cologne Smell?

As whiskey is fermented, distilled, and aged, its aroma evolves. And it’s the aroma that motivates individuals and companies to add whiskey to cologne.

For instance, a barley grain whiskey will have a malty aroma. If it’s aged in a charred oak barrel, additional fragrance notes can include smoke and woodiness.

Some whiskeys have sweet fragrance notes like vanilla or honey. Others can smell like mint, pepper, or berries.

So some have a deep, woodsy aroma while others add fresher, lighter, and/or sweeter notes, and then there’s a spectrum of scents in between.

The kind of whiskey you add to your cologne will determine how your cologne smells.

I would suggest for you not to randomly select a whisky to add to your cologne. It would be best for you to add one that you’ve experienced.

Even if you prefer not to drink it, pouring some into a glass, giving it a swirl, and then inhaling its aroma can help you determine whether or not it’s a scent that might enhance the smell of the cologne that you use.

For example, if your cologne is already woody then you might add in a whisky that smells like vanilla. But adding whisky with a sweet vanilla aroma to an already sweet-smelling cologne or parfum may not enhance that scent. You’ll have to try it and see.

There’s no way to know exactly how adding whiskey to your cologne will smell because there are so many different colognes out there and differences amongst whiskey brands. So, you’ll have to experiment to determine what might work best for you.

Will the Change be Drastic?

I hope that the uncertainty won’t cause you to shy away from adding whisky to your cologne.
Although you will have to test how a small amount of your cologne will smell with your whisky, know that in most cases, whatever shifts there are to the aroma, they will be subtle.

You don’t have to worry about your cologne smelling drastically different because the whiskey will simply add nuance.

The scent might mellow out a bit or become more intense. It really depends on the scent you begin with and the type and amount of whiskey that’s been added to your cologne.

Additional Benefits to Adding Whiskey to Cologne

Colognes can have decent projection but don’t last as long on the skin as a parfum. Adding whisky to your cologne can help the fragrance to last longer without reapplication.

Conversely, if you’re wearing a parfum for men, then you know that longevity is not an issue. Higher concentrations of fragrance oils cause the scent to last longer. But parfum doesn’t always project as well as cologne. In this case, adding whisky can fix that problem.

So in addition to a unique fragrance experience, whiskey can extend the longevity of your cologne or add to its projection.

Preparing to Add Whiskey to Your Cologne

Now that we’ve shared all the reasons why you might want to add whiskey to your cologne, you may wonder how you can go about doing it.

First, I would suggest testing concentrations. I’m sure you can think of different ways to do this.

One method would be to pour whiskey into a small clean spray bottle. Spritz a facial tissue with the whiskey, and then your cologne as well. If you don’t have a spray bottle for the whiskey, consider using a dropper to soak a few drops into the tissue.

Do this in different concentrations. You might use multiple tissues. Place one spritz of the whiskey on each tissue and then decide how many sprays of the cologne to add. One , three, five, and so forth. Be sure to label the tissue in order to determine which one you like the best.

Another option would be to measure and pour whiskey into a glass container, and then spray cologne into that container. Give it a swirl and then inhale. You may want to create a paper coaster and label each glass with the amounts used.

However you conduct a fragrance test, I would suggest getting a sense of how the fragrances will combine before moving on to the next step.

Also, you may need to transfer some of the liquid in your cologne bottle to a different container in order to make room for the whiskey. This is an opportunity to use one of those travel-size atomizers.

4 Steps to Adding Whiskey to Your Cologne

After testing different concentrations, and then removing some of the liquid from your cologne bottle, you can follow these steps to add whiskey to your cologne.

  1. Carefully remove your cologne cap, and then place the bottle on a flat surface.
  2. If necessary, use a syringe to remove some of the liquid from your existing bottle, and then transfer it into a smaller atomizer or a secondary cologne bottle. This syringe has a blunt tip, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally sticking yourself with the needle.
  3. Use a kit like this one to extract whiskey from the bottle, and then add it to your cologne bottle. The amount will depend on you, but you can start with one-fourth, or half of a syringe, and then increase the amount as desired after testing the scent.
  4. Replace and secure the cap, slowly turn the bottle from side to side to blend in the whiskey, and then spray on your cologne as usual.

As you can see it’s really simple to add whiskey to your cologne. Discovering the amount to add is more of a challenge.

Alternative Choice: Colognes Made with Whiskey

If you’re not keen on going through the testing and process of adding whiskey to your cologne, an alternative option would be to purchase cologne that already has whiskey in it or is made within the same sentiment. I found a few that you might like.

Whiskey Eau de Parfum Spray by Commodity

This is a unisex fragrance with a woody main accord. Top notes are syrupy black currant, rich plum, and violet. In the middle are wormwood, lavender, patchouli, and saffron. Mahogany, cedar, oak, ambergris, vetiver, and vanilla are the base notes. This one doesn’t have whiskey in it, but it’s reminiscent of a rich, well-aged whiskey.

Whiskey Reserve Cologne Spray by Bath & Body Works

Bath & Body Works Whiskey Reserve Men's Fragrance 3.4 Ounces Cologne Spray (Whiskey Reserve), 1
  • Bath and Body Works (Packaging May Vary) Whiskey Reserve Men's Fragrance 3.4 Ounces Cologne Spray
  • FRAGRANCE: crisp apple, single malt whiskey and white oak
  • OVERVIEW: Our master perfumers created a unique blend of the finest ingredients for a long-lasting fragrance experience in this concentrated cologne for men

Sweet, with fruity and aged oakwood notes – it’s clean and neat. It has the longevity that results from adding whisky to cologne.

Paco Rabanne Invictus Intense Cologne Spray

Paco Rabanne Invictus Intense Fragrance For Men - Spicy, Woody And Fresh Scent - Stands For Power, Victory And Pride - Notes Of Orange Blossom And Amber - Perfect For The Outdoors - Edt Spray - 1.7 Oz
  • EMBODY THE INVINCIBLE. This scent appears with notes of orange blossom and black pepper, easing into notes of whiskey and laurels, and drying to an earthy finish of ambergris, salt, and amber
  • ENERGIZE YOUR DAILY LIFE. Inspired by the freshness and rawness of the sea breeze, the powerful, earthy scent of Invictus Intense gives you the power to conquer the day.
  • PACKAGING FIT FOR WINNERS. A design as powerful and invincible as the owner himself, Invictus Intense arrives in a glass, trophy-inspired bottle.
  • INTENSE, LONG-LASTING SCENT. Excite and enthrall your senses with a powerful, addictive fragrance that emanates all day
  • ALWAYS CLASSIC, YET NEVER DULL. Since 1966, Francisco "Paco" Rabanne has innovated fashion and fragrance. Known for a love of the unconventional, the storied fashion House infuses classic, timeless fragrance notes with unique and delicious twists.

For a spicier, earthier take, you might like Invictus Intense. Orange blossom and black pepper greet you then transition to the heart of the fragrance, which includes whiskey and laurels. It dries down to a resinous finish of amber, ambergris, and salt.

As you can see, whisky notes can be paired with a number of complementary fragrances.

Should You Add Whiskey to Your Cologne?

Whether you refer to it as whisky or whiskey, with a syringe or combination of a pipette and funnel, you can easily add it to your cologne.

This simple addition can give your cologne a more nuanced fragrance and potentially extend its longevity and projection. The latter is especially helpful with an eau de parfum.

Whether you should make this addition or not, well, that’s completely up to you. Since whiskies vary, you will have to do some testing in order to know what subtle changes it’ll make to your cologne. But that might be a fun project!

If you prefer not to experiment, then you might want to test out colognes that smell like whisky.

Read more:


Hello and welcome to Fragrance Advice! My name is Grace Young, and I’ve been drawn to fragrances since I was a little girl. There's just something about scent that brings me so much joy! 

Recent Posts