There are two schools of thought on layering fragrances. The Purist school holds that the fragrance is a finished work and any tempering with it would destroy the perfect balance that the creator tried to achieve. The Experimentalists, on the other hand, see an interesting potential in layering fragrance in being able to come up with interesting combinations and to personalize one’s fragrance choices.
The Experimentalists have a great perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena on their side, who has even suggested interesting layering combinations. A longtime fellow perfume lover and an excellent researcher, Bela has kindly shared with me excerpts from Elle magazine on the topic of perfume layering, which were translated by her from French.
NB: I also highly recommend Bela’s website, which includes recordings to help pronounce French perfume names.
The Rules of Successful Layering according to French ELLE magazine:
The safest way to do it is with citrus notes. They blend easily with floral, woodsy and even ambery fragrances. Such combinations enable you to associate two different ‘scent worlds’ and prevent either of the two fragrances being redundant. How to go about it: spray the stronger perfume first so that the notes from the second perfume get added to the heart and base notes of the first one.