Monday Question: Do You Layer Your Perfumes?

Do you ever layer fragrances?


What is your most inspired combination to date?

Did you ever create a hot mess when layering two less compatible scents?

My Answers:

I layer fragrances from time to time when I feel experimental or when I want to emphasize a particular side of a perfume. For example to add depth or sweetness, to emphasize the base notes or the top.

There are also certain perfumes I use solely for the purpose of layering, because arrogant cow that I am I do not deem them worthy (i.e complex enough) to warrant wear time on their own. One of those is a fragrance the lovely Dee introduced me to: Laurence Dumont Tendre Madeleine

My favorite layering scent is Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise to use with other Goutals as well as many other floral perfumes. They all benefit from Vanille Exquise´s softly smoky sweetness and staying power, it anchors a perfume like nobody´s business. And still it is unique and complex enough to be worn on its own as well, it is easily my most used perfume.

I erred on the side of unwearability more often than I´d like to admit. Strangely there often seemed a Lutens involved in the miasma. Long story short: I am not gifted enough to layer Lutens perfumes, they are quite enough for me on their own.

How about you? I look forward to hearing about your layering experiences!

Picture source:, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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24 Responses to Monday Question: Do You Layer Your Perfumes?

  1. deeHowe says:

    OOOOooooh yes, I love to layer!

    I can’t be stopped; sometimes it happens on purpose, other times not. I just like to apply perfume multiple times throughout the day! I do make an effort to layer things that I think will work together, and I do, as you said B, try to bring out specific elements of a given fragrance by layering…

    I’ve found some lovely combo’s, but nothing really ground breaking—lately I found that Yohji Homme is great with Havana Vanille; HV is great with Demeter Sugar Cane; Sugar Cane or Gingerale (also by Demeter) are great with almost anything, and Tendre Madeleine is the ultimate layering fragrance to add a whallop of sweet comfort to just about anything. SSS frags seem to layer well together, because of the signature base, provided you don’t get too wild:

    I once created the smell of smoked sausage on my skin before going to bed—astonishing, really, because that’s a pretty specific and potent scent. I think the combo was a heliotrope based frag with SSS Winter Woods (I’m not 100% sure on that), but it was really something. Interesting, but horrible! 🙂

    I love the Monday questions! Especially since I get them on Sunday 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      As you say, Dee, accidental layering is also a recurring theme with me, because I can´t be expected to wear just one perfume a day, can I?!
      I was thinking how much my husband would love your sausage combo, and as you can see, he loved it so much that it encouraged him to come out of hiding and comment! 🙂

    • Elisa says:

      Sometimes Winter Woods DOES have a meaty angle! I think it’s the castoreum? I can see how you’d get BBQ out of it.

  2. the husband says:

    smoked sausage! now we are talking!

  3. lady jane grey says:

    The only parfums I layer – sofar – are those from Jo Malone, but they are intended to do so. In my imagination I can only layer those “watery” transparent scents – and I mean “watery” positive, as the opposite of the “creamy” scents…:-) Sigh, I’m not creative enough (or I might be a purist…).

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is probably a good idea to layer only “transparent” scents, or risk getting totally overwhelmed. I have a Jo Malone kit with six fragrances I have yet to try. What are your favorite Malone Combos, Lady Grey?

  4. Vintage Lady says:

    Before, I used to add two or three perfumes on my skin, but not at the same time. The result was enchanting and very special and of course nobody would know what I was wearing but they truly loved it. I can remember one by Dior, then Happy by Clinique and an oil scent that I took from the middle east.

    But layering perfumes, I have heard of it and it must work really at times. I have never done it yet. But I was thinking the other day what if I layer a male’s perfume like the richness of 1 million or the oud that holds in Arabian Nights with some scent very feminine that could erase the “male” somewhat scent that I can never describe. The only way to explain it in a word would be gas. I don’t want to adventure myself yet. I am very new at that! Happy Week.

    • Olfactoria says:

      A great start into the week to you too, Vintage Lady!
      I think layering a more masculine perfume and a decidedly feminine one can be a very good idea, the result can be nicely balanced – or totally over the top. You are right is is a tricky business. 😉

  5. annemariec says:

    Thanks for the post. I’ve layered Aesop’s Mystra ( a very dark scent indeed, see with Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely. Don’t laugh (okay, you can if you like). But the Mystra is just too sinister for me; I like to sweeten it just a bit. I think the Mystra provides some of the dirt and danger that SJP (apparently) envisaged for the scent originally. And Mystra is not very long lasting on me, and spraying Lovely directly over the top seems to fix Mystra on the skin for much longer.

    Sometimes, if AG’s Heure Exquise EDT seems a bit too dusty and dry, I add a few dabs of Chanel No 19 EDT, a similar scent in some ways, but juicier. Not directly on top tho’.

    Mostly I don’t layer. Layering Serge Lutens sounds to me like playing Bruckner and Mahler at the same time.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I won’t laugh, Lovely is quite – lovely. 🙂 I never heard of Mystra, interesting, thanks for the suggestion.
      Layering Lutens is indeed a brave undertaking, there are apparently people who do it on a regular basis. 🙂

  6. Tara says:

    Very interested to read that you use Vanille Exquise for layering. I am currently looking for a sheer vanilla scent to layer under Idole de Lubin to add some sweetness, so will give this a go. Thanks for the tip.

    I do think it’s lovely how the Jo Malone scents can be layered and the website gives you guidance on this. Could be fun to experiment with your set. As for layering Serge Lutens scents – that would take a braver woman than me!

  7. georgy says:

    my layering options are tom gord grey vetiever, layered with a sprizz of tf extreme,……..but sausage really sounds nice……

    • Olfactoria says:

      G, do you know Tom Ford Private Blends (available at Le Parfum and Douglas House of Beauty on Kaertnerstrasse)? I bet there are several in the line up you would enjoy (Although Frau Hansi would too, probably!) 😉
      About the sausage – that is more M.’s expertise 🙂

  8. angie Cox says:

    I love to layer my favourite is Mahora with Annick Goutal’s Rose Absolue,Chanel no 19 with Isabelle Gelle’s Violet, Van Cleef and Arpel’s Tsar with pure Frankincense oil.Esperys body oil with Une Rose .In fact as I try different ones an awful lot I can’t even remember most so should write them down.

  9. Marina says:

    I don’t layer often if at all. Too lazy for that and also that’s why perfumers exist, to do the work for me. 🙂 I don’t know, I just rarely wonder what this perfume would smell if worn with that perfume. I guess mostly I think of them as of complete structures in and of themselves, which don’t need any changes imposed by moi, you know?
    Having said that, I did once stumble upon a great combo, if I say so myself 🙂
    Messet de Minuit + Yatagan 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Your combo sounds very good, need to try that one time.
      You are right of course, there are perfumes one shouldn´t mess with. But there are many that lend themselves to layering and experimenting, and I enjoy doing that. 🙂

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