Today Elisa talks about her most versatile layering perfumes and gives examples on how to create layering combinations. For more tips and information on layering, see How to Layer Perfumes (Part 1 and Part 2) here at Bois de Jasmin or “Adventures in Perfume Layering” at Open Letters Monthly.
Layering is a controversial practice among perfumistas. Some question why you’d disrupt the experience of a presumably complete work of art – isn’t that like hanging a Calder mobile in front of a Pollock painting? But I’ve found that the nose isn’t capable of appreciating every single material present in a perfume at once; we tend to experience it as a whole, a single smell, and that opens up possibilities. Much as you might need to layer two lipsticks to find your perfect red, layering two (or more) perfumes sometimes produces a better – or at least appealingly different – scent experience.
Lalique Amethyst is one of those perfumes that I like in theory but rarely wear in practice. Like Rosabotanica, it’s mostly a great set of top notes (blackcurrant and rose) without much of a base. Its simplicity is what makes it both a little unsatisfying on its own and one of my favorite layering perfumes. Naturally, it’s nice for bringing out more rose and blackcurrant in perfumes where those notes are already present (as in Moschino Funny!). But I was surprised to discover that it’s truly a shapeshifter in pairings; it layers pleasantly with almost anything and it’s nearly impossible to predict what the combination will smell like!
Amethyst + Paloma Picasso EDT
Initially, this combination smells like an entirely new perfume, somehow conjuring a powdery honey accord similar to the one in Love, Chloé. The Amethyst knocks some of the husk out of Paloma’s voice, and the end result smells less like a typical hard-edged ‘80s chypre and more like really good floral soap.
Amethyst + Estée Lauder White Linen
The green notes in Amethyst smell almost minty in some contexts (geranium?), and aldehydes can also have a cold effect, like ice-frosted glass. Amethyst brings White Linen’s rose garden accord to the fore and makes it even chillier and more pink-cheeked.
Amethyst + Dolce & Gabbana The One
The most surprising of the combos I’ve tried, this layering transforms The One (a vanilla-forward oriental with lactonic florals) into a pretty fruity-floral. In The One, Amethyst seems to have found the base it was meant to have!
Photography (top image) by Bois de Jasmin